BMW 5-Series Wagon 2004 Redesign



  • bmwgurubmwguru Member Posts: 51
    The Z8 is not a Chris Bangle design. It is too clean and reflective of BMW's history. I also hate the fact the Z8 is ending production. It is also, in my humble opinion, one of the best designs to come out in a long, long time.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    6_speed: you really think so? BMW has been almost universally criticized for the "same sausage, different length" styling. That's probably why Chris Bangle is trying so hard.

    The 7 looks different, but once the 5 is out they'll still have similar styling, and probably the next 3 when that comes.

    I can see that he's trying to add some character back (by the way, your 1990 5 gets an A+ from me in styling terms). Just lose the hunch backs, the cars look fat.

    The A6 and A8 look a lot different, especially in person (they had both at the NY Auto Show). The A4 is similar to the A6, though.

  • 6_speed6_speed Member Posts: 37
    I guess that only time will tell if Bangle is setting a trend that will seem obvious in the future or if he is creating a family of Azteks.

    Please don't mention Azteks and BMWs in the same sentence ;-)

    The Azteks are ugly from any and all angles. There is absolutely zero redeeming value, IMO. Wait, I take that back. If an Aztek rolls over, you can use it as a trash bin, so there... If not for the SUV craze, it would have sold exactly zero.

    The new 7/5/Z4 might be controversial but hardly in the same league as the Azteks. IMO, the 7 has a avant garde presence. Much like the controversial new Lexus SC430 which I like. It has some American styling cues, slightly different from the strictly Teutonic in the previous. I think the 5 will go down the same path as the 7 and Z4 - controversial but a welcome change when compared to Audi and Mercedes.

    BMW has been almost universally criticized for the "same sausage, different length" styling. That's probably why Chris Bangle is trying so hard.

    Yes, that was the case and exactly my comments about Mercedes. Chris has a tough job. He could have easily gone down the 'safe' path like Mercedes did.

    The A6 and A8 look a lot different, especially in person (they had both at the NY Auto Show). The A4 is similar to the A6, though.

    I should add that I was looking at the current A4/6/8 from the front and front 3/4 and it is hard to tell which is which unless you're really up close. Mercedes is like that. BMW was like that. I think the new 5(from the photos) and 7 looks different enough.

    Just lose the hunch backs, the cars look fat.

    You mean the new 5 looks fat because of the hunchback? Looking at it independently from the rest of the car, yes it looks kinda fat (like the Camry). But overall and with a nice set of wheels/tires, it should look fine. In fact, if you compare the back of a 1990 5 vs 1997 5, you can say the same.
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H EdmundsAdministrator Posts: 11,123
    Though I'm very appreciative of the most recent return to civil discussion, any further hostile conversation will cause at least the temporary closure of this thread. Reading endless posts with themes like "my car can beat up your car," and "ego challenge 2003" isn't of interest to most members (and most importantly, to me :)).



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  • subie_wrxsubie_wrx Member Posts: 15
    As a former 3er owner who is saving for a 540 wagon, I can definitely say it won't be an E60. It's true that car styles can grow on you, but some cars are aesthetically (and sometimes timelessly) appealing from the moment you first see them. For me the E46 and E39 fit that category. I have my WRX wagon for ugly - I don't need to spend BMW bucks for it.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    I like the Z4, FWIW. There's a design that looks better in person, particularly the rear quarter view. I also like the logo/light on the sides. The front could be better, but I'll take it gladly over the 7 and the 5.

    None of them are Aztec ugly, I agree.

    The "fat" one is the 7, that has the worst hunchback. But the 5 looks a little heavier too, the pillars look thicker, there's less glass it seems.

    I prefer big green houses.

    It may be a trend, though. Dodge showed the Magnum at NY (surprise, their stand drew HUGE crowds), and the Chrsyler 300C. Both also have really thick, beefy pillars. I'd be worried about blind spots, not sure I like that trend.

  • karmikankarmikan Member Posts: 116
    I used the Aztek as a metaphor (pretty bad one though, it's in-a-league-of-its-own ugly). Actually, if you look up "ugly" in a dictionary it says "Aztek".

    Does anyone know where Bangle worked prior to joining BMW? Are there many examples of his previous projects on the road?
  • bmwgurubmwguru Member Posts: 51
    I believe he worked for Italdesign. I know he gets at least partial credit for the Fiat Coupe'.
  • carshopper46carshopper46 Member Posts: 24
    I just came back from a trip to France including a visit to Paris and also saw a new 5 in Paris- parked outside of their Assembly Nationale (legislature). Mule or whatever, it was the real thing. It's a good looking vehicle although I don't know why they eliminated the body side molding- without an aftermarket addition of molding, you know its only a matter of time before those panels are full of dings and nicks.
      Shippo, by any chance did you see the vehicle in the same place? Probably some well placed French govt. official getting the perks of office!
  • shiposhipo Member Posts: 9,148
    Another sighting, I love it! The one that I saw was on the "Periferique" a few klicks west of CDG airport. I am going to be back there the weekend of 31-May/1-June, so I will take my digital camera, go by the Assembly National and try for a shot. I will be more than happy to post it if I get it.

    Thanks for the "Heads Up".

    Best Regards,
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    Being a Subaru owner, I'm glad they hired Andreas Zapatinas away from Alfa Romeo. Guess where he was before Alfa? You guessed it, BMW.

    In a way Bangle is screwing up what Zapatinas (and his successor) did at BMW.

  • carshopper46carshopper46 Member Posts: 24
    I don't know if the car will be there again (of course) but it was parked in what I guess is the back of the building (opposite the side that has the columns) in a small plaza/square.
     Later on my trip, after I had seen that car, I stopped in to a BMW dealership to see if they had any on the floor but they did not. The one salesman there was busy and I didn't have time to wait to talk with him to get any further info.
  • chrisjoochrisjoo Member Posts: 27
    Do BMW plan to make all new 2004 5 series with AWD option like 3 series and Audi A6?
  • alphamalealphamale Member Posts: 15
    A more "Conservative" form of unattractiveness than the 7, but not as good as the Z4 (which I almost like).
        It's not ugly, it's just not attractive, or even "conservatively handsome".
        And it looks too similar to the current one, which is too wimpy for me.
  • affyaffy Member Posts: 19
    I never own a BMW before and is willing to consider the new 5-series.

    I hope BMW give have a new options of a new panaromic sunroof like the new E-Class.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    FWIW, letter writers to Autoweek were also unanimous in disliking the new 5's styling.

    The moonroof in the E is very cool by the way.

  • pecclespeccles Member Posts: 52
    Does anyone know if the rear seat legroom has
    increased for '04 and by how much?
  • corkdsp1corkdsp1 Member Posts: 9
    the backseat has more legroom in 2004, Most reviews are not disliking the styling just commenting its a departure/bold. Otherwise the 4 or 5 reveiews I have read have been outstanding. Car is going to be a winner. I cant wait
  • b4zb4z Member Posts: 3,372
    This happened in Germany and the car went into someone's house.
    Very bad accident. 66a4ee19bcd570f&threadid=30862
  • bmwdriver02bmwdriver02 Member Posts: 46
    That accident looks pretty bad. And its a 2004. The driver did survive as the article said. Wow the car actually went into a house. Considering the driver lived, maybe I should consider the 2004 530i (whenever the 2005 model comes out). Choices, choices...
  • shiposhipo Member Posts: 9,148
    It is truly amazing that the driver was not DOA, however, apparently he did die a few days later from massive head trauma. :-(

    Best Regards,
  • bmwdriver02bmwdriver02 Member Posts: 46
    DOA, whats that mean?
  • shiposhipo Member Posts: 9,148
    DOA = Dead On Arrival (usually to the Hospital)
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    I guess DSC stands for Driving Stupidly causes Collision!

  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    Not a good sign for the i-Drive:

    it still took three BMW engineers nearly 10 minutes to switch our test car's system from German to English when we asked them to help us perform this function

    And in the other article, saying the new 5 "isn't that scary" is more a back-handed complement, no?

    I agree with the author that the 92-96 models were by far the best looking.

  • shiposhipo Member Posts: 9,148
    As for "whining", take a note, I am not a whiner, never have been, never will be. Take another note, the only whining I hear on this discussion is from the folks who don't like hearing from other folks who don't like the E60.

    To me, how a car looks is a significant portion of the "Grade" that I give said car. A car could have all of the performance and other goodies that I want in a car, and be ugly (take yet another note, I deem the E60 to be ugly, just not as ugly as a CTX for example), and that would be enough to cause me to look elsewhere.

    Regarding 5-Series models gone by, I would be proud to have a 1992-1995 5-Series in my stable, and I am proud to have a 2002 5-Series as my current daily driver. I find it highly unlikely that I will have an E60, unless (or should I say, until) the inevitable ~3 year face lift proves to be more visually attractive.

    Best Regards,
  • riezriez Member Posts: 2,361
    While I agree that I want looks and performance, the latter is more important than the former. There is nothing worse than an attractive performance car that lacks performance. Anyone remember the recent Dodge Avenger? Well, I guess a garish add-on kit that ruins looks and doesn't benefit performance is worse. Anyone remember the mid-1970s Pinto-based Mustang II King Cobra? Take an awful performing Mustang and make it look like a streetwalker at the end of the night.

    If the new 5 Series performs, she'll sell. Indications are good performance wise.

    Don't judge a book by pictures of the book cover. You have to see the car in the flesh, touch her, walk around her, and drive her. Only then will you know if the car looks up to your standards.
  • toronto_guytoronto_guy Member Posts: 22
    I can't believe you read the lengthy articles and picked the only 2 negative things to comment on (actually 1) and ignore the 50 positive things.

    If you read the article closely on the Idrive system he also said, "And if it's all still too confusing, most of the functions can be invoked from dedicated dash-mounted controls or from the standard-fitment multi-function steering wheel."

    That's right you can have the choice of boring manual controls like every other car, or Idrive. But let me point out all medium to high end cars will have an "idrive" type system within the next 10 years allowing internet access and email retrieval. All the major car companies are working on it and are getting ready for release. So get used to it.

    As far as "isn't that scary" the author was comparing it to other vehchles..calling them scary. The quote is "Let's start with the styling. Maybe we've become inured to BMW's new design direction after the 7 and the Z4. But the new 5 just isn't that scary"

    Not really sure where the author stated that "the 92-96 models were by far the best looking.". I really think you should read the articles more thoroughly if you are going to draw from them.

    But they did say "While the 2004 BMW 5 Series is considered a complete redesign, the changes to its basic character seem more like subtle refinement. It was already a comfortable, capable and highly dynamic machine. The latest version is still all of these things, just a bit more so. You could say it's still basically the same vehicle, but now "it goes up to 11."

    As far as "shippo"'s comment, "how a car looks is a significant portion of the "Grade" that I give said car". I really don't have much comment for that as you obviously should be at the Home and Garden site critiquing bedrooms. And leave this place for actual drivers.
  • sassasassa Member Posts: 2
    BMW has developed one of the best diesel engines, but refuses to bring it to the U.S. I have driven MBZ diesels for over 20 years, but they do not live up the the performance of BMW. The new 5 series is the perfect opportunity for them to show their leadership in their diesel technology in the U.S. Please BMW show how you can grab MBZ owners away to your garage. The 5 series design is way superior to how the E-Series limps along with only evolutionary changes and only adds more technology that they can not maintain their quality providing owners with above average visits to the service bay. Again, BMW please show your leadership and bring us your diesel!!!!
  • bmwgurubmwguru Member Posts: 51
    I think you'll see BMW bring diesels over in 2007 whan low-sulfer diesel fuels are required. Diesel fuel in the U.S. has high sulfer content compared to European fuels. When they can have one emmission standard they will bring diesels here. It would be expensive to try to convert to U.S. standards for a car that right now has limited appeal to the U.S. customer.
  • shiposhipo Member Posts: 9,148
    Back in 1998 when I first started contemplating BMW ownership, I was really turned off by the generally prevailing stereotype regarding the arrogant folks who drove BMWs, and I did not want to become associated with folks of that ilk in any way shape or form. Fortunately after a single test drive (yes I drove it, not my gardener or my chauffeur for that matter); I was convinced that I would deal with the negative stigma and move on. At the same time as I was shopping, I was also starting to contribute here in the town hall, and was impressed with the general decorum of the folks in the BMW discussions, not at all what the stereotype might suggest. There are however, exceptions, and as a rule, the folks who stand out as being more closely aligned with the “Stereotypical BMW owner” are folks who seem to be intolerant of the opinions of others.

    For the record, I do not like the E60, and if that offends anybody, that is not my problem. For those who like the E60, I can only say that I am glad they have found a car that they like.

    Best Regards,
  • karmikankarmikan Member Posts: 116
    I really doubt that all high-end cars will have versions of idrive (with internet bells and whistles) in 10 yrs. This isn't some abstract guess, I work in a field closely associated with the telematics industry.

    I was at the Telematics conference in Detroit in 2000 when Ford and Qualcomm announced Wingcast, an all singing and dancing 'mobile office' initiative. There were presentations on getting stock quotes, booking hotels, making dinner reservations, having your car transmit error codes directly to your dealership then check your calendar and book an appointment and on and on .....

    Meanwhile, OnStar gave one clear message - "you're driving on a deserted road at 3 am, hit a tree and are injured, how do you get help?" That simplicity really resonated and the "safety and security" aspect of telematics became the predominant theme. At a time when cell phone use is being legislated away, the trend is for less distractions while driving, not more. Wingcast folded in 2002 and OnStar turned a profit in Q1 2003.

    The problem with idrive is that it requires concentration and eyes off the road to operate (unless you want to pull over and stop to change a few settings). Ok, so many idrive controls are replicated elsewhere, then why have idrive? BMW could replace the manual/visual components of idrive with voice commands, but again, why have idrive in the first place?

    It seems that BMW have taken a "because we can" attitude in developing idrive. The best guess is that it will either disappear or evolve to be an entirely different system more in line with safety considerations and consumer demand.
  • zhangqjzhangqj Member Posts: 15
    I have been following the development of E60 with keen interest, paying especially close attention to 545i. All indication seems that the Active Front Steering will be standard on 545i6. I am real worried about this AFS. In addition to the high rate of failures (as seen by many testers in Sardinia), what worries me even more is when it actually does work. Quoting Richard Bremner of (I can't find the link any more) "the problem was all in our heads - literally. ... Your brain was geared itself to the steering's rate of response around town. Back on the open road, you're dealing with a different steering calibration. ... My colleague underestimated the amount he needed to turn the wheel to take right turn, which certainly startled the driver in the Punto coming the other way."

    I understand the brain will adjust and remember after certain practice. However the thought of my better half who, most likely an occassion driver of the bimmer because of MT, may not fully master this AFS and find herself staring at an oncoming truck, is really troubling.
  • riezriez Member Posts: 2,361
    zhangqi... The reviews I've read in the dedicated automotive press from knowledgeable experts, including those who test drove cars with and without AFS, have been positive. I have yet to find a negative discussion about AFS from various sources.

    Have you checked out Edmunds first thoughts on the new 5 Series?
  • snagielsnagiel Member Posts: 750
    Mike, please e-mail me when you have a minute: [email protected] Thanks.
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H EdmundsAdministrator Posts: 11,123
    Recent "First Drive" review at Edmunds can be found here.


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  • bjoyebjoye Member Posts: 35
    As for the look of the new 5, I really like it a lot. I own an '01 525, and my wife has an '02 X5 and we both really love the new body styles. I think the new 7 is one of the hottest cars around. But beauty is in the eye of the beholder. If you don't like it, that's a shame since the 5 is probably the best car in its class.

    As for the i-drive, I was hoping they would have simplified it a lot from the 7, but it doesn't really sound like they have. I would actually prefer some other standard luxury features like a great in-dash 6-disc changer, auto-headlights and such that other cars in this class already offer. However, I do give BMW a lot of credit for pushing the technology envelope. You have to take some chances and go out on a limb in order to revolutionize things instead of just incremental upgrades. Just my opinion.
  • 6_speed6_speed Member Posts: 37
    Like I said in an earlier post, it took me a while to adjust to the 1997 5 when it debuted. I was in my 1990 5 and have grown to love its look. But the reason I bought the 1990 5 was performance(esp handling). There were other cars(e.g. Mercedes) that look better but since I was the one doing the driving, performance was more important.

    In my opinion, my 1990 5 looks as good as my 1997 5. But in the performance department, we are talking about 7 years of engineering refinement in the works. That is a hard fact to ignore especially from a company like BMW. So when I test drove the 1997 5, it was its performance that won me over, not the looks.

    The 2004 5 would have to work the same magic in the performance department (its look is fine) for me to sign those papers.

    I somewhat agree that some people buy BMW for the badge - the “Stereotypical BMW owner" but for me that was the furthest from my mind.

    FWIW, I think the M coupe would have been perfect if I don't already have my 2-seater sports car which has comparable performance.
  • zhangqjzhangqj Member Posts: 15
    Yes I have read Edmunds first drive of E60 as well as many others including the one written by Richard Bremner that I quoted in a previous post.

    Several testers mentioned that AFS failed during hard winding road testing, and they had to use Microsoft solutions (shut down and power up) to reboot. Sometimes even the reboot failed to bring it back on. They also mentioned that BMW engineers on hand had no clue what the problem was. They suspected something electrical (sounds familiar? E65?). Someone called the first batch of E60 buyers "beta testers", I would agree, having been a "beta tester" myself years ago. What a mistake!

    Back to AFS, most press reviews on E60 were written by people who, I would say, are very experienced, very good drivers. However that can't be said for general 5-series buyers. How many E39 are auto? How many E39 are driven by women? How many are old?

    My point is not to start a debate of auto vs manual or about women or old driver, it is rather that the vast majority of future E60 owners will not have Michael Shumacher-like reflexes or experience to deal with a sudden malfunction of something as critical as steering wheel. If one person gets injured due to this new technology, that is one too many to me.

    So I wish the AFS will be a STAND-ALONE option (not bundled with ZSP) or can be turned off intentionally, to give people a choice.
  • 6_speed6_speed Member Posts: 37
    Yes, I agree with you. In fact it should be an OPTION, maybe in a luxury package. I don't want to have to pay for it and have to leave it OFF all the time.

    AFS are for Cadillac and 18-wheeler, no?
  • bmwgurubmwguru Member Posts: 51
    This is exactly the problem with car companies today. BMW had a good thing going,sales increases every year for about 15 years, and they go to a new design team. I-Drive is a good idea but nobody was clammoring for it. We all know how to work a radio or climate control system. There wasn't a need to reinvent the wheel and yet that is what is happening. AFS sounds like a nightmare to me. What exactly is wrong with the handling of BMW's products right now? It seems like to me, that BMW is selling its' soul to pander to American driving habits. To create a buzzword like "I-Drive orAFS"in orderto have selling points instead of reinforcing its'engineering superiority.This is what Chris Bangle's legacy will be. A car company that is losing direction chasing techno-geeks instead of building the "Ultimate Driving Machine".
  • karmikankarmikan Member Posts: 116
    I'm originally from the UK and I like to keep in touch by reading Brit newspapers on the web. Here's an extract from a review of the E60:

    "How does the car look? As if it has been got at by double agents from Japan. Unimpressive flanks, frontal view like a Nissan. A bit of a clunker, actually.

    Interior is nice, though? All right. A bit cramped and clinical, decorated a bit like an intensive care ward with the emphasis on switches and less on luxuriating. And I doubt BMW's claim that you can get four golf bags in the boot. We can test that later.

    So good points? Technically astonishing, probably as good, if not better, as anything on the road.

    Bad points? Clinical, dowdy, passionless"

    In a related article on idrive:

    "Perhaps Audi and BMW and Mercedes make these gadget-laden monsters, not because anybody knows how they work, but because they have got them and you have not; it is motoring one-upmanship"

    I think that this is the first time I've read "passionless" when describing a BMW, a real pity I think. Not a real surprise that it's "technically astonishing" though.
  • seivwrigseivwrig Member Posts: 388
    Well Guv. I tend to find the British press to be quite critical of BMW especially after the Rover spat. I enjoy reading Top Gear, What Car and Car magazines. But the British media are quite brutal especially given the only descent British cars are track cars like the Catherham and Lotus.

    The new E60, though not a work of art, will probably still be technical superior to the competition. Regardless of what the British media say, there will probably be plenty of punters that will dole out 50K quid to pay for it (pending they don't buy a 520i).
  • karmikankarmikan Member Posts: 116
    Oh-Oh, Brit-bashing!

    Yes I know that the Brit media is cruel, vindictive and sensationalist but anyone who can single-handedly humiliate the Royal Family can't be all bad.

    It's also true that the Brits have built cars that make the Trabant look good. But that's just part of a master plan to breed legions of shadetree mechanics who found innovative ways to keep their cars running, even when it rains.

    Strangely enough, most of the engines and/or chassis that the IRL and CART depend on are built in the UK. And in F1, most of the cars are designed and built in the UK. Even Ferrari were also-rans until they hired a couple of Brit designers (heresy but true).

    Motto: "we can build race cars that can go 0-100mph-0 in 5 sec but we can't make passenger cars that can make it around the block if it's cloudy." Oh well.
  • riezriez Member Posts: 2,361
    zhangqi... For a positive perspective, you might check out the November 2002 issue of Roundel (BMW CCA), pages 52-55. Lengthy article dedicated to subject. Article titled "Active Steering: One day behind the wheel will make you a convert to BMW's newest attempt to make you a perfect driver." Discusses how they comparison drove 10 530i. Five with active steering and five without.

    Excerpt: "The non-AS car felt like a tank compared to the AS car. Active steering made a tremendous difference in how easy it was to change lanes but still keep the car under complete control--a difference noted by every journalist on hand. From that moment on, I knew that in the never-ending battle for technological supremacy, BMW had a new weapon in its arsenal--one which I can't wait to arm myself."
  • joatmonjoatmon Member Posts: 315

    Well, I'm 10 years older than the average BMW buyer, I'm 54. I just bought a 530i, 5 speed, sport pack. Well, I know my reflexes don't match the Formula 1 drivers, do yours? Hey, what's your point. you want me to drive something else? Just send it over and I'll consider it.

  • seivwrigseivwrig Member Posts: 388
    I'm British also. From the East Anglia area. But yes, I have had a serious problem with British track supremecy but lack of creating a real customer car that works. Jags are beautiful cars but you need to be a mechanic to own one before Ford too over. Most British auto makers don't get it until someone bales them out or take them over. Yes, alot of FIA F1 and WRC teams are based out of Southern England, but who cares. Why can't the British build something like the BMW? The Rovers that are create nowadays have some BMW still left in their gene pool especially the 2002/3 Range Rover. As much as the British press wants to bash the E60, I don't see anything better coming out of Merry olde England.
  • riezriez Member Posts: 2,361
    Check out the May 26, 2003, issue of AutoWeek. Cover story titled "First Drive 5: Is the 2004 BMW 5 Series Still the World's Best Sedan?"

    Some great photographs. This was BMW's press introduction on Sardinia. Appears they were driving mostly (only?) new 530i. Drove both 6-speed manual and automatic, but they didn't drive SMG

    Interesting story. Enjoyed their comments about AFS. As they put it, AFS in a slalom "really shined. It guided the car through the cones faster and with less effort than the passive steering, which seemed to fight you rather than assist after several hard, fast cranks of the wheel. But the weighting of the active steering feld odd, as if the amount of assist was changing all the time, which it was, of course." One of the AFS cars had to be reset several times. They point out that "if active steering completely fails for any reason, it returns to a set ratio that doesn't vary."

    Sport Package includes AFS and ARS (active roll stabilization).
This discussion has been closed.