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z51vette 09-16-2012 12:09 AM

From Diesel to 5.0 M-Sport, Adaptive Drive, Review, Photos
 
22 Attachment(s)
As some of you may know I bought a Diesel in June. I was originally interested in the Mercedes ML BlueTEC and even made a deal on one. By chance while my 535 was in for service I test drove the X5 Diesel. It was a standard non sport version. I really liked the X5 on the test drive compared to the ML. It seemed much more responsive, much more sporty, much more fitting with my taste and style. I even thought it sounded cool. I couldn't live with the ML after that. So I ordered a 35D with SA, 20" wheels, nicely loaded to the tune of $65.5K

I lived with the car for two months, then took it in for service. Minor adjustment of the seat air bladder position and replacement of a defective rubber wind deflector under the front bumper.

During the two months I had the car, I realized the car fatigued me, even short drives. The diesel sound and vibration goes from cool to annoying really quick, on the highway as well as stop and go city traffic. The Sport Activity Package comes with Sport suspension delete. I thought it would be a nice tradeoff considering the 20" wheels. I was wrong! The ride is very busy, even on seemingly flat pavement. Minor undulations are really unsettling for this suspension. Becoming major and prolonged pitch changes in the suspension geometry. Bigger pavement irregularities seem to send the suspension into Parkinson's like syndrome. Combined with the very firm sport seats and it becomes very fatiguing.

The 6 speed tranny is tuned for economy and really does not want to downshift. At WOT it downshifts to a gear, one gear too high in most circumstances. Sometimes it bangs out the right gear and really takes off, but the rush is short lived, it just doesn't want to play at higher revs. The up-shifts are really muddled. Slow and lacking crispness. For some strange reason, anytime it rained the car felt quicker and more responsive. Atmospheric pressure? Humidity? :dunno:

The dealer set me up with a loaner while at service. I asked for an X5 and they did me a favor and set me up with one. It was a 13 35i premium. The minute I got on the interstate I was literally blown away by the difference. I drove gas X5s before, 535GT with the N55 as well as 5.0. This particular car seemed to be a factory ringer. It was an absolutely superb setup. Incredibly responsive, lighting quick gear changes. In manual mode, the up shifts are so quick and crisp it almost feels Dual Clutch, along with the little flare ups between shifts. On the highway, putting your foot down to the floor but not passed the "button" rewards with brisk gear change and acceleration. It seems to be in the right gear. But wait, there is more! Click the button under the gas pedal, and there is one more, lower. Spectacular! It just wants to breathe at higher revs. And there is always one more to be had. The exhaust sound in the 13 35i is phenomenal, especially in manual mode.


The Premium has 19 wheels. The ride is not as busy as in the SA D with 20's but still a little choppy. The car does seem lighter on its feet than the diesel. Possibly the weight. I haven't verified if the springs and dampers are the same/different part numbers.

Spoiled by this, almost week long relationship. I began considering my options. I was no longer enjoying the D. Yes, the 35i is nice, but if I'm going to get out of the D, I better get my rear end planted in a 5.0 seat. Suspension was my biggest dislike in the diesel. Reading all the positive responses here about Adaptive Drive and the comfort and sportiness it provides, I was almost certain there would be a check mark on that option box. Just to be sure I get the most isolation from NYC catacombs, I thought I should go with the 19's instead of 20's. AD with 19's, that's should be perfect for me, right? I was so close to ordering it but not wanting to make another mistake, I set out to find one with at least AD. It proved to be almost impossible. Yet, I managed to find two different AD equipped cars at different dealer's used lots and one 13 5.0 with AD, M-sport, M-performance, and 19s. My car!

Over two days I drove a total of five X5s, three being with Adaptive Drive.

2011 5.0 M-Sport with AD and 20s seemed nice. Not enough rough pavement on the test drive but on one bigger pavement transition it seemed to crash over it.

2009 3.0 M-Sport AD with staggered 19s felt like a floating boat. Nauseating body motions, poor steering response and unsettling harshness over somewhat concaved man hole covers. Couldn't wait to get out of this car.

2013 M-Sport 35i M-Sport with 20s no AD over the same road as the 09, felt much more composed. Firm but not too harsh. It controlled body motion briskly and felt much sharper.

2013 5.0 standard car no AD, 19s. This car seemed similar to my diesel.

Finally a 2013 5.0 AD M-Sport with M-Performance 19's. This was supposed to be my options. Well, I got a similar floaty feeling I got with the 09 that had the same wheels/tires. To a much lesser extent but the unpleasant front to back sway was there. Additionally, it also seemed to deal with the bigger road irregularities and indentations surprisingly poor. The Sport mode helped somewhat.

Unwilling to spend any more time test driving cars, I decided to take a calculated risk and Ordered a 5.0 with M-Sport/Performance with 20" wheels. There really was no other option. I knew I wanted the V8 after driving the Performance Pak 5.0. I knew I didn't want Adaptive Drive and I knew I didn't want 19's after putting my Diesel with 20's next to an M-Sport with 19's. I ordered the one combo I didn't drive, The M-Sport with 20s and Self Leveling Air Suspension.

I made a terrific deal with a local dealer and ordered it. The car went from 112 to production overnight and was at the dealer a little over a week later. I am absolutely Blown away by the level and quality of service I got from my SA. He made the deal happen for me, delivered on everything he promised in record time. Spent an incredible amount of his time fussing over every detail until it was polished. Finally when the car arrived, pulled it aside at the dealership so it sat separate from the crowds and even people smoking outside. On the delivery day, positioned it right next to his desk, locked, watching eagle over it. Put wheel locks on it free of charge and even adjusted the tire pressure himself. Wait, that's not all! He knew I transferred my lease on the diesel. On his own initiative, he asked if I could have the new owner call him so that he could update BMW Assist for him. I bought many brand new cars before, different marques, this is my fourth Bimmer. This has to be by far the best car buying experience I ever had. I usually go way out of my area to get a good deal and better service from sales. What can I say, It's not easy to leave me pleased. Sales Advisors like that make the dealership.

Finally about my car. The Self Leveling Air suspension in the 5.0 M-Sport is very well sorted. It remedies every issue I had with the diesel and the test drive vehicles. I'm convinced this is the option to have in the current X5 platform. The car feels very light on its feet. Very composed. The potholes and road bumps that became known to me are controlled quickly and effectively. There is no extra rear end sway, no float. The ride is as close to perfect as I can imagine for a high ground clearance vehicle. The handling is much improved over the diesel, especially transition response as well as steering feel and effort. The engine note is intoxicating. I don't want to push it too much during break-in but it is next to impossible.

Here are some pics from the test drives and finally my beautiful Space Gray M-Sport.


.

5seriesHB 09-16-2012 01:03 AM

Now i know why ur still up at 4am
Truly amazing
I now know what I'll be dreaming about in 5 minutes when I hit the hay!
Very very happy for you.
All the best
Rob

jashearer 09-16-2012 05:14 AM

So the only difference in your d and 5.0 is the rear airbags?

Did you upgrade to comfort seats? Trying to understand how the two vehicles could feel so different.

I have the third row option do have the self leveling and never have thought the suspension to be jittery in the least. Maybe it makes more of an impact than I would have thought.

Congrats on your new ride.

Jay

pa50i 09-16-2012 05:18 AM

Wow. That was exhausting.
Hope you enjoy the new ride!

sarends 09-16-2012 08:03 AM

He also has:

8 speed transmission instead of 6
5.0 TT gas instead of TT diesel




Quote:

Originally Posted by jashearer (Post 7076961)
So the only difference in your d and 5.0 is the rear airbags?

Did you upgrade to comfort seats? Trying to understand how the two vehicles could feel so different.

I have the third row option do have the self leveling and never have thought the suspension to be jittery in the least. Maybe it makes more of an impact than I would have thought.

Congrats on your new ride.

Jay


5seriesHB 09-16-2012 08:58 AM

z51vette: or anyone that has driven both transmissions in the x5!
The 2011 5.0 im guessing thats a 6speed rather than an 8speed. is there a big difference and if so what was it? other that 2 less gears,,,,duh! lol
i love my 8speed in my 2012
I had not taken that into consideration :thumbup:

ard 09-16-2012 09:07 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jashearer (Post 7076961)
So the only difference in your d and 5.0 is the rear airbags?

Tires AND alignment will have major impacts on handling......... people cannot 'control' these on test drives or orders so they are blithely overlooked. IMO

'vette- great write up.

A

jashearer 09-16-2012 09:37 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by sarends (Post 7077131)
He also has:

8 speed transmission instead of 6
5.0 TT gas instead of TT diesel

I was specifically going for the ride quality differences.

Was there a change in tires as well? Per ard's comment? Would be interesting if one was much and one was Dunlop.

Jay

sarends 09-16-2012 01:31 PM

ard,

How often do you have your cars aligned? How should I go about thinking through the alignment on my BMWs? Are there different alignment specs I would pursue depending upon my handling goals? Who do I trust to do an alignment?

Embarrassingly, this is something I have only paid attention to when there is something noticeably wrong (uneven tire wear, car is pulling to the right or left).

Thanks!

Quote:

Originally Posted by ard (Post 7077228)
Tires AND alignment will have major impacts on handling......... people cannot 'control' these on test drives or orders so they are blithely overlooked. IMO

'vette- great write up.

A


z51vette 09-16-2012 02:03 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by 5seriesHB (Post 7077211)
z51vette: or anyone that has driven both transmissions in the x5!
The 2011 5.0 im guessing thats a 6speed rather than an 8speed. is there a big difference and if so what was it? other that 2 less gears,,,,duh! lol
i love my 8speed in my 2012
I had not taken that into consideration :thumbup:

If it's a 5.0 it's an 8 speed. It's not so much the two extra gears, it's the shift action. It's even quicker than the 6 speed sport tranny in my 535. Just perfectly timed, lighting quick shifts. At least the version and program in the 13.

z51vette 09-16-2012 02:12 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jashearer (Post 7077268)
I was specifically going for the ride quality differences.

Was there a change in tires as well? Per ard's comment? Would be interesting if one was much and one was Dunlop.

Jay

All the cars I've seen had the same Bridgestones with 20" 333m wheels. All the 5.0s with 20s and X5Ms had the same Bridgestones. All the 3.5 SA with 214 style 20" wheels and diesels with 20s had the Dunlops. The 19" M sport cars have Continetals. I find the 20 Bridgestones to be be the best handling and feeling tires.

Alignment will have an effect on tracking and handling but not on comfort/ride quality. My comments were more oriented toward ride quality.


.

ND40oz 09-17-2012 06:57 PM

I had the Bridgestones on my 35i ZMP/ZMX/2VA, I thought they road great for a summer run flat. Had to switch them out before the winter but if you don't need to worry about the snow, for the price, they're a great option.

jashearer 09-18-2012 09:23 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by z51vette (Post 7077610)
All the cars I've seen had the same Bridgestones with 20" 333m wheels. All the 5.0s with 20s and X5Ms had the same Bridgestones. All the 3.5 SA with 214 style 20" wheels and diesels with 20s had the Dunlops. The 19" M sport cars have Continetals. I find the 20 Bridgestones to be be the best handling and feeling tires.

Alignment will have an effect on tracking and handling but not on comfort/ride quality. My comments were more oriented toward ride quality.


.

Thanks for adding this. Very good write-up indeed.

I have the 18" Bridgestones and no complaints here on those at all.

Jay

Kar Don 09-18-2012 10:18 AM

so from your post, Z51, it looks like self leveling suspension (air sus) helped improve ride quality?

Jim E. 09-18-2012 10:46 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Kar Don (Post 7081269)
so from your post, Z51, it looks like self leveling suspension (air sus) helped improve ride quality?

The purpose of this system is to maintain a specific height under all load conditions. It does not improve comfort. It does maintain the "quality" in the sense that camber, toe etc..., reamin constant under differing loads since the system tries to maintain a constant height as much as possible.

Kar Don 09-18-2012 07:07 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jim E. (Post 7081331)
The purpose of this system is to maintain a specific height under all load conditions. It does not improve comfort. It does maintain the "quality" in the sense that camber, toe etc..., reamin constant under differing loads since the system tries to maintain a constant height as much as possible.

I am fully aware what the intent of the system is... it is kinda obvious from the name. His post indicates that the cars he drove that rode better had self leveling suspension. I was curious if better ride happened to be a hidden benefit of that different suspension setup.

z51vette 09-18-2012 07:56 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Kar Don (Post 7081269)
so from your post, Z51, it looks like self leveling suspension (air sus) helped improve ride quality?


The ride quality is night and day with the air suspension VS standard suspension. The car is much lighter on its feet. The bumps/pothole impacts are greatly reduced and the up and down motion is controlled very quickly. There is virtually no hop. I love this suspension.

z51vette 09-18-2012 07:59 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jim E. (Post 7081331)
The purpose of this system is to maintain a specific height under all load conditions. It does not improve comfort. It does maintain the "quality" in the sense that camber, toe etc..., reamin constant under differing loads since the system tries to maintain a constant height as much as possible.

It absolutely improves comfort. Much more so than AD does!

Kar Don 09-19-2012 04:43 AM

great, i ordered both AD and self leveling suspension. Thanks for the feedback :)

Jim E. 09-19-2012 12:02 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by z51vette (Post 7082419)
It absolutely improves comfort. Much more so than AD does!

My multiple test drives of different options indicate otherwise and I too have the self levelling suspension.

What I wrote is directly from BMW's own literature. If it was designed to improve "comfort" they would state it.

http://wds.spaghetticoder.org/en/zin...370002-F06.htm

http://wds.spaghetticoder.org/en/zin...370003-F06.htm

http://www.bmw.com/com/en/insights/t...levelling.html

Jim E. 09-19-2012 12:06 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Kar Don (Post 7082834)
great, i ordered both AD and self leveling suspension. Thanks for the feedback :)

This is what I have. Biggest limitation to comfort is my 20" run flat tires.

z51vette 09-19-2012 09:42 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jim E. (Post 7083793)
My multiple test drives of different options indicate otherwise and I too have the self levelling suspension.

What I wrote is directly from BMW's own literature. If it was designed to improve "comfort" they would state it.

http://wds.spaghetticoder.org/en/zin...370002-F06.htm

http://wds.spaghetticoder.org/en/zin...370003-F06.htm

http://www.bmw.com/com/en/insights/t...levelling.html


Sorry, I don't need to read the literature to tell me what my a** is feeling

5seriesHB 09-19-2012 10:02 PM

Guys
I test drove an 2009 x5 4.8 msport w AD
Felt very very heavy in the steering dept
First time driving a vehicle with AD
Is this common for first experiences w AD to feel that way coming from a non AD car?
Tranny felt jerky
Car overall felt heavy and slow compared to the 5.0
Does anyone know if the 2011 is any different feel w AD
Z51 corvette I know u drove a bunch?

gjohnsen 09-20-2012 12:04 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by 5seriesHB (Post 7085108)
Guys
I test drove an 2009 x5 4.8 msport w AD
Felt very very heavy in the steering dept
First time driving a vehicle with AD
Is this common for first experiences w AD to feel that way coming from a non AD car?
Tranny felt jerky
Car overall felt heavy and slow compared to the 5.0
Does anyone know if the 2011 is any different feel w AD
Z51 corvette I know u drove a bunch?

AD has nothing to to with the steering of the car...The X5 have been widely critized for the heavy steering. (Which doesen`t bother me at all, but many prefere the active steering option)

Kar Don 09-20-2012 05:33 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jim E. (Post 7083793)
My multiple test drives of different options indicate otherwise and I too have the self levelling suspension.

What I wrote is directly from BMW's own literature. If it was designed to improve "comfort" they would state it.

http://wds.spaghetticoder.org/en/zin...370002-F06.htm

http://wds.spaghetticoder.org/en/zin...370003-F06.htm

http://www.bmw.com/com/en/insights/t...levelling.html

After reading what the self leveling suspension does coding wise in drive mode and when it is lifted from one side (a bump) while driving, I can definitely see it impacting the way the vehicle feels over bumps.


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