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BMW 5-Series Sedans

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Comments

  • car_rmcar_rm Posts: 47
    I have a 2005 530 with the sport package, while my friend has a 2007 without it (standard tires as well). There is a significant difference in the ride. His feels soft to me, not as soft as my wife's Volvo V70. I like the stiffer ride the sport package gives. I will be replacing mine next year with a 535 and will order the sport package as part of my options. They have taken the active steering out of the package and is now offered as a separate option. Given that the 04 and 05's are coming off lease, your dealer should have some with and without the sport package to test drive and compare.

    Good luck!
  • hihomikehihomike Posts: 111
    Camaught,

    I've had my 535i for about 2 months now, and I have to agree with everything you mentioned. I find the HD radio with logic 7 to be superior to the 07 system I had on my 530i. I don't know why, it just sounds crisper and more refined, especially for an audiophile like myself. The only noticeable difference is the transmission. I find that it is not as smooth as my 07 was. What I mean by this is it seems to "jerk" more when slowing down (downshifting automatically). I've gotten used to the electronic transmission, but the biggest and most impressive change is the power and torque in the engine. It's like driving a V8 with the smoothness and quietness associated with V8's. I have no regrets trading in my 07 for the new 08. The interior refinements are luxurious. I particularly like the memory buttons for radio stations (satellite as well as FM). Keep enjoying as I have enjoyed.
  • drikerdriker Posts: 2
    Does anyone have a sure way to get rid of this? I know it's a common problem. I just bought an 04 530I and this would have to be my only complaint. I recently took it to the dealer and they gave it their treatment ($80) but it only lasted a couple of days. I feel like the evaporator housing/coil need to be treated directly but I do not know how to gain access it. I know how to minimize the problem by turning the A/C off a few minutes before I turn the car off, but that only works once the mold/bacteria is destroyed.
  • Thanks for yall's input. I guess it is a very subjective matter. Car reviewers seem to like a stiffer suspension, however, when you see what each one drives themselves it is usually a beater so the sports suspension might feel good for the 2-3 days they test it but living with it daily is another matter. Some days I feel like going on the twisties and somedays I feel like being in a cocoon(?). Can you have it both ways? I had a 3sport and I literally dreaded going over railroad tracks and asphalt repaired roads. But it took me awhile before that happened. Im going on 55 and I guess I like luxury more. The younger you are the more the stiffer suspension appeals? Is the regular 5 suspension enough to be fun and still be luxurious?
  • car_rmcar_rm Posts: 47
    Before taking delivery of the 530, I had a 325 with only the premium package (taken back by BMW under the CA Lemon Law) and the dealer gave me a 325 coupe with sport package while I waited for the 530. My impression was that the coupe was fun to drive, but because of the shorter wheel base was harsher then what I have experienced with the 530. If you don't get the sport package, make sure you compare the standard seat to the multi-contour seats. To me, the standard seats with leather feel like sand paper against clothes. If you don't get the sport package, you will still really enjoy the car.
  • carnaughtcarnaught Posts: 1,597
    ..........The younger you are the more the stiffer suspension appeals? Is the regular 5 suspension enough to be fun and still be luxurious?

    I think so but then, I'm young.
  • bruceomegabruceomega Posts: 250
    kcx,

    Car wash issue is now resolved. After some research, I found another car wash that has no trouble with the X-Drive 5 series.

    I called and talked with the manager, who was very helpful, and he assured me they could wash my 535Xi. When I showed up, the manager personally checked my car as it entered the wash to ensure there wasn't a problem.

    The car came out without a hitch. It's a full service car wash and they do an excellent job. The manager of this car wash does not know why the former car wash has trouble with the AWD 5 series and won't wash them.

    Thanks
    Bruce
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,673
    The younger you are the more the stiffer suspension appeals?

    Well, I'm 50 and I have a 3 Series with the sport package; I also have a Mazdaspeed3 for my commuter sled. And when things get too dull I break out my 1996 Triumph Speed Triple. My guiding principle is:

    Growing OLD is mandatory...
    Growing UP is optional... :P

    To answer your question, my wife drove a non-sport E39 528i for about four years and it was a very enjoyable car to drive. I soon threw away the mediocre OEM Michelin all-seasons and fitted a set of Kumho KH 11 Summer tires(I had Arctic Alpines on steel rims for the winter). With the Kumhos I could drive the car about as hard as I would want to- on the street anyway. That said, my wife and I prefer smaller cars, and she eventually sold it and bought a BMW truck(an X3, which is another story altogether). Look at it another way; 95 out of 100 US BMW owners exploit the capabilities of a non-sport Bimmer. How many do you think can utilize even 50% of the ability of a sport model?

    2009 328i / 2004 X3 2.5/ 1995 318ti Club Sport/ 1975 2002A/ 2007 Mazdaspeed 3/ 1999 Wrangler/ 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica

  • sdg380sdg380 Posts: 109
    I've long been a proponent of the regular suspension in a 5-series, and I think a couple of factors are key.

    First, here in the Midwest, our frost-heaved roads are junk, so there is precious little smooth asphalt to really enjoy the sport suspension--so the first question is how good are your local roads?

    I would next note that compared to virtually all other mid-size sedans, the non-sport suspension on a BMW is pretty firm, so just because a little is good doesn't necessarily mean that more is better.

    Are you doing track days? If so, the sport suspension would be great, but I doubt too many of us flog our 5's on a track (BTW, the mag. reviewers, frequently DO test cars at a track, so their affinity for sports suspension is understandable, not to mention that it's not their daily driver.

    Of course, optimum sporting performance calls for performance tires, but outside of regions that are perpetually sunny, you've then got to contend with bi-annual wheels swaps--no big deal to many, but too much of a nuisance to me. (Any comments from somebody with sports suspension and all-season tires?)

    Finally, it's not like the sports package is free, and I doubt you see too much of that money back on the far end of the deal--seems to me that it could even hurt trade-in value, like a stick shift, since it may limit the potential resale customer base (any comments from those in the know?)

    My bottom line is when you buy a standard 5, you're buying one of the most versatile, capable sedans around, and the sports suspension narrows the focus in a way that detracts from versatility. Having said that, different strokes...
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    "Of course, optimum sporting performance calls for performance tires, but outside of regions that are perpetually sunny, you've then got to contend with bi-annual wheels swaps--no big deal to many, but too much of a nuisance to me. (Any comments from somebody with sports suspension and all-season tires?)"

    Depending upon where my next contract is, I'll be looking for an E39 528i or 530i with both a stick and SP. I live in New Hampshire and will most likely shoe the factory wheels with All-Season tires in the OEM size (235/45 R17) and then buy a set of winter wheels and tires for the snowy months.

    "Finally, it's not like the sports package is free, and I doubt you see too much of that money back on the far end of the deal--seems to me that it could even hurt trade-in value, like a stick shift, since it may limit the potential resale customer base (any comments from those in the know?)"

    Interesting comment. When I turned my 2002 530i SP 5-Speed in at lease end, the dealership (who doesn't like taking back lease cars they didn't originally sell) couldn't wait to get their hands on my car. Why? Because it was a nicely optioned SP (with PP, Premium Audio and Xenon) car with a STICK. The leasing manager said, "Do you have any idea how hard it is to come by a 530i SP with a stick? Usually the 5ers with a stick are strippo 525is (plural, not "is"). Oh yeah, we'll be keeping this one (as opposed to sending it back to BMW-FS to dispose of."

    FWIW, I leased it through the ED program for forty two and change in 2002 and after I turned it in in 2005 they CPOed it in two days and put it on the lot for $36,999. They got $36,000 even for it, fully two thousand MORE than they were asking for an otherwise identical 530iA SP.

    FWIW #2, I've been keeping an eye on the used car market for a year or so now and 528i and 530i SP cars with three pedals under the dash almost always carry a premium asking price over similarly speced cars with an Automatic transmission.

    Best Regards,
    Shipo
  • ny540i6ny540i6 Posts: 518
    I guess I am at the extreme end of the spectrum (and I'm not that old... I think ;) )

    I now have 125K on the clock of my E39 540I - Six speed manual, M sport package, complete with the 18 inch, low profile (35/40 aspect ratio) dedicated summer tires. I love the way the thing rides and I absolutely ADORE the way it handles. My only compromise is that I run tire pressures a bit lower than the door jamb recommends.

    This car is most definitely my daily driver, all year round. I will say that I do notice a softer feel in the winter, when I have the 16 inch, 55 series rubber on the car, however I've rarely found the ride harsh or punishing, and yes, I spend a lot of time in Manhattan, complete with potholes. Is it Lexus smooth? Hell, no... but then, I never wanted Lexus.
  • kcxkcx Posts: 10
    Bruce,

    Thank you for your update! I am very glad that you found a car wash that works :)

    My 528xi arrived last Wednesday (8/8/07), and I'll be visiting a car wash one of these days too :)

    Do you have Comfort Access? I do, and if I remember correctly, I am supposed to leave the key in the ignition lock in order for the car to stay in neutral and not go into park after a certain period of time.
  • sdg380sdg380 Posts: 109
    "FWIW #2, I've been keeping an eye on the used car market for a year or so now and 528i and 530i SP cars with three pedals under the dash almost always carry a premium asking price over similarly speced cars with an Automatic transmission."

    WOO-HOO! I was expecting to get hammered on a trade of my low mileage, non-sport '02 530, with stick (PP, xenon, CWP)--Shipo, you have given me hope!

    And NY540i6, I'm sure your 540 is a real rock 'n roller, as I said, different strokes, I just don't feel like getting involved with wheel swaps, but guess that's just l-a-z-y--obviously a lack of commitment, ha!
  • sdg380: great review! I agree with you that it seems like the repaving of roads and "patches" (which eventually sink at least an inch) due to new subdivisions trying to hook up their sewer systems give you a jolt even with a normal suspension. On Road Atlanta I drove a Porsche, Ferrari, and a 3sport at various times over the years when the Sports Car Club of America would rent it out for various weekends so the "hackers" like me could put it out there for a few hours. That's what I think the sports suspension is good for but for my likes I will try the normal suspension on lease until I eventually get tired of it like I do all cars! What I want to know is how in the world the 535 is just as fast as the 550? The 550 has 20% more hp and torque with the same auto transmission. I know the 550 doesnt have 20% more weight. Any one out there have any ideas? Is the 300hp-300torque in the 535 underated?
  • ny540i6ny540i6 Posts: 518
    Sdg, I don't claim to be rational about the thing - lol.

    I remember when I bought it... my dealer was busy trying to talk me OUT of the 540. I knew I did not want a 525, could not justify (or afford) an M5, had seen all the reviews touting the E39 530 as "the best car in the world," but really lusted after the 540i. She had me just about convinced.... higher insurance cost, fuel economy, better steering on the 530, better weight balance. I tested a 530 and liked it. We were on our way in to her office to complete the paperwork, and they had a 540 sitting at the front of the showroom... last thing I remember saying was "OK, I'm getting the 530, but can I drive that thing, just once?" Rest is history. Got out of the car a grinning idiot.

    As for wheel swaps, for me that has nothing to do with the car - I've never used all-season tires, on any vehicle, except when I was very young, and could not afford a single new tire, much less four lol. Dedicated snows have always made sense to me. I remember when I used to do tire swaps - those were a pain. Wheel swaps are a breeze, comparatively, but then, I no longer change my own oil - Hmmmn, maybe I AM older!
  • bruceomegabruceomega Posts: 250
    kcx,

    Congratulations on the new car.

    I do not have comfort access, but at the car wash I use you leave the key in the ignition. After vacuuming the interior, they drive it in to the starting point, then drive it out at the end to a work area where they finish up by hand.

    Thanks
    Bruce
  • sdg380sdg380 Posts: 109
    NY, that's a good story, I'm sure it's not the first time someone "just trying" the next model up did the trick. Hey, you like it, and life is short, what the heck.

    You touched on a couple reasons I chose a 530, rack and pinion steering v. recirculating ball, less weight (under 3500#), a little better weight distribution, I like I-6's (so smooth), and I wanted a stick, but not the sport package, which would not have been possible with the 540. But don't you know I've lusted after a V-8! (As it is, I stopped commuting by car shortly after I got it, so now is just sits in the garage a lot depreciating.)

    Since the miles are low, and it really is a pleasure to drive, I'll hang on until the model change in couple of years, and will then see which engines are offered--that's why other's comments on the new 535 v. the 550 are interesting.

    And if somebody else changes the oil for you, well, that's not "old", that's successful!
  • topspin628topspin628 Posts: 373
    Is there any reason to go with the 550 over the 535? I do like the M aero package on the 550 but was told that I could add it to the 535 if I wanted. I don't like to make winter tire swaps if I don't have to so the all seasons on the all wheel drive probably make more sense but I have never had a problem with all season tires on a traction and stability control equipped car.

    I would most likely load up the 535 with options so the price difference may not be that significant. Any reason to step up a bit further to the 550?
    Did you recent 535 buyers consider the 550 and if so what turned the tide for you?

    Thanks
  • carnaughtcarnaught Posts: 1,597

    Did you recent 535 buyers consider the 550 and if so what turned the tide for you?


    Believe it or not, gas mileage was a major factor for me getting the 535.
  • Gas mileage is a very important factor if the performance is approximately the same. I didnt think the regular 3 liter 6 engine got that great a mileage figure. I had a 3 liter 3 and didnt get that great a mileage (maybe 21, with the way I drive combination mileage) Anyone can get great mileage cruising down the interstate. With the turbo it has to get worst mileage. Again, how would a 300hp 300torque 535 be as fast as a 360hp and 360 torque 550?
  • dhanleydhanley Posts: 1,531
    Gas mileage varies a lot depending on driving habits. I get close to 25mpg in mixed driving in my 3-er, over 30 on the highway. In my experience, turbo cars are even more sensitive to driving habits; i hit nearly 40 in a turbo saab once, cruising on the highwaty, and my ex got close to single digits city driving in the same car.
  • topspin628topspin628 Posts: 373
    "Again, how would a 300hp 300torque 535 be as fast as a 360hp and 360 torque 550?"

    According to the specs listed by BMW, the 550 is only .1 faster to 60.
  • sdg380sdg380 Posts: 109
    "Again, how would a 300hp 300torque 535 be as fast as a 360hp and 360 torque 550?"

    Well, an extra 265 pounds is the principal factor.

    From the web-site, 535 v. 550 (Step.):

    535: 3703 lbs., 12.34 1bs./hp (0-60, 5.7 sec., 17/26 mpg)
    550: 3968 lbs., 11.01 lbs./hp (0-60, 5.5 sec., 15/23 mpg)

    With slightly better ratio of weight to hp, the slightly better 0-60 of the 550 is to be expected. But when you factor in 13% better fuel economy in the 535, the enhanced handling that results from less weight, and the $$ savings (something on the order of $7K), seems to me this becomes a tough choice--or is it obvious?

    Any comments from those who have made this decision recently?
  • ny540i6ny540i6 Posts: 518
    OK.... I have NOT made this decision recently, however I have driven both cars. IMHO, for regular street use, most horsepower over 300 or so is wasted... bragging rights is all it gives you. Most people do not actually do 0-60 flat out, every day, every time. In fact, most people are terrified of breaking something, so wringing the thing out to redline just ain't gonna happen.

    I've made some Dinan mods to my E39, adding about 25HP. Is it faster? Yes it is - though I've only had it on a track once, ant it will bury the speedo now. Is it quicker? seat of the pants (or maybe lightness of wallet) says that it is a bit; reacts a bit more urgently, stuff like that.

    For me, the 550 is "worth it" more to say that you have the big dog, rather than performance. I believe that BMW has closed the gap sufficiently between the 535 and 550 so that real world performance is not the differentiator any more.
  • topspin628topspin628 Posts: 373
    Their catalog has the 535Xi only .1 slower.
  • sdg380sdg380 Posts: 109
    "Maybe lightness of wallet"--ha, that's pretty good.

    Prompts me to ask, did you have it dyno'd before and after Dinan to verify 25 hp?

    And assuming an extra 25 hp, what was the cost in mileage? I've always wondered where the the extra hp from a chip or the like came from (assuming you haven't swapped mechanical parts--or have you?) I would guess that any percentage increase in hp would come with a similar percentage decrease in mileage, but maybe not?
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,673
    I would guess that any percentage increase in hp would come with a similar percentage decrease in mileage, but maybe not?

    In my experience I've found that a Dinan or Conforti chip/reflash does not effect the fuel economy- unless you find yourself enjoying the added power too often ;) On a naturally aspirated engine the extra power is found by optimizing the fuel metering and ignition advance to operate on 91AKI or 93AKI gasoline. This can sometimes even result in an increase in fuel economy. On a supercharged or turbocharged engine you can find considerably more power- just crank up the boost. That said, any increase in boost pressure must be properly engineered or the result will be holed pistons or other mechanical carnage.

    2009 328i / 2004 X3 2.5/ 1995 318ti Club Sport/ 1975 2002A/ 2007 Mazdaspeed 3/ 1999 Wrangler/ 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica

  • sdg380sdg380 Posts: 109
    R/B, this is a topic I've often wondered about. I'm not saying these chips don't work, but as an ME, there's usually no such thing as a free lunch.

    Is peak power boosted at the expense of mid-range? Are you saying that optimizing for one fuel grade is the source of the extra hp? Actually, with knock sensors on modern engines, I thought they were capable of optimizing performance for fuel grade. Why aren't the original ECM maps designed to offer this performance if mileage doesn't suffer (or is improved)?

    I'm somewhat familiar with tuning techniques on two-wheelers, and from what I've seen, it's seems that almost always, with the widespread adoption of FI, any peak hp gains are only achieved with louder pipes and/or decreased low-end or mid-range performance (frequently detracting from driveability.) And of course I'm talking about strict dyno comparisons, not the "lighter wallet" effect noted above (ha!)
  • zoelmanzoelman Posts: 15
    okay, i'm a new owner of a cpo 2004, 545i with sport pkg, so i pulled in too far parking and scratched the lower right hand faring underneath, down to the fiberglass or whatever it's made of.

    is there anything i can do short of a paint job or replacing, both of which would be very expensive, that would help it look a bit better?

    thanks,
    newbie
  • ny540i6ny540i6 Posts: 518
    SDG, I did have it dyno'd... looking for the report for the exact gains. I remember being quite surprised at the diff in stated horsepower and wheel HP. I can't swear to 25 - but I do remember it being over 20.

    I have not seen a mileage loss - my changes were a mix of hard and software, including cold air intake, new software, new, freer flowing exhaust. I stayed away from changing out the throttle body - the words "High flow" and fuel economy just did not go together for me lolol.

    I also swapped out the clutch for a Dinan unit - less reciprocal mass, so it revs cleaner, faster. I sometimes wonder if that change alone would have been enough, but the package works well, and allows me to stick the "DINAN" on the back of the car (if I ever get around to it)
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