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BMW 5-Series Sedans



  • erickplerickpl Posts: 2,735
    I HATED those tires on my xi. They couldn't be rotated (unidirectional) and they got REAL noisy after about 8,000 miles. Maybe I got a bad batch, because everybody that has had them has had great things to say. I was going back to the Goodyear Eagle RSA's that came on the vehicle originally.

  • The cover story in today's (Friday 9/16) Wall Street Journal Weekend Journal is entitled "Luxury Cars Go Off Road". And the lead-in to the story mentions someone who purchased a 530xi recently. No prizes for guessing who. :-)
  • "...why not Michelin Pilot Sport A/S?"

    That's what I had planned to buy sometime before winter set in. But I didn't plan to run over a two inch (!!!) screw. When I called "Mr Tire" (the tire guy highly recommended by both my mechanic and my neighbor who happens to be "Mr BMW"), he told me that the XGTs are the best selling tire he's ever had, and that they are superior to the Pilots in performance, treadwear, and noise. My initial foray online to look them up yielded nothing, and I was over a barrel timewise. We go to the experts because they know more than we do, right? :confuse: So I figured I'd try them (even though there was this little voice telling me to stick with the Pilots and I pretty much always regret it when I don't listen to my gut).

    Then we had the first rain in I dunno how long--and it was a deluge--and simply driving around was like a skid pad experience. Which could have been a function of the tires--or the lack of rain resulting in super slippery roads. I also heard from them on a (dry) turn I have taken many times on the Pilots without so much as a squeak. So having second thoughts, I emailed Connor at Tire Rack...and he said the exact opposite of what Mr Tire had said.

    Which sent me back to the internet. And the second time I looked 'em up--and I'm not sure what I typed in differently--I got the Tire Rack ratings page. The Pilots blow the XGTs out of the water. So I went to the Michelin site, and even they show the Pilots to be a superior tire.

    So now that I once again am ruing not listening to my gut, I am this close to calling Mr Tire and telling him I want to change them. But I thought I'd check one more place...and that's why I asked here.
  • div2div2 Posts: 2,580
    It seems that Mr. Tire wanted to sell you what he already had in stock. Either that or the XGT has a higher profit margin. Of course, it also sounds like Mr. Tire is a complete bonehead; even the greenest Michelin sales guy should know that the Pilot A/S is the superior tire. That said, you still should have verified the information as opposed to taking that Mr. Tire Doofus at his word. As they say, purchase in haste, repent at leisure. If it makes you feel any better, the poor wet weather performance was probably caused by the long period of dry weather preceding the rainfall. But the Pilot A/S IS a much better tire- no question.
  • Yeah, yeah. Your points are well taken. I'll take my fifty lashes with a wet noodle and go quietly. :blush:

    But in fairness to Mr Tire, he did not have them in stock, although he was able to get them quickly. I intend to call on Monday and see whether I can trade 'em back for Pilots. (I've been told I can.)
  • The Michelin Pilot Sport A/S are great 15,000 mile tires and at $1,000 a set they are so woefully overpriced that a free set would feel too expensive.

    Boy oh boy did I feel I had it put to me after getting a set of these on my then brand new 2003 Audi allroad.


    Falken Azenis ST115 (summer only) or the Yokohama AVS db2's (all season) would be my choice with my money.
  • Has anyone tested out a 530 with a sequential manual gearbox (SMG)? Anyone at all? I'm thinking of getting a 530 with SMG but can't find one to test drive. Can anyone give me their impressions or point me to a write up of SMG on the 530?

  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    I don't have first hand experience, but earlier this year a friend of mine upgraded his 330i to a 5-series. He was going from a manual transmission in the 330i to an SMG in the 5-series, based upon his wife's preferences and recent knee surgery himself.

    Bottom line, he ended up jumping up to the 545i with SMG. He felt the 530i w/SMG felt a bit too slow compared to the 530i 6-speed. The SMG shifts were not as "crisp" as he expected and he felt the car hesitated more from a dead stop and at lower rpms. He had been given a dealer demo to try for several days, so his opinion wasn't on the basis of a short test drive. The 545i had no such issues and he claims the 545i w/ SMG is as quick as he could ever shift manually. He has even taken the car to Summit Point for a day at the track a couple of times.

    This is just one second hand report, so take it as such. But I would not order a car with SMG - actually any car - until I had a chance to test drive it for myself.
  • div2div2 Posts: 2,580
    I evaluated a 645Ci with SMG for a Roundel article and I wasn't particularly impressed with the transmission. At this time the only SMG I would consider is the seven speed unit fitted to the M5 and M6. Especially the M6.
  • Thanks for the info. It seems the more powerful the engine the more people like the SMG. It'd be nice to have a clutchless manual though.
  • merckxmerckx Posts: 565
    For the life of me,I can't understand the attraction of these SMG-type transmissons. I realize on the racetrack they are truly quickest. But to me,the hand/foot co-ordination of the traditional manual is the entire point. I can concede the point that often the automatic can do a better job than I can..It's just not as much fun.

    On the road,I don't think it's about shaving seconds off of ther commute-it's about fun.

    I've driven a 530i with SMG,and I didn't think it fun at all..
  • How are your Pirellis going?
    Question to you and all: I need to change tires on 2002 530. There is an ad in LA Times for Pirelli PZero Nero P235/45ZR17 for $156 per tire. Is the deal good? Anything bad in these Pirellis?

  • P Zero Nero's are performing very well. Had a very wet 1st-half of the summer here in Atlanta and has been bone dry as of late. Tires grip very well (I have summer tires since I'm in the south) in all conditions, as I do drive my '03 530SP as it was intended - conditions permitting, of course :)

    Nothing about these tires would give me pause regarding a recommendation. My wheel/tire shop in Atlanta - Butler Tires - is a high-end supplier for tires and aftermarket add-ons for high-end cars and has always steered me straight and true. Tire Rack tested the all-weather version favorably.
  • BTW, also recommend high-speed on car balancing for your BMW. More costly, but worthwhile, along with pure nitrogen vs. air to fill the tires.
  • I am not a fan of BMW's 5 speed steptronics. Nor am I a fan of Audi's 5 speed tiptronics. I currently have both a BMW manual and an Audi 6 speed tiptronic.

    I have test driven the BMW 6speed steptronic and the Audi 6speed DSG.

    I have, perhaps like many here, read many reports about the clutchless manual transmissions such as the SMG and DSG.

    The current input I can provide: the DSG is better than the SMG. The 6speed manumatics from Audi and BMW are far better than their 5 speed older cousins.

    The manual transmissions -- especially from BMW are still the best.

    The pragmatic thing to do today is to take long long test drives -- and for your own education try a Mercedes 7 speed manumatic.

    The manual transmissions are for those who love to drive, first and foremost.

    The automatics, although a compromise, are no longer dramatically inferior, only slightly so. The SMG is, by all accounts, a great step forward offering almost the best of both worlds. Since Audis have the DSG and since you apparently want the BMW for a lot of good reasons, the SMG may be the only choice you are left with.

    If you can't or won't go with the stick shift, the SMG will almost certainly better the 6speed steptronic.

    What good would a test drive do? If you drove the stick and the SMG and the stick was your choice but circumstances prevented you from making that selection, would you go with the lowest performance version of the clutchless transmission (steptronic)? Or would you order and accept sight unseen the well reviewed alternative.

    Since the DSG is not a BMW option and if you will not go with the stick, why worry?

    My dealer claims he will NOT stock the SMG unless it is presold.

    Most folks who buy these cars buy: "normal" automatic transmissions, standard wheels, tires and suspensions and seldom, if ever, anything that brings out the maximum performance of these fine German cars.

    I learned this when speaking with the largest BMW dealer in Ohio -- "we do not stock manual transmission 5 series, we can't sell them from stock; they are virtually all special orders."

    Times have changed.

    My wife and I "have" to order our cars and hope they are what we expect them to be, for it is getting harder and harder to find one to test drive that even hopes to be "sportier" than standard.

    We have met the lowest common denominator, and it is us.
  • cdnpinheadcdnpinhead Forest Lakes, AZPosts: 4,612
    Sad, but I'm confident, absolutely true.

    I've broadened (lowered?) my search to include the G series Infinitis for exactly this reason.
  • hullhull Posts: 10
    I agree with the sentiment of this post, but I would add that for me Manual is also about control of my vehicle. I have generally found that automatics add a degree of unpredictability to performance (much less than they used to be). There is nothing worse when you need to pass somebody than to push the accelerator and have nothing happen ... then push harder and the thing downshifts two gears and makes a nasty noise ... then when you are nearly past and want to prepare to merge, the thing upshifts at the most inopurtune moment.

    Add to that trying to maintain speed on a downhill grade without riding the brakes.
  • I have a '04 545 and paid the dealer $150.00 to simply install the Bluetooth software as well as a warrenty SW upgrade.

    Using an LG-PM 625 on Sprint which does not upload the phone book but using the voice commands I was able to speak a name and a number and save them. I don't have a huge phone book anyway, using less than a dozen numbers I call regularly so NBD.

    What I couldn't find out from BMW was are they using the latest Bluetooth version. They were sure easy taking my $150.00 but no one could tell me what or how to find out the SW version. Anyone know how to find out this info? Also, callers tell me my voice sounds hollow with no tone, very bad. Is this the fault of the BMW micophone or my phone? I've heard this complaint from some folks using the new BT ear gear, and one guy said he got so many complaints about his voice quality, that he went back to a wired earpiece and mic.

    Anyone have these type complaints? Any way to fix the poor audio quailty?
  • bdr127bdr127 Posts: 950
    I don't have all the answers to your questions, but I know that your phone is not "officially" compatible with BMW. Here is a list of officially supported phones and carriers:

    I know that some people have had both good and bad experiences with other phones.... some work well, some not at all. It seems as though yours is somewhere in between. (BTW, I don't see any LG phones on that list at all....)
  • I have gotten 30K miles so far out of mine. A little noisier but another 10K miles on the tread wearing evenly. Guess it depends on how you drive.

    I would buy another set even after 3 seasons of use.
  • It is not that simple. I have a 2002 530i, SP with 60,000 miles. It came with Michelin Sport Primacys. They wore evenly, got louder and louder, but lasted 37,000 miles. They still had tread. Next were Goodyear Eagle F1s. Quiet as a mouse, but the insides wore smooth after 17,000 miles. I currently have Michelin Pilot Sport PS2s. They appear to be wearing evenly and have not started roaring, yet. My point is same car, same driver, same roads, all BMW mounted and aligned. Different tires.
  • For what it's worth, I have a new 2006 530xi with Bluetooth, and use a Motorola V710 phone from Verizon Wireless, and have had no problems with uploading the phone book or voice quality (very rare echoing when I speak too loudly or wind noise excluded).
  • bdr127bdr127 Posts: 950
    Yep, the V710 is on the "officially-supported" list that I linked to in my previous post....
  • yup we have basically the same car. Again, different drivers.
  • WOW, Just curious, how did you get your dealer to sell you a car that is $72 k fully loaded for $57.5 k? If you send me dealers web address would order at that price tomorrow. By the way, do you know the build time?tks
  • pen101pen101 Posts: 238
    I got 36K on the Pimacy's on my 2002 530i 5sp SP. Based upon the wear, they could have gone another 5K at least, but had to change them when the car was CPO'd. They became very noisy towards the end. I replaced them with PS2's. For less money than the Pimacy's, I got better handling and a quiet ride. Cannot ask for more. So far after 9K, they are not showing any wear.
  • I'm considering purchasing this vehicle from a BMW employee who has taken very good care of his car. The only problem is it has 106K miles on it. He replaced just about anything you could before the 100K warranty ran out. Should I be concerned with the mileage or expect many problems with a car that has such high mileage? Thank you for any input you can offer!

  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 130,741
    If all of those things had to be replaced before 100K miles.. what makes you think it will be reliable after 100K miles?

    A troublesome car rarely becomes more reliable, just because you've replaced all the parts...

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  • I am buying a 2003 540 with 31,000 miles from a dealer. So it has 1 year left on the maintenance program. They are pushing a two year extension for $1,500? Does this make sense. Thanks
  • bdr127bdr127 Posts: 950
    I am buying a 2003 540 with 31,000 miles from a dealer. So it has 1 year left on the maintenance program. They are pushing a two year extension for $1,500? Does this make sense. Thanks

    If you need to replace brakes and rotors during that time, figure about $800-$900. About $90-$100 for oil changes. $300-$400 for scheduled maintenence....... It adds up. In the end, most people make out better by getting the extended maintenance.
  • Keep in mind that extended maintenace programs and extended warranties have commissions and profits built into their cost. You only come out ahead if greater than average maintenance is required.
  • Keep in mind that extended maintenance programs and extended warranties have commissions and profits built into their cost. You only come out ahead if greater than average maintenance is required.
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 130,741
    A lot of it depends on how many miles you drive... If you drive 20K/year, then you will easily get your money's worth.. as the 60K and 90K services will be covered....

    But, if you are only driving 8K-10K miles/yr, then I wouldn't bother..

    One other thing... Is the car CPO? If you are going to bring it back to the dealer for the warranty work for the next 3 years, then you'll likely be coming there for service, as well.. This would push me towards buying the maintenance to match the warranty....

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  • bdr127bdr127 Posts: 950
    If you drive 20K/year, then you will easily get your money's worth.. as the 60K and 90K services will be covered.... But, if you are only driving 8K-10K miles/yr, then I wouldn't bother..

    Very true. Maybe I should have been more clear about people getting their money's worth.... Any warranty or maintenance plan depends on how you drive.
  • I recently purchased a 2006 525i and experienced a noticable shudder at 65mph. The dealer first balanced the 2 front tires. This did not solve the problem. They then rotated and balanced the tires and the car still drove the same way. The Service Rep mentioned that "It's a sports car so you should expect certain vibrations". BMW then authorized the dealer to replace the two front tires. If they rotated the tires, I assumed that they ended up replacing the rear tires. So if the front tires where the original problem, then they are now on the rear.....The major shudder has subsided but I'm still not happy with the vibrations I feel in the steering wheel at 65-70mph. Am I experiencing normal driving vibrations or should I keep bringing this car in for service?
  • erickplerickpl Posts: 2,735
    Do you have active steering or active roll stabilization? They MIGHT be an issue, but I suspect it is something much simpler.

    Have you had all the tires balanced? Just because it came from the dealer it doesn't mean they balanced it properly or you haven't lost some weights off the wheels.

  • bdr127bdr127 Posts: 950
    Have you tried driving another 2006 525i on their lot? See if other individual cars feel the same way.... I have heard of people thinking something is wrong or weird with their car because they are just not used to it.
  • I have a 530XI which I took delivery in July. I've experienced the same thing which starts at 45 MPH then goes away above 65+ MPH. The dealership acknowledged the vibration and a harmonic drone which sounds like excessive tire noise at those speeds. They kept the car for two days - then basically chalked it up to - the car is performing according to specs.

    Every car experiences some vibrations - but there is no reason it should pick up at specific speeds and is easily repeatable on any road. I'm hoping to find other individuals who are experiencing a similar issue in an effort to pinpoint what may be common and force the dealerships hand. There were several other post a few weeks ago on this thread.
  • Suggest high-speed on car balancing from a top drawer wheel/tire dealer. Typically balanced up to 120MPH. Takes entire wheel/tire and suspension system into account. May help to determine source of the imbalance.
  • cdnpinheadcdnpinhead Forest Lakes, AZPosts: 4,612
    Hunter "road force" balancing equipment has been very helpful in eliminating this sort of thing in other brands with sensitive suspensions. It's capable of telling the operator how to clock the tire on the wheel to get the best result, as well as when the tire cannot be balanced. Tire Rack will generally replace tires that are rejected by a road-force balance.
  • Am ordering new 550i and would like to know if anyone has opinion on HUD as well as active steering. Does anyone know if you can turn off the HUD if it gets annoying ( wihout dimming all the interior lights). Also, has anyone driven a B with active steering and does it feel right?
    appreciate any thoughts
  • Since the car is brand new and under warranty, shouldn't the dealer be able to perform this type of test? I'd hate to bring it to an outside place and have to pay when the car was delivered to me in this condition.
  • Strictly my opinion - I would NOT get either HUD or Active Steering.

    I recently drove a loaner 530i w/ HUD when my M5 was in for routine service. I found it gimmicky and a little distracting. Fortunately, I was told that you can turn it off.

    As far as active steering goes, another 750i I drove had it (standard feature, I believe). Whether it was related to the active steering or simply the size and suspension setup of the car, I was dissapointed in the lack of steering feel and precision I am used to with my M5. My brother in laws new 911 S has a similar feature and, if anything, the steering feel is improved over the former 996. So who knows.

    In any case, I strongly recommend that you test out these two options yourself before ordering them. Their "value" is highly subjective and, in the case of BMW's active steering, might even be negative for some.
  • bdr127bdr127 Posts: 950
    A majority of people find HUD distracting... You'll notice that most dealers don't stock cars with that option -- mostly special orders. The idea is neat, but you'd have to see for yourself if you like it or not.

    If you like the steering/handling feel of BMWs (and who doesn't?!?!), then forget active steering. It makes steering "easier" (don't have to use as much effort), especially in parking lots (making slow, tight turns), but you lose all the good BMW steering feel and it just feels kind of numb..... If you choose active steering, then you might as well just drive a Lexus. :P
  • Thank you. I have owned a 72' 2002 a 74' 2002, a 535 csi, 97' 540 ( my current car and my love, even with 135k) , and a 04' X5 4.8. The feel of the road is unique in the B and the reason I keep comming back for more. Im hoping the 550 wont dissapoint ( although quite frankly the body changes dont thrill me). My 540 is just getting up there and although runs perfectly, it is time to retire it......
    Although the HUD sounds gimiky I thought it would be cool, ONLY if you could turn it off. If not I dont think I will order with it. Also, has anyone seen what the aero kit looks like and if so would you recommend it? Its kind of pricy and maybe a better one that is aftermarket.
    Any thoughts would be appreciated.
  • I have a 530xi with HUD and love it! Thought it would be a gimmick feature at first, but it is actually a very useful safety enhancing feature, almost never requiring you to take your eyes off the road. It is not cluttered or distracting, and shows speed, cruise control set point, alarms, and navigation. And YES, it can be turned off very easily with a button in the dash but I leave it on all the time because it is so useful and unobtrusive. And it displays clearly in pretty much all lighting conditions, and has a brightness control through iDrive as well (not that I have ever touched the midpoint setting).
  • your cars should be as smooth as silk at any speed. Have them do an alignment and balance all wheels - if that does not work have them start to replace wheels and tires...
  • sergeymsergeym Posts: 273
    All I can say "some people like talking about things they have no idea about". AS increases the steering ratio at lower speeds not the effort. The steering becomes much quicker not lighter. And please do not insult my 545 Sport with AS by comparing it to a Lexus.
  • rich545rich545 Posts: 386
    I actually don't think that AS is even available in the 7. If you go to the website it isn't listed as standard or optional. Keep in mind that it was developed specifically for the E60. You can get it now as an option on the 3, 5 and 6 but I don't think you can get it on the 7. Also, how can you expect a 7 to handle and drive like an M5? It's significantly bigger and is not an "M". The two cars have completely different goals. The M5 is all about performance and the "wow" factor. The 750 and 760 are all about comfort and luxury with some sportiness thrown in for good measure. So basically I don't think you drove a 7 with AS, and it isn't really fair to compare it to the M5.
  • ecloudecloud Posts: 4
    I have a 530xi with HUD and love it. As others have commented, you can turn it off, but I never have. One point of information, if you wear polarazed sun glasses, you can not see the display. I had a 04 530i with Active Steering, and I really miss it. When I ordered my 530xi, I could not get the Active Steering.
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