BMW released the xDrive all-wheel-drive version of the 2011 5-series sedan based on the six-cylinder 535i and eight-cylinder 550i models. The 2011 535i and 550i xDrive Sedans start from $52,775 and $62,875, respectively which is $2300 more than what you pay for the RWD equivalent. So unless you live somewhere with frozen lakes for roads you better save the $2300 and get a normal 5er!
These xDrive models also feature BMW’s 8-speed automatic transmission as standard. It has wider spread of ratios allows the engine to run at lower speeds for improved efficiency, and it’s also smoother than the 6-speed gearbox. So as you see the all-drive-drive version of normal saloons are full of geeky stuff, designed to please nerds! What we like is a proper rear-wheel-drive V8 Bimmer with a proper six-speed manual gearbox and a clutch pedal.
Here’s an overview of 2011 BMW 5 Series AWD system:
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.