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View Full Version : 2008 535i vs. 2008 550i - pricing analysis


petesamprs
05-12-2007, 04:45 AM
Looking to ED one of these bad boys in the near future, but can't really decide between the two. The 550i is the ideal car from a performance and aesthetics point of view (because of new aero kit), but I was interested in seeing how close I could get to that by starting with a 535i and modding a few things. In other words, how inefficiently priced was the 550i over a similarly-equipped 535i.

Since both cars have 99% overlap in their options list*, the difference is really based on the engine, premium package for the 535i and the sports package of both.
- 360hp/360lb-ft 4.8L V8 in 550i vs. 300hp/300lb-ft 3.0L TT I6 in 535i
- On the 535i, the premium package adds leather, garage door opener and folding mirrors, all of which the 550i has included, so we have to include it for the 535i.
- The 550i requires the sports package to get the nicer wheels and aero kit, so I've included it for the 535i as well:
>> Both sports packages share: multi-contour seats, upgraded steering wheel, active roll stabilization, sports suspension and shadowline trim
>> The 550i gets nicer wheels (19" vs. 18", better design), short shifter, exhaust tips and the aero kit

Here is the cost breakdown (MSRP):
- 535i: $49,400 (base) + $2,100 (premium) + $2,800 (sports) = $54,300
- 550i: $58,500 (base) + $4,600 (sports) = $63,100
- Difference: $8,800

So, to summarize, for $8,800 you are getting:
1) 2 more cylinders (but losing the TT) and 60 more horses/lb-ft
2) 19" style 172 wheels/tires vs. 18" style 124 wheels/tires
3) Aero kit
4) Short shifter
5) Exhaust tips
6) Plug number, representing: the time saved from not having to mod the car yourself + the cache of the more exclusive 550i vs. the more common 535i

Identify the true premium you are paying for the 550i:
1) While the TT I6 is pretty conservatively rated from the factory, you can choose to spend about $1,400 on an ECU piggyback (vishnu, turbotuner, etc) and get confirmed results at or above where the 550i would come out (no warranty issues since this is a piggyback not a flash)
2) Based on OEM wheel prices from Circle BMW and tire prices from tirerack, the incremental value of the 550i wheel/tire setup is $600 (calcs below).**
3) It seems like the aero kit can be purchased/shipped/painted/installed for around $2,700 - $3,000, based on what other members have paid on this board.
4) This is an easy upgrade: <$200
5) This is an easy upgrade: <$100
6) Since this is the plug, it can be conservatively quantified as: $8,800 (base difference) - $1,400 (ECU piggyback) - $600 (wheels/tires) - $3,000 (aero) - $200 (short shift) - $100 (exhaust tips) = $3,500

Punchline: So all else being equal, it looks like you are paying at least $3,500 for the time saved in not having to do the above mods and saying you have a 550i. I guess it just comes down to how much you value both of these things.

Am I missing anything as I think about this? :dunno:





* Both cars share the features and cost of the following options, so we can disregard them for the comparison:
- Auto w/ paddle shifters
- Active steering
- Rear airbag
- Active cruise control
- Night vision
- Cold Weather package
- Comfort access
- Navigation
- Heads up display
- Heated front seats
- Heated rear seats
- Split rear seats
- Power sunshade
- Lane deviation warning
- SIRIUS satellite radio
- IPOD adapter
- HD radio
- Logic 7 Hi-fi

** Wheel/tire calcs

BMWSTL
05-12-2007, 06:30 AM
Am I missing anything as I think about this?

Interesting analysis.

One item you are missing is that Park Distance Control is standard on the 550i, optional on the 535i. So add $700 MSRP ($635 Invoice) to the 535i.

Another item for the cost comparison is the gas mileage differential. Although not part of the acquisition cost, the EPA rates the 535i at 17/26 (19 avg) and the 550i at 15/23 (18 avg). Assuming you drive 10,000 miles a year, and gas is at $3.50/gal, that's about $225/year more to drive the 550i. Increase your city mileage use and the cost of gas, and your cost goes up.

End of ownership value is another factor to consider. The 550i will likely depreciate more on a percentage basis, and because it costs more going in the absolute dollar depreciation will also be higher. After-market add-ons will likely not add much to the value of the car when you sell it, particularly if you trade the car. I've found that dealers like to get stock cars in a trade-in, and don't add anything for those expensive after-market add-ons. So your acquisition cost of the add-ons probably won't be recovered.

The impact of adding the Vishnu software to the longevity of the biturbo engine remains to be seen. I've read some posts that boosting output could stress the engine and the driveline considerably. Something to consider when adding additional power to the factory setup.

The 535i manual won't be available until September production. I have no basis to opine on the cost to convert that transmission to a short shifting one, but your estimate of $200 seems very low to me.

Lou

HPIA4v2
05-12-2007, 06:36 AM
it carries about 250lb more weight.
It's like driving with an NFL linebacker in your car all the the time.
BTW, Vishnu web site has not indicate any chip for 535i only 335i right now.

SteveinBelAir
05-12-2007, 06:53 AM
OK. Long time E90Post member here. Over 40 members have dyno'd their 335s and results indicate that the car is underated. Guesstimates put HP at about 320. Theories include BMW not wanting to draw sales away from the upcoming M3.

Dynos are showing 265 to 280 RWHP. Consistently.

While I am no software expert, I would put money on the fact that the Vishnu chip will work without problems - incidently, it is not a chip, it sits between various engine sensors and the ECU and modifies the signals to the ECU. It cannot be detected and it can be removed in 15 mins.

It has been extensively tested on the 40 cars mentioned above, steps and 6MTs without problems.

Bottom line is that for $1300 and no other mods, your 335 (and presumably your 535) will be laying down 320-340 RWHP. Youtube searches will find you a couple of mid to high 12 second runs.

That may help the OP with his quandary.

petesamprs
05-12-2007, 06:55 AM
Those are great points guys.

Lou:
- I can't edit my first post but the PDC will change the $3,500 number to $2,800.
- I'm not too concerned about gas mileage difference since I'll be hammering both cars
- Depreciation is a good point which I didn't factor in, since I'm more focused on the day 1 acquisition cost. If it's a long term buy then it should be moot.
- Regarding the short shift, I only included that for comparison purposes, since I'd be getting the auto w/ paddle shifters. What does the average short shift kit cost?

HPIA:
- I assumed they weighed more or less the same but was shocked when I saw your #s and confirmed them. What accounts for such a large difference on otherwise similar cars? It can't be all engine. This will definitely factor into performance.

Steve:
- Good to see you over here. I'm a long time e90post member too since I'm looking to upgrade my e90 (hence why I'm here).

casper
05-12-2007, 08:34 AM
I did the same analisys but I am leasing, so to me the 550 was the best deal:

1-The $8,800 delta in price becomes $3,600 due to the 60% residual, monthly payment delta is about $100 for a 3 year lease

2-Any mods done to a leased car are lost, so I could not get a 535i and add the software or wheels, and if I had, it would end up costing more than the 550

So, in conclusion, I get the additional engine and horsepower, 19" wheels, aero kit, exclusive carbon black paint and other itmes for only $3600 more, if you lease, 550 is better.

hormazd
05-12-2007, 08:58 AM
The short shifter and exhaust are two things that made me opt for the 550. Neither is an easy mod. It is not an exhaust tip, but a tuned muffler to growl. The short shifter is not just a lower shifter. Short refers to the throw.

No 6pd available until September production so for me that meant adding another years registration and extending the lease. Both PDC and premium package are essentials and I am leasing so to use Casper's analogy, I am paying $3600 for all the extras on 550i.

jcflys
05-12-2007, 11:12 AM
Has anyone checked the insurance difference between the two. I know in the past most insurance companies raised the price as soon as the word TURBO was mentioned.

I do hope for the 535i folks that they can avoid some of the problems I am reading on the e90post board about engine temp problems.

Spyder
05-12-2007, 12:14 PM
I do hope for the 535i folks that they can avoid some of the problems I am reading on the e90post board about engine temp problems.

I don't read the e90 boards, but understand that some of the overheating probs were caused by a lack of an oil cooler. The 535 has what looks like a substantial oil cooler. Maybe someone can give us an update on this.

BMWSTL
05-12-2007, 12:43 PM
The 535 has what looks like a substantial oil cooler. Maybe someone can give us an update on this.

See this Post, specifically Post #8.

http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/showthread.php?t=201156&highlight=oil+cooler

Lou

petesamprs
05-12-2007, 01:44 PM
I did the same analisys but I am leasing, so to me the 550 was the best deal:

1-The $8,800 delta in price becomes $3,600 due to the 60% residual, monthly payment delta is about $100 for a 3 year lease

2-Any mods done to a leased car are lost, so I could not get a 535i and add the software or wheels, and if I had, it would end up costing more than the 550

So, in conclusion, I get the additional engine and horsepower, 19" wheels, aero kit, exclusive carbon black paint and other itmes for only $3600 more, if you lease, 550 is better.

Casper,
I agree with your analysis that the 550i would come off as more attractive for a lease for all of the points you mentioned, the most important being that you couldn't/wouldn't want to mod the 535i to make it 550i-like. I'll curious what the 550i lease program looks like...I'll take a look.

GermanCarsFan
05-12-2007, 05:20 PM
According to my CA, the M aero kit on the 535s cannot be residualized when leasing. I think that will tip the scales towards the 550 w/ the sport package which includes the M aero kit for me, even though I really wanted the x-drive.

By the way, the lease MF on the 2008 550i is lower than the MF on the 2008 535xi. Not sure why.

Bedford530i
05-13-2007, 04:18 AM
You're forgetting that the SP on the 550i also includes the M-sport suspension.

SteveinBelAir
05-13-2007, 05:36 AM
2-Any mods done to a leased car are lost, so I could not get a 535i and add the software or wheels, and if I had, it would end up costing more than the 550




To reiterate: the Vishnu PROcede can be removed in 15 mins. You can reinstall it in 20. 4 wires. It is not software.

When you turn in your lease, take it out, keep it for your next N54 powered car or sell it. Resale value should be high. It's a no brainer.

And the 335i overheating issues are related to missing oil coolers.

petesamprs
05-13-2007, 06:03 AM
You're forgetting that the SP on the 550i also includes the M-sport suspension.

To what extent is this an upgrade over the upgraded 535i sports suspension? Is it like the M5 where you can choose from different stiffness selections on the fly?

ANZAC_1915
05-13-2007, 08:04 AM
Just comparing the engines back to back, the N54 twin turbo in the 535 has so much better throttle response than the 550i's engine. You really have to push the V8 and wind it out to make it work. I even wonder if the 550i power is overrated... my Maserati (at same weight and 30HP more) feels a lot faster than the 550i --- to be fair I haven't driven a manual 550i, the auto is definitely slugglish on the 550i (I drove an 07, so not the new auto tranny).

Just in terms of driving experience, I'd take the 535 any day of the week.

On the other hand, the aero kit and suspension on the 550i sport are pretty cool.

AzNMpower32
05-13-2007, 08:58 AM
It's not surprising that the 535i makes sense numbers-wise. It was that way for the 530i and the 545i back in 2004. Car and Driver did a short take on the 545i, and posed the question of whether the starting price for the 545i was worth it: "That's $13,400 beyond the 530i's attractive base, or, uh, $6700 per additional cylinder."

Their verdict was that it was worth it.

Deutschecar
05-13-2007, 09:30 AM
I ultimately chose the 550, but not because it made more sense or potentially more power. I just like the car better(BMW V-8, new exhaust, RWD) in that configuration. The 535xi was really tempting. With the Vishnu set-up alone, it would be a completely different car. Havent seen any xi's (335s) anywhere that have used Vishnu on their cars and havent seen any on 535s either. I am sure someone soon will have a really quick 535, its a great motor, and a great car.

Bigdog
05-13-2007, 09:50 AM
I also went with the 08 550i. By the time you make all the changes to a 535i to make it look like a 550i the prices aren't that much different. I lease so adding an aero kit and wheels is money out of my pocket. Both great cars and I really liked the new twin turbo engine when I drove a 335i.

bmwguynj
05-13-2007, 10:00 AM
I also went with the 08 550i since based on previous experience I always wanted the 8 Cylinder BMW 5 series, but always settled for the 6 cylinder which was more practical and lower in cost and I loved it, however I still always longed for the 8 Cylinder.

jcflys
05-13-2007, 11:20 AM
They also seem to be blowing fuel pumps as well on the 335. I wonder if they use the same ones on the 535? The TT engine sure seems to be popular with lots of wait time. If they bring out a V8 TT for a future 550i I would probably have to trade mine in. That would just be too hard to pass up. I did see where that was planned, but the new M5 would probably be out close to then and I might have to go that route.

revlis240
05-13-2007, 11:30 AM
i have a theory that the lease rates on the 550i will be more attractive than the 535, which makes any such difference a moot point...

:)

BMWSTL
05-13-2007, 12:57 PM
They also seem to be blowing fuel pumps as well on the 335. I wonder if they use the same ones on the 535?

I read a number of posts on e90.post about failing high pressure fuel pumps on 335's. It appears that the issue was limited to some of the cars made during the first few months of production, and that BMW made a change in the pump. Good news for the 535's is that the engine is now "second generation" and hopefully has any early bugs worked out of it.

Lou

chriskfla
01-07-2008, 07:12 PM
Good news. I think I've finally made my decision between the 535 and the 550.

Like alot of you I've run this analysis until the word became ANALysis. My wife has begun to mock me for my deliberate methodology and she swears that I'll never pull the trigger on anything. (Look lady, I pay cash and I keep cars a long time. I need to be sure I made the right choice!!)

Basically I want the 535 engine and its price but I can't pass up the 550i aero pkg and wheels. I keep trying to make the 535 look like the 550 sport. Now the new BMW site allows you to price the following 535 accessories:

19" M Cross Spoke 101 Wheel Set $4,995
M Aerodynamic Kit $1,690

SO, when I add these two items, plus, factor another $1,000 or so, for accessory painting and installation to add them on to the 535, the price difference becomes $1,000 more for the 550 plus probably another $1,000 for the gas guzzler tax. Screw it I'm contacting dealers starting tomorrow. Wish me luck. Thanks for all the posts.

(BTW my 2000 Corvette Coupe is officially for sale in Tampa. Always babied. Great condition only 53,000 miles always garaged. No issues. Metallic Green/Beige Leather. Great rubber and ice cold air. Dealer couldn't believe the great condition but only offered $18,000. Clean NADA Retail is $24,275. First $21,000 takes it.)

2008550I
01-07-2008, 07:42 PM
I got my '08 550I in Aug & still have no regrets. Awesome growl w/OEM exhaust. No need to mod. With Sport I get compliments everyday.
One woman told me my car was the jewel in the employee parking lot of more than 300 cars.

You won't regret your choice either...

sayemthree
01-07-2008, 07:54 PM
535i =
better price
better handling
less weight
better mpg
for your savings use $1999 for a Dinan chip and get 381 hp with a warranty. no more mods needed.

of course I am a biased 535i owner. :)

sayemthree
01-07-2008, 08:01 PM
from a biased 535ix owner.

535 =
better mpg
better price
less weight
better handling
take some of you savings and get a Dinan chip for 381 hp and a warranty and have more power than a v8. only mod you need.

Mac Daddy
01-07-2008, 08:03 PM
...

SO, when I add these two items, plus, factor another $1,000 or so, for accessory painting and installation to add them on to the 535, the price difference becomes $1,000 more for the 550 plus probably another $1,000 for the gas guzzler tax. Screw it I'm contacting dealers starting tomorrow. Wish me luck. Thanks for all the posts.

Congrats - you will love the 550! There really is no wrong choice.

AFAIK there is no GGT on the '08 550...

calpalmer
01-07-2008, 11:40 PM
I think there is the ggt, $1300 as I remember.
Cal

BMWSTL
01-08-2008, 07:11 AM
...plus probably another $1,000 for the gas guzzler tax....

There is no gas guzzler tax on the 550.

Lou

rgr887
01-08-2008, 07:14 AM
I've a question about the car...does it attract more blondes , brunettes or redheads?

iversonm
01-08-2008, 07:14 AM
There is no gas guzzler tax on the 550.

Lou

Absolutely correct.

I believe older models did have the tax, so that may be the source of the confusion.

calpalmer
01-08-2008, 12:26 PM
Lou, maybe it's incorrect information but I'm looking at the ConsumerReports MSRP and Invoice for the 2008 550i; base MSRP is $58,500 and Invoice is $55,120 which appears to include $1,300 GGT. It shows $0 GGT for all other 5-series models. The report is dated 11/10/2007. This site also shows $1300 GGT: http://http://autos.yahoo.com/2007_bmw_5_series_550i_sedan-options/ (http:
//autos.yahoo.com/2007_bmw_5_series_550i_sedan-options/)

I do see that Jon's listing of invoice costs does not show a GGT for the 550i. So I'm unclear whether that's an oversight or whether the internet sources have it wrong. Since I paid for the CR report, I'll be p'o'd if they're wrong.

Cal

chriskfla
01-08-2008, 05:42 PM
Lou, maybe it's incorrect information but I'm looking at the ConsumerReports MSRP and Invoice for the 2008 550i; base MSRP is $58,500 and Invoice is $55,120 which appears to include $1,300 GGT. It shows $0 GGT for all other 5-series models. The report is dated 11/10/2007. This site also shows $1300 GGT: http://http://autos.yahoo.com/2007_bmw_5_series_550i_sedan-options/ (http:
//autos.yahoo.com/2007_bmw_5_series_550i_sedan-options/)

I do see that Jon's listing of invoice costs does not show a GGT for the 550i. So I'm unclear whether that's an oversight or whether the internet sources have it wrong. Since I paid for the CR report, I'll be p'o'd if they're wrong.

Cal

Thanks all for the support and feedback. I launched my 550i fax attack today! I also searched the EPA site and here's the official word from the EPA: No GGT on the 550i.

http://www.epa.gov/fueleconomy/guzzler/420b07018.pdf

Mac Daddy
01-08-2008, 06:26 PM
Lou, maybe it's incorrect information but I'm looking at the ConsumerReports MSRP and Invoice for the 2008 550i; base MSRP is $58,500 and Invoice is $55,120 which appears to include $1,300 GGT. It shows $0 GGT for all other 5-series models. The report is dated 11/10/2007. This site also shows $1300 GGT: http://http://autos.yahoo.com/2007_bmw_5_series_550i_sedan-options/ (http:
//autos.yahoo.com/2007_bmw_5_series_550i_sedan-options/)

I do see that Jon's listing of invoice costs does not show a GGT for the 550i. So I'm unclear whether that's an oversight or whether the internet sources have it wrong. Since I paid for the CR report, I'll be p'o'd if they're wrong.

Cal

Tell you what cal, tell your dealer that (for a small fee, say $100) I will take care of the GGT on your car. ;)

CR is wrong. Seriously, GGT does not apply to the 2008 550. I didn't pay it, and iversonm and BMWSTL didn't either. Previous models did have it, just on the manual transmission version IIRC, but the EPA definitions of fuel economy have changed for 2008.

oneon3putts
01-08-2008, 08:41 PM
Tell you what cal, tell your dealer that (for a small fee, say $100) I will take care of the GGT on your car. ;)

CR is wrong. Seriously, GGT does not apply to the 2008 550. I didn't pay it, and iversonm and BMWSTL didn't either. Previous models did have it, just on the manual transmission version IIRC, but the EPA definitions of fuel economy have changed for 2008.

That is correct...No GGT for the 2008 550i...Just got the car on 1/5/08.

calpalmer
01-09-2008, 04:58 AM
Will do! Too bad for me I guess, I should have looked further around for clarity on the dealer invoice pricing, but I hadn't discovered this site or e60.net yet when I started pricing. Interestingly CR isn't the only one that presumed the ggt applies. I have seen a few others from the internet that included it. I wrote CR a complaint about their information but that will go nowhere. Oh, well, I'm getting a great car at a good but now not as great price...

Cal

HPIA4v2
01-09-2008, 06:34 AM
Will do! Too bad for me I guess, I should have looked further around for clarity on the dealer invoice pricing, but I hadn't discovered this site or e60.net yet when I started pricing. Interestingly CR isn't the only one that presumed the ggt applies. I have seen a few others from the internet that included it. I wrote CR a complaint about their information but that will go nowhere. Oh, well, I'm getting a great car at a good but now not as great price...

Cal
Calpalmer, don't sweat the price thing over what others (in different states) can get the car for. I shopped all Washington dealers and none budge more than $1500 below MSRP. Not sure why but the demand for BMW seems high maybe economy has to do with it (Boeing handed out $6000+ bonus last year per employee with stock at record level and Microsoft is doing well and erecting building left and right in Redmond).

The only cars I looked with GGT were Audi S6 and M5 both have V10 engines.

flipside
01-09-2008, 07:55 AM
The infinity M45x has the GGT.. :)

milobloom242
01-09-2008, 08:47 AM
Outside of initial purchase price deltas you could get really carried away and look at opportunity cost of the difference in purchase price as well, assuming you'd invest the difference and earn some market rate of return. And you can factor differences in interest or lease payments between the two (unless you're paying cash).

Or you can just drive the two and see which one your butt dyno likes best.

calpalmer
01-09-2008, 09:19 AM
NO sweat, HPIA4v2, just irritated to have missed that bit, the inconsistency in invoice info available. Won't look back a bit once I get my hands on the car. On the original topic, my butt dyno liked the 550i lots more ;) but as has been pointed out they're both cars to kill for.
Cal

iversonm
01-09-2008, 01:37 PM
The infinity M45x has the GGT.. :)

...and it's ugly to boot.

Ugly Bear
01-09-2008, 09:24 PM
Am I missing anything as I think about this? :dunno:


Yes. Turbo is not the same as NA power. Some may not feel the difference and some do.

Your question is largely the same as 'what I am getting in $20,000 audio system vs. $2000 one. Answer: not much. But the difference is noticeable enough for those who cares and so they will be paying $18,000 extra for something 99% of people will never hear.

uncle ken
01-09-2008, 09:51 PM
I say drive both cars. The OP lives in "the northeast". If you spend a lot of time on city roads or the twisties, the lighter 535 just handles better and is more fun to drive. See the 5 series review in the current (Feb 2008) issue of Bimmer.

Otoh if you live in the southwest as I do, distances are greater, speeds are higher and the only twisties you will find are in the parking garage. In that case the V8, which was designed as an autobahn cruiser, might be a better fit.

Just my $0.02 worth.

petesamprs
01-10-2008, 06:35 AM
OP here...this thread is way old. I've already decided (see sig).

iversonm
01-10-2008, 07:18 AM
OP here...this thread is way old. I've already decided (see sig).

..and you made an excellent choice.

I may be biased, however.

calpalmer
01-10-2008, 07:31 AM
Pete, I struggled with the same thing over the past 6-8 weeks, originally intending to order the 535i. I ended up at the same decision you did, and it was largely the reason Ugly Bear and Uncle Ken described. Good luck!

Oaktree
01-12-2008, 06:29 AM
The biggest issue I see is the sound of a V8 versus the i6TT. The i6 sounds like it is going to break apart by the time you hit redline.

cvb
01-12-2008, 10:49 AM
uh......no trolls please.


The biggest issue I see is the sound of a V8 versus the i6TT. The i6 sounds like it is going to break apart by the time you hit redline.

Oaktree
01-13-2008, 06:56 AM
uh......no trolls please.
Think again. I own a 545i currently and just ordered a 535i a month ago. Quote stills stands.
I did just notice he made his choice already making this post dead...

casper
02-01-2008, 08:28 PM
uh......no trolls please.


Oh! is CVB, the friendly troll!

jblumenfeld
07-07-2008, 09:14 AM
I'm currently facing the same dilemma (a pleasant one): planning ED of either a 535 or a 550, and having a tough time deciding. The mileage is increasingly a factor, so my rational side says 535, but my heart says 550.

FastMarkA
07-07-2008, 03:08 PM
I'm currently facing the same dilemma (a pleasant one): planning ED of either a 535 or a 550, and having a tough time deciding. The mileage is increasingly a factor, so my rational side says 535, but my heart says 550.

I faced the same dilemma, ultimately the "X" available on the 535 helped me make the choice.

topspin627
07-10-2008, 06:44 AM
I used to go through the same exercise down to every last detail in terms of comparing cost/value relationship.
Then I realized that I was just trying to justify what I wanted. So I kept analyzing and introducing new factors until the "formula" came up to make what I wanted seem correct or "rational". To me this was backwards thinking. So now I just decide what I want or like better and if I can afford it, I get it. It's much simpler and more direct. I drove both the 535 and 550. I liked the 550 better so I got it. After 9K miles, it is still the best car I have ever owned (leased) and an absolute blast to drive. I've just recently been driving almost exclusively in the "sport" mode of the sport auto (not the mode where you move the gear shift to the left, but the one where you press the button) and wow, does that transform the car even further into a real sport rocket.

Get the one you like, damn the analysis and enjoy the ride.

Fahrer
07-10-2008, 07:47 AM
I'm currently facing the same dilemma (a pleasant one): planning ED of either a 535 or a 550, and having a tough time deciding. The mileage is increasingly a factor, so my rational side says 535, but my heart says 550.

The 535 will get up to 30mpg on the highway if you drive it at only 65-70 mph. It has a lighter front end and accelerates just about as quickly as the 550.....lower cost too. Good luck!

chrischeung
07-10-2008, 09:36 AM
I'm currently facing the same dilemma (a pleasant one): planning ED of either a 535 or a 550, and having a tough time deciding. The mileage is increasingly a factor, so my rational side says 535, but my heart says 550.

Go with your heart - from experience, you'll be regretting it in the future if you don't.

cali42
07-22-2010, 12:51 PM
Hi,
I would just like to say that bang for the buck the 535i has the initial torque respone, but NOTHING can take the place of a naturally aspirated big V-8, especially one driving like the poor man's 750i with a cold air intake, and performance chip/with gas pressure regulation for ULTIMATE power! When I asked the question at dealership to (TWO) supposedly knowledgeable technical reps. about where the REAL power was , they all got it wrong!!! The real power of the 550i besides (generally and overall from stop position) is when cruising at 80mph and than easing the throttle down-with the upgrades I trully felt like Michael J. Fox in back to the Future! And for the doubters and techno's out there-in about five seconds I reached 120 and had to ABORT! GOOD DAY TO ALL!!! THESE ARE THE FACTS!!!!!:)
QUOTE=petesamprs;2371823]Looking to ED one of these bad boys in the near future, but can't really decide between the two. The 550i is the ideal car from a performance and aesthetics point of view (because of new aero kit), but I was interested in seeing how close I could get to that by starting with a 535i and modding a few things. In other words, how inefficiently priced was the 550i over a similarly-equipped 535i.

Since both cars have 99% overlap in their options list*, the difference is really based on the engine, premium package for the 535i and the sports package of both.
- 360hp/360lb-ft 4.8L V8 in 550i vs. 300hp/300lb-ft 3.0L TT I6 in 535i
- On the 535i, the premium package adds leather, garage door opener and folding mirrors, all of which the 550i has included, so we have to include it for the 535i.
- The 550i requires the sports package to get the nicer wheels and aero kit, so I've included it for the 535i as well:
>> Both sports packages share: multi-contour seats, upgraded steering wheel, active roll stabilization, sports suspension and shadowline trim
>> The 550i gets nicer wheels (19" vs. 18", better design), short shifter, exhaust tips and the aero kit

Here is the cost breakdown (MSRP):
- 535i: $49,400 (base) + $2,100 (premium) + $2,800 (sports) = $54,300
- 550i: $58,500 (base) + $4,600 (sports) = $63,100
- Difference: $8,800

So, to summarize, for $8,800 you are getting:
1) 2 more cylinders (but losing the TT) and 60 more horses/lb-ft
2) 19" style 172 wheels/tires vs. 18" style 124 wheels/tires
3) Aero kit
4) Short shifter
5) Exhaust tips
6) Plug number, representing: the time saved from not having to mod the car yourself + the cache of the more exclusive 550i vs. the more common 535i

Identify the true premium you are paying for the 550i:
1) While the TT I6 is pretty conservatively rated from the factory, you can choose to spend about $1,400 on an ECU piggyback (vishnu, turbotuner, etc) and get confirmed results at or above where the 550i would come out (no warranty issues since this is a piggyback not a flash)
2) Based on OEM wheel prices from Circle BMW and tire prices from tirerack, the incremental value of the 550i wheel/tire setup is $600 (calcs below).**
3) It seems like the aero kit can be purchased/shipped/painted/installed for around $2,700 - $3,000, based on what other members have paid on this board.
4) This is an easy upgrade: <$200
5) This is an easy upgrade: <$100
6) Since this is the plug, it can be conservatively quantified as: $8,800 (base difference) - $1,400 (ECU piggyback) - $600 (wheels/tires) - $3,000 (aero) - $200 (short shift) - $100 (exhaust tips) = $3,500

Punchline: So all else being equal, it looks like you are paying at least $3,500 for the time saved in not having to do the above mods and saying you have a 550i. I guess it just comes down to how much you value both of these things.

Am I missing anything as I think about this? :dunno:





* Both cars share the features and cost of the following options, so we can disregard them for the comparison:
- Auto w/ paddle shifters
- Active steering
- Rear airbag
- Active cruise control
- Night vision
- Cold Weather package
- Comfort access
- Navigation
- Heads up display
- Heated front seats
- Heated rear seats
- Split rear seats
- Power sunshade
- Lane deviation warning
- SIRIUS satellite radio
- IPOD adapter
- HD radio
- Logic 7 Hi-fi

** Wheel/tire calcs[/QUOTE]

cali42
07-22-2010, 12:54 PM
[size="5"]Hi,
I would just like to say that bang for the buck the 535i has the initial torque respone, but NOTHING can take the place of a naturally aspirated big V-8, especially one driving like the poor man's 750i with a cold air intake, and performance chip/with gas pressure regulation for ULTIMATE power! When I asked the question at dealership to (TWO) supposedly knowledgeable technical reps. about where the REAL power was , they all got it wrong!!! The real power of the 550i besides (generally and overall from stop position) is when cruising at 80mph and than easing the throttle down-with the upgrades I trully felt like Michael J. Fox in back to the Future! And for the doubters and techno's out there-in about five seconds I reached 120 and had to ABORT! GOOD DAY TO ALL!!! THESE ARE THE FACTS!!!!![/SIZE:)

chelseafc
07-22-2010, 07:24 PM
V8 > v6

Munich77
07-23-2010, 05:49 AM
V8 > v6

That is certainly true but BMW's have I6s :p.

roadie
07-23-2010, 08:57 AM
That is certainly true but BMW's have I6s :p.

LOL :thumbup:

danaroy
10-08-2011, 07:02 PM
I have a 535i bought in germany it has most of the sports package and a lot of the cold weather package. Odd combo of features compared to the american sold cars. Anyway, I added a AFE stage 2 cold air intake and am running an average 0-60 in4.8-5.0 seconds. Just because the 550 boast more power, it also has a lot more weight to move with those extra horses. I drive mine like it's stolen and I have taken out Mustang 4.6 GT, head to head with the new 5.0s. I smoke a Infinity G coupe yesterday. They had me off the line, but within seconds a was blowing past them like they were in a Nissan (oh wait they were). You could save the 8 grand spend about 2 grand on chip intake and exhaust and be faster then just about anything on the road. Oh and fit your whole falily in it. That's what I love the most. My family sedan smoke most 2 seater sports cars. IF IT AINT A BMW IT AINT SH#@!!!

Oceans10
10-08-2011, 07:55 PM
+1. Germans take their cars very seriously and get nice performance mods and serious rims/tires right at the dealership.

Here's the bottom line. A 550 Sport is an awesome car and a great high speed cruiser. But it is not as nimble as the 300 pound lighter 535i. Neck to neck the 535i Sport and 550i Sport are very close in pure speed and acceleration, slight nod to the 550. The 550 V8 sounds better and looks better. BUT, with some mods to exterior and a flash tune they can look identical and the 535 absolutely destroys the 550 on the road. My 535 has a hp:weight advantage on a stock 550 of 20%. I have 400 crank hp to 360, and 450 pound torque to 360! In a 10% lighter car!
I still like the sound of the 550 V8 better, but that liquid smooth torque power is addicting. It feels effortless and the car is so quiet and composed, even under hard acceleration.

My wife has a 535 xi wagon and I tuned that as well for 380 hp and 420 pound torque. The low rpm power is incredible, the car just idles along while eating up the road. Twin turbo provides tons of torque, especially when you mod the boost level to wake them up.
Stock boost is max 7 psi on the 535. Our wagon peaks at 12 psi. My 535 Sport is set to 14.5 The wagon will eat the 550 in a sprint and post 0-60 in 5 secs flat. The sedan is 4.5 secs.

My previous car was an E39 540i Sport with V8 and manual. Loved it, drove it for almost 10 years. A true driver's car. But my 535 is in a different league, it has smooth easy power and just glides effortlessly.

Either way they are grat cars, some just want more perforamnce than others and the 550 is sort of stuck the way it is made. Not much room for improvement whereas the 535 can be an M5 contestant if you wanted. (Flash chip, intercooler, down pipes, intakes, meth kit. 200 hp combined gain.)

Danaroy, look into the BMS JB4. You will not regret it, but you will need a good radar detector.

phlfly
10-08-2011, 09:53 PM
+1. Germans take their cars very seriously and get nice performance mods and serious rims/tires right at the dealership.

Here's the bottom line. A 550 Sport is an awesome car and a great high speed cruiser. But it is not as nimble as the 300 pound lighter 535i. Neck to neck the 535i Sport and 550i Sport are very close in pure speed and acceleration, slight nod to the 550. The 550 V8 sounds better and looks better. BUT, with some mods to exterior and a flash tune they can look identical and the 535 absolutely destroys the 550 on the road. My 535 has a hp:weight advantage on a stock 550 of 20%. I have 400 crank hp to 360, and 450 pound torque to 360! In a 10% lighter car!
I still like the sound of the 550 V8 better, but that liquid smooth torque power is addicting. It feels effortless and the car is so quiet and composed, even under hard acceleration.

My wife has a 535 xi wagon and I tuned that as well for 380 hp and 420 pound torque. The low rpm power is incredible, the car just idles along while eating up the road. Twin turbo provides tons of torque, especially when you mod the boost level to wake them up.
Stock boost is max 7 psi on the 535. Our wagon peaks at 12 psi. My 535 Sport is set to 14.5 The wagon will eat the 550 in a sprint and post 0-60 in 5 secs flat. The sedan is 4.5 secs.

My previous car was an E39 540i Sport with V8 and manual. Loved it, drove it for almost 10 years. A true driver's car. But my 535 is in a different league, it has smooth easy power and just glides effortlessly.

Either way they are grat cars, some just want more perforamnce than others and the 550 is sort of stuck the way it is made. Not much room for improvement whereas the 535 can be an M5 contestant if you wanted. (Flash chip, intercooler, down pipes, intakes, meth kit. 200 hp combined gain.)

Danaroy, look into the BMS JB4. You will not regret it, but you will need a good radar detector.

Did you ask yourself a question why do you want to buy a BMW, then tuned it? Why do people want to override manufacture software? If car would gain a lot in term HP vs reliability and durability, in this case BMW would supply with this software. So something tells me it is not right, and believe BMW engineers have spent tons of hours to delivery the best to costumer. It's not a Honda or Toyota.
I had M3, and a lot people did tuned on M3 forum, then later all had different kind a problem. The BMW is approved only one soft is Dinan. And even so they are not recommended it.

ProMed12
10-08-2011, 11:26 PM
I had M3, and a lot people did tuned on M3 forum, then later all had different kind a problem.
Everyone that had an m3 with a tune had problems? That doesn't sound right. I haven't heard of anyone with a 135/335/535 that have had engine troubles because of a tune.

PolkNole
10-09-2011, 06:05 AM
Did you ask yourself a question why do you want to buy a BMW, then tuned it? Why do people want to override manufacture software? If car would gain a lot in term HP vs reliability and durability, in this case BMW would supply with this software. So something tells me it is not right, and believe BMW engineers have spent tons of hours to delivery the best to costumer. It's not a Honda or Toyota.
I had M3, and a lot people did tuned on M3 forum, then later all had different kind a problem. The BMW is approved only one soft is Dinan. And even so they are not recommended it.

Phlply, I know it sounds too good to be true...but it is. I am a conservative banker, and I researched this to the nth degree. I was tuning this engine when tuning wasn't cool.

The N54 engine is simply put thee most tunable engine out there. M3 tunes? Apples and oranges. The M3 engine is completely different and frankly untenable. Yes, BMW extracted as much HP as they already could out of it. But the N54? Oh, BMW left a LOT of HP on the table (IMO, because they didn't want to kill their 550 sales).

Btw, BMW DOES tune this engine now - and charges you thousands for it. They call them "is" and do the exact same thing to the engine as a simple JB4 does.

Oceans10
10-09-2011, 06:37 AM
+1, agree on everything above stated by Polknole.
The N54 engine is massively detuned with only max 7 psi boost. The car is built to handle at least 450 pound of torque, so no drive train issue or other worries. Clearly BMW did not want to cannibalize 550 sales, or even M5 sales for that matter.
You can buy a Dinan flash chip through BMW, so they do support performance mods. Only their own though.

There is no 550 wagon but a simple $270 flash chip pig tail solves that. Gotta love it.

Note that all we are doing is coaxing the engine computer to dial up a bit more turbo boost. No mechanical parts are touched, no new hardware introduced at this stage.

Elias
10-09-2011, 07:01 AM
+1, agree on everything above stated by Polknole.
The N54 engine is massively detuned with only max 7 psi boost. The car is built to handle at least 450 pound of torque, so no drive train issue or other worries. Clearly BMW did not want to cannibalize 550 sales, or even M5 sales for that matter.
You can buy a Dinan flash chip through BMW, so they do support performance mods. Only their own though.

There is no 550 wagon but a simple $270 flash chip pig tail solves that. Gotta love it.

Note that all we are doing is coaxing the engine computer to dial up a bit more turbo boost. No mechanical parts are touched, no new hardware introduced at this stage.

Not to mention but with my tune the mpg went from 19 mpg to 22 mpg!:D

phlfly
10-09-2011, 07:34 AM
I'm not still convinced to be a good thing mods on cars like BMW. I think BMW engineer spent a lot time to find a sweet spot for customer. I think you are guys thinking as America muscle car, where another 100 hp should be there. Remember, when you are getting extra 30-50 hp from the engine, the working temperature (heat) raised so the engine is changing a lot. The heat is destroyed everything. BMW had problem with heat transfer(cooling system) already, then it makes even worst. You can't know what it does with the engine for long run.
Just as you said for 550 sales, but then it doesn't make sense for BMW to do that, because BMW is already producing performance car (sport saloon), so they will try out bit competitors (like Benz or Audi) in term of performance, but not inside the BMW. They have 6-series for that for midsize saloon. In other hand 550 vs 535, 550 is quieter car (no turbo noise), 535 was design to compete with Benz E350 inter-cooler and Audi A6 V6 turbo. 535 has a small torque lag at low RMP, when 550 is all available, of course 535 is beast after 2,000-2,500 rmp.
In term of mpg, city is about same, that is depended how is heavy your foot, on hwy I'm getting almost 28mpg on 200 mile trip with avg 65-68 mph. (DC- Phila)

PolkNole
10-09-2011, 10:00 AM
Phlfly, like I said, it is hard to believe.

But if what you say about BMW being worried about it is true, then why did they create the 1-Series M? All that is (from a power standpoint) is a tuned N54 engine!

Nube1kenobi
10-09-2011, 01:38 PM
I'm not still convinced to be a good thing mods on cars like BMW. I think BMW engineer spent a lot time to find a sweet spot for customer. I think you are guys thinking as America muscle car, where another 100 hp should be there. Remember, when you are getting extra 30-50 hp from the engine, the working temperature (heat) raised so the engine is changing a lot. The heat is destroyed everything. BMW had problem with heat transfer(cooling system) already, then it makes even worst. You can't know what it does with the engine for long run.
Just as you said for 550 sales, but then it doesn't make sense for BMW to do that, because BMW is already producing performance car (sport saloon), so they will try out bit competitors (like Benz or Audi) in term of performance, but not inside the BMW. They have 6-series for that for midsize saloon. In other hand 550 vs 535, 550 is quieter car (no turbo noise), 535 was design to compete with Benz E350 inter-cooler and Audi A6 V6 turbo. 535 has a small torque lag at low RMP, when 550 is all available, of course 535 is beast after 2,000-2,500 rmp.
In term of mpg, city is about same, that is depended how is heavy your foot, on hwy I'm getting almost 28mpg on 200 mile trip with avg 65-68 mph. (DC- Phila)

I tried to read this post several times and I sure as hell can't follow the thought it is trying to convey... but I can read between the lines that this appears to be a poor attempt to again reiterate the magnificence and superiority of the V8 over the turbo I6. It further tries to stress that one should not mod or tune one's turbo I6 over and above the manufacturer's specs to compete with the wondrous V8. I'm trying to visualize this turbo noise issue - what turbo noise?

Newsflash, my friend. This is America... we like to tinker and push the limits. This is not to compete with the 550i ( that is already done and decided as moot and no fun) - this is to push the boundaries for most; which comes a little low on the 550 in the E60.

ProMed12
10-09-2011, 01:41 PM
Phlfly, like I said, it is hard to believe.

But if what you say about BMW being worried about it is true, then why did they create the 1-Series M? All that is (from a power standpoint) is a tuned N54 engine!

Exactly, or the 335is.

phlfly
10-09-2011, 03:31 PM
E46 M3 is also tuned M54, so result complete disaster with Vanos. Beleive me , just search E46 M3 Vanos

Oceans10
10-09-2011, 06:49 PM
Phlfly,

Let's end this discussion by recognizing that turbo engines and normally aspirated ones are very different animals.

All previous M cars have been highly tuned normally aspirated, whereas the N54 engine in the 535 has very mild stock boost.
These are big differences conceptually. One is tuned to the limit, the other barely breathing.

Tuning an M car for meaningful power gain usually involves adding a super charger which is a very radical step. That is because they are pretty maxxed out in stock form.

Like I said, peace and out!

phlfly
10-09-2011, 08:14 PM
Sure. I'm not big fan of turbo's and increasing a boost ( psi), after owned VW Passat turbo. And everyone else knows about VW/Audi turbo engines. It's nice until turbo is working right and it has lug. I didn't drove 535, but I had driven 335 a lot. Without manual or steptronic mode, car feels sluggish at low rmp. But I was coming from E46 M3, so it's subjectively.
But unfortunately, soon all performance cars will have turbo.

ProMed12
10-09-2011, 08:52 PM
I didn't drove 535, but I had driven 335 a lot. Without manual or steptronic mode, car feels sluggish at low rmp.
Crazy, that is literally the same thing I felt when comparing the 550 to 535 pre-purchase. The 550 felt sluggish & lumbering in low to midrange normal driving, compared to the 535 which felt more light & nimble. The 550 came into it's own in the upper-mid/ top and on the interstate though. I assumed this was due to the 550 needing to overcome the extra weight it was lugging up on the front tires.

ProMed12
10-09-2011, 08:52 PM
E46 M3 is also tuned M54, so result complete disaster with Vanos. Beleive me , just search E46 M3 Vanos

Are you at all familiar with how a 135/335/535 "tune" is different from the M3 "tunes" you are comparing them with?

Oceans10
10-09-2011, 10:19 PM
My thinking is that BMW got themselves cornered by too many competing overlaps.
The 528 is the starter car for people who appreciate the basic quality of the car and don't care terribly about performance because they never really gun it. For that purpose the engine is plenty.
The 535 is for the next level up, but the N54 engine is so incredibly elastic power wise that they could have used that to cover the 550's V8 if they wanted. So they kept it detuned in order to not step on 550 toes. With the big V8 they were then stuck with an M5 problem. If they upped the hp too much it would encroach. Already torque is the same.
Not easy to figure out these line up choices, but a more aggressively tuned 550 with a little weight loss in the nose would have caught my attention.

ProMed12
10-10-2011, 06:35 AM
Not easy to figure out these line up choices, but a more aggressively tuned 550 with a little weight loss in the nose would have caught my attention.
The twin-turbo F10 550 gained a little weight, but with a tune they are getting insane power out of them!

Oceans10
10-10-2011, 06:50 AM
It looks awesome with the sport package and 19" rims. Already packing 400hp and 450 tque! Imagine what it will do when BMS get their hands on one. Holy crap.
However, this is a much larger car than the E60. About same dimensions as the previous 7 series, weight to match.

I test drove a non sport F10 535 and it felt like a Buick. Way to soft and bloated, though I loved the interior. As the 3 series swells in dimension that might be my next car some day.
My old e39 540 was perfectly dimensioned, that's my reference!

PS, spacers rock! Low tech mod that really transforms the handling of the car.

phlfly
10-10-2011, 07:00 AM
It looks awesome with the sport package and 19" rims. Already packing 400hp and 450 tque! Imagine what it will do when BMS get their hands on one. Holy crap.
However, this is a much larger car than the E60. About same dimensions as the previous 7 series, weight to match.

I test drove a non sport F10 535 and it felt like a Buick. Way to soft and bloated, though I loved the interior. As the 3 series swells in dimension that might be my next car some day.
My old e39 540 was perfectly dimensioned, that's my reference!

PS, spacers rock! Low tech mod that really transforms the handling of the car.

I agree with you. BMW is over size 5-series, because costumer wants bigger and bigger car. Price went up as well, a lot. If E46 3-series were around 30,000-35,000, now it's 40's thousand USD. BMW should not go way to compete with Benz. In my opinion Benz is not sport car , except AMG series, but then it's M-series. Even last test 550 is about 2 sec faster on slalom then Benz E550, same equipment cars.

Oceans10
10-10-2011, 07:45 AM
Agree. AMGs are very fast in straight line acceleration, especially once they are at speed. But they totally fall apart in slalom maneuvers, -stiff, nose heavy and ponderous. BMW suspension is superior.
BMW build their cars around the suspension, same as Porsche. It's a different philosophy from building a car around an engine.