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BMW 5-Series Sedans



  • 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

    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

    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.

  • 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?

  • carnaughtcarnaught Posts: 1,577

    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: 6,304
    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?

  • 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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