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BMW 5-Series Sedans



  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    -... -- .--

    In general I’m not a fan of options. In my opinion they are little more than a profit center that offer limited value. Yuryg… I haven’t tested the sound systems on recent BMWs but have tested plenty of others including older BMWs. To me, the costlier sound systems do not justify the price. But sound is easy enough to test. Just bring your CDs and trust what you hear. You don’t need butt-kickin’ bass in a car and you don’t need overly crisp tweeters since most sound is in the mid range anyway and should be balanced accordingly.

    As far as options affecting resale, it has been pretty much acknowledged by most people that you don’t recover what you pay for them when selling your car. Yet people think they are missing out on something if they don’t indulge. A base BMW has everything you need and I think it will sell just as fast as a highly-option version after it has been used.

    Too much tech in cars. Have we forgotten about the great simple pleasures, like just getting up on a horse and riding without a friggin’ iPod or cell phone connected to your head, like knowing where you are by way of the Big Dipper and location of moss on a tree, like the feel of road grip and lateral g forces on the bimmer?

    Just 2 cents worth of perspective from an old Boy Scout.

    Oh and yes, a gold star for the first person to translate the Morse Code at the top of this post.

  • bmwdougbmwdoug Posts: 248
    Mark, thank you for your reply. I understand and respect your desire for a stick. :) I do a lot of city driving, so an automatic is the right choice for me. But, for pure driving pleasure, no question about it, a stick is the best option. Thank you for the comment on the parking sensors. You make a good point.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    Morse Code: -... -- .-- = BMW

    Best Regards,
  • selooseloo Posts: 606
    Power Rear Sun Shade (not that big of deal)

    This option is key for states with lots of sun.

    It will keep your car cooler and protect the back seat area from the sun.

    I use mine everyday.
  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129

    Yes, of course, of course. Our class valedictorian does it again!

    (Now come clean Shipo. Did you know this or look it up on the web like I did? Actually, there was a time when I knew it by heart.)

  • bmwdougbmwdoug Posts: 248
    Seloo, thanks for the suggestion. Your point is well taken. What about the other options I had listed. Do you agree, disagree, would you add anything or delete anything? Thanks.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    "(Now come clean Shipo. Did you know this or look it up on the web like I did? Actually, there was a time when I knew it by heart.)"

    Teehee... I used to know them as well, and still recognised "B" and since memory didn't tell me that the other two weren't "M" & "W", I guessed.

    Just after I made my post it occured to me to look them up (and edit my post if I had been wrong). ;-)

    Best Regards,
  • Our X3 has the servotronic steering option (and on an X3 it is $250); my 2005 A6 has it too.

    I can't find (but have only looked casually) the information about this technology on the 5's -- do you need to buy the active steering to get servotronic?

    Servotronic is (or should be) standard on this class of cars -- it is worth extra. I can't comment with respect to its possible value at a couple of thousand dollars, though.

    Subsequent to our order of an X3 with this option, the purchasing manager at our local BMW store claimed that all stock BMW X3's would be ordered with this option.

    Several reviews of the X3 have mentioned the servotronic steering as have many articles about "cars in general."

    It would seem that ALL BMW's should come with servotronic if it can be had at full list price of $250 (and one must assume that includes profit and is at that price point, in part, due to its cost to manufacture.) Further, it would seem "logical" to assume that if they all came with servotronic, the price per would drop due to a certain economy of scale.

    One last ?, how do you get 18" wheels and tires on a 5 without forking over more than $3,000? At least the sport package option on the X3 upsizes the wheels and tires at what would seem to be an almost bargain price and the sport wheels that come with this package are quite attractive.

    I configured a 525xi today and short of clicking an over $3000 option box, it seems that a $55K 5 will come with 17" wheels and tires? Can this be so?
  • anthonypanthonyp Posts: 1,860
    I have found that I get use to what ever I have for the radio...At first though, I find the extra for the upgraded stereo does make quite an improvement...If you don`t get it you`l be happy, but if you do you`l be happier...Further I have gotten along without the parking sensor, but once you have it, you`l really miss it if you don`t..Tony
  • selooseloo Posts: 606
    I also agree with the Parking Sensor System, once you have it you cannot never go back to a car without it.
  • Do yourself a favor and take some of your favorite CDs to the dealer and listen to them with the stock sound system and with the Premium (Logic 7) Sound system. I think that you will be suitably impressed by the audible difference.

    FWIW, the Premium Sound option buys you a 7-band equalizer, 13 speakers (including two subwoofers), simulated surround sound and a 6-CD changer. IMHO, money well spent!
  • The dealer sales folks are getting better all the time. I took a new Acura out for a test drive (the TL); and, the sales rep sent the lot-"boy" (college student or intern might be a more apt name, but they called him a lot boy so who am I?) to get the car we asked for.

    The car was "warmed up and cooled down." The engine was allowed to reach proper operating temp and the interior was allowed to reach a comfortable temp too.

    But, cleverly (?), the car had been set to play the DVD-audio demo disk (and it was playing when we opened the door.) To this day I have not heard a better sounding system and only the Infiniti M that I nearly bought also had DVD-audio. If I bought cars based significantly on their sound systems this DVD-audio system in the Acura would have clinched the deal.

    A great sound system in a car significantly "improves the performance" (in every way) of a car -- perception IS reality.

    Now, in the case of the Acura TL, it was a rainy day and we had asked for a lux and sported up version with a stick shift and even the fantastic sound system could not mask the incredible, disconcerting and frankly dangerous torque steer this car "offers" -- especially on a slick, rain-covered street in suburban Cincinnati.

    Even then, we had three "regular" CD's with us, however -- but wow that DVD-audio demo disk was an audio spectacular.

    Now, here is what we do: We bring 3 CD's and 2 DVD-audio disks with us when we take cars out for a test drive.

    Today, however, I would also think it would behoove the auto retailers to encourage their cars to be tested with sat radio active. In the Audi audio premium version of the sound system, only in CD and sat radio can "surround sound and 'Audio Pilot'" (a Bose technology) be turned on -- regular AM and FM need not apply for the full-on aural experience.

    Also, with all the sound contouring software these high-zoot systems afford, it is important to set the sound's parameters between the various cars you test (even those from the same mfg) as close as possible to the same.

    In the case of our new BMW X3, the "normal sound system" is not merely lame it is inadequate and disappointing in a car that can easily be optioned to over $50,000.

    At least for the test drives if not the actual ownership, the customer should be allowed to take a "blind taste test." The standard systems even at this price level generally suck from a little to a lot, while even the first upgraded system offered (sometimes for less than $1,000 MSRP) is a huge improvement.

    All of these comments, of course, are totally personal and personality based.

    If you listen 90% or more to talk radio, some of these comments, well, apply not so much. If you listen to books on CD with little background music or few sound effects, ditto.

    If you listen to classical, jazz, rock, country, new age or blues (or, like us, all of the above) a $675 sound system upgrade (or even a $2,000 upgrade) are worth every last penny.

    You can discern the difference between a system that "has no highs, has no lows" and one that provides clean deep bass and crystal clear (non-blurry) highs in addition to a strong mid-range.

    I am convinced the only place most folks listen to music critically is in their cars -- long gone are the days when folks (most folks) buy a new CD, sit in the sweet spot of their home sound system and listen for 45 minutes, doing nothing else. A car generally requires that the driver sit in "the sweet spot" for the duration -- what better way, what better place to hear, really hear and appreciate the new ColdPlay album or LedZep Unplugged or The Boston or Cincinnati Pop's rendition of the 1812?

    Not including my high def TV, my home sound system and speaker arrays exceed $40,000 in cost; and, I rarely "sit still" long enough to appreciate a new (or old) album.

    My Audi A6 with the premium sound and my wife's X3 also with the upgraded system clearly are the best places to listen to Dire Straits, U2, Mozart or Marc Antoine.

    And, all things considered, at a fraction of the cost.

    Do take your favorite CD's along for test drives -- and, increasingly, spring for a couple of DVD-audio discs "just in case."

  • bmwdougbmwdoug Posts: 248
    I want to thank everyone for their great replies. I would love to hear additional comments, or replies from others as well. So, please fee free to chime in. I will test out the standard audio system against the Logic 7 upgrade with a couple of CD's. Thanks for the suggestions.
  • cmr530icmr530i Posts: 278
    I got my car back today with the second new bumper cover and the darn thing still doesn't fit right. It has a "dip" in it under the license plate area and another slight one to the right of that spot. What is the chance that the bumper itself was damaged in such a manner that the cover doesn't fit and that the adjuster can't see the damage? I am thinking that maybe an entirely new bumper is the issue. Then maybe the cover will fit. What are your thoughts? (The body shop doesn't want to put anything foreign into the bumper when I told them about your high density foam fix.) I will be stopping by the shop on Monday to ask for the receipts on the two covers to be sure they are genuine BMW parts. I also contacted the insurance co to let them know that the issue remains.
  • div2div2 Posts: 2,580
    The problem IS the cover-not the underlying impact bar. If the shop doesn't want to go the foam route, calmly inform them that they'll be ordering, painting, and installing new rear covers until they get one that fits perfectly. I think my shop ordered three from BMW and none of them were right.
  • I have a 2000 BMW 530i and had battery replace and eversince than, my car won't start in the morning. I had the battery replace and wehn that did not fix the problem, I took it to the dealer and had them check out./ They did not find anything wrong, but the car still will not start it is left overnight. Any idea why I am having this proble,?
    Once again while driving along in my new 2006 525XI it began to shake violently and cut off. How embarassing, here I am in the middle of the street in this beautiful looking car and cannot get to my destination. What An Experience! I'm furious this is the third time that this particular problem has occurred each time I left the dealership I was assured that the car was repaired. This is their final try and I will be demanding my money back to go purchase something a little more reliable. Three months of ownership, this car definitely is not fit for the purpose intended. :mad:
  • anthonypanthonyp Posts: 1,860
    As this is the third time, `what was the diagnosis for the first time and was the same diagnosis for the second time`?? Before you put yourself through an ordeal, possibly a highly qualified `different` mechanic would see the problem from a different angle....You have a wonderful car--much desired by many people--so you have to believe that the car can be fixed....One human to another I am sorry this is happening to you, with a brand new car...Tony
  • One of my wife's colleagues had a similar issue with a new 2005 A6 3.2.

    Deal: we take your 2005 A6 back and offer you a new A6 and if we can't find one, we'll order you one (a 2006) and in the meantime you can use a SWB A8.

    This person is now a walking advertisement for Audi and someone, somehow at Audi was able to "eventually" diagnose and repair the ailing Audi.

    I would suspect BMW will at least equal this kind of treatment.

    On the other hand, you could try "four strikes and you're out!" as long as this is the agreed upon approach.

    BTW, it probably should be noted that my wife's colleague is a lawyer and although he never did anything that would threaten the dealership or the company, it probably didn't hurt with respect to his ability to "argue" his position.

    He actually got a bit more car (content) by taking this approach.

    His frustration was temporary and high, but his compensation was more than adequate to make him quickly forget his ordeal.
  • cmr530icmr530i Posts: 278
    Thanks for your reply. I'll keep pressing on until I am satisfied.
  • cdnpinheadcdnpinhead Forest Lakes, AZPosts: 4,056
    As a confirmed (& documented) Luddite, I have shunned almost all options offered for cars in this class. I enjoy the base-level amenities & have no use for much of the rest.

    That said, I enjoy listening to music of all types while I drive. The car I'm in today has only audio options. Otherwise, it's a rubber floor mat special.

    The fact that BMW offers a-la-carte options (including a manual transmission) is why I continue to follow this and the 3 board.

    Reliability issues continue to concern the miniscule shred of us who actually buy cars and keep them a long time, however.
  • yurygyuryg Posts: 15
    Thank you. I tried both the stock and the logic7 system, and the premium is noticeably better, especially if set to "Concert Hall" setting. Surprisingly, premium stereo is rather rare even though it adds only about $20/month on a lease.
  • bmwdougbmwdoug Posts: 248
    What are the opinions on Active Steering? Do you guys recommend getting this option, or skipping this option? Isn't the regular BMW steering pretty darn good?
  • rich545rich545 Posts: 386
    That's more difficult for me to answer than I would think it would be. I loved the steering on the 330xi I used to have (no AS obviously), and AS took a little while to get used to. Now that I am used to it though I have to say I really like it. In fact, cars without it feel sluggish with their steering response now (especially at low speeds). At higher speeds I feel no difference between it and standard steering. I guess if I had to pay for it I would pass (it came with my 545 with SP), but since I didn't have to I like it just fine.
  • ktranktran Posts: 10
    Thanks Shipo. We went back and test drove the 530i with and without the Sport package and decided that we like the non-sport better. Your observations about the Sport package were pretty on target. We are picking up the car later today since the dealer had to swap the car with another dealer to get us the color/option we wanted.
  • div2div2 Posts: 2,580
    I drove a couple of 6ers with and without AS. While the AS did help on low speed turns, I also noticed less steering feel in the AS car. There's a reason the M5 and M6 don't use AS.
  • sdg380sdg380 Posts: 109
    Doug, my 2¢ on your option list (I've got an '02 530, stick, non-sport, with PP).

    Much as I like driving these cars with a stick shift, the new six-speed autos are quite comparable, performance-wise, and I've become a little more concerned about getting killed at trade time for having a stick (just bear in mind that something like only 15% of drivers can handle one, and that really cuts down the potential resale audience for these expensive cars.) I know, I know, I'm buying the car for me, not the next guy, but it makes the car somehow feel "ill-liquid". And maybe I'm just getting lazier.

    I'm long on record saying don't spring for the Sport package, since I think these cars are sporty enough without it. But I'm in the midwest where I'm not interested in bi-annual wheel/tire changes, and our roads are crappy, so stiffer suspension/tires are not so great. But it's not exactly like the sport package is free, either, and ride quality is, uhhh, stiffer.

    Xenons and fold-down rear seats both worthwhile. So is Cold Weather, but that's in the midwest. PP gives you some things (leather, sunroof) you might get anyway. Navigation is a lot of fun, but I think you get gouged to have it. HUD seems unnecessary, but if you've got the $$ burning a hole in your pocket...

    While some like Active Steering, plenty of testers seem satisfied without it, many reports that it diminishes "feel", and it is not offered on the M5, which must say something.

    I think you're right to skip the "comfort" features, and almost $2k for a better sound system is money I'd put right back in the money market fund, but I admit I'm no audiophile. I skipped the rear air bags, I rarely have rear seat passengers, and I question whether this would be important at resale time.

    All in all, I think you're on the right track, although as somebody observed, a "stripped" 5-series is a damn fine car that offers 90%+ of the driving experience of one that's been optioned-out. In this spirit, I think it makes sense to show some restraint with the options on any car, lest you add $10,000 to the price of a car that inherently is worth about the same as one without all those options.
  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    Somebody mentioned the Mark Levinson system people rave about. I spent some time with it this past weekend. Big ripoff in my opinion. I find the stock system on my E39 530 to be better with more clarity. Bass dominates on the Levinson. No matter which adjustments I made, everything sounded like James Earl Jones with a pillow over his mouth. I specifically asked the dealer, are you SURE that car has the Levinson? He said yes, all of our LSs do, we rarely stock them without it because everyone wants it. I’m thinking, sure, follow the crowd down to the bottom of the Poseidon.

    I also had a Carrera loaner for five days. It had the optioned Bose system. It also sucks. The optioned system I kind of liked was the McIntosh on the Subies. However the tweeters were so-o in your face, but they were very adjustable as was the entire system.

    Will try to get to the systems on the new 5s this weekend. Been wanting to drive the 6 and 7 anyway.
  • hpowdershpowders Posts: 4,301
    I tried the Levinson when I drove the GS430 6 months ago. It was no big deal.
    I also tried the upgraded Bose sound system on the 2006 330i and found it was no big deal either.
    To be fair, you probably have to put in the time to set the equalizers just right which neither dealer obviously did.
  • anthonypanthonyp Posts: 1,860
    I found the ML system to be cristal clear but lacking in the base--the 530xi with premium to be much better than it and the bose in the Audi..Tony
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