2011 BMW 5 Series: 300 hp, 29 mpg
BMW officials told us today that the EPA numbers are in for the 2011 5 Series — and they’re not too shabby. The 535i will get an EPA-certified 20/29 mpg city/highway with an automatic transmission. That’s a full 3 mpg better than the outgoing 535i, and it vaults the car to the front of its class for fuel efficiency. Not bad for a car that’s slightly larger and weighs some 100 pounds more than its predecessor.
Credit the new eight-speed automatic as well as the single-turbo Valvetronic six-cylinder, which replaces the twin-turbo six-cylinder on the last 535i yet makes the same 300 horsepower and 300 pounds-feet torque. Spokesman Matt Russell said the new 535i hits 60 mph in less than 6 seconds, which is “almost identical” with the outgoing 535i.
The 550i uses the 400-hp, twin-turbo V-8 of X6 and 750i vintage; Russell said it will reach 60 mph in about 5 seconds flat, with EPA gas mileage pegged at 17/25 mpg. That puts it 2 mpg ahead of today’s normally aspirated 550i.
Premium fuel is recommended with either engine, but that’s the case for the vast majority of luxury cars. Manual transmissions drop mileage to 19/28 mpg on the 535i and 15/22 mpg on the 550i: “We’ve reached an age” where automatics have a clear advantage in efficiency, he said. Still, we like the fact that BMW remains willing to offer a manual here.
The 5 Series goes on sale this June in rear-wheel-drive 535i and 550i trims; excluding destination charges, prices start at $49,600 for the 535i and $59,700 for the 550i. Keep an eye out for a 240-hp 528i as well as xDrive all-wheel-drive versions later this year.