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The Ultimate BMW 535i Consumer Car Review Roundup

February 7th, 2014

shutterstock_40098676Consumer car reviewers have been loving the BMW 5 Series ever since its 2010 remodel, and the new 2013 535i is no different. Starting at about $53,000, the BMW 535i is the most affordable of the 5ers, which can reach up to $70k at the other end of the spectrum. True Consumer Reviews rates it second in its class, and first in its class for interior and exterior appearance. According to their car comparison tool, the 535i is a real gem. But what do other consumer car review sites have to say? To find out, we did an ultimate consumer car review roundup of the BMW 535i, comparing conclusions from True Consumer Reviews with thoughts from Edmunds, Auto Week, and Car and Driver on the three most hotly contested issues of fuel economy, comfort and interior controls. Check it out!

Fuel Economy
Consumer car reviews for the BMW 535i on Edmunds.com are sparse, but as always on Edmunds, the feedback is high quality. Within the three reviews that do exist, there was a slight inconsistency regarding the mileage, but the overall reviews show serious adoration for this model of the new BMW 5 Series, and provide great comparisons to other prestige luxury sedans, to which the 535i stands the test. One reviewer writes,

“Was looking for a smooth highway ride with nice handling. This car came closer to my desires than Lexus, MB and Audi. Very quiet and handles well on winding roads. Soaks up road imperfections….Back seat is more roomy than I expected.”

There are some contradictions to the Edmunds voices coming from True Consumer Reviews. As we already mentioned, the gas mileage is up for debate. Reviewers on Edmunds report getting up to 36mpg in their BMW 535i when driving on the highway, while True Consumer Reviews reports a much lower fuel economy of 21mpg and 31mpg highway.

In addition to a lower report of gas mileage, the BMW 535i also received an extremely low True Consumer Reviews rating for rear seat comfort, while the Edmunds reviewer quoted above goes out of his way to mention that the back seat exceeded his comfort expectations. Although rear seat comfort a common complaint about prestige luxury sedans, the 535i received the lowest possible ranking in this area. True Consumer Reviews was only slightly more impressed with front seat comfort in the BMW 535i, saw roominess as a pitfall, and cited interior design issues such as faulty cup holders.

Over at Auto Week, digital editor Andrew Stoy had a completely different experience, claiming that when driving with four people in the car, the 535i made him “feel like a chauffer,” especially compared to other Beamers in the 3-Series and the C-class. In fact, he refers to the entire BMW 5 Series as “a ‘just right’ sedan.”

Interior Controls
The top guys at Car and Driver were fiends for the new BMW 5 Series, and settled on taking one that wasn’t quite what they wanted so that they could get that BMW 535i on the road now now now. Perhaps this initial compromise colored their experience too much because they wound up in general not being fans of the 535i, and took a close focus on the car’s lack of features. “I know everyone will complain about the lack of navigation, heated seats, and satellite radio,” said Car and Driver online editor Jon Yanca, getting the ball rolling. The boys also say that the iDrive feature looks like “an old-cathode ray tube” television. Ouch!

In stark contrast to this, True Consumer Reviews finds the BMW 535i’s interior appearance to be far above average. In fact, this model was awarded “Best in Segment” for interior appearance in prestige luxury sedans, beating out the Audi A6, Infiniti M37, Jaguar XF and Mercedes E350. We can’t fail to note that the 535i is “Best in Segment” for exterior appearance as well and is the 2nd highest rated vehicle in its category.