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F10 / F11 (2011 - Current)
The new chapter in the highly successful story of the BMW 5 Series Sedan (F10) and wagon (F11)

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  #1  
Old 02-21-2012, 06:11 PM
BlackGato BlackGato is offline
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Smile BMW F10 528i (N20) Review by someone who owns one

BMW N20 F10 Detailed Review by an actual owner!

This review is to help people considering leasing/purchasing this car, because I wish I had something like this a few months ago (detailed and in one place).

Before purchasing my car, I looked heavily through all the posts on Bimmerfest and I must say, part of the reason I bought this car was because of how passionate BMW owners about their cars...and looking at the facts...there is an overwhelming majority of people who posted very helpful advice and shared the pros/cons about their cars. Thank you to each and every one of you. I'm privileged to join your company as a BMW owner.

The 2012 F10 (my 528i) is an amazing car. We got as many options as we could justify usage/projected usage, based on driving habits and overall climate in our area. I was not aware about ordering a 4cylinder instead of a 6cylinder that I test drove...until I was signing the purchase order. Looking at the figures in a logical manner, I proceeded to order. We are very happy with the purchase (Euro delivery) and the process (from the initial order, to the Welt and munich, meeting Rolf, Performance center delivery, and bringing it home). We had an excellent CA. The following are our personal takes on the car. Keep in mind that we moved from a Japanese high-revving 3.5L luxury car V6 (acura) to a German (also high-revving) sport-luxury FOUR CYLINDER turbo 2.0 L BMW! (yikes right?)

Ok so here goes... opinions on the car:

Engine: The N20...sounds like an Acura/Honda...has awesome low end torque (by awesome, I mean very useful)...unlike the Acura with torque that lazily shows up later (even though the horsepower and torque numbers are higher). Which one is more fun to drive? the BMW. Which one sounds better? The Acura (or actually the BMW 550i that we drove on the track...better than that, the revving M5 we heard in Munich). The N20 sounds like a quieter diesel at idle (due to the direct inject clicking away) and is disconcerting if you weren't expecting that. The engine compartment is well sealed and when you open the hood, the engine clicking catches you by surprise. About 1500 RPM and above, you no longer hear the engine (kind of nice for normal everyday driving). At about 4000+, you hear the sound of a japanese V4 (which is ok with us...not likely to be ok for people used to the traditional V6/8 sounds and drive a car for the way it sounds). If that's gonna bother you, definitely try a different engine...or slap on a large bore exhaust (which I think would sound like a japanese tuner car, not good in my opinion). For us, we wanted something that had instant acceleration that we were used to (no lag), great fuel economy (because we travel long distances), and the ability to pull out of a corner with authority (because sometimes...you just gotta do that). The BMW N20 does all of those for us...the "sound" of a 4 cylinder is not a big deal to us. We can easily afford higher gasoline bills and could have purchased a bigger engine but chose to pick something that makes more sense in the long run. We get 500+ miles per fill up something our allegedly fuel sipping Acura cannot do. Uh-oh! I said long run and this is a turbo. Well the way I see it is it requires more maintenance and it will be just fine. I had a turbo AMERICAN car that lasted 12 years and never once had to clean the turbo or throttle body. If that can last that long, a masterfully engineered, technologically superior BMW with more maintenance should be just fine. The number of cylinders also does not directly relate to the life of the car. It's engine design and materials used.

Steering: Comparing Hydraulic, to electrohydraulic, to electric...the sweet spot for "feeling the road" is electrohydraulic, unless you like working out your biceps/shoulders while driving your car, or being anesthetized through turns. However, despite the electric steering in our F10, it is still a joy to turn the wheel. The speed sensitive steering is just right. If I was racing the car, the feel would be suboptimal. This is not a race car, an M5 or 550i is so not going to pretend that it is. The steering is very comfortable, serves its purpose and contrary to what some others feel, there are enough haptics to let me know my car is centered. There is also enough feedback to make turns through corners exciting. I did not get IAS since the roads in our area a wide enough for U-turns, parking etc. In Munich, it was definitely challenging to drive in the parking decks, and I was initially wondering if we made a mistake skipping that option. Not so where we live. Also, comparing the Mercedes E350 steering, the BMW is significantly better (we drove them back to back within a 45 minute window while car shopping). The Mercedes is good for people without any desire for haptics/force feedback. It was very difficult for me to tell if the steering wheel was centered on that car. The E350 is good car for luxury fanatics, bad for someone who likes corners.

Transmission and Eco/Comfort/Sport mode: So far so good, quick shifting, gets through the first 3 gears very quickly normal driving. In sport mode, revs higher before gear changes. The Eco mode is useless, we don't need it. It is only useful as a driver reconditioning tool for individuals who put the pedal to the metal just to get to 45mph all the time, and wonder why they get crappy gas mileage. I'd say most of us BMW owners have made that logical connection between the gas pedal and gas mileage. Comfort mode is acceptable and what we use on a regular basis.

Suspension/Wheels/Tires: Ok, per all the postings (bent rims/tire bubbles/harsh ride), you all scared the heck out of me regarding these points so did not get the DHP or M-sport packages. We went with the stock suspension (which has more body roll than DHP, yes, but is still flat enough). My acura had a hard core sports suspension that required dental work during the years of ownership (jk about the dental work but the ride was jarring over bumps!). I got REALLY sick and tired of that even though at high speeds it was VERY stable. On the other hand, driving a family member's lexus is too smooth and could cause a driver like me to go to sleep (just kidding). The 528i is somewhere in between. For us, it's perfect. I wouldn't call this car a Sport-Luxury car...rather a Luxury-Sport car (if that makes sense?). The 550i with ARS and sports transmission, now that's a real Sport-Luxury car. Now, there is one thing that is annoying, well, depends because I can feel it and I'm 100% convinced it relates to the stiff RFTs on the car. I can only imagine how it feels to drive lower profile RFTs, but I wouldn't want to. At about 70-75 as many have described, there is a vibration on certain roads on the highway. Not always there however. I've found it depends on the temperature. On 60F daytime, not noticeable on the same stretch of road. On 30F mornings, definitely noticeable, even after the car has warmed up and the tires still cold. I will switch to non-RFTs when these wear down or get too irritating, because non RFTs will be comfortable and will perform better based on the reviews on bimmerfest. The risk of not having a spare is low because in the event of a tire "rupture", the RFT is not going to help...I'll still be stranded either way. If it's a tire "puncture", then the TPMS will let me know and I'll get a new tire...which is not a major issue. We don't live in an area where we would worry about personal safety from criminals if we got a flat.

Tech toys:

Active cruise control: Awesome feature! Very helpful for drives/trips at 45mph or greater. You really have to trust the system which is scary at first, but it works. If you have this option, you also get the pre-collision warning system so a red car pops up on the HUD and a warning sounds (very effective in getting your attention). If you're driving through alot of curvy, or very hilly terrain, would not use this system because the radar will not give the car accurate information. That would defy the laws of physics. When driving behind people with radar detectors, I have noticed a couple of cars slowing down with my system active...but the majority of people with radar detectors don't seem to care (since I believe it is a different ultrasonic frequency).

Heads up display: Most favorite feature. We like exploring around town and have been using this feature since munich. In Munich, I thought the HUD was defective because it was showing static occasionally. Found out it's because the Euro maps loaded are abridged, so don't freak out if you occasionally get white boxes in the HUD while in germany. In the US, the HUD works beautifully and really makes taking exits easy. The speed, warnings, system settings etc are all very useful pieces of information to have in your line of sight. The navigation has been very accurate to date. It will likely mess up with directions at some point but I never fully trust technology any way. The HUD is awesome, and with the right setting (brightness/height) it accommodates well to ambient light. For example, when you pull up behind a car at an intersection the reflected light off the bumper is detected, the HUD gets brighter. When you're on a dark road, it decreases in intensity and is not distracting. As for colors, it's not really a multi-spectrum display, but just aesthetically pleasing because there are more colors. Also, this car is so stable/fast with the 8 speed transmission, it is VERY easy to speed despite being a 4 cylinder. The HUD keeps us in check. On the autobahn and on the interstate, even with this 4 cylinder turbo it is very hard not to drive at 100mph. Just doesn't feel like it. With a bigger engine, I would want RPMs to be displayed, but to my knowledge the HUD only does that for the new M5. Also with the HUD, you get the black panel strip display on the bottom of the speedometer (the display looks nice!).

Auto-start: An ok feature, works fine, but I don't like it because of philosophical reasons. Even though I don't want to be burning gas at stop lights, and the engine may not take as big of a hit because it runs relatively dry with direct inject, the starter will go through alot of cycles. Logically, it will die sooner and you will have to get it replaced (again, opinion, not a known fact). Most of them have a pre-determined life in other cars. I don't want to be replacing the starter multiple times during the life of the car, so will continue to disable autostart with one extra push of a button. Not a big deal, but would have been nice to permanently disable it. I can see how if every single person who owned a BMW in the world used auto start, would save alot of gasoline but if we are all buying new starters 2 or 3 times during the life of the vehicle, then the carbon foot print of constructing replacement starters in the factory may somewhat offset those gains (although would help BMW's bottom line). These are just thoughts. I hope I am wrong.

Cameras: We got all the cameras. The back up camera helps us with reverse parking and getting out of tight spots. The top view camera was a life saver in German parking decks and helps my wife park the car and check if she's in between the parking lines (away from big red SUVS). Not easy for her since she is petite and this is mainly her car. The front side view camera has already saved us once from someone driving/flying around a bed, around which we could not see. Will the cameras fail in the future? Probably, because technology can do that and they won't last forever :-) Will we worry about that? No, because they are useful and if they fail, we will replace them because they are valued.

Premium sound: It's ok when equalizer not set, definitely better than stock. Not a harmon Kardon, Bose or Nakamichi sound system. But it is definitely something you should get because the non-premium sound does not sound good to audiophiles like myself. But even with the premium sound, you have to be able to set the equalizer correctly to get an appropriate sound quality. When you set it right, you can turn it real loud without much distortion. There are posts on bimmerfest related to that which were helpful so please see those.

Multi-contour seats: Just get them and don't ever look back. Your @$$ and back will thank you. Hands down the best seats I have ever sat in...very similar to my comfy leather office chair. The active seats on the other hand, just didn't make sense but they are not required for every day driving. At minimum, you gotta get multi-contour seats. Be aware that you will lose about an inch in the back seat. Nappa vs Dakota leather? Personal preference but we picked Dakota because we predict Nappa requires more TLC. We definitely opted for heated seats because even if the weather is not cold, a heated seat is wonders for the back after a physically exhausting day.

BMW Apps: A great feature so you can connect your iPhone/iPod and play music, sync, get vehicle information with just a USB cable. If you're an internet radio fan, you probably won't need to renew your satellite radio subscription after a year. We will because we like Sirius XM, but for those who don't really care, the BMW Apps options will give you more radiostations than you could ever dream of, and of all types from many countries around the world. Plus with iDrive you can really customize and in essence "create" an nice collection of channels like satellite radio for free.

Rear and side shades: If you have an infant who needs them, get them, otherwise skip the side manual shades. I don't have any tint recommendations yet but would be interested in seeing if the window seals scratch tint. Any thoughts?

The rest of the main futures are all the same. Wouldn't recommend soft close doors, very limited application and another mechanical feature with potential for future failure. Also thought the mechanical whirring sound was annoying. That's personal preference. Power tailgate however is quite useful. Comfort access...some days we wish we had it, so wouldn't have to take keys out of pocket, but seriously, to lock and unlock, it is kind of good to physically push a button on the key and not worry about how I'm touching the door handles to lock/unlock. I'd rather keep a $1000 in my pocket than pay that much to keep a key in the pocket. Also, for grins, you can download the BMW connected app to your iphone and remotely lock/unlock your car from miles away if you forget.

Overall, great car! We are happy with the purchase of a 528i (4 cylinder 2.0L turbo). It serves its purpose and we do not regret it one bit (going with a smaller but powerful engine). For 95-99% of our driving it is just right. I think we will probably have some trips to the dealer for this or that, but hey, that's what we signed up for buying this BMW. More technology = more fun = more chances for item failure = more trips to the dealer. Life's too short to worry about stuff like that. I do feel sorry for those of you who have been through a lot of crap because of your F10's problems (mechanical, tires, alignment, navigation problems and the list goes on). Particularly for the rare ones of you with catastrophic engine failure, suspension problems, tire bubbles from hell etc. At the end of the day some people have ditched their bmws, but the F10 probably wasn't the right car for them in the first place...possibly the F30 is for them. We would still get another F10 with an N20 because it is really a nice car and stand by that. Again, thank you all for your posts on bimmerfest regarding the F10. It was much appreciated during the car buying process. I hope that this review serves as a thank you and helps other future BMW buyers.
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  #2  
Old 02-21-2012, 06:27 PM
sdg1871 sdg1871 is offline
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Outstanding write up. Mad props.
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  #3  
Old 02-21-2012, 06:30 PM
Sylvain Sylvain is offline
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Thank you for this great review.

Sylvain
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  #4  
Old 02-21-2012, 06:58 PM
PeterC4 PeterC4 is offline
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Congrats and a good review of the N20. As to the engine noise, turn the stereo up.
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Old 02-21-2012, 07:08 PM
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geo3515 geo3515 is offline
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Excellent review.
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  #6  
Old 02-21-2012, 07:56 PM
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Very nice review! European Delivery is a great way to experience a new BMW.
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  #7  
Old 02-21-2012, 07:02 PM
spaghetti spaghetti is offline
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Awesome review. Thanks for taking the time to write it. I have about 3400 miles on my N20 F10. I have enjoyed every single mile on it. My only regret- I wish I had got HUD.
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Old 02-21-2012, 08:03 PM
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Great review OP!
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Old 02-21-2012, 08:04 PM
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TJPark01 TJPark01 is offline
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For the majority of owners out there the N20 is all the engine you will ever need. I drove the 328i F30 last week and I was blown away at the power. Granted it's pushing a 3400lbs car, but 24 city / 36 highway / 28 combined just cannot be ignored especially when gas is $4.30 a gallon and rising over here. It's an engineering feat.
A normally aspirated 4 cyl Camry 25/35/28 combined.
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Old 02-21-2012, 08:05 PM
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AutoUnion AutoUnion is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TJPark01 View Post
For the majority of owners out there the N20 is all the engine you will ever need. I drove the 328i F30 last week and I was blown away at the power. Granted it's pushing a 3400lbs car, but 24 city / 36 highway / 28 combined just cannot be ignored especially when gas is $4.30 a gallon and rising over here. It's an engineering feat.
A normally aspirated 4 cyl Camry 25/35/28 combined.
People here are definitely too hung up on the I6 to even give the N20 a chance. I can't wait to try out an F30
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Old 04-13-2012, 09:11 AM
Nobrandfanboy Nobrandfanboy is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TJPark01 View Post
For the majority of owners out there the N20 is all the engine you will ever need. I drove the 328i F30 last week and I was blown away at the power. Granted it's pushing a 3400lbs car, but 24 city / 36 highway / 28 combined just cannot be ignored especially when gas is $4.30 a gallon and rising over here. It's an engineering feat.
A normally aspirated 4 cyl Camry 25/35/28 combined.
I think BMW had to take 3mpg off the hwy number and 1mpg off the city number. It was found to be too high. At this point it is fairly the same as the 335i auto.
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Old 04-13-2012, 10:15 AM
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Ralph1201 Ralph1201 is offline
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i think 24/36 is 3 series numbers..
5 series is at 23/34
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Old 04-13-2012, 11:10 AM
Nobrandfanboy Nobrandfanboy is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ralph1201 View Post
i think 24/36 is 3 series numbers..
5 series is at 23/34
Correct! I think eventually those numbers will be revised just like the 3 were. The 3er numbers are not 24/36 but 23/33 so the 528i won't have better mileage than the 3series, get it?
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  #14  
Old 02-21-2012, 08:08 PM
el168 el168 is offline
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Good review! Hope you can write a follow-up in one year! Enjoy the car
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Old 02-21-2012, 09:11 PM
rkaregaran rkaregaran is offline
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Nice write up. I've been too lazy to put one together. I've had mine for 3 months and the most disconcerting thing is def the engine noise.

To speak on the i6 vs i4 - I came from an E92 and I'll take the i4 over the i6 any day - i think it's a big psychological barrier that's hard for Americans to get over.

With that said, this forum is a forum, there are diff people with diff needs/wants and diff opinions. I went from an '04 350z to an '07 328i to a '12 528. My needs/wants changed over the years. (just wish people would maintain compusure and be a bit more positive, we're all enthusiasts at the end of the day.)
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Old 02-21-2012, 09:23 PM
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jimpal jimpal is offline
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Thanks so much for your thoughtful review. This is Bimmerfest at its best. I can't help contrasting your excellent and helpful comments with another currently running thread in which many participants got bogged down on status issues regarding whose car was the most prestigious or whether the N20- engined car is even a BMW at all. Great to see your mature approach.
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Old 02-22-2012, 03:07 AM
BlackGato BlackGato is offline
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Thanks everyone! Will definitely keep you posted and provide a similarly detailed review in a year.
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Old 02-22-2012, 04:46 AM
ksoze ksoze is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BlackGato View Post

Auto-start: Not a big deal, but would have been nice to permanently disable it..
Does the F10 not have a disable button for auto-start? You have to disable it every start-up?
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Old 02-22-2012, 05:21 AM
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Needsdecaf Needsdecaf is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ksoze View Post
Does the F10 not have a disable button for auto-start? You have to disable it every start-up?
Every start up.

But hey, if I had it, it'd be one more button to push at startup:

Push start
Push stalk button 5 times to get to DTE (yes, mine goes blank at every startup)
Push preset to scroll to Sat Radio time delay screen
Push to engage seat heater
Push to engage steering wheel heater
Push to disengage parking brake
Push to engage reverse.

FINALLY drive!
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Last edited by Needsdecaf; 02-22-2012 at 05:23 AM.
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Old 02-22-2012, 09:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Needsdecaf View Post
Every start up.

But hey, if I had it, it'd be one more button to push at startup:

Push start
Push stalk button 5 times to get to DTE (yes, mine goes blank at every startup)
Push preset to scroll to Sat Radio time delay screen
Push to engage seat heater
Push to engage steering wheel heater
Push to disengage parking brake
Push to engage reverse.

FINALLY drive!
Two questions:
(1) What is DTE?
(2) Where is "Push to go into Sport mode"?
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  #21  
Old 02-22-2012, 10:05 AM
etsok1 etsok1 is offline
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Thanks for the great review. The lease on my 2010 is up this year and you hit on all my concerns about the new model. Couldn't agree more about the seats, better than any car I have ever been in. Good Luck and Enjoy.
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Old 02-22-2012, 10:08 AM
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Needsdecaf Needsdecaf is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by planet View Post
Two questions:
(1) What is DTE?
(2) Where is "Push to go into Sport mode"?
1. DTE - Distance to Empty. I have this as my default readout on the info screen.
2. If you saw where I drove, you would understand why Normal is my default setting (hint, my long term averages are 23.5 MPH and 19.3 MPG).
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Old 02-22-2012, 04:45 PM
BlackGato BlackGato is offline
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As mentioned, you have to disable auto-start every time you start the car. It's right underneath the start button, literally millimeters away and easy to get into the habit of pushing. Yes, I agree there should be a permanent way to disable it, but I've accepted it and moved on. There are lots of buttons to push, but you don't need to push all of them each time you start the car. Just hit engine start, release the parking brake and reverse/drive. Save the rest on your profile in the car.

You can even use the automatic climate control feature in the sub menus (read your manual and it will show you). For the seat heater/steering wheel etc, I cannot think of a situation where it would be beneficial to always have those on, so glad to have control over it by pushing a button when I want it. Can you imagine someone who is not tech saavy that accidentally permanently enables their seat heater/wheel and is cooking himself while driving the car? (insert funny image of sweaty guy in BMW screaming at his car at a stoplight)
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Old 02-22-2012, 05:24 AM
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Needsdecaf Needsdecaf is offline
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Location: The Woodlands, TX
 
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Mein Auto: 2007 MDX
By the way, the diesel clicking at idle thing is, as mentioned, a result of the direct injection. And it's not exclusive to the N20. The N55 does it as well.
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Old 02-26-2012, 11:15 PM
Tokyo4Bimmer Tokyo4Bimmer is offline
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Location: Tokyo
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Posts: 5
Mein Auto: BMW 528i (N20) 2012
Smile 2012 F11 Carbon-Black Touring M-Sport with N20 4-cyl

Thank you BlackGato for your excellent review.

I picked up my 2012 F11 Carbon-Black Touring M-Sport with N20 4-cyl here in Tokyo (where I live) on December 22 so I have been driving it for the past 2 months (except that I had three foreign business trips in as many months, so my car is still at 1000 km.)

I did not chose as many tech goodies, but focused on the M-package with tighter suspension, 19-inch wheels, and the nice panorama sunroof.

My previous car (for 4 years) was the E61 530i 6-cyl (N52), also a Carbon Black M-Sport Touring, so it is easy for me to compare the E61 6-cyl with the F11 4-cyl.

In addition to the engine, it also means that I switched from hydraulic steering (my car had the active steering option, which I liked) to the new electric steering (also with the "active" 4-wheel steer feature which is standard on deliveries in Japan).

It took a little bit of time to get used to the new electric steering which I would assign a slight minus as compared to hydraulic, but it is not a game-changer. I already got used to the electric steering and do not feel bothered by it. It is direct and precise in good BMW fashion, but lacks a bit of "feel".

I used to drive a tuned (ca. 300HP) Saab 9000 Aero with 2.3 litre turbo, so I am aware of what a good 4-cyl turbo engine can do. After spending two months with the N20 I can say that the new engine is really responsive and quick. I have no complaints about the abilities of this engine.

As BlackGato says, only the SOUND is a major downer. In particular I am disturbed by the direct inject clicking and had been searching all forums for other owners' experiences about this (and already have asked my dealer if this is really normal). I have been talking to others that my new BMW gasoline engine sounds like a DIESEL. Yesterday a car enthusiast friend came over with his rare Mercedes Benz AMG 6.0L V8 wagon and agreed that I should have my car looked over. I was actually on the way to my dealer when I found BlackGatos post. I will definitely like to listen to other cars with N20 engines, and as suggested, I should listen to cars with N55 engines as well.

Personally I intend to have my exhaust system carefully modified by a craftsman here in Japan that is able to custom sound tune the stock exhaust system by making alterations to the internal content of the muffler (i.e. it will maintain all legal requirements regarding maximum sound level and CO2 output while altering the "tone", and it will also create a less restricted air-flow.) I hope to avoid the typical "tuned car" sound, and would like to shoot for a slightly deeper, but sophisticated sound.

My other intended modification is to add the already aquired Kelleners Sport for N20 add-on tuning ECU that can easily be removed (and re-installed) according to need. It will add another 50 peak HP and also 100Nm torque on top of the standard spec. However, since the car is still in the "running in" stage, I intend to wait some more before installing.

For better looks, I have ordered the carbon kidney grilles from a US supplier.

Like BlackGato I am generally happy with the car and how it drives. I am less happy with the sound, and intend to carefully do something about it. It is dawning on me that the direct inject clicking may be something I have to live with? You wonder if the BMW engineers will be able to do something about this in the future?

There is already talk of a new generation BMW patented electric turbos (possibly applied in multiples) for future BMW models. Very exciting indeed. The reason I went to BMW from SAAB was that I wanted a car made by a self-owned company of car-entusiasts that care about all car-enthusiasts world-wide. After 15 great years of SAAB, and now my fifth year of BMW, I think that I have come to the right car brand.





Quote:
Originally Posted by BlackGato View Post
BMW N20 F10 Detailed Review by an actual owner!


Engine: The N20...sounds like an Acura/Honda...has awesome low end torque (by awesome, I mean very useful)...unlike the Acura with torque that lazily shows up later (even though the horsepower and torque numbers are higher). Which one is more fun to drive? the BMW. Which one sounds better? The Acura (or actually the BMW 550i that we drove on the track...better than that, the revving M5 we heard in Munich). The N20 sounds like a quieter diesel at idle (due to the direct inject clicking away) and is disconcerting if you weren't expecting that. The engine compartment is well sealed and when you open the hood, the engine clicking catches you by surprise. About 1500 RPM and above, you no longer hear the engine (kind of nice for normal everyday driving). At about 4000+, you hear the sound of a japanese V4 (which is ok with us...not likely to be ok for people used to the traditional V6/8 sounds and drive a car for the way it sounds). If that's gonna bother you, definitely try a different engine...or slap on a large bore exhaust (which I think would sound like a japanese tuner car, not good in my opinion). For us, we wanted something that had instant acceleration that we were used to (no lag), great fuel economy (because we travel long distances), and the ability to pull out of a corner with authority (because sometimes...you just gotta do that). The BMW N20 does all of those for us...the "sound" of a 4 cylinder is not a big deal to us. We can easily afford higher gasoline bills and could have purchased a bigger engine but chose to pick something that makes more sense in the long run. We get 500+ miles per fill up something our allegedly fuel sipping Acura cannot do. Uh-oh! I said long run and this is a turbo. Well the way I see it is it requires more maintenance and it will be just fine. I had a turbo AMERICAN car that lasted 12 years and never once had to clean the turbo or throttle body. If that can last that long, a masterfully engineered, technologically superior BMW with more maintenance should be just fine. The number of cylinders also does not directly relate to the life of the car. It's engine design and materials used.

Steering: Comparing Hydraulic, to electrohydraulic, to electric...the sweet spot for "feeling the road" is electrohydraulic, unless you like working out your biceps/shoulders while driving your car, or being anesthetized through turns. However, despite the electric steering in our F10, it is still a joy to turn the wheel. The speed sensitive steering is just right. If I was racing the car, the feel would be suboptimal. This is not a race car, an M5 or 550i is so not going to pretend that it is. The steering is very comfortable, serves its purpose and contrary to what some others feel, there are enough haptics to let me know my car is centered. There is also enough feedback to make turns through corners exciting. I did not get IAS since the roads in our area a wide enough for U-turns, parking etc. In Munich, it was definitely challenging to drive in the parking decks, and I was initially wondering if we made a mistake skipping that option. Not so where we live. Also, comparing the Mercedes E350 steering, the BMW is significantly better (we drove them back to back within a 45 minute window while car shopping). The Mercedes is good for people without any desire for haptics/force feedback. It was very difficult for me to tell if the steering wheel was centered on that car. The E350 is good car for luxury fanatics, bad for someone who likes corners.

Transmission and Eco/Comfort/Sport mode: So far so good, quick shifting, gets through the first 3 gears very quickly normal driving. In sport mode, revs higher before gear changes. The Eco mode is useless, we don't need it. It is only useful as a driver reconditioning tool for individuals who put the pedal to the metal just to get to 45mph all the time, and wonder why they get crappy gas mileage. I'd say most of us BMW owners have made that logical connection between the gas pedal and gas mileage. Comfort mode is acceptable and what we use on a regular basis.

Suspension/Wheels/Tires: Ok, per all the postings (bent rims/tire bubbles/harsh ride), you all scared the heck out of me regarding these points so did not get the DHP or M-sport packages. We went with the stock suspension (which has more body roll than DHP, yes, but is still flat enough). My acura had a hard core sports suspension that required dental work during the years of ownership (jk about the dental work but the ride was jarring over bumps!). I got REALLY sick and tired of that even though at high speeds it was VERY stable. On the other hand, driving a family member's lexus is too smooth and could cause a driver like me to go to sleep (just kidding). The 528i is somewhere in between. For us, it's perfect. I wouldn't call this car a Sport-Luxury car...rather a Luxury-Sport car (if that makes sense?). The 550i with ARS and sports transmission, now that's a real Sport-Luxury car. Now, there is one thing that is annoying, well, depends because I can feel it and I'm 100% convinced it relates to the stiff RFTs on the car. I can only imagine how it feels to drive lower profile RFTs, but I wouldn't want to. At about 70-75 as many have described, there is a vibration on certain roads on the highway. Not always there however. I've found it depends on the temperature. On 60F daytime, not noticeable on the same stretch of road. On 30F mornings, definitely noticeable, even after the car has warmed up and the tires still cold. I will switch to non-RFTs when these wear down or get too irritating, because non RFTs will be comfortable and will perform better based on the reviews on bimmerfest. The risk of not having a spare is low because in the event of a tire "rupture", the RFT is not going to help...I'll still be stranded either way. If it's a tire "puncture", then the TPMS will let me know and I'll get a new tire...which is not a major issue. We don't live in an area where we would worry about personal safety from criminals if we got a flat.

Overall, great car! We are happy with the purchase of a 528i (4 cylinder 2.0L turbo). It serves its purpose and we do not regret it one bit (going with a smaller but powerful engine). For 95-99% of our driving it is just right. I think we will probably have some trips to the dealer for this or that, but hey, that's what we signed up for buying this BMW. More technology = more fun = more chances for item failure = more trips to the dealer. Life's too short to worry about stuff like that. I do feel sorry for those of you who have been through a lot of crap because of your F10's problems (mechanical, tires, alignment, navigation problems and the list goes on). Particularly for the rare ones of you with catastrophic engine failure, suspension problems, tire bubbles from hell etc. At the end of the day some people have ditched their bmws, but the F10 probably wasn't the right car for them in the first place...possibly the F30 is for them. We would still get another F10 with an N20 because it is really a nice car and stand by that. Again, thank you all for your posts on bimmerfest regarding the F10. It was much appreciated during the car buying process. I hope that this review serves as a thank you and helps other future BMW buyers.

Last edited by Tokyo4Bimmer; 02-26-2012 at 11:51 PM. Reason: Clarification
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