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BMW 5-Series Sedans



  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    savora, FWIW I like the silver gray metallic with beige. Again, you have to like it.

    ny540i6, I can tell you are probably music aficionado/audiophile, but I think you misread my post. I have a feeling that you and I are not too far off in our perception/assessment of music and sound. I'd like to continue the discussion but don't have the time right now to get into it and there is a lot involved... in my mind anyway. I will however leave off with this. If you can really savor the premium sound, then yes indeed, it is worth every penny and I am convinced you probably fit the profile. But having observed many peoples listening habits, I think it is a waste of money for most, more of a profit center for the auto makers. This is a good conversation though... surprised it hasn't happened sooner.

  • Hi,
    I am new in this forum. Would someone tell me where the location of all the speakers? So far, I found two in the back, two tweater on the A-pillar, and the other two on the front door. I found a subwoofer place holder in the middle of the dash board, and could be another little speaker place holder under the foot well of the driver side.
    Also, my cd player goes back to track 1 80% of the time and my car pulls to the right a little bit. I need to bring it to my dealer tomorrow.

  • cmr530icmr530i Posts: 278
    The xenons make night driving so very clear. To me, everything else looks like yellow light in comparison. You should take an evening test drive and see for yourself.
    The sunshade is something I use just about every day. It has proved to be a useful option, especially on days that I must park my car in the sun. I feel it helps protect the leather as well as keep the car cooler. My kids are thankful for the side shades as well. No more complaining about the sun in their faces.
    Best wishes in your 5 series pursuit.
  • cassidymcassidym Posts: 108
    Am considering a 2004 BMW 530i. Am intrigued with the Active Steering and Active Roll Stabalization but BMW makes you take the Sports Package to get these two features. Consequently, you end up with Summer performance tires which would be a disaster here in Northern Virginia (our state bird is freezing rain)in the winter.

    Question: are these two features worth having to buy a set of wheels and tires from Tire Rack and finding a place to store them so you can swap them out when the season demands it?

    Also, anybody have any opinion on comfort seats?

    Third, the heads up display looks like a hilarious joke. For $1000 you get to be distracted while you drive.
  • riezriez Posts: 2,361
    cassidym... I'm a very strong fan of the E39 5 Series and E46 3 Series Sport Pkgs. Couldn't imagine owning one myself without the Sport Pkg.

    The E60 though is a new beast. Brings completely new options to the table. You really should take a thorough TEST DRIVE to see if it is what you are looking for.

    Regardless of Sport Pkg, you should get dedicated snow tires for this or any RWD car if you live in snow belt and have snow concerns. (Not sure any tire really does well on ice, but snows best there, too.)
  • sdg380sdg380 Posts: 109
    With all due respect to Riez and his learned commentary on the board, I would say that the sport package is something you can live without, especially if you'll be stuck goofing around with wheel changes twice a year for as long as you own the car.

    First, compared with most cars, BMW's provide very sporting ride and handling in base trim. And here in the Midwest, with our winter-ravaged roads, extra-firm suspension and low-profile tires just detract from ride comfort, IMHO (and invite dented rims).

    Next, the sport package is far from free, so there's definitely a cost factor--not sure is does much for resale. This is apart from springing for a extra set of wheels and tires, but the major drawback there, apart from the added cost in my opinion, is the inconvenience of having to swap twice a year. And I live in a condo, so storage is an issue for me, maybe you, too, maybe not.

    Active Roll Stabilization seems to be a pretty worthwhile concept for spirited driving, but not essential, and is not a stand-alone option. I'd say the jury is definitely out on Active Steering. A novel concept, to be sure, and maybe we'll see it on all cars in the future (like ABS), but the reviews have definitely been mixed. Again, it's not available alone, and perhaps more significantly, it CANNOT be turned off (I think ARS can be, but not sure.)

    Like many cars, options can drive the price of a 5 sky high. While I'm all for getting "the" car you want for this kind of dough, I just don't think the Sport Package is so essential, unless that's just high up your list, such as for drivers like Riez. But I think you'll have a very fine, quite sporty car without it.

    Finally, the Conti-touring tires that were stock on my '02 530 have been perfectly adequate in the snow, as were the all-season performance Perilli's on my previous 525--and I've driven both in some pretty crummy weather. My point is I do not think you automatically have to go to the trouble of switching to snow tires, even in the snow belt, so in my mind, the Sport Package includes this added chore/inconvenience.

    No barrage of criticism, please, I might very well sing a different tune if I lived in a dry climate with smooth roads (but that still doesn't change the mixed reviews on Active Steering.) And I haven't touched on any potential reliability/maintenance issues, but I don't think those can be dismissed out of hand, after all, this is new technology. But Riez is right, of course, it's your $$$, so you must test drive.
  • tenet1tenet1 Posts: 354
    I assume your car is new, so I would check the tire pressure and continue to check it atleast every 2 weeks to ensure it meets spec. BMW's are very sensitive to tire pressure changes and can feel like they are pulling to one side or another
  • My '03 525i seems do well in the type of weather we get in the Mid Atlantic States. I think snow tires change the ride and handling characteristics not to mention cost and hassle of two tire changes every year. I purchased my 525i with only Step,CWP,Heat Steering wheel. I was in the market for a Passat or Camry however the total package on last years clearance sale on e39s was $34,000.00 new (40 miles). I understand the passion some drivers have for more HP or SP but for me it is simply economics. Last year a BMW 525i with minimal equipment cost as much as a V6 Camry or Passat with better residuals, warranty, and maintenance. I do not try to compare my car to an M5 or a 540. I think my version of the e39 is all about economy.

  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 64,724
    Well.. it is February already.. I'm sure if you needed winter tires where you live, you would already know it. If you get really good winter tires, (Blizzack LM-22 or Goodyear Eagle GW-3) the difference in handling is almost unnoticeable, as compared to stock.



    Prices Paid, Lease Questions, SUVs

  • riezriez Posts: 2,361
    Pace to your opinion, sdg380, I just think you are incorrect. But I'll let others speak for me:

    1. Snow tires. Here is Roundel Tech Talk Editor Mike Miller in the February 2004 issue (p. 100):

    "It's not enough for me to just be able to get around in snow; I need to travel extensively in winter, in the mountains of [Penn.] and on Interstate road trips, fast and with authority. If a deer jumps in front of you at 70 mph on snow...the extra stopping traction afforded by snow tires may be the difference between [something pleasant] and a night full of hurt upside down in a cold white ditch. ... I wouldn't consider not fitting four snow tires for winter in this part of the [NE]. But obviously people have different service demands on their vehicles. If you're just puttering back and forth to work twice a day in traffic-clogged [NJ], then I don't blame you for running the same tires year round--I probably would, too. If it really snowed, I'd just stay home!"

    2. As for Sport Package, here is Bimmer magazine's 12/01 road test report on a 525i manual with Sport Pkg:

    "We were cheered further to find that it was equipped with the Sport Package. ... all of which would bring the car's sporting capabilities to the fore. It's always fun to drive a new BMW, but we knew right away that this one was going to be better than usual. ... The 525i showed off the athleticism conferred by that Sport Package. ... We also appreciated the extra grip afforded by the 8 x 17-inch wheels that came with the Sport Package, and the sticky 235s that surround them."

    [There is no comparison between the rather mediocre ContiTouringContact and dedicated high performance tires like ContiSportContact 1s or 2s or Michelin Pilot Sports. Just review test results from same BMWs with these respective tires. Check out the latest C&D, which tests a 325i manual with Sport Pkg.]
  • sdg380sdg380 Posts: 109
    Roundel Tech Talk Editor Mike Miller in the February 2004 issue: If you're just puttering back and forth to work twice a day...then I don't blame you for running the same tires year round--I probably would, too.

    Bimmer magazine's 12/01 road test: It's always fun to drive a new BMW...

    "There is no comparison between the rather mediocre ContiTouringContact and dedicated high performance tires"'ve got me there Riez, just try those performance skins in the snow!

    And Riez, I think you'll have to admit that Active Steering is just a different kettle of fish all-together.
  • riezriez Posts: 2,361
    sdg380... Yes, no comparison. The high performance tires will seriously outperform the mediocre "all-seasons" nine months out of the year and the dedicated winter tires will do same the remaining three months. So that would be 12-0!

    If someone can afford a $45-60,000 E60 5 Series, can't they afford winter tires? Are two trips to the dealer such a big deal? Just time at least one with some other work that needs to be done.

    Please note that all my above comments on the Sport Pkg have been geared to the E39 5 Series and the E46 3 Series. (I'd also apply them to the E38 7 Series.) BUT the E60 Sport Pkg adds some complicated electronic stuff that I have no experience with. I'm NO fan of the E60. Exterior styling doesn't bother me too much (though it is not as good as the E39), and the interior is too "feminine" for my taste, but the PRICE and GADGETS seem way out of whack. I'd be afraid to own a 1st year one and afraid to own one out of warranty. Give me a simpler car that brings pure driving pleasure!
  • sdg380sdg380 Posts: 109
    Riez, you've got some strong feelings about the E60, and therein is the rub, Cassidym is soliciting views on that model, so he'll be getting "some complicated electronic stuff", aside from suspension and wheels/tires of previous Sport Package. And from your comments, aside from styling, I'm not sure you'd have him plunk down the dough for the E60 Sport Package, with its as-yet-unproven features--would you? He could always get upgraded wheels/tires, and swap them out--would that be your recommendation?
  • riezriez Posts: 2,361
    sdg380... Thought my words were pretty clear. There really is only one way for cassidym to know for sure. I'll repeat my initial comments:

    "The E60 though is a new beast. Brings completely new options to the table. You really should take a thorough TEST DRIVE to see if it is what you are looking for."

    That is exactly what I'd do. IF I had the money (the E60 is a bit too pricey for me), I'd most likely get the Sport Pkg. The point of a BMW for me is driving pleasure. Skip Prem Pkg; get Sport Pkg. But I'd also prefer BMW's cloth seats and manual seat adjustment!
  • joatmonjoatmon Posts: 315
    virtually all 5 series w/ SP have PP.

    BMW of old: SPORT & luxury.

    BMW today: LUXURY & sport.
  • Although I have not driven E60 w/ sport pkg yet I have to say there is a significant difference in my E39 equipped with one. Yes, I do live in the snow belt and after consulting with this forum I also invested 1K for performance winter tires. I changed them myself using the original tools, took me all about 30 - 45 minutes. Small inconvenience for piece of mind driving in Boston winters. I would agree with Riez, go test drive it and see how you like it. The cost of winter tires should not simply deter you from investing in the sport package alone.
  • nyccarguynyccarguy Stamford, CTPosts: 11,320
    Here we go again!

    Northern VA huh? From what I see on the news you don't get nearly as much snow as we do here in NY. You maybe get one or two really bad stroms a year, correct? If that is the case, get the SP, enjoy the car for the other 360 days of the year and call in sick or use mass transit when the weather is bad.

    2001 Prelude Type SH, 2011 Pilot EX-L 4WD, 2015 Infiniti G37x Q40 AWD

  • ny540i6ny540i6 Posts: 518
    My E39 is SP equipped. I happen to think that this particular package looks great, handles great, but is a little extreme for many people (18" wheel, 35 and 40 series rubber). In some ways I think the previous 540's 17 inch SP wheel was better. Having said that, I would still get the SP, and I can feel the diff since my winter package is a "-2" down to a 16" wheel, 60 series rubber. As Riez said, 9 months of the year it is excellent, even in NYC. For the other 3 months I use dedicated snows, something I do on all my cars - I usually swap out the OE rubber for higher performance summer and winter tires. The peace of mind and performance benefits are worth it to me. I remember when I used to deal with my space issues (ex Manh condo liver) by "borrowing" a corner of the garage from several friends! I was caught the first snowfall of this year, spinning the Dunlops trying to get up my driveway - finally had to get a running start from across the street, to the amusement of my neighbors. After that, call to the 'rack. And by the way, lots of tire shops will store wheels for you.
  • nyccarguynyccarguy Stamford, CTPosts: 11,320
    with dedicated rims will extends the life of the Z rated performance tires and beautiful wheels on SP equipped 5ers. You'll only be driving on your summer tires for a few months out of the year, hence keeping them longer. Your winter tires could have a taller sidewall (If you go minus 1)and make your car less suceptable to damage from potholes (Figure $300+ if you bend a rim and even more for a new tire if it isn't repairable,l not to mention suspension damage...) and snow covered curbs and whatnot.

    Then there's the safety aspect as mentioned before.

    2001 Prelude Type SH, 2011 Pilot EX-L 4WD, 2015 Infiniti G37x Q40 AWD

  • div2div2 Posts: 2,580
    If you want the SP, it's really a minimal hassle to buy dedicated winter tires/wheels. Change them over yourself and avoid the chance that some simian will use an impact wrench to tighten the lug bolts to 250 lb.ft. FWIW, I even put winter tires on my wife's non-SP 528iA work sled. That way I can keep the Club Sport out of the winter slush and salt. If the snow gets REALLY deep(8+"), or there are large branches down across the driveway(like after the recent ice storm), the 5er hack also stays in the garage and the TJ takes over. I certainly wouldn't let the need to swap tires/wheels twice a year keep me from getting the SP.
  • ewoqewoq Posts: 37
    I agree with the above postings about "going for the SP". I have a 2000 e39 540iA and I can't imagine driving this car without the SP. It just sharpens the handling so much more than the non SP. My model has 17" wheels so I find it very comfortable under all but extreme road conditions (speed bumps, potholes, badly rutted surfaces). I test drove a non SP and it handled like a big Buick in comparison (exaggeration).
    Re winter tires: I can't imagine anyone driving in winter conditions without winter tires. I've driven through snow storms and winter conditions to ski areas for many weekends and there's no problem at all. I've seen many SUVs, Porsches, and other passengers cars in the ditch or overturned due to glare ice or wet snow - they're likely over driving the road conditions and probably do not have winter tires. I've driven 5 series autobox BMWs for the past 2 decades in snow conditions and have never been stuck (carried chains for previous models). What's $1500 for a set of good winter tires on wheels compared to the $50K plus for the car. Tires are like speakers in a good sound system. Don't compromise by using all season tires - not much use when the temperature drops significantly below freezing. Incidentally, Costco rotates your tires free of charge if they're already mounted and balanced.
  • sdg380sdg380 Posts: 109
    Well, seems like there's pretty strong support for Cassidym to get the Sport Package, but thanks for listening to my 2¢. As I say, different strokes...

    Anyway, how about some feedback on Active Steering? Who's gone for a test drive, or has the E60 so-equipped, and what do you think--you know, enquiring minds.
  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    I'd like to have it for a month to fully decide, but my impression from the test drive is not favorable. Having to turn the wheel a couple of extra degrees is of consequence to no one except perhaps a handicapped person. I'd rather see them just lower the steering ratio and maybe lower the wheel-base/track aspect ratio... this would dial it closer to sport driving. Nope, I have to believe it's just another one of those extortion options... donate money to BMW... ruins the sport package.
  • I was out test driving every combination of 04' 530 last weekend. Took the wife and kids along (nothing like fully loaded 5 person test drive). Drove an auto with sport pack, manual w/o sport, auto w/o sport. Also drove a 00' 540 auto with sport and a 02' 530 auto w/o sport. It was a fun afternoon.
    Having never owned, driven, or much less sat in a BMW before I can offer some (I feel) unbiased opinions.
    First, after test driving a new MB E32o, Acura TL, Volvo S80T6, and Lexus GS300, the BMW out-performs them all (the Acura is probably second IMO).
    The differences in the ride of the sport equipped BMW versus the standard was noticeable. More so the active suspension and ride than the active steering. After driving the sport pack the salesman asked me what I thought of the active steering. I told him I did not notice it (I'm not sure if not noticing is good or bad). My wife however did notice the difference and liked it along with the sport seats.
    Bottom line...I'm in the process of getting quotes for a manual 530 with sport pack, premium, cold weather,and xenons. So far the best quote is $1500 over invoice.
  • ewoqewoq Posts: 37
    Thanks for your take on the various cars. This is out of topic but I noticed the G35 was not part of your test drives. I'd be curious as to your take on the G35 relative to the others.
  • riezriez Posts: 2,361
    Check out the March 2004 issue of Sports Car International, pgs. 16-17. "Passing Glances" review of new 530i 6-speed manual with Sport Pkg. By Alex Palevsky. An excerpt:

    "the most impressive feature of the new 530i is its exceptional chassis; it's an even better driver's car than the much-esteemed E39. Excellent weight distribution and finely tuned suspension components play their part here, but it's the active steering and active anti-roll bars (both included with the optional Sport Package) that really transform this car into a devastating backroad [AS] works just as well in practice as the press kit promises...This car sets a new standard of handling excellence...phenomenal handling and brillant active steering impress us...a cutting-edge BMW sedan...clearly got the basics right with the new 5 Series. From a driver's perspective, it once again raises the bar to a level far beyond any of its competitors."

    Guess they liked it? I'd love to take one for a test drive, but my local BMW dealer rarely has manual transmission cars with Sport Pkg and I refuse to get a first impression from an automatic with non-Sport. Not to mention the car is just too expensive. Even SCI complains about the cost. Their car had a $55K MSRP.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    So, with all of this discussion regarding the Sport Package on an E60 530i, I find that y'all have caused me to go into "cogitation" mode. I mean, what IF (that's a heavy IF folks) I were to decide to replace my current E39 530i with the exact model E60, would I opt for the SP given the new active roll stabilization and steering systems? If I did, the 2004 would MSRP at almost exactly $5,000 more than my 2002, $3,300 of which is the SP. What if I decided instead to live without the Shadow Line Trim (which I like), the lowered ride height and higher spring rate suspension (which I also like) and the wonderful sport seats just to avoid the two new "Active" suspension components? Then, to upgrade the non-SP car with nicer wheels and tires, which should bring the E60 near to the handling of my E39. How much money would I save? A quick trip to and I have my answer, not enough to justify the savings. Consider the following:

    Option A:
    2004 530i with PP, SP, PSP & Xenon: $53,895
    Winter wheel/tire set (See Note 1): ~$1,400
    Total: $55,295

    Option B:
    2004 530i with PP, PSP & Xenon: $50,595
    Summer wheel/tire set (See Note 2): $2,992
    Winter tires for OEM rims (See Note 3): $848
    Total: $54,435

    Difference: ~$860

    Then the question becomes, would I buy the nicer seats, nicer trim and "Active" suspension goodies for $860? Yup. I guess I'd order the SP if I had to do it all over again. ;-)

    Note 1: I am estimating $1,400 for a winter wheel and tire package as is rather thin on their inventory at the moment. FWIW, I paid $1,007 for my current package.

    Note 2: I chose BBS RK 2-Piece wheels (similar to the wheels that I got on my E39) and shod them with Bridgestone Potenza S-03 tires (also similar in class to the OEM tires that came on my E39).

    Note 3: The only winter tires that had in the 225/50 R17 size were the Pirelli Winter 210 SnowSport tires, which I also used in the "Note 1" estimate.

    I don't know if this is at all helpful, but it was kind of fun to research. ;-)

    Best Regards,
  • riezriez Posts: 2,361
    shipo... One thing your research reminds me is that the new E60 is just too expensive. As the latest issue of Roundel (BMW CCA) points out, with the most recent round of price increases the least expensive E60 5 Series, the 525i, now has a base MSRP over $40,000. I couldn't imagine a $54-56,000 530i. For that money, you'd be better off buying the 545i. At least then you'd have some real go power and a great chassis.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    Well said. Fortunately or otherwise, I'm quite happy with my 2002 530i and have no intention of making any changes in the next year or two. ;-) That said, to continue with this thread, a like equipped 545i 6-Speed would MSRP at $60,795, another $6,900 over the 530i. The only good news about that is that back in 2002, the difference between the 530i and the 540i 6-Speed was more like $8,000 (including the no longer necessary Gas Guzzler Tax).

    Of course, if I'm going to spend 60 large on a new car, I'd probably just throw caution to the wind and pop for a new 645Ci (which I actually like the looks of), 6-Speed Manual, SP and Premium Audio at which has an MSRP of 73,900.

    Best Regards,
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