This Near-Perfect BMW Wagon Only Has One Visible Fault

The perfect trinity of specifications is enough to let you overlook the Chris Bangle design.

I should start by saying I don’t have just one ‘ideal car.’ Instead, my requirements are broad, yet blanket only a few cars: dark green, tan leather interior, six-speed manual. I challenge you to find any car that checks those boxes and doesn’t cause you to start pondering finances to see if making an offer is realistic. It’s one of those timeless combinations that appeal to all the senses, whether you’re staring back at it as you shut off the light in the garage or rowing through the gears, tackling a string of switchbacks. Case and point: the perfect trinity of specifications is enough to let you overlook this car’s one flaw: Chris Bangle-era design.

Yes, design as a whole is subjective, and sure, one or two of Bangle’s Bimmers have aged well, but the front end of the E61 5-Series certainly caught the worst of his ‘flame’ surfacing. That said, I will admit, everything behind the headlights on this 535xi wagon recompenses for it.

Not only does the this AWD wagon have the three most important options ticked, but a $7,000 service was also performed to replace most, if not all, parts known to be faulty with this generation 5-Series model. Which means it’s reasonable to assume the 300 horsepower and 300 lb-ft of torque the 3.0L twin-turbo inline-six was quoted at in 2008 is still accurate. To top it off, the suspension has been updated with Dinan camber plates and lowered over H&R sports springs. So it has the performance to match the practicality, which just happens to be blanketed with perfect style. Well, nearly.

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