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BMW 5-Series Sedans

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  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 29,161
    Ahhh... Yeah, the 18" are a separate option on the US model..

    Maybe you could just order the Sport Seats?

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  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    The 530xi is now available with two separate options:
    1) Sport Package, $700, made up of "Shadowline exterior trim", and "12-way power front sport seats with power adjustable thigh support"
    2) 18: Star Spoke Wheels, $600, made up of "18x 8.0 Star Spoke (Styling 123) alloy wheels, 245/40R-18 performance run-flat tires"

    mikeroch asked:
    "Since the car is AWD, would it be possible to drive in winter (snow, etc...) on the sport pkg tires??"

    Possible, yes, safe, no. As a general rule of thumb, the wider the contact patch, blockier the tread pattern and the higher the rubber content of the tread compound, the worst the cold weather/snow/ice traction you'll get. Unfortunately the optional performance tires fail you in all three areas. Consider the following:

    - The optional tires are about 1" wider than the standard All-Season tires, and as such, they present a wider but shorter contact patch to whatever surface you're riding on. In snow that would mean that your tire would have to climb over or compress a wider patch of snow, never a good thing.
    - The optional tires, given their performance nature, have a fairly chunky tread pattern that presents large and ungrooved tread blocks to the surface that you're riding on. In snow that would mean that you have fewer gripping edges with which to claw your way through or grab on to when stopping.
    - The optional tires have a rubber compound that is very high in rubber and very low in silica, and as such it gets very hard and slippery in temperatures below about five degrees centigrade. Contrast this with some of the new rubber compounds for winter tires that can actually adhere to ice.

    The fact is that summer performance tires have so little traction capabilities in snow, slush or ice that if you do manage to get your car moving, you will have a very difficult time turning or stopping. Said another way, a 530xi with summer performance tires is an accident waiting to happen. It's not a matter of if; it's a matter of when.

    Best Regards,
    Shipo
  • Thanks Shipo...very useful info.

    The sport pkg here includes the 18" wheels/perf tires; the Sport (not M) steering wheel; and the "high gloss shadow line".

    Although I like the 123 wheels included in the sport pkg, and don't mind the shadow gloss (prefer the chrome, actually), the other main reason for the sp is the sport steering wheel. The sport pkg here is $2,000 (CDN), which is a bargain when one considers that we priced other wheel/tire pkgs with the parts dept and the cost was in the thousands; and the sport steering wheel separately is $2,500 (!) plus installation (air bag issues...).

    Thus, it looks like in order not to have to use snow tires (which you make pretty obvious would be necessary), we would have to give up the sport steering wheel as well as the upgraded wheels....(although, the "regular" wheels and steering wheel are nice).

    Decisions, decisions..... :)
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    Have you considered a standard 530i? True you'd still need to opt for winter tires, however, normally the difference in cost between the RWD version and the AWD version will more than buy you a set of winter wheels and tires AND pay for the off season storage and wheel swapping.

    Best Regards,
    Shipo
  • Isn't the xi the safer of the two, all things considered?

    Our foremost priority with this purchase is safety.

    Thanks.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    Safety is a relative term and definitely not "Apples to Apples". If you were to compare a 530xi with the standard All-Season rubber to a 530i with winter rubber, the former will exhibit slightly better acceleration and/or hill climbing abilities while the latter will be better in the turning and stopping departments. Which is safer? To my (admittedly warped) way of thinking, I'd rather have a car that can turn and stop better than a car that can accelerate but is more nervous in the other two areas.

    I live in New Hampshire and we get plenty of snow/slush/ice here and my 530i SP with winter tires was more than a match for the elements. The only areas where my car was overly challenged was on some of the driveways in my neighborhood. My driveway is a roughly 9% grade, and even with 6-8" of snow it wasn't a problem, however, the other driveways that I spoke of are well over a 25% grade and a challenge for anything short of a snowmobile.

    Back to your potential new car, the only thing that would outperform a winter tire shod 530i in the snow is a 530xi running the same winter rubber, and even then the 530i would most likely stop shorter (due to its lower weight) and even turn better in some circumstances.

    As you said, "Decisions, decisions, decisions..." ;-)

    Best Regards,
    Shipo
  • jo2jo2 Posts: 41
    I owned a 2006 Lexus GS 300 and had to get rid of it, it was entirely too sluggish and drove more like a camry to me than a performance car.

    When I was shopping for a 5 series I had the same dillema in December and found there to be a significant difference between the two cars (530 vs. 525). They drive totally different because of the engine. I ended up buying the 530 and and am thrilled. However, I have to say the one option that I am annoyed that I didn't consider getting is the ACTIVE STEERING option that tightens as the car goes faster or takes a corner, or eases up as you start to go at slower speeds.

    I highly recommend the 530 at the very least for resale value. The 525 seems very underpowered to me and considerably a louder engine since it is smaller.

    The other car I came very close to buying was the Infiniti M - fantastic car, but after driving the BMW I couldn't say no.

    JC
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    A couple of points:

    For the active steering, it gets "tighter" (ie. more responsive) the slower you go, not the other way around. Trust me, you don't want to be moving down the Autobahn at a Buck Forty and have twitchy steering. If that was the case, a simple sneeze could put you a couple of lanes over from where you were. FWIW, the Active Steering system is one option that I can absolutely do without.

    The other thing is that the 525i and the 530i have exactly the same size engine, both have a displacement of 3.0 liters. The only real difference is that the 525i has a "De-Tuned" engine that has only a single path intake manifold, while the 530i sports a highly tuned triple path intake manifold that optimizes volumetric efficiency (packs the cylinder with more fuel and air at any given RPM).

    Best Regards,
    Shipo
  • My dealer HAD an unclaimed 525xi 6spd manual on the showroom floor with a sold sticker on it and locked doors.

    He knows I want to drive a 5 x w/manual. He knows I am NOT in the market -- for at least 22 - 26 months.

    He let me drive the 530xi steptronic.

    He knows I love my wife's X3 3.0 stick.

    He is, after nearly 20 years with BMW, the really "matter of fact" kind of car person -- no pressure, no hype (that I can detect.) He told my wife and me if we were going to configure a new 5, that the 525xi w/6spd manual would be at least as satisfying as a 530xi steptronic in terms of performance.

    I have driven the 530xi step twice -- and then immediately got into my wife's X3 (once) and my A6 3.2 (once.)

    The 530xi is a great car -- but felt less "peppy" than either the X3 3.0 stick or my 3.2 A6. Further the 530xi had "little tiny wheels and tires" and in contrast to my A6 which has the 245x45x18"'s, the Bimmer seemed even more under-tired than my A6.

    In such a comparison the most impressive drive was to be had with the X3 3.0 stick with the Sport Package. The 5 was almost mushy by comparison (to the other two.)

    Now that we have become friends with the BMW brand specialist at our dealer, I anticipate sometime in 2006 the ability to test a 530xi with the 18" wheel and tire option (and a manual transmission.)

    I bring all this up to suggest the 525xi with a manual transmission MUST be the unknown BMW (and also, unfortunately, the "unsold" BMW.)

    I do not know if there are any deals on the 525xi's but it certainly seemed that this vehicle so equipped would be the dealer's price dependant choice.

    Then, the $48,000 question: what car are you buying? He said for his wife he was getting an all optioned 2006 X3 (with the stick shift, of course.)

    Why?

    "Highest performance for the buck of all the cars I sell!"

    He can have any BMW he wants.

    Wonder if this means anything at all? :shades:
  • bdkinnhbdkinnh Posts: 292
    >"the 530xi had "little tiny wheels and tires" and in contrast to my A6 which has the 245x45x18"'s, the Bimmer seemed even more under-tired than my A6."

    Please forgive my ignorance, but how do 18" tires improve the ride over 16" or 17"? I'm not trying to say they don't - I honestly don't know what difference they make.

    Does it make you feel the road more? Most tires 18" or over seem (to me) to have less rubber, so I'd imagine it would give a harsher ride. Is that a correct assumption?
  • erickplerickpl Posts: 2,735
    will generally have a smaller sidewall on the tires, causing less sidewall flex while maneuvering.

    As a result of the smaller sidewall, yes the ride can be harsher, but that is where the proper shocks come in to play. Some may call this a stiffer ride. The hardest part is finding a shock that absorbs the roughness w/o absorbing too much, AND providing the stability for spirited driving. :)

    I recently drove a vehicle with 17" wheels. Drove just fine, like a luxury sedan. Drove the same car, same suspension, etc, but with 18" wheels, and the difference was significant. Felt more solid in turns, more stable if you will. Road surfaces transmitted only SLIGHTLY more to my senses, yet handled better. On the cosmetic side, the 18's filled the wheel well MUCH better than the 17's.

    -Paul
  • I was in a hurry when I wrote that.

    The BMW (both my wife's X3 and the 530xi) are "quiet" -- the 5 is quieter than the X3 in terms of road/tire noise, to be sure. Not that the X3 is noisy.

    The Audi A6 3.2 with the All Season tires in the size I mentioned is very quiet too, perhaps even quieter than the BMW.

    My point had to do NOT with the ride or sounds but the sharpness of "turn in."

    The Audi has High performance all season tires but they are 40 series (side wall is 40% of the tread width.)

    Even in A/S guise a 40 series tire is stiffer than say a 45, 50 or 55 series tire.

    A larger wheel and tire can (won't always, but CAN) improve the handling (the objective and subjective turn-in) of the identical car with a smaller wheel and higher profile tire and skinnier footprinted one, i.e.

    The Audi had the lower performance (of the two that are offered by Audi) tire in the higher performance size. The BMW had 17" wheels with skinnier and higher profile all season high performance (as opposed to Ultra high performance) rubber.

    The difference was this:

    The Audi, despite being heavier in the nose "understeered" less than the BMW which seemed to "stub its toes."

    The differences were real and not so great as to turn me off of the BMW -- rather the difference would encourage me to make certain I got my new Bimmer with 18" wheels and UHP A/S or Summer only tires if humanly possible.

    Some folks do think the Audi A6 is "stiffer" perhaps "harsh" with respect to the the C6 A6 suspension over the prior gen. Some folks think the 5 has "caved in" and offers in base form, the most comfortable suspension (and somewhat supportive of this notion, 17" wheels and tires of a more touring bent than "carving" bent) at the ever so slight sacrifice of handling.

    The BMW store here in River City rarely sells sticks and rarely sells 5's (25's & 30's) with the sport package (which on the X drive models isn't actually a sport package in the sense that the suspension is not lower and stiffer as one might expect with the name "sport package.")

    So, in sum: I did not mean to suggest that 18" wheels and tires would improve the ride over smaller wheels and tires. There is, in fact, evidence to the contrary.

    However, from a ride standpoint, I have driven otherwise identical cars with wheels and tires that were proportional but one inch different -- and when I switched from 17 to 18's for instance, I noticed NO change in ride or Noise, Vibration and Harshness -- yet I did notice an improvement in handling.

    In the interest of full disclosure, I have learned after these many years that Audis are nose heavy and that they understeer more than BMW's (often BMW's have been called "neutral handling" vehicles.) Of late, BMW has deliberately I think dialed in a teeny weeny bit of "benign" understeer which is generally considered more forgiving than oversteer and even strictly neutral steering.

    I have learned to compensate for the Audi's nose heaviness by overinflating the front tires. F= 38 R = 35, currently. This improves the turn in too -- I have no idea how the Bimmer's were set -- my guess is "for maximum comfort." :surprise:

    We American drivers hate (apparently) cars that can be made to "wag their tales," so car companies, perhaps fearing endless litigation simply cave in and make the car less neutral than it might otherwise be capable of given modern materials, suspension geometry and wheel and tire combinations.

    The BMW has been, unfortunately, dumbed down a mite.

    It is possible (probable really) that 18" wheels and tires will increase (some would say improve) road feel.

    Most of the time, if you asked me, 18" wheels and tires are first and foremost a styling statement, then a performance and ride statement. I do think, on German machines in this class, they do BOTH.

    But you didn't really ask me that question. :shades:

    Hope this helps.
  • bdkinnhbdkinnh Posts: 292
    Mark & Paul,

    Many thanks for the education!
  • Thanks for your response. The problem ended up being a dealer issue. I finally took the car and put a set of Michelens on it. It drives fine now. I am working the details out with BMW and the dealer
  • sls1sls1 Posts: 36
    Hi, when I turn my car a set of the headlights is always on. Not the xenon lights but the second or interior headligts and I can't get them off. Is that a safety feature?
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 29,161
    Those are the DRLs (daytime running lights).. You can have your dealer turn them off.. The default setting is on.. It is in the initial programming that is done at delivery.

    It is a safety feature... a requirement in Canada..

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  • sls1sls1 Posts: 36
    Is going to the dealer my only option? Is there an option in i-drive? Do I want them turned off? Why or why not?
    Thanks
  • "Studies have show" bla bla bla -- fewer accidents, etc etc etc.

    On my wife's X3 the dealer sets this, on my A6 with MMI it is user selected. I would assume iDrive would allow you to choose.

    I have been wrong before.

    We have ours set to on -- the slight decrease in gas mileage that this probably causes is immaterial, to us.

    Drive it like you live.
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 29,161
    Do you really think so? It would have to be infinitesimal... so small as to be unmeasurable...

    For all we know, the increased current from the battery may make the engine run more efficiently.. :surprise:

    Anyway.. ours are on, as well... We don't have I-drive, so I'm not sure if you can change the setting yourself.. without I-drive, it is definitely a dealer-only adjustment..

    regards,
    kyfdx

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  • Shipo, thanks for the information. I did some research after reading your posts, and yes the 525i and 530i have identical engines. Many of the articles I read suggested that BMW is deliberately under reporting the power of the NEW 525i, as to not take sales away from the 530i. I have no idea whether that is true or not.

    I was curious as to which car you would buy and why? If you had to choose between a 525i or 530i, would you pay the extra $4000 for the 530i, or save the $4000 grand and buy the 525i? I would love to hear your opinions for both manual and automatic versions of each respective car.
  • bdr127bdr127 Posts: 950
    Anyway.. ours are on, as well... We don't have I-drive, so I'm not sure if you can change the setting yourself.. without I-drive, it is definitely a dealer-only adjustment..

    You can adjust settings like this in the new 3-series even without iDrive and without going to the dealer. (Controlled with buttons on directional signal stalk)

    Not sure about the 5-er, though.
  • My dealer says the price difference is made up, too, based on content, not just HP/torque.

    The differences are outlined on the "standard equip" on the BMW website.

    The 525 with the stick shift, according to the dealer, is "more responsive and feels quicker" than the 530 with steptronic.

    I have NOT driven the stick.

    I have however driven the X3 3.0 stick and auto versions and the differences approach "huge."

    In fairness, the X3 3.0 auto is a 5 speed stuttertron. . .er steptronic transmission that seems to be dancing to the tune "a hunting we will go a hunting we will go. . . ."

    The 5 series I drove with the new 6speed steptronic seemed fine if you recognize the programmer's apparent charge: "thou shalt upshift early and downshift late in an attempt to gin-up MPG's."

    All the Germans seem to overcome this, mostly, in a programming mode called "S" which upshifts later and downshifts earlier, keeping the revs (hence the torque) closer to the "sweet spot."

    With only my dealer as my guide, the 5 series is UNIQUE in that it is the car in the LPS (Premium or Executive) class that can be had with a super nice manual transmission.

    I am so out of step, I cannot imagine why the auto isn't the "special order" transmission of the two, but it is just the opposite.

    I suspect folks buying these cars at a percentage point well above 80% never even take an hour's long test drive in a 5 with a stick. I liken that to going into Morton's of Chicago (or some other food-gasm emporium) and always ordering the beefsteak tomatoes and the fish or chicken without ever even trying the beef (sorry if you are not a meat eater, fill in the appropriate blanks and know the "spirit" of what I am suggesting even if you don't like moo-meat.)

    Of course, I'd bet the number is more like 95% since here in River City where we have Ohio's largest volume BMW dealer (1200 cars per year), you almost never can find a 5 series to test drive with a stick shift even if you tried (I am speaking of the 525 and 530's, btw.)

    Go figure.

    I am 54 -- I am a dinosaur. And buying a $50,000 European Sporting/Premium sedan with an auto seems first in a series of inevitable steps towards ending up with a Buick LeSabre (sic).

    I drive a 2005 A6 -- takes one to know one.

    My wife, my "young -- age 51 -- wife" reminds me that these LPS cars with autos are "old men's cars and why not just go straight to Cadillac and quit pretending."

    Ouch. I have heard and read all the "excuses" for not buying sticks -- frankly there are only two reasons:

    #1 Availability

    #2a Lack of experience

    #2b Lack of curiosity to try "something new."

    Honorable mention: laziness, the American problem FDH (fat dumb and happy) -- and yes, I probably represent that remark. :cry:
  • bmwdougbmwdoug Posts: 248
    Mark, WOW! What a great post. I have to admit, I am one of those people who does not test drive a stick. I know a stick is the most fun, the most sporty, and I respect the qualities associated with classic stick shift driving. But, I have so much stop and go city driving, I only desire an automatic. :surprise:

    Mark, I enjoy reading your posts, there are always very informative. I have read that BMW is intentionally under reporting the performance of the NEW N525 engine power of the 525i. What is your opinion? What is your opinion of the 525i vs 530i in automatic form? Do you still believe the 525i is the better buy?
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    "I did some research after reading your posts, and yes the 525i and 530i have identical engines."

    Hmmm, I'm not sure about the "identical engines" part. They do have identical bore and stroke numbers and most likely have the exact same engine block. The head? Probably the same as well. That having been said, in addition to the obviously different intake setup, I've heard that the crank is a heavier-duty (forged vs. cast) unit, although I've been unable to confirm that from any definitive sources.

    As for other differences, the 530i has larger diameter/more capable brakes and a much heavier duty manual transmission when compared to the 525i (the transmission is the same for the automatic version of the car). For me, the "as configured" (i.e. both cars with SP, PP, Premium Audio, Satellite and Xenon) shows the 525i priced at $50,390, and the 530i comes to $53,990 meaning that the difference to me would be $3,600 (less for ED, which I did for my last 530i, and which I'm inclined to do again). In reality the difference is even less because the SP on the 530i comes with more expensive 18" wheels and tires as opposed to the 17" setup on the 525i.

    As for driving preferences, since I'm allergic to automatics, and as such I've only driven the manual transmission version of these two engines (in the new E90 3-Series). While it is true that the two engines "seem" to be pretty close in performance, the difference I noticed was that the mill in the 325i was more "peaky", meaning that it felt okay off the line and then as the engine reached its sweet spot, the acceleration sweetened as well. In the case of the 330i, the acceleration felt sweet all of the way through the RPM range, most likely because the triple path intake setup keeps the engine almost permanently in the sweet spot. Said another way, the 330i felt like it had much better throttle response at all RPMS, and was able to summon much more urge down low where I felt the 325i really lacked.

    I hope this helps.

    Best Regards,
    Shipo
  • "And buying a $50,000 European Sporting/Premium sedan with an auto seems first in a series of inevitable steps towards ending up with a Buick LeSabre (sic)."

    Since you drive an A6 with Auto, I guess there must be a Buick in your future (LOL).

    It's interesting that your "reason" for buying a car with Auto was availability; for everyone else, their particular reason (congested traffic conditions, etc.) is an "excuse."
  • nyccarguynyccarguy Stamford, CTPosts: 7,658
    There are still a few of us screwballs who will only drive cars with manual transmissions. Since you posed the question, you at least owe it to yourself to test drive a BMW with a manual transmission.

    (I'm not starting the stick vs. auto argument) I've heard every excuse in the world as to why people buy automatics:

    1. Traffic -- Unless you're driving a 1960 something Chevy Chevelle SS 396 or a Freightliner, clutches aren't that bad anymore. In everyday rush hour traffic, just leave a car length in front of you and loaf along in 2nd or 3rd gear. If people cut in front of you, so what you're not going to get home any faster anyway. You'll be handsomely rewarded once the traffic clears and you row your way to whatever speed you're comfortable cruising at.

    2. The Wife -- (Mrs. Shipo & Mark's Wife excluded) Their wife MAY have to drive the car. Everybody I know who says this always ends up telling me that their wife has driven the car a total of 3 or 4 times during the duration of the lease (or their time with the car). Odds are that if your buying a $50 something thousand dollar BMW, that it isn't your only car. She can have her car as an automatic if SHE wants.

    Teach her how to drive stick. This way if you have one too many cocktail's at dinner, she can get you both home safely.

    I taught my wife to drive stick. While she doesn't see the point of it, she'll drive it of she has to. She says "Once you get it into 5th gear on the highway, it is just like a regular car :confuse: ."

    Edit: Mark is an interesting case. I totally respect his postings and knowlegde. He always gets his point across. I've been reading his postings for a few years here on edmunds and have derived he loves 3 things in the car world: Audis, AWD, & Manual transmissions. He couldn't have an AWD BMW with a "proper" sports package, so he went with an AWD Audi with a slushbox. I also don't think he could have not had at least ONE Audi in his garage ;)

    2001 Honda Prelude Type SH/ 2011 BMW 328xi / 2011 Honda Pilot EX-L w/ Navigation

  • "In everyday rush hour traffic, just leave a car length in front of you and loaf along in 2nd or 3rd gear."

    You're obviously NOT familiar with rush-hour traffic in Southern California. You inch forward a foot or two, then stop..... repeat the process ad infinitum!

    Used to really enjoy driving a car with a manual tranny, but as traffic became more and more congested, the "fun" part started fading away. Long story short, it became more punishment than enjoyment.
  • California traffic in cities is horrendous. A manual just does not cut it out here. If I was using the car on weekends only, I would love a stick. But, as this will be my daily driver, no stick for me. It has to be automatic in the Golden State.
  • . . .as well as the adoption of DSG/SMG type transmissions (probably 7 speeds)for all BMW's (and one assumes other European cars) may allow these two groups to live in relative harmony.

    And a point of clarification:

    The 5 series X drive cars w/manual transmissions were NOT available and in fact could only be ordered for the "second" inventory replenishment when I finally caved in and went with my Audi. I had actually given $1500 to an Infiniti dealer for a custom ordered M35X.

    The price offered in the end (by Audi) sealed the deal.

    Had BMW's 530 or 525 x drives with sticks been available for test driving and ordering/buying in the time frame I needed, they (knowing what I know or think I know now) would have certainly been at the top of the list.

    I got to drive my wife's X3 Friday -- how fun is that? I began scheming for my next car ". . . .how to get a stick?"

    The BMW 3 and 5 and the soon to be revealed Audi A4 B8 are at the top of my current list.

    BMW is being very, very "attentive" to win my biz, now that they have my wife on board. Not that Audi is going to let me go (or any customer for that matter) with their tail between their legs.

    Maybe the traffic issues described are part of the root cause that folks are leaving some congested urban areas for the relatively small cities like Kansas City, Cincinnati, St. Louis and Pittsburgh. Of course my transplanted (from NYC) neighbor can't believe the housing prices here -- he tosses out phrases like "and it's ONLY a half million dollars with 3 acres 5 bedrooms and four and a half baths -- plus the people are so friendly."

    I think he might be on drugs or something -- but seriously I guess relatively we are all those things, starting with "relatively" low traffic congestion.

    In part such congestion would explain the auto manual transmission inversion. But if we took the top twenty cities out of the equation would there be enough population (out here in "rural" America) to support stick customers or is it, as I fear, FDH syndrome? :confuse:
  • Is at least one brake job assumed under this program or is BMW telling owners the first brake job does not usually occur until after 50,000 miles? thx.

    PS i have 2003 540I with 41,000 miles and going in soon for final "free" maintenance>
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