The 535i was a member of BMW's highly esteemed executive luxury car--the 5-Series--which is now on its sixth generation. Next to the 3-Series, this is BMW's second best-selling model. In fact, in 2010, this line of cars has contributed to about 50% of the German automaker's profits.
1979: The BMW M535i
The 535i first appeared in 1979 as replacement for the M5, hence the designation M535i. During that time, this model was considered as the most significant 5 Series model as it was the first creation of the BMW Motorsport division to ever reach customers, even if it wasn't offered in the U.S. market. The M535i drew its power from a large-bore/short-stroke version of the 3.5-liter straight six engine that's able to crank out 218 hp matched with a five-speed manual transmission. This Europe-only variant of 5-Series served as the standard for all the successful M cars released after it.
The 1985 model year was marked by the introduction of the third 5-Series model designed for the American market as well as the debut of the biggest engine yet offered in the 5-Series--the new 3.4L, 182hp version of the SOHC six fitted under the hood of the BMW 535i.
1987: The 535iS model and powertrain updates
Before the 1987 model year kicked off, BMW release the 535iS model, which looked top-of-the-range with its rear spoiler and front air dam. This model wasn't as powerful as the early 535i, but BMW wasn't bothered much by it since the M5 took the American market by storm, surpassing everyone's expectations from a sports sedan. Because of this success, the 535i remained unchanged for 1988.
In 1989, the 535i came equipped with a 3.5-liter version of BMW-made big SOHC six, generating 204 horses. The following year, changes to the BMW 535i were still minimal. The most notable addition was the Automatic Stability Control, which was added to the options list as well as the driver-side airbag, which became standard on all BMWs. The 535i received a new powertrain in 1993 model year--the 3.0L DOHC 32-valve V8.
2011: The 535i that has just gotten better
The new 535i was such a wow, with its structural design and suspension that it shared with the 7 Series. Under the hood was a mighty 3.0-liter turbocharged inline 6 cranking out a whopping 300 horsepower. This is the first BMW inline-6 engine to be fitted with direct injection, turbocharging, and Valvetronic valve control.
On the outside, the new BMW 535i looked edgy in dynamics, but with extra attitude. What made it easily distinguishable as a 5-Series model was the bolder version of BMW's double kidney grille. It also sported a dramatic LED lighting. Included in the long list of enticing, high-tech options are Lane Departure Warning, Blind Spot Warning, Parking Assistant, Active Cruise Control, Frontal Collision Warning, Integral Active Steering, as well as BMW Night Vision with Pedestrian Detection.