BMW has announced pricing for its 2011-model-year 535i and 550i xDrive sedans. Including an $875 destination fee, the twin-turbo, six-cylinder 2011 BMW 535i xDrive starts at $52,775, while the 2011 BMW 550i xDrive, with its 400-hp turbo V-8, begins at $62,875.
Altogether, that's $2,300 in each case over the standard rear-wheel-drive versions.
Curiously, for the 535i xDrive, that makes it a better deal for 2011, at $1.650 less than it cost for 2010. However with the addition of the 550i xDrive (not offered last year), and the discontinuation of the all-wheel-drive 528i, BMW still manages to move the xDrive models a bit upmarket.
Compared to previous versions, the new xDrive system—essentially the same as what was introduced on the 2010 BMW 7-Series—is controlled by the Integrated Chassis Management system, which can send more torque to the rear wheels to balance out handling and limit understeer while still keeping it safe. By individually braking the rear wheels, it can help stabilize handling and enhance grip on a wide range of tricky, slippery road surfaces.
All xDrive models now come with Hill Descent Control, which electronically maintains a pre-set speed, even on slippery surfaces.
In a First Drive of the 2011 BMW 5-Series earlier this year on our companion site, The Car Connection, we found the latest version of this mid-size sport sedan to bring back some of the driver's car goodness—and the classic look—of previous versions. And while it gets more technology, as can be expected, it's less obtrusive and better integrated.
The new 5-Series xDrive models will begin arriving to U.S. dealerships in October.