2011 BMW 5-Series

2011 BMW 5-Series

Episode 3002
Auto Value and Bumper to BumperTire Rack "The Way Tire Buying Should Be"

With sporty moves and room for a family, BMW’s midsize 5-Series sports sedan has long been a segment benchmark and a MotorWeek favorite. But the all-new 2011 5-Series is something of a renaissance. While still packing a technology and powertrain wallop, it appears less aggressive and more executive.  So let’s see if this really is progress.

Right off the mark, our visual take on the 6th generation 2011 BMW 5-Series is that it reminds us a lot more of the current flagship 7-Series than its direct predecessor. Yes, the twin kidney grille is naturally still there, but the previous 5’s Bangle-ized eyebrows are gone.

On the profile, the look is smoother but the character lines are more defined, all stretched over a 2-inch longer body, with a more telling, 3.2 inch longer wheelbase. The L-shaped LED taillights mimic the 7, while the rest of the toned down rear also looks more business than pleasure. 

Top and bottom power are familiar. The 528i dons a three-liter straight six, rated at 240 horsepower, a bump up of 10. The 550i borrows the 7’s 4.4-liter twin-turbo 400 horsepower V8. Our 535i has the new powertrain, BMW’s latest 3-liter that trades two turbos for one twin-scroll unit. Output is unchanged, however, at 300 horsepower and 300 lb-ft of torque.

A proper 6-speed manual is still standard on the six-cylinders, while optional with a six and standard on the V8 is BMW’s new gas saving eight-speed automatic.

Indeed, lots of Efficient Dynamics technologies have found their way into the 2011 5-Series, including regenerative brakes, electric power steering, and engine accessories that only produce engine drag when in use. Later in the year, x-Drive all-wheel drive will become available across the 5-Series lineup.

It didn’t take more than a few minutes at the track, however, to reassure ourselves that this more sedate looking 5 hasn’t dialed back performance one bit. Quick shifting our 535i’s manual delivers 0 to 60 in an impressive, and quite quiet, six seconds flat. The quarter mile mark came up in 14.5 seconds at 98 miles per hour. Both numbers getting close to the 5-Series GT V8 we tested last spring.

Just as laudable was our average 60 to 0 stopping distance of a very short 116 feet. The pedal wasn’t the firmest, but feedback was good, and fade nonexistent, from the all-wheel vented disc brakes.

Still, our handling test would be the big hurdle, an area where the previous 5-Series was a champion. Turn-ins are still quick, even if the electric power steering is a little numb. More curb weight means slightly more body roll, even in stiffer sport mode, but there’ s still little lack of poise, thanks to a new multi-link front suspension. So, when all was said and done, we were very happy.

I didn’t want to like the new 2011 BMW 5-Series. It got bigger, more luxurious, and less like the cars that I’ve always loved. Or so I thought. Sitting behind the wheel, it does feel like a 7-Series, and out on the highway it’s so smooth and quiet. But on back roads when you turn that wheel, well, everything I’ve always loved about a BMW sports sedan is front and center. My conclusion the new 5-Series is a great car.

Inside, the new 5’s interior also takes on the 7’s more luxurious appeal. Our 535i came dressed to really impress with optional wood trim. BMW’s sensible, classy, horizontal architecture now has well-integrated 21st-century touches like adaptive cruise control and a lane departure warning system.

The fourth generation of iDrive appears either on a seven-inch screen recessed atop the now canted center stack, or with optional navigation on a larger 10.2-inch screen.

Rear seat knee room improves very slightly, while comfort is still above par for second-row passengers. 40/60 split-fold functionality is optional, as is a center pass-through.

In Government Fuel Economy Ratings, our manual 535i is rated at a decently frugal 19 miles per gallon city/28 highway. We managed an average of 22.3 miles per gallon on premium gas. On sale now, the 528i starts at $45,425. Our 535i begins at $50,475, and the 550i has a base sticker of $60,575.

With equal parts thrill and finesse, BMW has clearly taken the right path with this thoroughly modern car. Moreover, the 2011 BMW 5-Series remains one slick-shifting, fine-driving, midsize German sports sedan icon.

Specifications

  • Engine: 3-Liter Turbo
  • Horsepower: 300
  • Torque: 300 Lb Feet
  • 0-60 MPH: 6.0 Seconds
  • 1/4 Mile: 14.5 Seconds @ 98 MPH
  • 60-0 MPH: 116 Feet
  • EPA: 19 MPG City/ 28 MPG Highway
  • Mixed Loop: 22.3 MPG
2024 Mercedes AMG GLA35

2024 Mercedes-AMG GLA 35

Baby AMG SUV Brings The Performance

Episode 4336
Auto Value and Bumper to BumperTire Rack "The Way Tire Buying Should Be"

Back in 2015, buying an AMG-tuned utility vehicle was not unheard of, but finding one as affordable as the then-new AMG GLA 45 was an entirely new phenomenon. Since then, they’ve only enhanced their AMG profile, so let’s check in with the latest Mercedes-AMG GLA 35 and see if we can keep up.

A quick look at the Mercedes-Benz lineup reveals they currently have more than a dozen SUVs for sale, most of which can get some level of high-performance AMG treatment. This 2024 Mercedes-AMG GLA 35 is the least expensive one you can buy, but it certainly doesn’t feel, look, or behave like a budget ride.

Styling updates are mostly limited to a new front fascia, though both head and taillights get freshened up, and there are some new wheel designs, plus a unique AMG crest on the hood for the first time. The base Mercedes-Benz GLA also gets updated, just with a much milder theme for those that are looking more for the luxurious experience instead of the AMG’s sporty theme.

Inside, drivers can take in all the carbon fiber accents, as well as put their hands on a new AMG Performance steering wheel. Mercedes has gotten rid of the touchpad controller on the center console and put a much more practical phone charger in its place, as well as added an additional USB-C port with faster charging speed. The touchscreen shares its housing with the 10-inch digital instrument cluster.

The GLA 35’s 2.0-liter turbocharged I4 has been retuned by AMG for 302 horsepower and 295 lb-ft. of torque with 48-volt mild-hybrid assistance. It’s the same setup found in the CLA 35 four-door Coupe we recently tested. The base GLA 250 makes do with 221 horsepower from its 2.0-liter turbo-4. The GLA 35 comes strictly with an eight-speed automatic transmission and AMG-tuned 4MATIC all-wheel drive.

At our test track, with AMG Race Start engaged, we hooked and booked to 60 in just 4.9-seconds despite a slight hesitation in full power delivery off the line. It launched hard even without Race Start, and the engine strongly pulled all the way down the track. Shifts were plenty quick, yet still very smooth, as while we could barely feel when they were happening, the bassy bark from the exhaust gave us a much-appreciated audible cue. Our best quarter-mile run was a 13.5 at 102 miles-per-hour.

As for handling, it was easy-peasy for this AMG. We were able to carry quite a bit of speed through our cone course with very minimal body roll and a planted feel that had us pushing harder and harder until we got it to step out on us just a little.

You can get into a base front-wheel-drive GLA for as little as $43,000, but this AMG 35 will cost you at least $57,600.

When we hear things like “the best or nothing at all,” we tend to dismiss it as Mercedes marketing speak, but that was actually a quote going all the way back to Gottlieb Daimler in the late 1800s prior to his firm joining up with Karl Benz’s. And, for the most part, it’s still the philosophy behind Mercedes-Benz today. And you can certainly feel it behind the wheel of the 2024 Mercedes-AMG GLA 35.

Specifications

As Tested

  • Engine: 2.0-liter turbocharged I4
  • Horsepower: 302
  • 0-60 mph: 4.9 seconds
  • 60-0 Braking: 112 feet (avg)
  • MW Fuel Economy: 27.6 MPG (Premium)
  • Transmission: 8-speed automatic
  • Torque: 295 lb-ft.
  • 1/4 Mile: 13.5 seconds at 102 mph
  • EPA: 22 City | 28 Highway | 24 Combined