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BMW 5-Series Sedans



  • cdnpinheadcdnpinhead Forest Lakes, AZPosts: 3,207
    As a confirmed (& documented) Luddite, I have shunned almost all options offered for cars in this class. I enjoy the base-level amenities & have no use for much of the rest.

    That said, I enjoy listening to music of all types while I drive. The car I'm in today has only audio options. Otherwise, it's a rubber floor mat special.

    The fact that BMW offers a-la-carte options (including a manual transmission) is why I continue to follow this and the 3 board.

    Reliability issues continue to concern the miniscule shred of us who actually buy cars and keep them a long time, however.
  • yurygyuryg Posts: 15
    Thank you. I tried both the stock and the logic7 system, and the premium is noticeably better, especially if set to "Concert Hall" setting. Surprisingly, premium stereo is rather rare even though it adds only about $20/month on a lease.
  • bmwdougbmwdoug Posts: 248
    What are the opinions on Active Steering? Do you guys recommend getting this option, or skipping this option? Isn't the regular BMW steering pretty darn good?
  • rich545rich545 Posts: 386
    That's more difficult for me to answer than I would think it would be. I loved the steering on the 330xi I used to have (no AS obviously), and AS took a little while to get used to. Now that I am used to it though I have to say I really like it. In fact, cars without it feel sluggish with their steering response now (especially at low speeds). At higher speeds I feel no difference between it and standard steering. I guess if I had to pay for it I would pass (it came with my 545 with SP), but since I didn't have to I like it just fine.
  • ktranktran Posts: 10
    Thanks Shipo. We went back and test drove the 530i with and without the Sport package and decided that we like the non-sport better. Your observations about the Sport package were pretty on target. We are picking up the car later today since the dealer had to swap the car with another dealer to get us the color/option we wanted.
  • div2div2 Posts: 2,580
    I drove a couple of 6ers with and without AS. While the AS did help on low speed turns, I also noticed less steering feel in the AS car. There's a reason the M5 and M6 don't use AS.
  • sdg380sdg380 Posts: 109
    Doug, my 2¢ on your option list (I've got an '02 530, stick, non-sport, with PP).

    Much as I like driving these cars with a stick shift, the new six-speed autos are quite comparable, performance-wise, and I've become a little more concerned about getting killed at trade time for having a stick (just bear in mind that something like only 15% of drivers can handle one, and that really cuts down the potential resale audience for these expensive cars.) I know, I know, I'm buying the car for me, not the next guy, but it makes the car somehow feel "ill-liquid". And maybe I'm just getting lazier.

    I'm long on record saying don't spring for the Sport package, since I think these cars are sporty enough without it. But I'm in the midwest where I'm not interested in bi-annual wheel/tire changes, and our roads are crappy, so stiffer suspension/tires are not so great. But it's not exactly like the sport package is free, either, and ride quality is, uhhh, stiffer.

    Xenons and fold-down rear seats both worthwhile. So is Cold Weather, but that's in the midwest. PP gives you some things (leather, sunroof) you might get anyway. Navigation is a lot of fun, but I think you get gouged to have it. HUD seems unnecessary, but if you've got the $$ burning a hole in your pocket...

    While some like Active Steering, plenty of testers seem satisfied without it, many reports that it diminishes "feel", and it is not offered on the M5, which must say something.

    I think you're right to skip the "comfort" features, and almost $2k for a better sound system is money I'd put right back in the money market fund, but I admit I'm no audiophile. I skipped the rear air bags, I rarely have rear seat passengers, and I question whether this would be important at resale time.

    All in all, I think you're on the right track, although as somebody observed, a "stripped" 5-series is a damn fine car that offers 90%+ of the driving experience of one that's been optioned-out. In this spirit, I think it makes sense to show some restraint with the options on any car, lest you add $10,000 to the price of a car that inherently is worth about the same as one without all those options.
  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    Somebody mentioned the Mark Levinson system people rave about. I spent some time with it this past weekend. Big ripoff in my opinion. I find the stock system on my E39 530 to be better with more clarity. Bass dominates on the Levinson. No matter which adjustments I made, everything sounded like James Earl Jones with a pillow over his mouth. I specifically asked the dealer, are you SURE that car has the Levinson? He said yes, all of our LSs do, we rarely stock them without it because everyone wants it. I’m thinking, sure, follow the crowd down to the bottom of the Poseidon.

    I also had a Carrera loaner for five days. It had the optioned Bose system. It also sucks. The optioned system I kind of liked was the McIntosh on the Subies. However the tweeters were so-o in your face, but they were very adjustable as was the entire system.

    Will try to get to the systems on the new 5s this weekend. Been wanting to drive the 6 and 7 anyway.
  • hpowdershpowders Posts: 4,269
    I tried the Levinson when I drove the GS430 6 months ago. It was no big deal.
    I also tried the upgraded Bose sound system on the 2006 330i and found it was no big deal either.
    To be fair, you probably have to put in the time to set the equalizers just right which neither dealer obviously did.
  • anthonypanthonyp Posts: 1,857
    I found the ML system to be cristal clear but lacking in the base--the 530xi with premium to be much better than it and the bose in the Audi..Tony
  • bmwdougbmwdoug Posts: 248
    Thanks so much for your detailed reply. I appreciate it very much. I think you made some great suggestions. I have decided to eliminate HUD. It is just not needed. I have been reading as much as I can about options, and the HUD is cool, but it is not something that is needed.

    In regards to rear side airbags, I am still on the fence with this option. I am trying to find some definitive source as to their safety benefits. But, I know BMW has you sign a liability waiver if they are installed and activated, so maybe there are some dangers with them.

    Active Steering is something I considered, but as of right now, I am not opting for it. Opinions run in both directions on this issue. But, the 530 and 525 I test drove were not equipped with active steering, and the steering felt great. You make a good point about the M5 not having active steering.

    Premium Audio, wow, it is a $1800 upgrade price. I just did not hear an $1800 difference with my ears. Maybe, it is just me. But, I agree with you. The $1800 can be used elsewhere.

    The sport package, well I live in California, and I love the look of the sport package, and the Active Roll Stabilization of the Sport package.

    You are also right about the price of options. They can ZOOM up fast. So, I am trying to be smart about what I choose. Thus, I am asking for opinions from BMW people such as yourself, and doing research. Thanks again
  • The Mark Levinson system in the GS300 and LS430 was a BIG disappointment to me and the wife. Sounded anemic and lifeless compared to the Logic 7 system in my 530i.

    FWIW, the Nakamichi system in my wife's '98 Lexus even sounded better than the ML systems. This pleases me no end, as she is no longer talking about a new car.
  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    To be fair, you probably have to put in the time to set the equalizers just right which neither dealer obviously did.

    Dealer? I’m not following you. Who needs them to set the sound system? I spend more than enough time with it. My routine is to first set the speaker balance and fade, then go to the equalizer, or simple treble and bass in the case of the basic systems. Then I plug in some differential calculus, quantum physics equations, light the rocket fuse and voila… music! The LS has bass, midrange and treble controls. It really is quite simple, especially with that delightful touch screen. But it’s all in the quality of the speakers. Didn’t like them. They’re raking in the bucks with that system. I am quite happy with the basic low-rent setup in my 530. BMW did a good job with it. I hope it is still good in the newer models.
  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    A-ha. I'm not nuts after all!

  • I have a 2003 530SP with the DSP upgraded system. I found some discussion boards some time back where some audiophile types posted equalizer settings for the 3 programmable programs that deliver the best performance. Believe one had actually used some sound testing equipment in the car to measure frequency performance. I wrote down the settings and can post them for each of the equalizer frequency settings if anyone desires...
  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    By all means, and thanks. Do these also apply to my 03 without the upgraded system?
  • . . . that many options will be 100% personal and emotional, are in the previous few posts.

    I have found that the upgraded sound systems are substantially better than the base-level systems. And, I cannot dtermine their value, but I know their costs.

    The upgrade on my wife's 2005 X3 was MSRP $675 and the differences are huge. My last 27 Audis all had the upgraded sound systems, but on my most recent A6, there were no non-premium system cars to compare, they ALL had premium sound.

    I liked the Infiniti M35x's system and the Acura's system (both "premium and upgrades") over the Audi system. Those companies that elect to partner with Bose have 3 versions (at least) that they can opt -- Infiniti went with the best of Bose (and you may think this statement is proof that their systems are crap, generally I would agree that the phrase "no highs, no lows, must be Bose" is apt -- but NOT in this case.)

    The BMW X's or at least the X3 may use something totally different, beats me -- I can just tell you that the basic sound system in this BMW is "fair" -- probably fine for AM mono radio and marginal for AM stereo.

    One of my former business associates bought his BMW solely for the upgraded sound system he could get (and it was over a $1500 upgrade.) He, at the time, liked the SAAB offering better as a car but went with the BMW because of the "great bass" the upgraded system offered.

    It takes all kinds.

    Servotronic as a technology is a great improvement over non-servotronic steering and it is worth additional cost; you, can determine if this technology is part of BMW's normal steering or not, I don't know.

    If it is not, then whatever option offers it IS worth it.

    Rear park sensors are worthwhile especially at their price point.

    But, with full disclosure: I am in favor of most technology package-type offerings. And, I usually find most comfort offerings add complexity but not comfort.

    Conversely, I find that most sport options improve almost everything.

    Our X3 has the sport package, my new Audi has the upgraded wheels and tires but the normal suspension -- my only regret.

    Personal pref rules.
  • I got the software recall/update on my 2006 530xi last week and it has the following benefits:

    1. Got rid of the annoying "High Battery Drain" message that a number of us got used to seeing every morning! Now I hope that it was not really a battery drain problem that is simply being ignored :-)

    2. RDS on the radio works fine now, even with Navigation, premium CD changer, etc. I really had no idea what RDS was until now -- shows the call signs, station name, and in some cases even the song or program title and song lyrics (or am I misreading the lyrics?).

    3. Before the update two "@" symbols were showing up on my Bluetooth phone list after each and ever entry (e.g., John Smith@@). This was annoying, and confused the voice recognition for names. The @@ are gone now (at least I haven't seen them yet!).

    I also had them put in an AUX audio input in the glovebox for my iPod. Not ideal, because the tracks don't show up on the iDrive display, but it will have to do for now until they bring out full iPod integration for the new 5 series.
  • swlswl Posts: 5
    I am considering a 530xi sedan w/cold wea,premium pkg, nav,park distance, sat radio, rear sunshade. I am in Ohio so I like the idea of AWD, currently have an Audi A6 4.2. Can you let me know how you like yours and what kind of lease deal you may know about. Thanks, swl.
  • My 530xi is very similarly equipped and I got the manual transmission. I absolutely love the car and enjoy driving it every single day. Makes me want to find excuses to drive around. I purchased mine and therefore have no idea about lease deals.
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