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BMW 5-Series Wagon 2004 Redesign



  • joatmonjoatmon Posts: 315
    riez... I look at the cars, not the marques. Since I drive cars, not marques. Guess what you get depends on what you want and why you want it. Some people have to have a BMW or MB. Some won't consider a particular marque. I've never understood that thinking. If a particular car meets your needs and price range, does the marque matter?

    I didn't make myself clear. I should have said.. "The offerings from X, Y and Z don't appeal to me. It has nothing to do with brand. I just know that most of the cars I ride or drive don't appeal to me. 3s and 5s with sport pack are pretty decent to me. I have a 3 year old and a 6 year old, so I'm going to have a 4 door with decent room. At 55 years of age, the "boy racer" and "cladding laden" type of cars hold no interest to me. The "quite, sterile" cars have little appeal. Wood and "glove soft" leather doesn't make it handle any better. I've heard many complain about the "hard" leather on BMWs. Well, the 86 528e I just sold have hard, thick leather that literally looked like new when 17 years old. Well, the 5 has terrible cupholders they say. OK, you gonna drink or drive? I don't need a 16 function computer, GPS, navigation, DVD, etc, etc, etc, ad infinitum. I want a stout engine, big brakes, manual transmission, bolstered seats and a suspension that hangs onto the road like a 6 month old clings to a pacifier at bed time. Oh, and I don't need that dee-ess-see think that I manually have to turn off every time I jump in the car. Give me a back seat that a normal adult can take a 100 mile trip in without complaining, a trunk that can hold some luggage and I'm good to go. And while they're at it, a little side protection from careless folk's doors would be nice because I drive this car: to work, to play, to the store and all that.

    Now I'll agree that this is the "good old days" of cars. Many fine entries. I just think most go too far to luxury and too little on "driving". Hey, I realize that luxury sells a lot of cars. So make 'em. Just keep a real "sport" model for old guys like me that aren't trying to impress anyone with a nameplate, whose rear end doesn't care about "soft" leather as they search for the apex, and aren't drinking capa what ever as they savor every switchback on a jaunt in the mountains.


    Long live sport sedans,

  • riezriez Posts: 2,361
    joatmon... I'll take sport over luxury any day. Wish car designers and engineers spent more time thinking about things that are really important to the driving experience--e.g., how a driver's back feels after driving 6 hours--than just cramming more unnecessary gadgets into a car (e.g., rain-sensing windshield wipers). Decline of LSD in cars, including (all too unfortunately) BMWs, speaks volumes about what they think about the driving enthusiast's needs. And if so many of those gadgets were optional, buyers could save some money and likely have a more reliable car in the long run.
  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    Riez, have you checked out the WRX STi?
  • riezriez Posts: 2,361
    designman... Yes, I have looked at the "hot" Subarus and Mitsus. Can't say I like their styling but do love their performance. My neighbor has a WRX and swears by it. He races it weekly at the local track and kicks a lot of rear. I'm a fan of naturally aspirated engines. Much prefer I6 to I4. Not a big fan of small motors that have to be revved to very high RPMs in order to get good performance. My compromise was IS300 sedan manual. A lot of fun with some luxury, plus great warranty and service.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    If you think the STi is too flashy, remember you could swap trunks with a standard WRX owner. You'd only have the hood scoop to tell you apart, and the rims. Get silver rims and only enthusiasts would know it was an STi.

    You want a real sleeper? The Forester XT has the same semi-closed deck block and forged pistions, de-tuned to 210hp, but on the dyno they are producing more HP than the WRX (227), so I'd say it's closer to 240, at least. Torque is strong, too.

    The XT and the upcoming Vue Redline might even compete with the X3, at least for some shoppers.

  • BMW sent us dealers a terrible blue demo to show our clients..........many of you are seeing it and getting some bad impressions. The gray looks great and you can only imagine what the perfect color, black or silver. But, don't be so picky. This is the ongoing segment leader and the gap just widened.
  • erickplerickpl Posts: 2,735
    Yesterday. It was the silver 530 without the SP. I didn't get a chance to drive it though.

    My thoughts: From a driver's point of view, the seating felt very nice. The steering position and pedal positions were very comfortable for me. The automatic shifter felt fine, though I'd like to see a manual and get a chance to drive it with the SP.

    The center console is interesting with 3 areas for storage, though my cell phone will go in there perfectly. Side storage seems adequate for my needs.

    The dash - I miss the cockpit feel of the previous generation 5 (and current 3). But I love the Z4's dash, and can see the similarity in theme, and have no major complaints. I just felt more snug with the older dash layout.

    I like the dial controls for the climate controls.

    The iDrive - I want to play with it more to see what it can do and how intuitive it is. Will it be voice activated at some point? If so, great. But I think I'll end up putting my spare glasses on the ledge in front of it. 8)

    The back seat - WAY comfortable for me. I'm 5'11" with long legs and I was able to sit back there easily with the front seat all the way back and not bump the seat. Yes, getting my feet out was interesting, but once in, no problem. They feel very supportive and comfortable. The center console for the rear has cupholders and I like the vents in the rear of the center console for the back passengers. The door handles inside would look nicer if they were covered in the same wood trim material as the rest of the dash was (this one had the poplar wood trim). Head room was more than enough for me with about 3" above my head while sitting in the back seat.

    Truck space looked very spacious and looks like it could hold quite a bit. The tool kit also contained a first aid kit. Is this now standard on US spec 5's?

    The wheels - okay BMW. We need some more options besides what you started with here.

    Overall styling - the sides look a little big, but the car has a very agressive, hunkered down look that really appeals to me. From head on, this car has a sinister look about it. Guess that is why people are calling the lights devil eyes. :)

    The back end didn't look bad to me, but it didn't really stand out either. I can think of several cars that have similar tails, but to me it was just clean, but nothing spectacular. Nothing to really make me wretch or knock me off my feet.

    Now to test the SP and the active steering and roll stabilization.

    Just my .02 worth. Just keep in mind, styling is very subjective. How would you guys rate the 5 styling to the Lincoln LS?

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    The LS loses points for being perhaps too conservative, but still, I wouldn't call it ugly, and the 5 is (to my eyes).

  • bmwsellerbmwseller Posts: 200
    I've shown the new 2004 5-series to dozens of clients now and the response is overwhelmingly positive. A few people have commented that a body side molding seems to be missing. In a way, I agree. It will be more susceptible to door dings but I think that it would detract from the tall appearance of the doors. We have a plan to offer door ding removal for clients that feel like that is a serious issue. The car looks strong and fast, very fast and powerful. We were tired of the old style and love the new look. Kudos to bangle..........BMW remains the segment leader and just widened the gap.
  • jrock65jrock65 Posts: 1,371
    So, the MSRP, similarly configured as a base TL:

    ES330 = $34,980
    G35 = $34,095
    TL = $33,195

    TL will be at $33,000 for a while, while the ES330 and the G35 can be had for about $32,000. Whatever your choice, I feel that all of these are fantastic deals. Just four or five years ago, you had to pay $50,000 to get a car with the features and performance of these cars.

    For some cars, such as the 2004 530i, I guess you still pay $50,000. Configuring the 530i as close as possible to a base TL, the MSRP is $50,220. To be fair, the 530i has more standard features and a better combination of sport and luxury (good quality interior with RWD) than the TL, G35 or ES330, but I just don't think it's worth the extra $17,000.
  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    Erickpl, glad you raised the question about the styling of the new 5 in comparison to the Lincoln LS.

    I believe the LS clearly influenced the ugly concave details on the beltline and bonnet of the new 5. The LS is not as egregious because they didn’t exaggerate it. Where E60 fails is not only the unappealing proportions and details, but the fact that the details scream for attention.

    Good design, WHETHER CONSERVATIVE OR EXTREME, must have a balance of details. They can work in unison, harmony or contrast, but no one aspect should upstage the total look.

    The details of E60 do not serve the total look. They are bold and work independently of each other, like a package of random unassembled parts.
  • bmwsellerbmwseller Posts: 200
    guys.......come on. Let's not compare the new 5 to a lincoln, a ford product. There is no comparison in any logical sense.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    If clients are coming in, they've probably already seen it and are among those that like it, and are shopping (obviously). So those aren't really a representative sample.

    The eye lashes are far too "Dame Edna" for me, Autoweek went as far as posting a "Seperated at Birth?" photo of the two side-by-side in their BWTM section (FWIW I called it first, right here in this topic).

    I don't find it particularly flattering to be compared to a transvestite in the top weekly enthusiast publication.

  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    Fact is, BMWs have resembled Fords in many ways with regard to style. E39 has early Taurus cues. And while we're on the subject of BMW's follower role in this area, their signature grille came from Pontiac long ago. It isn't the other way around. BMW could learn a few lessons from Ford. And the first is to start analyzing why Taurus was the biggest cash cow in automotive history.
  • karmikankarmikan Posts: 116
    Wow, nicely said in your earlier post!

    I think that you've encapsulated a "feeling" many people, including myself have had regarding the E60 design. The eye doesn't take in the car as a whole but tends to pick out specific details or apparent discontinuities.

    I've just tested this with an E class MB and my eye took in the overall shape first then started to examine the details. With the E60 exactly the reverse is true. Very interesting.
  • bmwsellerbmwseller Posts: 200
    BMW gets styling cues from Pontiac and Ford? The kidney grill came about in the 20's. In fact BMW notifies Pontiac each year that their design is being closely monitored and the kidney style grill is a BMW patent protected trademark. The style of the new 5 is supposed to be cutting edge and the people who BUY them don't want everybody liking them. They want that exclusivity that you don't find in a Taurus. A taurus.....come on. The new 5 looks more powerful, tall and fast. The headlights in themselves are a work of art.
  • The 1939-1940 BMW 328 had the kidney grille in a pretty close interpretation to what it is today. You would suggest that Pontiac had their corporate nose trade marked at the same time?

    It is fine not to like a certain design language, it is something else to use false information for the arguments' sake. Jeez.
  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    bmwseller, and ergozoom... the “kidney” grille appears in the 30s. BMWs first car the 1928 Dixi 3/15 PS did not have it. Neither did the 1932 BMW AM4. However, the 1932 Pontiac 302 did indeed have it. And a year after that we see it for the first time on the BMW 303. Curiously, not only is the grille almost a dead ringer but the similar, successive designation numbers seem to be an admission on BMW’s part. Who gets the jump on patents, trademarks and copyrights first is one thing. The truth of matters is another. BTW, ergozoom, I believe the 328 came out in 1936.

    I forgive both of you for your self-righteousness.
  • mch2mch2 Posts: 36
    bmwseller, why blue indeed. I agree with you that blue is horrible, a very dull color that does absolutely nothing for the car.

    I saw the 2004 530i in person for the first time this past saturday. I flat out do not like the exterior, not so much because it is ugly but because I found it bland and not very distinctive. From the side it looked like a Camry or an Altima. Nothing about the way the car looked moved me and for 50k I want to be moved. I want to walk out of my house everyday and say "man, what a nice car" something I do everyday when I see my 2003 530i.

    As too whether or not the car will be successful my guess would be that it probably will be. There were several people at the dealership who seemed genuinely excited about the car and were impressed with the new styling.
  • jtulljtull Posts: 4
    I did some research on 03 530i vs. 04 530i and 03 540i vs. 04 545i. Interesting results. 03 530i w/ auto,sport,xenon,premium,cold weather...$48,770. 04 530i same equipment...$53,500. $4730 increase!!! 03 540i w/auto,sort,cold weather...$57,195. Plus GAS GUZZLER TAX (rip off) $1300. Total $58,495. 04 545i same equipment...$59,045. Only a $550 increase, and you go from 292hp to 325hp. Much better value. Dealer also gave me a $1500 discount. I,m expecting mine Mid-November.
  • bmwsellerbmwseller Posts: 200
    I was wrong and have been corrected. True enough the first kidney grille did appear on the stunning 303 model in the 30's as stated by DESIGNMAN. Your forgiveness is appreciated. Fortunately, the new 5 does evoke some passion in it's appearance. I don't like the wheels on the sport package.... too plain.
  • Very interesting price comparison from year to year price increase. If you would be so kind to clarify--did the dealer give you a discount of $1500 off the MSRP of $54,045, or was that figure what you actually paid? Also, did he offer any discount off the 530i's MSRP? If not, why not? It appears that you ordered your car specifically. If that was not the case, is your having to wait until mid-November because the 545i will not be in the showrooms until then. Congrats---it seems you are getting one heck of an automobile, but what about the difference in the gas mileage?
  • jtulljtull Posts: 4
    MSRP $59,045. No gas guzzler tax. $1500 discount. Paid $57,545. With new 6 speed Steptronic, gas mileage is within 1-2 mpg of 530. 6th gear makes big diff with mileage. Had a 2002 corvette w/ 6speed manual and got 28mpg. 530 would have cost me $52,300. Diff was $5245. I ordered it specifically, and expect delivery by mid-Nov.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Nothing is truly original, everything has been done before by someone, but new combinations of cues can be good or bad.

    When I see the new 5's taillights, I see resemblance to the Kia Rio and Toyota Echo. I'm sure Kia and Toyota are flattered, but BMW probably isn't.

    I really think that Volvo, Mercedes, and Audi had styling nailed down pat. BMW is going through a bad phase and once Bangle finally gets fired I'm sure they'll bounce back.

  • bmwsellerbmwseller Posts: 200
    Our first stock unit just arrived. We ordered the 2004 530i in titanium silver with black leather, premium package, cold weather package and xenon headlights.
    It looks incredible in this much more desireable color combination than the blue with beige and the MSRP is right at 50 even.
    I read in automotive news that the big three auto makers current average residual on a three year old car is 39%. OUCH!!! Like the looks of the car or not, the 'bimmers hold their value and market forces are a great telling sign of the quality of the car. This edgey look is just perfect for BMW. We do want to alienate certain segments of the market. Exclusivity evokes passion nothing like you'll find in a KIA, Toyota, etc....
        Take a real good look at those taillights, the headlights. The bold, powerful tall stance is strong and athletic. KEEP LOOKING!
  • Thank you for being so forgiving :-). The 328 appeared in '38, if the memory serves me right. There is a gorgeous one in the BMW museum in Munich.

    Still, to claim that BMWs are influenced by Pontiacs and the 90s Taurus, hmmm.... it's mildly amusing.
  • karmikankarmikan Posts: 116
    Not buying the "keep looking" suggestion. The Grand Am cladding looked stupid when it was introduced and still does, the Edsel was ugly when it was new and it still is. A good design is a good design and a poor design doesn't improve by just looking at it.

    You mention exclusivity evoking passion. Exclusivity doesn't evoke passion, a great car does. Ergonomic and dynamic brilliance in the E60 won't get a chance to evoke any passion if potential buyers can't get past the disjointed looks.
  • joatmonjoatmon Posts: 315
    This whole E39 vs. E60 thing is very interesting. Will the E60's sales flourish or flounder? Will they retain the old customer base and continue with unparelled loyalty? Will new customers flock to BMW centers and stand in line to buy? I don't have a clue! My personal opinion changes almost daily.

    We can all agree that the E39 is a classic and attacted many loyal driving enthusiasts.

    I recall being here before. Let me explain. I've owned Acura Legends. Had a 91 and put 99k on it. Great highway cruiser for a FWD car. I traded on a 94 Legend. Again, great car. Well, in 97, I started looking. No more Legend. We now have the RL. The RL was bigger and better in every quantifiable way. But, what a dissapointment. Now, don't get me wrong. The RL is a good car. I recommend them often. Especially used ones. Check out their resale. Nothing like the Legend resale. The Legend nailed it. Now it is a FWD car, but other than that, it was spot on. After putting 150k+ on 2 of them, I don't know what I would suggest as an improvement.

    My E39 has that same "right fell" just as my Legends did. The Legends and E39s are so desirable. The RL is not, although it is a good car.

    Will the E60 be in the E39/Legend class in seven years, or will it be another RL?

    Oh, yea, my main point is this: The average Legend buyer and the average RL buyer are different. A little overlap, but very different on the whole. Legend buyers cross shopped E34s and E39s. RL buyers cross shop Lexus LS400/430s.

    Hey, just one guy's view,

  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    ergozoom... your memory is deceiving you. Among other things, the internet is the world’s biggest history book. The BMW 328's arrival was 1936. Look it up.

    Also, I’m wondering if the luxury-car status factor is limiting your ability to be objective. Consider form vs function and if you can’t separate the two, there’s no use discussing styling with you.

    BMW is a lot of things but fashion leader it is not. I have one because it is the best driving, best engineered sedan wrapped in what I consider to be a conservative Brooks Brothers cloak. I waited a year for the new 5 and like many others was let down because the form has changed radically instead of evolving gracefully. I wonder what would happen to Brooks if they suddenly tried their hand at trend-setting Italian fashion, then tried to pawn it off as being original.

    As I have said before, if I am wrong in my assessment of BMW’s fashion gambit, I will admit it when that time comes, if it comes. In the meantime, look around you--the BMW cloaks of recent years are far from original.
  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    Karmikan... thanks!

    Joatmon... good introspective post!
This discussion has been closed.