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BMW 5-Series Sedans



  • manybmwsmanybmws Posts: 347
    I also have access to my wife's 4WD SUV. But that said, I can depend on my 530 with Michelin Pilot Alpins west of Boston. The car is extremely well balanced to begin with, so the performance snows that are available can make this car very assuring in the snow. And traction control systems work well. Another set of wheels with the snows make this very easy to deal with over the years.
  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    I’d like to know which aspect of “sport” active steering adds to the sport package.
  • Not sure if anyone out there has come across this one but our 5-speed manual transmission would "pop" out of 2nd gear every so often. Usually it was after a cold start but no other symptoms. On the 4th trip to the dealer over 2 plus years we got a rebuilt (there is no such thing as new) 5-speed installed and it feels fine. I did ask if we could get the 6-speed but no dice. The tranny had 22,400 miles and was never abused.


    Has anyone experienced this ?


    For the last 2 weeks we enjoyed an X-3 2.5 which was nice but a complete gas hog at less than 16 mpg's.
  • pen101pen101 Posts: 238
    Back to tires for a second. I decided to upgrade the Michelin Primacy tires on my 530i to Michelin Pilot Sport PS2. Best price on the Primacy is $785 out the door (includes mounting, balancing, free flat repair, rotation and 8.25% sales tax). PS2 price out the door is $849. My reasons for selecting the PS2: (1) tirerack article on PS2 rated them very high, (2) the Primacy tires are very noisy (although they have lasted 36K+ miles), and (3) want to try a better handling tire.
  • OK, good chassis balance and winter tires will take you a west of Boston. But west of Worcester?
  • rich545rich545 Posts: 386
    I'd like to know which aspect of it detracts from the sports package (which I have). Unless turning into a parking spot really requires tight steering I fail to see how active steering makes you think the car is less "sporty".
  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    It’s in the hairpins. AS makes driving through them more difficult. It makes steering neither easier or better, it just convolutes it.


    When braking into a tight corner I don’t want to have to anticipate a variable rate of turn. Sport features should allow us to drive and brake faster, harder, easier, safer. AS makes the car less predictable, more skittish, darty when driving hard from high-to-low-to-high speeds through tight turns. A steering ratio should be constant and optimal, neither too fast or too slow. As such, active steering is anti-sport and not innovative.


    If someone says they find it beneficial in slow-moving city traffic and parking situations, fine. But I doubt that anyone who is not bothered by the labor required with manual transmissions in these scenarios would see any benefit with AS. I mean, is turning a steering wheel really a chore? I would say it is about as much of a chore as putting fork to mouth. What I am hearing from people who have the sport package is that AS is tolerated, not necessarily desired.


    In my opinion AS has rendered the sport package unbuyable. I think BMW chose to make it a profit center by foisting it on buyers of the sport package. They are also foisting the sport package on people who subscribe to the notion that AS is a user-friendly feature that gives credence to the new-and-improved bimmer. If anything it should have been a stand-alone option. I don’t believe this was well-calculated on their part and is yet another reason why they are losing many of us.


    Furthermore I’d be really annoyed if I bought the sport package only to find out that AS will not be included in the M5. It’s an indictment. Previously the sport package brought the lesser BMW models one step closer to the M5. Now it seems they will be distanced from it.


    Finally, if BMW wants to be innovative with steering ratio, maybe they should consider making it constant but adjustable. Perhaps this is a nobler pursuit that would get some worthwhile attention.


    Rich545… I hope you are happy with your car, this is the way it should be. But I believe BMW needs to be made aware of dissatisfaction with their products and insufficiencies in their decisions. They are clearly off-mission as voiced by many in the press and by long-time enthusiasts.
  • manybmwsmanybmws Posts: 347
    Yes, I have been drivng E39 5-series configured like this for the last 6 winters and I live 15 miles from Worcester just west of 495.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    With regards to the 2005 E60, AS is now a stand alone $1,250 option (maybe it always has been, I just never bothered to look), however, it is still included in the SP. Yikes, $1,250 for the AS system! Okay gang, for those of you who opted for the SP on your E60, would you have checked off the AS box as a separate option if the price list were written as follows?


    Sport Package: $2,050

    Active Steering: $1,250


    Since I have my sights set on a new E90 in another year or so, the above is more educational for me than anything else. Lifting a line from the BMW-USA press release for the E90, "The new 3 Series becomes the first car in its class to offer anything approaching the benefits of BMW’s unique Active Steering. This stand-alone option provides..." I have reason to believe that the SP can be ordered without being blessed with AS as part of the deal. Will I then exercise my right to order the AS as well? Probably not, however, I will test drive it first.


    Best Regards,

  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    "It’s in the hairpins. AS makes driving through them more difficult. It makes steering neither easier or better, it just convolutes it."


    I somewhere along the line read a review of the new $500K Ferrari where the reviewer just about said the same thing about Ferraris' version of AS.


    Do I think these reviews hold any weight? No, because I believe these cars are tested by professional drivers, where road performance has to be as impeccable as can be given these are street cars. While some people may not appreciate the AS, that doesn't mean it makes the car any less of a BMW.
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    Amplification to above statement. The second sentence in the last paragraph should read: ....believe these cars are tested by professional drivers during the development cycle.....
  • hpowdershpowders Posts: 4,301
    Well said. Amen.
  • rich545rich545 Posts: 386
    Designman-Not to worry, I am very happy with my car. As far as AS handling hairpin turns, I don't know where you drive your cars, but even if AS did make them more difficult (which I don't agree that it does) how many do you really encounter day-to-day??? I mean, it makes me think of people that HAVE to have the biggest, baddest SUV just so they can drive to the supermarket. I think it's more the concept of AS that some people don't like rather than the reality of it detracting from "sport" driving. I can't remember the last hairpin curve I had to take on here in the 'burbs of Chicago. Sweaping turns off of exit ramps yes, hairpins not that I can think of. It's not like we're driving these cars in Indy car races are we? You're right that BMW is losing some customers (like yourself) because of things like AS and iDrive, and that, IMO, is why they made AS optional in 2005. I do believe though that for every past client they may have lost with the new designs, they've added a new one that wouldn't have bought a BWM before because they found them to be too conservative, but I guess that's another argument that we've had ad nauseum here!
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    Well said. Amen!
  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    You still have to get AS in 2005 if you want the sport package. So non-sport buyers have the option, the others have to compromise, not a good thing considering there are many ways for a buyer to option a BMW.


    Will active steering be an option with the sport package on the new 3-series? If it isn’t there will many torqued-off 3-series buyers. If it is there will be many torqued-off 5-series buyers.


    This has nothing to do with buying the biggest baddest car or where we drive. Everyone has to make turns at low speeds. Let me put it to you this way… at low speeds I find AS to be like a Windows PC mouse set to its fastest speed—it’s extreme.


    Kdshapiro… do you work for BMW?
  • hpowdershpowders Posts: 4,301
    You can hypothesize all you want. Just check the sales numbers going forward for the 5 series. I do believe they will speak volumes.
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    "Kdshapiro… do you work for BMW?"


    Why do you ask? :)
  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    Wry smile? Good answer ;-)
  • I have a 2002 530i w/5sp and SP. My lease ends next month. I was advised by the dealer that (a)the new 255HP engine goes into production in March to coincide with the introduction of the AWD option, (b)the nav system in the 2005 530 is much improved over the nav in the 2002, and (c) the 2005 has Bluetooth capability. Can anyone confirm some or all? Thanks in advance.
  • matt5matt5 Posts: 6
    I'm been in the market for a new sport-luxury sedan. To sum it up, it's quite difficult to decide. Money is not the main issue for me, its the performance/value ratio that counts.

    At first, the new 5 seemed hideous, but now kind of grows on me. Not sure though if its an enduring one knows yet, of course. NO QUESTION, the handling is unmatched in this category after my test drives. Unbelieveable stability in sharp turns.


    My thoughts thus far after several drives:

    1) the 545 doesn't seem (significantly) more powerful than the 530. Just can't get over the relatively anemic hp ratings for the 530, though. But yes, the 530 still seemed EVEN STRONGER than the 05 RL which I've also driven, rated at 300hp.


    2) Sport package seems like a two-edged sword. Clearly, IMO it "enhances" the driving experience, after the initial adjustment period. Yes, a little weird at first, but the hand-eyes adjust and ultimately translates to better responsiveness. BUT, when you go back to a "regular" car, the feeling and result is kind of dangerous. I found myself almost on the curbs...yes, you quickly re-adjust, but makes you think.

    3) Still kind of apprehensive about quality/reliability, compared to acura or lexus, for example.


    Totally unbiased here, just some observations and looking for some comments/responses.
  • cassidymcassidym Posts: 108
    matt5, I could have written your post a year ago. I had a 1986 325 that was rapidly fading away. Since I'd had it for 18 years, I felt justified in spending a lot for its replacement. I test drove everything (Acura RL, MB Coupes, Infinity Sedans) but I kept coming back to the BMW. I test drove the 04 5ers a lot and finally concluded that Active Steering was for me (really glad I did because I've come to appreciate it a lot).


    As for power in the 545 (which is what I ultimately bought), I finally test drove enough 530s and 545s to convince myself I really wanted the extra power and that it was more powerful than I first thought.


    The 5er is so smooth and the 545 accelerates so quietly that it was easy to underestimate how powerful it was. My wife finally convinced me. We had a 530 out for a long test drive and after about 30 minutes, I asked her what she thought. "Absolutely great car", she answered, "but it's not fast enough". Man, that's like having your wife tell you you don't drink enough beer!


    I picked up my 05 545 six-speed (NAV, HUD, CWP, SP, Sat Radio) in October in Munich (think European Delivery to save five grand or so and have a ball) and my frau now says it's the most perfect car she's ever ridden in...and she is not easy to please.


    Active steering: I banged a few curbs when I first started using it but it quickly becomes intuitive and I like it. Analyze your driving. If, like me, you park in a condo garage at home and a covered garage at work and live in a built up area in which you have to parallel park often than AS is a good bet. If you don't, then maybe it's not for you.


    Quality/reliability: Maybe it's not up to Lexus or Acura standards but it's pretty damn good. Lexus may be perfect but, IMHO, they're also perfectly boring. Driving the 5er is exciting; not so the Lexus. I've got 3000 on mine already and can't find a thing wrong with it.


    I was a little put off by the new 5er's looks but no more. I get lots of compliments. I'm getting used to total strangers coming up to me to ask about my ride.


    Bottom line: I agonized over this decision for a long time (an eternity' to hear my wife hoot about it) but believe I made the absolute right choice. If I had it to do over again, the only thing I would have done differently is drink more beer in Munich.
  • The 2005 530 has bluetooth technology and works very well providing you use a phone designated as compatible by BMW. This is my first experience with the NAV system so I can't compare it to 2002 but I find it is easy to use and gets you where you want to go. I am told it is not as sophisticated as the new RL but I enjoy it very much.
  • erickplerickpl Posts: 2,735
    We were behind a new 5 last night and my wife asked me, "Did they change the design at all on the new 5 since last year?" I defer to you guys - were any cosmetic changes made for the 2005 year? Nothing major, just a slight difference maybe? I think she's beginning to like it. :)


  • rich545rich545 Posts: 386
    I believe they will too given how many new 5ers I see where I live (burbs of Chicago).Plus I have looked at the figures and they show more E60's sold this year than E39's last year. Again, the only people I see having a problem with the new 5 is people that own the old one.
  • rich545rich545 Posts: 386
    No changes to the design that I know of. Just some changes with the options.
  • rich545rich545 Posts: 386
    Key line there, "...I find AS to be like a Windows PC mouse set to its fastest speed—it’s extreme." The key word being "I". You drove the car for what, maybe a half hour if you test drove it? I've been driving it since July and others that own them on this forum don't have a problem with it. I think most E60 owners would agree that once you get used to AS you don't even notice it until you get into a car without it. Then you actually appreciate it because you realize how much more responsive it is at low speeds, and how much it tightens up at higher speeds. Again, I haven't taken too many hairpin turns where I go from 70 mph to 20 mph in a second around here so I still disagree that you're ever really faced with the issues you mention.
  • kscctsksccts Posts: 140
    Plus I have looked at the figures and they show more E60's sold this year than E39's last year. Again, the only people I see having a problem with the new 5 is people that own the old one.


    Actually, the last figures I saw for the 5-series revealed a drop in the US of about 2,300 cars sold. 2003 figure through november was 42,739 and figure for 2004 is 40,468. New style not as well liked as some would like to think.


    Disclaimer: I own a 2001 530i.
  • hpowdershpowders Posts: 4,301
     These stats. bear out what I said in my previous post. Have only seen 2 or 3 new 5's in the last 3 months or so in the Tampa area. Seems like most people here are totally truck-happy. Lots of luxury SUV's-so many Lexus trucks. Hard to squeeze my 330i inbetween 'em.
  • rich545rich545 Posts: 386
    I mentioned this a million times already, but you can't look at overall 5 sales because the M5 and station wagon were not available this year, but were in 2003. If you compare sales for the 545 (04) vs. 540 (03), 530 (04) vs. 530 (03), and the 525 (04) vs. 525 (03) you will see that they've actually sold more of the new model YTD. AND the sales for the E60 are getting steadily stronger.
  • kscctsksccts Posts: 140
    You're right. I just quickly glanced at the latest figures. Unbelievably, people are actually buying that ugly E60. Then again people also buy Escalades. One will never go broke underestimating the taste of the American people; or something like that!


    Disclaimer: 2001 530i owner
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