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BMW 535d M Sport

BMW's brilliant saloon blends blends pace and economy like no other

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

As with many BMWs, it’s the 535d’s remarkable engine that’s the star of the show. The twin-turbo unit serves up scintillating pace and remarkable economy, while the smooth auto box is one of the best around. The adaptive dampers and four-wheel steering are costly options, yet deliver much sharper driving dynamics. Even without these additions, the 535d M Sport will set you back £45,320, which is nearly £5,000 more than the slightly slower but equally capable 530d version.

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The AMG Mercedes CL63 isn’t the only hot German model blasting into showrooms this week, as BMW has just pulled the wraps off the racy range-topping diesel variant of its new 5-Series: the 535d M Sport.

Using a tweaked version of the firm’s familiar 3.0-litresix-cylinder oil-burner, the newcomer promises high-performance petrol thrillswith wallet-friendly diesel bills.

Its twin-turbo unit produces 295bhp and a crushing 600Nm of torque, blasting the 535d from 0-62mph in 5.7 seconds. Despite this scorching pace, the car will return 46.3mpg.

In M Sport trim, the 5-Series looks more super saloon than economy special. The already imposing shape is given a muscular makeover thanks to a deeper front bumper, side skirts and small bootlid spoiler. But to our eyes the new bodykit has a slightly aftermarket look.

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Climb aboard, and you’ll find chunky sports seats and a thick-rimmed leather steering wheel embossed with BMW’s famous M logo are the only clues to the car’s sporty credentials.Elsewhere it’s standard 5-Series, which means top-quality materials, beautiful fit and finish, and plenty of space.

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You also get a decent haul of standard kit, including leather trim, climate control and Bluetooth connection. However, you’ll have to hit the pricey options list to get desirable executive car features such as sat-nav and xenon headlamps.

Our model was fitted with the hi-tech Adaptive Drive and Integral Active Steering kit. This combination costs a whopping £3,520, but adds electronically controlled variable damping and anti-roll bars, as well as four-wheel steering.

Standard versions get a stiffened M Sport suspension set-up. On the move, these additions give the 535d remarkable poise, agility and grip. Turn into a corner and the BMW responds instantly, with very little body roll. The only letdown is the lack of feedback through the wheel.

The systems even have a benefit at low speeds, as the firm ride can be tuned for greater comfort, while the four-wheel steering serves up almost family hatchlevels of manoeuvrability. But even this remarkable dynamic performance is shaded by the newcomer’s engine and gearbox.

The 3.0-litre unit is an engineering masterpiece, delivering pulverising pace and silky smoothness, while the eight-speed automatic boasts slick shifts. In fact, the only real fly in the ointment is the car’s hefty £45,320 asking price.

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