We have been hearing for quite sometime from BMW officials that the new 5 Series will be launching with xDrive soon after the rear wheel drive version. It is now official, the xDrive variants will hit the US by October, a much improved launch sequence when you consider the 7 series and 5 GT xDrive cars coming at a significantly staggered time frame. BMW has learned that for better or worse the North East and other areas that receive a dosing of the white wintry stuff tend to purchase all wheel drive models at a significant clip.
For the first time the mighty 550 will be offered in xDrive and all 5 series models will still be moved by the 8 speed automatic. The 7 series introduced Integrated Chassis Management, a system used to counter understeer and provide more neutral handling thanks to the ability to instantly shift torque and apply braking as needed to a single rear wheel, much like the mechanical torque vectoring rear differential, the new 5er will be equipped with the same technology.
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.
Official Release after the jump:
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.