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BMW 5-Series Sedans

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  • 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: 7,415
    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>
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 27,671
    They go strictly by inspection... or the wear indicator that lights up on your dash...

    When they did the 30K inspection on my 3-series, they observed that the pads were below spec, and replaced the front brakes..

    I don't think there is any "schedule" for replacement of the brakes.. just as needed..

    You might mention that you hear a "grinding noise" from the brakes.... to at least make sure that they inspect them... as your next service visit is just for the oil change/inspection...

    regards,
    kyfdx
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  • manybmwsmanybmws Posts: 347
    I went to 65,000 miles on my 99 528.
  • cmr530icmr530i Posts: 278
    I have a 2001 530i. I had to replace my front brakes/rotors @48K miles. The rear brakes still have life in them.
  • bdr127bdr127 Posts: 950
    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.

    Brakes are one of those things that vary greatly from person to person. I have heard of people that need to change pads every 20k miles (they live in the mountains, so they're probably pretty hard on their brakes). Personally, I've gone 50k-60k before changing brakes.

    BMW's new cars now have brake monitors in their computer system, and they estimate your mileage 'til replacement. I have no idea if they are accurate or not, but it's there.
  • Thanks for the responses. BMW continually advertises the free maintenance program as a savings of thousands of dollars compared to the competition. If there is no brake job (or clutch) done during that period, doesn't the "maintenance" just boil down to three oil changes and filters? I do not get where their figures come from.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    Brakes are part of the maintenance program IF they wear out during the maintenance period. As for clutches, if a clutch fails during that period, it was either abused (not covered) or faulty. Other than on my 1970 Dodge Challenger, I've never had a clutch fail with less than 100,000 miles on it, and no company in the world should be dumb enough to cover a clutch with 100,000 miles on it.

    As for what else is covered, Inspection I is covered at 30,000 miles, and that service is fairly expensive. Also, the brake system on BMWs should be flushed with new brake fluid every two years, and that too is covered. All in all, the "free maintenance" is worth at the very least $1,200 to $1,500.

    Best Regards,
    Shipo
  • The 5 series is a great car.

    What I have a problem with is that the safety test ratings with the IIHS are only "Adequate" in some cases (although "Good" in others). (And that's only with the Comfort Seats with Active Headrests, in the front).

    Why can't a car costing twice as much as a Ford Five Hundred and more than an equivalently equipped Audi A6 meet the same (or better?!) safety margins? (Five Hundred = Gold; Audi = Silver, awards...).
  • div2div2 Posts: 2,580
    Do what I did-buy a new 5er AND a Five Hundred. When I plan to ram a fixed object or become involved in a head-on crash, I take the Ford. The rest of the time I drive the BMW. Simple.
  • bdr127bdr127 Posts: 950
    Why can't a car costing twice as much as a Ford Five Hundred and more than an equivalently equipped Audi A6 meet the same (or better?!) safety margins?

    How about a Ferrari that costs 5x-6x as much as a Ford Five Hundred? Using that theory, the Ferrari ought to be as safe as a Sherman tank!
  • hullhull Posts: 10
    Well I recently bought a 525i manual without sports package. Options included comfort seats, halogen lights, park distance control, and winter package. I am happy with all the packages and really love the car after 3 months. However, my I do regret a little bit that I didn't opt for the 530i. While the 525i has plenty of power, the car just feels so solid that it begs for more.

    I tend to agree to with other posts, the 530i engines' torque is what probably makes the most difference.

    I don't agree with the assertion that the 525i engine is loud. To me it runs very smooth.
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