BMW has built a solid reputation for producing the ultimate driving machine and, as far as I’m concerned, cemented that claim with the 2011 BMW 535d.
The 535d, which debuted in Paris, just might be the world’s only perfect car. That’s a lofty statement, I know, but it’s quick off the line, great at handling twisty mountain roads, and can comfortably accommodate entire families. It also has available all-wheel drive and comes in sedan or wagon (Touring) form. It’s everything a reasonable car owner could ever want in an automobile.
Plus, there’s the added bonus that the “d” in its name stands for diesel, making this Bimmer yet another slap in the face of all things hybrid.
Sadly, the U.S. won’t get the oil-burning Touring version. That’s a shame, because the 2011 535d uses a 3.0-liter twin-turbo straight six to produce 300 hp and a mighty 440 lb-ft of torque, good for 0-62 mph in 5.7 seconds. With its 18.5-gallon fuel tank, the 535d can go over 800 miles on a single tank, which by my calculations is over 43 mpg.
Such numbers are possible because the 535d comes with BMW’s eight-speed automatic transmission, brake energy regeneration, and lower weight thanks to the extensive use of aluminum.
And that, friends, again proves the point that the way to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels is with lightweight cars using advanced diesel engines, not with expensive gas/electric hybrid engines. In my humble opinion, the government and its latest 62 mpg CAFE regulations are simply creating a false demand for hybrids. Leave the market to evolve organically, or impose a $2/gallon gas tax as suggested by the studious jgoods, and automakers will naturally produce cars with better fuel economy as a direct result of fierce competition rather than government regulation.
Diesel engines have proven their worth with long-term reliability and impressive fuel efficiency. When used in a lightweight vehicle with the proper transmission, BMW has shown that diesel perfection is possible. I’ve yet to see perfection in a hybrid.
With a car like the BMW 535d, who needs hybrids?
Are you as irritated as I am that the U.S. doesn’t get many diesel options? I’d take a 535d Touring!