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BMW 5-Series Wagon 2004 Redesign

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Comments

  • Based on the data provided by vsaxena, my would be 545 lists for $63,670....way too much. By the way, looks like the active steering option can only be had within the ZSS package, which for my taste, has other items (i.e., run flat tires, sports seats, etc.) that I would not want.
    If I were to spend this much money, I rather go for an Audi A8.
  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    Oriente, the A8 is a looker... from the sedan pickins it could be Miss America on my score sheet.

    By the way, there have been disparaging remarks about E60 looking like a Pontiac. Has anyone seen pics of the 04 GTO? Stare it straight in the eyes and try to figure out what you see. Fact is, the Pontiac division outclassed BMW with the sketchpad on this one. Yeah, the total package is still kiddie-car callow and a bit pudgy, but I see signs of the Americans comin' to their senses first on the design front. God helps us with quality though.

    On a scale of one to ten...
    Audi A: 9.01
    E39: 9
    04 GTO: 8
    E60: 2

    Am not kidding. Had the E60 exterior come out of the mold looking like the 04 GTO I would have waited to buy it.
  • riezriez Posts: 2,361
    designman... Thinking you have the cart in front of the horse. Has anyone in USA bought a GTO? An E60? Are they driving their car right now? I haven't read any full test results or comparison test results for either vehicle in the automotive press. (E60 reviews so far have come from the BMW Press Introduction and involved only a limited selection of cars.) Who knows what their performance will be? Or how well they will hold up over time? Or resale value?

    Found it interesting that in the latest issue of Consumer Reports (Oct/03, p. 22), they describe the upcoming GTO this way: "derived from an existing Australian model, the Holden Monaro, which in turn uses A MODIFIED VERSION OF THE DISCONTINUED CADILLAC CATERA'S PLATFORM." (emphasis added) The Catera had used a modified platform of an old Opel design. GTO likely has a pretty archaic underlying platform. And it lacks some important things like decent safety equipment (no side airbags) and decent tires (it is projected to ride on some pretty smallish tires).

    Only time will tell. Way too soon to draw any firm conclusions.
  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    Riez, let me make myself clear... even though I am positive I did in the GTO post. I was commenting on appearance, looks, external design, the shell that cloaks the guts.

    Appearance, obviously, is totally different from internal anatomy. Trust me, I know how to separate the two and put both in perspective.

    This is how I make my family-car buying decision:
    1 - reliability/safety
    2 - performance
    3 - looks

    And do I need to remind you that I own a BMW, not a Pontiac? Do you think I'm running to cash in my 530 for a GTO? Haven't had an American car since the early 70s. They have a lot of provin' to do before I buy one. Period.

    Now if you could retract your cart-before-the-horse deal, I would thank you.
  • riezriez Posts: 2,361
    designman... You wrote, "... Yeah, the TOTAL PACKAGE is still kiddie-car callow and a bit pudgy, but I see signs of the Americans comin' to their senses first on the design front. God helps us with quality though.

    On a scale of one to ten...
    Audi A: 9.01
    E39: 9
    04 GTO: 8
    E60: 2"

    I capitalized the words "total package". To me, that includes a ton more than just exterior styling. And "design" is more than just appearance. If all you are commenting on is exterior styling, then so be it.

    If that, then wondering about the "8" for the GTO. Its exterior styling has been heavily savaged by GTO loyalists and others for being bland. Pontiac is already talking about future major exterior styling changes (e.g., hood scoops) to overcome the criticism.

    Seems like the Pontiac and GTO communities might give it a "5". Nice try that needs a lot of quick improvement.
  • No way, in my book. The current 5-series...I agree with bcanaris...looks like a bland, boxy car from the 70s. Fine car dynamically, but boring as can be in my opinion.

    Some of the pictures of the E60 make the car look hideously ugly, I agree, but I checked out a video of the E60 on BMW's website, and really, in dark colors that hide the lines, it looks aggressive and sharp. I also happen to love the new interior, and as a Mac fan, think the iDrive is pretty cool (reminds me of the iEverything available for my iBook).

    Now if only Bangle would fix the 7-series trunk (in the works, I hear) and give the Z4 a major facelift, particularly the sides, I think BMW would be onto something fresh and interesting.
  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    Speeds2much, glad to see a member of the Mac fraternity out there. I work on both Mac and PC platforms and can’t figure out why Windows PCs dominate the world. I guess Mr. Gates sure did, aided by the follies of Mr. Jobs in the early days. Regardless, Mac is the BMW of the computer world.

    Anyway, I can see how iDrive appeals to certain people. Personally, I think it’s a step back ergonomically in spite of what BMW wants us to believe. And after working all day gawking at a computer monitor, I appreciate relief from it in the car. Will it catch on? Would not surprise me either way, whether it flourished or it failed. Rapidly changing digital technology (everything is old after a week) could make it problematic as a fixture in cars.
  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    Riez, I’ll disagree with you regarding the Pontiac and GTO communities. If it seems to you that they rate the body styling of the 04 GTO a 5, I believe you are missing their takes. And your comment about its exterior styling being “heavily savaged by GTO loyalists and others” is about as hyperbolic as what you accused the British press to be. Sorry, that’s not the case sir. Over in the GTO discusion group they are much more receptive to the styling than people in this group are to E60. Their biggest grip is the price.
  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    Riez, by "total package" I meant total appearance package. And yes indeed you are right about "design" meaning more than appearance. Should have said "...I see signs of the Americans comin' to their senses first on matters of style."

    With regard to the 8 on GTO exterior style, it's only my opinion, and I really meant it to be seen in context of the 2 which I gave E60. Haven't figured out what to give the GTO interior yet. I kind of like it, hints of the Nissan Z, but have to reckon with that fruit loops color deal they have going on. I think the colors work on the upholstery, but is just too much on the dash elements.
  • Likewise on talking to a Mac fan. Steve Jobs blew it when he refused to have an open platform, although I doubt he had the organizational skills to ever become a high-volume pump-'em-out capitalist. I wonder whether Apple will make a big comeback, though, if IT managers migrate to UNIX (for the uninformed, Apple's OS/10 operating system is UNIX-based).

    As for the iDrive, your point is well-taken. BMW's website confirms that a Voice Recognition system will be available on the 5-series, and it will operate many navigation, communication and iDrive functions. So, apparently the next generation of technology is going into Bimmers soon, although it will coexist with the iDrive, not replace it, at least initially. Having never used iDrive, I can't say whether it's a step backwards. If there is not a simple button to change radio stations on the radio, then iDrive is cumbersome I'd agree. Removing clutter on the dashboard seems like a good thing to me, because I like having a clean, simple cockpit.
  • riezriez Posts: 2,361
    designman... I think both the new E60 5 Series and the upcoming GTO have both gotten bad press and unfair styling commentary from a public who hasn't even seen them in the flesh. I love the E39's exterior styling and I like the E60's styling.

    I've been long-time subscriber to C&D, R&T, MT, Automobile, and AW. Diligently read every issue. I've closely followed the GTO saga for some time. I may buy a 2nd or 3rd model year GTO. I've seen numerous complaint letters from readers and styling comments by press writers in most of these regarding GTO. These comments seem to fall into two categories: (1) too bland or (2) fails to adequately follow historical Pontiac and/or GTO styling cues.

    If Pontiac is so satisfied, with the styling, why are they going to add hood scoop so soon? [They got a zillion complaints from public on this issue.]

    I think people should wait to complain too much about styling until they see one in the flesh and can rub their hands on the sheet metal. I had some doubts about the Z4's pictures, but when a neighbor of mine bought one and I sat in it, the thing is gorgeous! Z4 has taken a ton of unfair and undeserved styling hits from all sides.
  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    Riez, I have to rush off to work... just wanted to acknowledge your post... glad to hear you comment on style since it's my favorite topic. Will keep this going. Thanks.

    Sorry if I'm prone to complaining about E60 but since I have no control over it I find it hard being constructive.
  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    Riez, I never had a problem with photos. In my opinion they don’t lie. And if they do happen to exaggerate features, I can parse them. People don’t have to wait to criticize. They vote with their checkbooks anyway.

    The first shot I saw of the Z4 was the 3/4 frontal. I was ready to buy it. The front is very fluid. Too bad E60 doesn’t have the same theme as the Z4 headlamps. Then, I really liked what they did on the sides. I find those asymmetrical swaths to be the most creative and interesting thing BMW ever did with the palette knife. In my opinion it works in perfect harmony with the conventional front. Good balance between smooth and sharp, straight and curved.

    Then upon seeing the derriere it all went out the window. Where in God’s name did they come up with that foreshortened butt? REALLY disproportionate. And that phony tonneau look of the trunk lip is a caricature of the Miata. The shape of the tail lamps look like a Toucan’s beak. Not creative. Not pleasing. Bad, bad, bad design.

    Bottom line, they overdesigned the Z4. It’s schizophrenic. There are three separate looks--the front, the sides, and the back. The net effect is visual noise. Had they been more conventional with the rear as they were with the front, it would have elegantly framed the Picasso-like touches on the side panels and they might have had a winner for the ages. But no, they were hellbent on being different. Plain ol’ wreckless. Take every spice in the rack and throw it into the sauce. Does not do the trick.

    Exterior aside, I concur with your impression of the interior.

    With regard to the GTO. What many people call bland, I call subtle. If they want to put a scoop on it, it’s because the kids are crying for candy. Had the E60 front looked like the GTO, the way it probably should have, you would have heard considerably less moaning from people in this discussion group.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Exactly, there wouldn't *be* a topic like this one.

    -juice
  • riezriez Posts: 2,361
    Pictures rarely do complete justice to a car. I rarely comment on exterior styling issues until I actually see one in the flesh and can look it over carefully. I reserve judgement until then. That is one reason I love auto shows. You can see, touch, and sit in a ton of cars and compare all at once. I had reservations about Z4 until I saw one and sat in it. Stunningly beautiful in flesh. Hoping E60 ends up being same experience.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    A truly beautiful design looks good in a sketch, on paper, CAD outline, photochop, spy pics, in person, in daylight, under flourescent light, inside and out, etc.

    BMW keeps coming up with excuses. "Sorry the photos are so ugly, wait until you see it, the initial shock will die down and it will be slightly less ugly then".

    The 7 looks even worse in person, you see the proportions of the huncback. *EEK*

    The Z4 looks slightly better in person, but only slightly. The front doesn't match the back. The front is droopy. Looks like the rear had a face-lift and the front didn't.

    What cars look ugly in photos but beautiful in person?

    -juice
  • riezriez Posts: 2,361
    Don't think there is any mass production car built today that will be considered a classic beauty in 25 years. Don't think there has been one built in the past 25 years. But even some old classic beauties weren't initially well recieved. Only time tells.

    Safety equipment, bumpers, need for low CD, etc. impose certain limitations.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Jags look nice, and right away, they don't have to grow on you. Plus you see a corporate identity.

    Most Audis, too, though the new A4 has less character than the old one.

    Mercedes look better than Bimmers virtually across the board now. I'd have said the exact opposite a decade ago.

    To be a "classic" is a very high standard, I'm talking about merely attractive cars.

    -juice
  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    Riez and ateixeira, you both make great points (loved Dame Edna... right on the money). Would enjoy hearing some names. I'm sure we all have many worthy favorites.

    With regard to only BMW, I liked all 6 series except the new one on the horizon (although I think it's the best looking of the new-bangled Barnum & Bailey cars). I also liked the first two generation 7s. Never really liked any of the 5s with the exception of E39.

    I thought the 2002 was clunky looking, but what the hell, I was kid coming out of the muscle-car era. Holds a special place though since that was the car that took my BMW virginity and introduced me to it all. Elevated me to that place where only we in these bimmer forums, and many of the other 1.5% BMW market share owners truly know about.

    The baroque angel? That's an entirely different epoch. History is long and our lives are short. I'm not sure we can make complete sense out of style and culture over the real long haul when it comes to cars.

    BTW, there's a great family photo out there somewhere in the ether with every generation 5 lined up including E60 (the latter is stripped in). The sophistication and "absolute rightness" of E39 hits home in my opinion. In the annals of the 5, it will be considered special for years to come. I'll post the link if I can find it again.
  • riezriez Posts: 2,361
    Beauty is always in the eye of the beholder and usually reflected 25 years later in the value of the car.

    There are only a few mass-produced Detroit cars I truly love designed after 1970. Love the '71-'73 Mustang Mach 1. (See Sean Connery, playing James Bond, drive one in "Diamonds Are Forever.) Love the '74-'77 AMC Matador coupe (See Roger Moore, playing James Bond, drive and fly one in "The Man With the Golden Gun.) I love fastbacks. '81-'83 Chrysler Imperial coupe.

    Not a lot of classic foreign mass-produced cars post-1970, either. E24 BMW 6 Series! BMW 8 Series. (I think the 8 is gorgeous.) MB 6.9 SEL. Jag XJ coupe ('75-'77). Triumph TR-8. First Mazda RX-7.

    Too bad cars post-1970 can't have the beauty of the 1960s. Too many beautiful cars in the 1960s. Toyota 2000GT, Jag E-type, Jag Mark X/MG 420, original Buick Riviera (sp?), Mustang, Camaro, Javelin, etc. All the big 2-door full-size fastbacks. Love the big 2-door Chrysler Imperial ('69-'73). Chrysler Superbirds.
  • How about:

    1970 Plymouth Barracuda/Dodge Challanger - I drooled the first time I saw one and still do today

    Aston DB7 - not mass produced but still too stunning to be left out

    E39 - not playing favorites but I really think that it will still turn heads in 20yrs
  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    Man, need lots of hours to get into the above two posts. Riez, you’re a car man--no doubt. Thinkin’ back to my college years when the school parking lot was a Concours event with those 60s cars.

    My first car was a red 65 Impala SS with... get this... 3-speed manual on the column. Eventually had it converted to a Hearst on the floor. Loved it. However, I had somewhat of an inferiority complex since it only had the 283... wanted that 396. Has anything changed? Nah. Here I am with 530 in hand... 911 and M5 on the brain. That’s gonna happen soon enough. Figuring how it will fit into the family situation.

    Onto to the Karmikan post. When we talk exotics, that’s where the near-perfect scores lie in style design. Wish the rank-and-file car designers would study them more. That Aston is up there Karmikan... REAL tight design. Before I croak I have to do a one- or two-year stint with either an Aston or Lamborghini. Will deal with the disparity in style when I get there. Conventional vs Radical. At the moment... leaning towards the bull... the 04 Gallardo slays me. I have a small problem with the wheels but think I can handle it. Curious how this came out under Audi tutelage. Considering Audi styling directions also, I would have to guess that some decision maker at Audi has his act together. BMW take note please... I'm beggin' you.
  • The E60 was on Test Drive on Speed last night. The major impression it gave me was "ordinary". It seems devoid of that intangible presence on the road and lacks that mildly aggressive/purposeful look from a 3/4 front view that is a hallmark of the E39 and (say) the A4/6.

    Driving dynamics were said to be greatly improved over the E39 but as Test Drive is a sponsored show it's hard to see them saying otherwise.
  • Saw one in the flesh on connection at Oslo/Norway airport. The E60 530i was on display inside the departure lounge. Doors were locked but I did spent a few minutes 'evaluating' the exterior from various angles.

    First off: it looks better in person, really. It has the same visual impacts on me as when I first saw the E39/1997 model and back then I was driving a 1990 535i - progressively different but a step forward in the right direction nevertheless.

    The car looks(and is) slightly bigger than the E39. The front face hints a bit of Pontiac(arggh!) but taken as a whole, it's unmistakenly BMW and an evolution of the E39.

    The back is much much better done than the 7. No hunchback, just a well-integrated trunk lid with the trunk itself. In fact, it reminds me of my E39 more so than the front. The tailights are angled just a tiny bit but not enough to be offensive. The cut-out for the tailpipe was the only complaint I have (as did the Autombile mag).

    The car looks good from every angle. The concave/convex of the hood/door panels were very very subtle and definitely less so than the Z4. But against good (spot)lighting, you can make out the crossover. I like them though.

    Since the doors were locked, I could only peeked inside. The car had black leather interior and was an AT. The interior material used looks rich (as always).

    All told, I don't have an issue with the exterior so what remains is a test drive and a feel of the interior...
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Thats pretty much the impression I had of the car after seeing it on Motorweek last Monday, and again last night during the many ads being run on the car during the Bears game. I guess the dealers will have some in stock in a couple of weeks so I can take an actual "look" at the car, it appears so far to look much better than the 7-Series.

    M
  • I think you will like the E60 even more once you see it in person.

    Like the Z4, my reservations for the Z4/E60 were gone the minute I saw them.

    But unlike the MB E series which is medium-size C with S being the large-size, the 5 series is out there on its own, holding its own in its class. The reason I bringing MB in is I see from your profile you're a big MB fan. I was a MB fan too and was cross-shopping BMW/MB until 1996 when the C/E/S all seems to be deflated/inflated copy of each other. Even more so today. But today, the BMW 3/5(E60)/7 are each visually different and IMO better designed.

    Next year, I might be in the market to replace my E39 and the E60 wins me over once again (over a MB E500/320) like it did in 1997. Looks like I'll never end up with an E.

    Edit: This post is just a casual friendly conversation and in no way meant to ding MB or create a BMW vs MB sub-thread.
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 11,076
    Hint taken. One can usually easily identify when a member is trying to pick a fight vs. just conversing :)

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  • I'm in Germany on business and my rental car is an 04 520i. This is a beautiful car and gets appreciative looks even over here where every other car is a BMW. It drives like a dream despite being low on power (which won't be the case in the states) and easily cruises above 100mph with poise. The idrive system is easy to use and the navi is user-friendly and intuitive. I would wholeheartedly recommend the 04 5 series.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    You might be right, I'm anxiously awaiting the local dealer to put the first new 5 on the lot..can't wait to see it.

    No problem bringing up MB and BMW as I like them both. The E-Class and 5-Series are appreciated by many people for different reasons...mainly luxury for the E and sport for the 5. I see what you're saying about Mercedes' design, but BMW is doing pretty much the same thing with the 5, it being just a toned down version of the 7. I don't blame Mercedes for sticking with what works. The E-Class is still the most popular car in the class, both here and in Europe.

    M
  • Just got back from a big unveiling of the E60. Lots of fanfare, movies, booze & snacks.

    The posts from people who have previously said that the car looks better in real life were correct. The car looks sort of ok, nothing special or striking but not as ugly as in the pics I've seen. The interior is the opposite IMO, it looks way better in pics than when you actually sit in it. I wasn't impressed at all.

    The most telling thing was the reaction of other people, many of whom were not "car people" and hadn't seen the car before. The general impression was one of ambivalence. I heard "like a Buick inside" a couple of times and several "I prefer mine" comments. Lots of furrowed brows but no "goo goo eyes" reactions.

    Good stuff - big trunk, more rear seat room and real cupholders (although they're both on the passenger side of the dash!).

    If the reaction of the 400 people at this event is any indication, BMW may have a minor flop on their hands. I smell re-design in a couple of years.
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