When my M3 had to go in to the shop for some maintenance, I arrived right when the dealer's service center opened—so my service adviser allowed me to take my pick of the loaner cars. She listed a couple of 3 Series and a 1 Series, then mentioned, "Oh, and I also have this 5 Series diesel." Before she could even finish saying "diesel," I had responded with an emphatic, "Yes, please!"
The service adviser handed me the keys and walked me out to the car. It was a beautiful 535d M Sport in Jet Black with black Dakota leather and anthracite wood trim. It also had quite a few options: heated seats, head-up display, rear-view camera, and the great ZF eight-speed transmission with paddle-shifters.
As I pulled out of the dealership parking lot, I kind of thought about calling in sick to work, as all I wanted to do was continue to hold the soft leather of the M steering wheel and go find some mountain roads. Unfortunately, that was not an option.
I proceeded to get on the freeway, where in southern California is like being in a drag race since there are on-ramp lights and merging can happen at 80+ mph. The 535d had no problems at all, as I put my foot down and used the complete 413 lb-ft of torque! Even though this is a large sedan, tipping the scales at over 4100 pounds, the car gets up to speed very quickly with a zero to 60 mph time in the mid 5 seconds. Once on the freeway, I noticed that this is where the 5 Series truly shines. The car is quiet and smooth, and rolls down the speed limited freeway as if we are mocking its autobahn abilities. I was bummed when I arrived at work, as I knew it would be another 8 hours before I could give it another go.
Later that night, instead of going to bed at my normal hour, I ventured out into the darkness and headed to some of my favorite local winding roads. I really wanted to see how the 535d would take to some good flogging. Thankfully I have a good twisty road just a couple miles from me that I know quite well. The 5 Series did not disappoint me as I navigated this 6 mile stretch of curves. Yes, its a big car and feels that way at times, but this car definitely was not out of its element. The torque provided plenty of punch out of the corners, the suspension kept the chassis fairly flat, and the brakes had plenty of bite. My guess is that if you were to go on a longer canyon carving session that the brakes would start to fade, but this isn't an M car. It's a daily driver that you can comfortably cruise to a fancy restaurant in downtown in and then hit the canyons on your way to a mountain resort for the weekend.
The next morning as I was dropping off the diesel, I took a peak at the fuel gauge. Even with all that aggressive freeway driving and flogging on the back roads, I had averaged 28.0 miles to the gallon. Right then I wondered why doesn't everyone buy the 5 Series in the diesel?—Nate Risch
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