In honor of my e39
In anticipation of my soon to arrive 550, I thought it a good idea to write about my impressions of my e39. I have a 540i 6sp (short shifter, rear sway bars all sitting on Potenza S04). The car has 175K and is in top shape because I fix it every time something needs to be fixed. I wanted to write about this car now before my 550i arrives so I can capture my impressions of the 550 as soon as it arrives and contrast it to these notes here. So when I pickup my 550, I will be writing about my driving impressions using the same dimensions I use here.
How I drive:
I don't drive fast to be reckless or show off. I drive fast (within safety limits) because I am wired that way. I even find myself walking fast whenever it is I walk. It is for that reason I always needed a car that can respond. I want great acceleration, phenomenal grip and of-course superior stopping power should the need to stop quickly ever arise. I want all those qualities in a car without sacrificing comfort and without being flamboyant. I bought a corvette z06 and sold it after a few weeks. I hated the car. It was too raw despite excelling on all the other categories. Perhaps it was too much car for me, I don't know. I just didn't like it.
Still I need a car that can help me accelerate around a slow poke who insists on hogging the left lane and speeds up to deny me entry when he or she sees me going around them. I need to have the power to do that because inconsiderate people really annoy me. I don't want to give the impression I go around cutting people off but there are people who really are inconsiderate. I am sure we all ran into those people.
So how do I feel about my e39? The short answer is I love it. I find it to provide a great combination of performance, comfort, good looks and just doesn't scream "look at me". It truly embodies the saying "wolf in sheep's clothing." I will rate it below on the following dimensions:
The 540 is now 12 years old and I still find her to be amongst the fastest cars on the road. The acceleration on the car is great and with the 6-speed manual, I am really in control of the car. I know what acceleration dose I am getting 100% of the time and in any combination of throttle input for a given gear. The grip on the car (thanks to those tires is phenomenal) and on ramps, I can take its car to within the limits of adhesion and back off because the indications are there for me to pick up on. I would never do that with the Z06. Perhaps its too much car for me or it isn't as communicative as a BMW.. I don't know. I just didn't feel confident in it.
The steering on my car is great! I know I have a recirculating ball setup but honestly, I like it. It unwinds with the right amount of load. In a turn, it feels really correctly loaded. Body lean is not that pronounced and my seats do a wonderful job keeping me in place. It's a joy to take a turn on a nice summer hot day with this car. I still do it with a 12 year old car and I still smile ***9786;
Now on what I call "duality", I would rate my e39 very good. I can drive my wife and another couple on Saturday night for an outing smoothly and in comfort yet go for a Sunday spirited drive the next day on a windy road. The car can do both. Perhaps it is more sporty than comfy because it is slightly harsh on some NY roads. That and there are the body creaks that have been showing up that are annoying me.
As for comfort, I would rate it as good. I like the combination of a stiffer suspension and softer yet supportive seats. In contrast, I have found Mercedes E class to have stiffer seats yet softer suspension. I definitely prefer the BMW setup. When I take friends out though, I could always appreciate better absorption of bumps.
I love my e39. It fits me like a glove and I know what she can do and she has never let me down. I'll leave it here and will write again about how the f10 compares to my e39.
************ 3/15/ update. I had my 550i for a week. Here are my ramblings 400 miles later **********************************************
Let me get this out of the way. The more perfect a car is, the more a single flaw becomes more irritating. It's like being with a gorgeous girl that has over sized hands. Its just weird and you end up fixating on it (Seinfeld anyone?). At first I was irritated with the throttle and thought it to be an issue with the car. I now know that the delay I in the throttle response has to do with the drive by wire. I come from an e39 which I believe is cable and not throttle by wire. I am a bit unhappy with the responsiveness of the throttle but that is being swept away by the sheer awesomeness of this car. BTW.. I am keeping my 540. I've started to adjust for that delay. Read below for my thoughts:
Wow.. Organizing my thoughts isn't easy. I LOVE this car. The level of luxury in this car is amazing. When I got back into my 540i, it saddens me to look at it in a totally different way. It feels so basic. I've driven 400 miles on the 550 and have the new michelen pss on the car.
This car has more than enough oomph to satisfy my driving style. I don't even need to down shift. The power is phenomenal!! I can get to insane speeds easily and with such little drama that if I get pulled over by a screaming cop, I truly would wonder why he is so offended that I was doing 150mph weaving between traffic. It feels that solid and refined. So much so that I can't even hear wind noise at speed. No wind noise, no tire noise no engine noise nothing! I am so relaxed and enchanted by this interior that I find myself not minding the commute home. If anything, I am bummed out when I arrive at my destination. Isn't that called the honey moon period? On performance this car is by FAR superior to the e39. As if that surprises any one. Whereas the 540 will pull more g's on a ramp so I can nail the apex and come out from the turn with a smile, the F10 is so composed being pushed to its limit that I come out the other end of the turn forgetting I WAS in a turn. And with the abundance of power, I can make up for any advantage the 540 had. The F10 engine likes to rev though when compared with the 540. I could be at very low rpm speeds on my 540 and still pull away comfortable. Not so in the F10. Also, the steering doesn't bother me at all. The throttle does like I said above.
Duality and comfort:
The F10 is unrivaled in its duality. The ability to switch from the Cadillac Broughm (spelling) levels of comfort to moderate levels of sport are just 3 button clicks away. I now know I can drive my sleeping family home at the end of a long weekend for long periods of time with them him hitting REM sleep easily. No, I am not going to go on a spirited Sunday drive to touch all the apexes like I do in a 540 though the F10 certainly is capable. Instead I see myself going on a Sunday drive to enjoy the scenery and I am perfectly happy doing so.
The F10 is a new answer to the question of mobility. If I had to sum it up in a sentence, I would say this: The F10 550i is a marvel of engineering that provides SUPERIOR performance in such a luxurious numbing (in the good sense of the word) way that you are left questioning where all the sportiness went. Something those on the outside of the vehicle have no doubt of its existence. Something a quick glance at the speedo will alert you to the duality of this car. If you like linkages and mechanical parts talking to you, you will be disappointed. Or if you are like me and you want a fast snobby sports sedan then get the 550. Ok.. let me leave it here so I can go sit in my new car!
Carbon Black 2013 550i Dynamic Handling, Executive, Bang & Olufsen, BMP Apps, M Sport, Adaptive Drive, Integral Active Steering, Rear shades, Heated seats, Manual Transmition, Matte black grill, Carbon black front reflectors.
Happiness isn't about getting what you want, it is wanting what you got.
Last edited by Elmanzah; 03-15-2013 at 03:31 PM.