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TMQ
09-27-2010, 03:26 PM
http://www.caranddriver.com/reviews/car/10q3/2011_bmw_550i_automatic_and_manual-short_take_road_test

Maybe the criticism of "not much fun" starts with Dan Neil, now at WSJ.
http://articles.latimes.com/2010/jan/29/business/la-fi-neil29-2010jan29

solstice
09-27-2010, 04:22 PM
Good review. It's also worth checking the comments, there is among other one from a C/D staff member that I agree with.
But then again, if they just had IAS on the car it would have aced all categories and even cured cancer wherever it passed by.

DXK
09-27-2010, 05:05 PM
I don't get it: they complain that it's not too sporty and then advise to skip ARS?? How credible is that? E60 sport had it, it's the same thing, how come it was fine when they reviewed it there?

chrischeung
09-27-2010, 05:22 PM
Were both reviews done by the same reviewer? That's one reason why they list ther reviewer, and not just "by staff". Individual preferences would differ.

Plus ARS on the E60 is not packaged with DHC (which they don't like) on the F10. It's like saying you like sugar, but that doesn't necessarily mean you like sugar on ice cream. Just one possible explanation.

Long story short - these reviewers would strongly prefer a basic, well sorted and linear suspension, which is not what the F10 has. I bet they would love a Ferrari, that has the electro mechanical thingamijig suspension, and driving modes - go figure. Then again, I've never driven a Ferrari.

DXK
09-27-2010, 05:33 PM
so according to this reviewer, eliminating ARS will create better driving dynamics and therefore will make it feel sportier? I mean it's kind of going beyond having an opinion and in the realm of denying the law of physics.

markl53
09-27-2010, 05:39 PM
They also claim the steering is too heavy. I had read an earlier review before the full-fledged review and they said too light. In actuality, the steering is lighter than that in my previous 335i and 330i, not sure how they are saying it's too heavy. They've latched onto the steering thing and won't let it go, now everyone is parroting these reviews. My new 535i is a pleasure to drive, much more inspiring than the E60 528i loaners I had driven previously. The steering seems so natural after a day or two, my wife's Acura TL now feels like a truck in comparison. C&D just has it in for BMW now, after years of pushing them. I think the car fits into its category very nicely, much more drivable than an MB E350, IMO. The 5 is not at all sedate and the sales numbers will tell the true story.

DXK
09-27-2010, 05:53 PM
Reading a profile of the author JUSTIN BERKOWITZ who started at C&D in July of this year on LinkedIn, some things become clear:)

chrischeung
09-27-2010, 06:05 PM
so according to this reviewer, eliminating ARS will create better driving dynamics and therefore will make it feel sportier?

The reviewer equates connection to sportiness - not physics. ie. the better a driver feels connected to what the car is doing the sportier it feels. Feel has nothing to do with the outright potential performance or grip of the car. Feel inspires driving confidence.

You can imagine that a lot of racing cars will be very fast theoretically, but since they are not linear, are difficult to drive and ultimately slower. If you follow Formula 1, one example is Monza recently, where Lewis Hamilton had theoretically a faster car, but was slower than his teammate Jenson Button since the car was so difficult to drive. Another example is how in a recent C&D test, I think a technically basic Lotus was rated a better handling car than a Nissan GTR (I haven't read the full review) - which was likely faster in many respects.

I don't think ARS is particularly linear as well. It will tighten the roll up to 70% (from what I've read), and then will gradually allow roll into the suspension as a safety measure. They can technically have 100% anti-roll. So for those who drive near or at the limit (like on a track), it will not be easy - you'll feel the suspension tightening, then unnaturally easing. I've felt it happen in power on oversteer situation in my E60, as the suspension rolls and bounces during correction. You never lose control, but it feels strange to be stiff, then roll left and right seemingly with increased roll. My 335i is much more linear - you correct, it goes the other way, then immediately settles - at the expense of a noticeably harder ride. These experiences from a freeway on ramp that I take almost every day, so I know it like the back of my hand.

DXK
09-27-2010, 06:13 PM
How is absence of ARS connect driver better to a road when cornering?

chrischeung
09-27-2010, 06:24 PM
The roll is much more linear. You can be very quick in an ARS car, but you need to drive it on the same road, and know the speed that it will drive quickly at - basically you need to practice.

In a regularly suspended car, you can approach a new corner, and more easily know what speed you can enter and exit at - since there is no computer adjusting the roll. For example, if you turn the wheel a little more tightly in an ARS car the second time around, ARS may compensate by putting in more anti-roll. It's a guess as to what the computer will do with different inputs. Without ARS, you know what the suspension will do. ARS will allow a very comforatble freeway ride, with reduced roll, at the expense of linearity and some feedback in the suspension.

I would go with ARS in a 5 series (personally), but not in a sports car. Ferrari uses something that is very highly rated/reviewed, but I don't think it's ARS (or similar) - I think it acts just on the shock rates. If you're a fan of Top Gear, you'll likely remember Clarkson liking the F40 over the Enzo due to the computers.

solstice
09-27-2010, 06:32 PM
How is absence of ARS connect driver better to a road when cornering?

The ARS comment is confusing since I think any roll stabilization I've experienced beats no roll stabilization especially on this kind of big heavy car. Perhaps the ZDH review is directed more at the adaptive suspension and dynamic modes than ARS?

DXK
09-27-2010, 06:38 PM
but the car would lean another way, away from the curve when cornering, which will reduce the ability to control the car and even if you do know what the car will do, it doesn't mean you can go as fast with the same level of control regardless of your familiarity with the road. But I guess you sort of disagree.

solstice
09-27-2010, 06:53 PM
I do agree with chrischeung though that for a track car or pure sports car I'd prefer a really stiff suspension combined with passive anti roll bars to ARS due to the predictable behaviour.

chrischeung
09-27-2010, 07:22 PM
The E60 M5 did not have ARS and active steering. I don't think the reason is cost.

If not cost, then either it's because it made the car slower, or less fulfilling to drive.

DXK
09-27-2010, 07:47 PM
I do agree with chrischeung though that for a track car or pure sports car I'd prefer a really stiff suspension combined with passive anti roll bars to ARS due to the predictable behaviour.

This is true, the car won't lean away like Chris said M5 or M3 have stiff suspension which is in effect all the time unlike ARS, but in this case, the author advocated deleting Dynamic drive package which means the car will be at default setting, which is probably = comfort, so I am not sure how it will help.

DXK
09-27-2010, 08:49 PM
also, the car tested does not have the sport auto tranny with faster shift points

Newmanium
09-27-2010, 09:04 PM
The steering in the 550i is by far its greatest downfall. The electrically assisted system is linear, but it feels artificially heavy and is devoid of feedback, even when it***8217;s supposedly been livened in the sport or sport-plus settings. Coming from BMW, this is a huge disappointment, and the steering of the 550i can***8217;t hold a candle to the fine feel provided by the tiller in the Audi A6. At legal speeds, the steering in the 550i isn***8217;t so lifeless as to be unforgivable, but it takes time to get used to. When pushing the car, though, we find that the lack of feedback leaves one guessing the precise amount of input needed to control the vehicle.

Man it feels nice when a reputable mag shares my opinion - seems like we're starting to get a consensus going that the new steering is a disappointment.

jimefam
09-27-2010, 09:41 PM
It has nothing to do with how fast or capable the car actually is. 99% of owners will not push this car to it's limits, it's about the sporty feel. For someone who's driven performance cars or very sporty cars before the new f10 is a step backwards compared to the E60. The suspension and steering feel less connected to the road. In otherwords they took the "soul" out of the car, it may be a more advanced piece of technology but it doesn't bring a smile to your face as easily as a sportier car would. For all those who are disappointed in the f10 I would suggest waiting for the 2012 A6 as I'm fairly confident it will take up the mantle of the sportiest mid-sized luxury sedan.

chrischeung
09-27-2010, 10:44 PM
Europeans have an option, number 704 - M Sportfahrwerk. Not compatible with Adaptive Drive and Dynamic Damper Control. The car is lowered 10mm, sport springs, sport dampers. EUR420 including taxes.

jimefam
09-27-2010, 11:01 PM
You can get the RD sport springs for the same price get the same result.

EdCT
09-27-2010, 11:06 PM
It's a depressing review.

What happens to these cars as they age? Who's going to fix all the electronic crap that will be obsolete in 10 to 15 years?

Oh well.

2008550I
09-28-2010, 12:51 AM
The C&D guy keeps comparing the 550i to an M. It is not an M and isn't meant to be. If one wants all the things an M provides, then buy an M. :dunno:

TMQ
09-28-2010, 01:05 AM
This is true, the car won't lean away like Chris said M5 or M3 have stiff suspension which is in effect all the time unlike ARS, but in this case, the author advocated deleting Dynamic drive package which means the car will be at default setting, which is probably = comfort, so I am not sure how it will help.

My guess is that the car without DHP may have suspension in the normal setting. Steering would be light but may be more predictable.

C&D complained about electronically adjustable suspension before, I think on an Audi. I'd be interested in seeing a comparison article between the new Cayenne and X5. Cayenne has some of these electronics available also, but maybe they are set up a little better.

chrischeung
09-28-2010, 07:00 AM
You can get the RD sport springs for the same price get the same result.

Correct.

pharding
09-28-2010, 07:41 AM
Last night I did a back to back comparison of my 08 550i with the M-Sport package and my new new 2011 550i. I could be wrong, but I believe that BMW did a software modification that changed the steering feel slightly since I did European Delivery in July. Last night the steering difference was extremely negligible. It was close to tie with the 08, a smaller car possibly being ever so slightly better. The sloppiness that I felt when driving straight with the 11 550i was gone. All things considered the 550i is a great car.

johnnyc51
09-28-2010, 09:07 AM
So, the front end completely changes from struts to double wishbone; the sport pkg tires go from high performance summer to grand touring summer, but the change in driving dynamics, or feel, seems to come only from the EPS.

I feel that there are other variables here and I'm not quite ready to drink the EPS Kool-Aid yet.......

bm323
09-28-2010, 09:28 AM
You guys reckon Motortrend was testing a different car?

Quote "Body motions are well controlled, the car never pitching much in corners, with plenty of grip on tap. Steering is more responsive and linear than in the outgoing 5. The ride quality is firm, but never harsh -- can't wait for the next M5 that'll be based on this chassis architecture!

Read more: http://www.motortrend.com/roadtests/sedans/1005_2011_bmw_550i_drive/specs.html#ixzz10q000ZdD

By the way, I've not read any reviewer saying anything negative concerning adaptive drive's active anti-roll (cos it works perfectly). There are differing views of its steering but how many of you guys agree that A6's steering is far superior to F10's, if it is any superior at all? And if you follow C & D, better not tick any option, they like it bare :)

tadtaggert
09-28-2010, 10:59 AM
I do agree with chrischeung though that for a track car or pure sports car I'd prefer a really stiff suspension combined with passive anti roll bars to ARS due to the predictable behaviour.

So let's look at the two words in bold.

If someone prefers something over another, no real argument, it's what they like. I may note that I don't agree, but tastes are different.

When we get to predictable behavior with respect to the F10 suspension way too many of you have is backwards. DHP (ZDH) is not some switch that allows you to progressively make the suspension stiffer, quite the opposite in fact. First, don't forget the 'D', Dynamic, changing in real time. Add to that the setting that allow you to dial in how soft the car is allowed to be.

Put an F10 in Comfort and drive it hard. The suspension comes up to the same stiffness as if you were in Sport as the situation dictates. There is a ceiling to the suspension from which everything else is derived. If you approach a corner in Normal and expect the suspension to handle differently than if in Sport, that only holds true if you aren't pushing the car, as the suspension doesn't need to be stiffer to handle the car.

Quite a different driving experience. Whoever made the comments about practice and learning the car have it half right, it's not different cars depending on the setting, but it's about learning the ceiling, trusting the car. Drive an F10 slowly and it feels bigger and heavier. Push it and it gets smaller and lighter.

For those that get it, enjoy. For those that don't, your loss.

bm323
09-28-2010, 11:12 AM
One can see C & D's tester's mindset, quote "When kitted as both our cars were, with the $2700 Dynamic Handling package and $2200 Sport package, the 550i experience can be tailored using the capo di tutti capi—or “boss of all bosses,” as the Italian mobsters used to say—a system called adaptive drive. It’s a set of preferences, controlled with center-console buttons or through the iDrive interface, for most of the car’s driving characteristics, from ride to throttle response to handling. Although the discerning driver (or hopeless tinkerer) can fine-tune these through iDrive, it’s easiest to leave the system in one of its four main settings: comfort, normal, sport, and sport plus."

TMQ
09-28-2010, 12:39 PM
C/D has tested M3 which also has a complex array of settings and it wasn't much of an issue.

Bottom line, F10 is a bigger and more luxurious vehicle, and the overall package is probably better than the competition for the targeted customers. Personally I don't plan to buy F10 any time soon, but for others, are you really going to buy a MB, Infiniti, Jaguar, or the dated A6?

tadtaggert
09-28-2010, 01:15 PM
C/D has tested M3 which also has a complex array of settings and it wasn't much of an issue.

And not quite as complex, nor certainly not as wide a range. It is interesting to see what C&D had to say about the M3 steering in their first review:

When we're talking about new 3-series BMWs, expectations run high, particularly so for M versions, and we arrived hoping for full-on fabulous, which the M3 mostly delivered. The surprising exception was in the steering department. The M3's hydraulic rack has a much quicker, 12.5:1 ratio than that of regular 3-series and features two settings, normal and sport. In its normal setting, the steering is feather light, far lighter than in a regular 3-series and, according to BMW, "enables the driver to park the car much more easily." Come on, is this what we really need on the M3? At 100-plus-mph speeds on the highway, the steering borders on scary light in its regular setting. It's certainly accurate, however, and the sport setting clears up much of the lightness problem, but it still has a larger-than-we'd-like dead spot on-center and could use even more heft, in our opinion. Worse is that the level of tingly, tactile feedback coming through that thick-rimmed wheel seems to be dialed back a bit compared with the last M3 or even a current-gen 328i or 335i.

richschneid
09-28-2010, 05:00 PM
Having owned an E39 M5, I think C&D hit it right on the head. The F10 550i has the luxury and refinement of a 7 series and the performance of an E39 M5. In short, it is my dream car. Just one more thing is needed: all wheel drive. Oh yeh, it has that too!

Now mix in the new Dinan software due out next month with 495hp and 570 lb ft of torque and you have a car with nearly the performance of an F10 M5! :)

tadtaggert
09-28-2010, 07:41 PM
Now mix in the new Dinan software due out next month with 495hp and 570 lb ft of torque and you have a car with nearly the performance of an F10 M5! :)

That remains to be seen.

I think you'll see a higher percentage of 535i owners 'boost' their car, if you want M5 performance, or anything close, best to buy an M5.

richschneid
09-29-2010, 04:03 AM
That remains to be seen.

I think you'll see a higher percentage of 535i owners 'boost' their car, if you want M5 performance, or anything close, best to buy an M5.

The reason I won't get an M5 is because I need xDrive for the snow and ACC for the interstate. If the F10 M5 came with xDrive like the Porsche Panamera Turbo can be had with AWD, and the ACC was compatable with the double clutch SMG then I would definitely get an F10 M5. But alas, it won't, so I'll have to settle for second best.

Do you think the Dinan software upgrade is a bad idea? I've never done it before so I have a little reluctance. It is sold by my local BMW dealer.

tadtaggert
09-29-2010, 06:11 AM
I'd forgotten you were looking for xDrive Rich.

Dinan has an excellent reputation. My comments were based on the 550i being well powered now, do you need another 100 hp or so? Most that answer yes to that would probably be happier with an M.

richschneid
09-29-2010, 06:35 AM
I'd forgotten you were looking for xDrive Rich.

Dinan has an excellent reputation. My comments were based on the 550i being well powered now, do you need another 100 hp or so? Most that answer yes to that would probably be happier with an M.

It depends on your definition of the word "need" in this context. The question I ask myself is would it be "fun"? I do "need" the AWD and the ACC. Besides the M5 is almost an additional 200 hp compared to the 550i. But the torque would be pretty close in the Dinan.

Besides, the Dinan software is only about $3000 which is less than the additional $20,000 for the M5. I just hope the Dinan doesn't hurt the drivability of the car in terms of any hesitations or flat spots in the torque or power curves. Of course, the engine in the M5 and the 550i is the same. It's just a different state of tune. So, the Dinan might not necessarily cause drivability problems.

tadtaggert
09-29-2010, 07:03 AM
Of course, the engine in the M5 and the 550i is the same. It's just a different state of tune

No. Might want to check your facts here.

DXK
09-29-2010, 07:49 AM
This describes the differences pretty well:http://www.bimmerfile.com/2009/05/01/exclusive-the-new-m-motor-in-depth/

HPIA4v2
09-29-2010, 09:57 AM
It depends on your definition of the word "need" in this context. The question I ask myself is would it be "fun"? I do "need" the AWD and the ACC. Besides the M5 is almost an additional 200 hp compared to the 550i. But the torque would be pretty close in the Dinan.

Besides, the Dinan software is only about $3000 which is less than the additional $20,000 for the M5. I just hope the Dinan doesn't hurt the drivability of the car in terms of any hesitations or flat spots in the torque or power curves. Of course, the engine in the M5 and the 550i is the same. It's just a different state of tune. So, the Dinan might not necessarily cause drivability problems.
Just wait for GIAC for better value in tune. GIAC is hailed to be the flash of choice in N54, being linear throughout power band.

In any rate the ?63 is based of the old N/M62 4.4i V8 block with different internals to make it as N63 and S63 so in a way the new M engine is the same as 550i. Also the S63 is boosted @21PSI stock(can't imagine the engine block will sustain any more boost if you decide to tune the M///) and the 550i is probably around 15PSI stock so Dinan/GIAC probably just increase it to 21PSI. With bigger FMIC, fuel injector, WP, even meth injector I can't see why the 550i can't produce 550HP.

richschneid
09-29-2010, 10:26 AM
"With virtually the same block as the revolutionary N63 4.4l reverse flow V8 as in the 750i and X6 xDrive50i, this ///M motor features significant revisions in nearly every other aspect."

This is what I meant. Of course, the internals are different and upgraded but the block is the same. This is what I meant by a "different state of tune".

richschneid
09-29-2010, 10:31 AM
Just wait for GIAC for better value in tune. GIAC is hailed to be the flash of choice in N54, being linear throughout power band.

In any rate the ?63 is based of the old N/M62 4.4i V8 block with different internals to make it as N63 and S63 so in a way the new M engine is the same as 550i. Also the S63 is boosted @21PSI stock(can't imagine the engine block will sustain any more boost if you decide to tune the M///) and the 550i is probably around 15PSI stock so Dinan/GIAC probably just increase it to 21PSI. With bigger FMIC, fuel injector, WP, even meth injector I can't see why the 550i can't produce 550HP.

Does GIAC offer the same warranty as Dinan? The thing I like about Dinan is that it is sold and installed by my local BMW dealer, so they have to work together on any warranty issues.

HPIA4v2
09-29-2010, 12:03 PM
Does GIAC offer the same warranty as Dinan? The thing I like about Dinan is that it is sold and installed by my local BMW dealer, so they have to work together on any warranty issues.
Off topic a bit.

GIAC never claims it has waranty but Dinan...

It's judgement call when it comes to tune with waranty, my beef with Dinan business model is that they don;t have their own shop (dealer is really moonlighting Dinan while is a franchise entity with BMW, and BMW doesn't endorse Dinan in any way form or shape).
I heard, not real experience, that BMW-dealer denied waranty work due to Dinan tune, then Dinan looked at it and deemed that the problem was due to defective parts that common so kicked it back to BMW and at the end "potentially" owner pick up the tab.
A better business model would be Dinan own/operated dealers so it's one stop, Dinan car has problem then no question ask, like Costco. So all this waranty talk with Dinan has big asterik in it.

Also BMW-dealer that installed Dinan tune reports the VIN to BMW so the car won't be CPOed or even "good-will repair"(out of waranty repair by BMW on some cases).

TMQ
09-29-2010, 12:58 PM
My take is that if you live near Dinan's shop in CA, definitely do it. Otherwise, anything can go.

It's probably better to forgo the dynamic handling package and get the Dinan suspension package. I don't know if Dina will fix the steering feel though.

richschneid
09-29-2010, 01:09 PM
Off topic a bit.

GIAC never claims it has waranty but Dinan...

It's judgement call when it comes to tune with waranty, my beef with Dinan business model is that they don;t have their own shop (dealer is really moonlighting Dinan while is a franchise entity with BMW, and BMW doesn't endorse Dinan in any way form or shape).
I heard, not real experience, that BMW-dealer denied waranty work due to Dinan tune, then Dinan looked at it and deemed that the problem was due to defective parts that common so kicked it back to BMW and at the end "potentially" owner pick up the tab.
A better business model would be Dinan own/operated dealers so it's one stop, Dinan car has problem then no question ask, like Costco. So all this waranty talk with Dinan has big asterik in it.

Also BMW-dealer that installed Dinan tune reports the VIN to BMW so the car won't be CPOed or even "good-will repair"(out of waranty repair by BMW on some cases).

"I heard, not real experience, that BMW-dealer denied waranty work due to Dinan tune, then Dinan looked at it and deemed that the problem was due to defective parts that common so kicked it back to BMW and at the end "potentially" owner pick up the tab."

Makes sense, but have you ever heard of this happening when the Dinan dealer is a BMW dealer as well. I have heard that if you get the Dinan software from a BMW dealer they settle it themselves without the car owner having to get involved. I have no problem with out of warranty work or not getting a CPO. I have my 650i on the lot as a CPO and it hasn't helped. The only interested buyer I had told be he didn't want the CPO and wouldn't pay extra for it.

The out of warranty "good will" repairs I have had were the HVAC blower and the front brake pads, in no way related to the engine. I'll check with my service manager to see what the official BMW position is on this.

richschneid
09-29-2010, 01:17 PM
My take is that if you live near Dinan's shop in CA, definitely do it. Otherwise, anything can go.

It's probably better to forgo the dynamic handling package and get the Dinan suspension package. I don't know if Dina will fix the steering feel though.

My car arrives today in port on the east coast. It has the DHP but does not have electric steering. It's 550i xDrive with hydralic steering, so it may not need to be "fixed". I really liked the DHP on the rear drive 550i I drove. And I sorely missed the EDC on my 650i. I loved the ARS, but my new car will have both ARS and EDC. You know I love the active steering on my 650i and would definitely get the IAS if it were available with xDrive.

Different strokes for different folks. :thumbup: