The all-wheel-drive editions of the 2011 BMW 5 Series won't be arriving stateside until October, but at least we now knowwhat the latest xDrive models will cost. The 535i xDrive kicks off at $52,775 while the twin-turbo V8-powered 550i xDrive will set you back a minimum of $62,875. Both prices including an $875 destination charge.
The xDrive system on the new 5 Series is not quite as sophisticated as the clutch-controlled torque vectoring on the X6, but it can utilize individual braking on the rear wheels to send torque to either side as needed to counteract oversteer or understeer. The central clutch pack also defaults to sending 80 percent of the torque to the rear axle to minimize understeer and retain BMW's familiar driving dynamics, shifting the balance to the front only when needed for traction. All xDrive 5 Series models also get hill descent control to maintain a constant speed when going down a slippery grade. See the press release after the break for all the details.
Photos by Chris Paukert / Copyright ©2010 Weblogs, Inc.
535i xDrive and 550i xDrive to arrive in October 2010.
Woodcliff Lake, NJ – June 18, 2010...Just as BMW enthusiasts across the nation begin taking delivery of the new 2011 535i and 550i Sedans, BMW is pleased to announce pricing and availability for the xDrive variants of the sixth-generation 5 Series. Arriving in October 2010, the 2011 535i and 550i xDrive Sedans will retail for $52,775 and $62,875, respectively, including $875 Destination and Handling. These prices represent a $2300 premium over their traditional rear-wheel drive counterparts.
For the new 5 Series, xDrive intelligent all-wheel drive has been updated to match the performance and character of the 7 Series xDrive models introduced last year. BMW's Integrated Chassis Management (ICM) is able to identify and limit understeer by shifting torque rearward (initially 80% to the rear axle) while preserving the stability for which xDrive has been so widely recognized. As a second step, ICM can then apply a precise combination of throttle and individual rear-corner braking in order to maintain neutral handling in a corner - regardless of road surface conditions.
Every BMW xDrive model receives standard Hill Descent Control. This selectable function allows the driver to descend slopes in extremely slippery conditions while maintaining control at a pre-set speed.
Additionally, all 2011 5 Series xDrive models feature BMW's 8-speed automatic transmission, celebrated for smooth shifting, sportiness, and efficiency. Compared to the excellent 6-speed automatic in the previous-generation 5 Series, the 8-speed's wider spread of ratios allows the engine to run at lower speeds for improved efficiency. Yet even with this capability, the steps between adjacent gears are reduced; this means a stronger, smoother flow of power during acceleration. To minimize response times and maximize acceleration, downshifts can be made directly between top gear and the lowest available gear for the current road speed.