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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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Old 08-28-2010, 04:49 PM
markl53's Avatar
markl53 markl53 is offline
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Location: Gaithersburg, MD
 
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Mein Auto: 2011 535i
535i already ordered, took a 2nd test drive today

OK, after reading all the threads regarding the "faults" of the new F10 series, I decided I had to take another test drive before my own 535i arrives in about 3 weeks. My current car is an '08 335i 6MT, and I had only driven a 535i once. I had driven a '10 MB E350 a week or so before, thinking it may have been a viable alternative. When I drove the 535i the first time, the power of the updated N55 with the 8-spd Steptronic made me grin quite a bit. I was driving a base vehicle, no sport or handling packages.

Then I started reading all the negative comments, which led me to my drive today. Here's what I found.
1. Yes, the steering effort is a bit lighter than one might expect of a BMW. However, for me, it did not exhibit any sloppiness that people have reported. I would agree that the overall feel was a bit more isolated feeling than my 335i, but I found nothing drastic, such as on-center sloppiness. The steering responded quickly to slight "twitches" off center.
2. I'm not sure the electric steering is the actual culprit for the slightly reduced feel. I'm guessing it's more a product of the superbly balanced and quiet ride. To me the car did not feel heavy, but was nimble in turns. In fact, I took a couple of on-ramps faster than I thought because of the ride quality. It took the turns in stride (I won't say I was near any limit, just faster than my average on the same ramps in my 335i).
3. There was a very slight tendency for the car to head toward the right, not a strong "pull". I spoke with the sales manager when I got back, who I know fairly well, and he told me that BMW knew about this and had a fix. He said they had received "some parts" and had already fixed at least one customer's F10. He thought mine would have already been corrected, either in production or at the port, before delivery. We'll see.

As with any new car, my new 535i will take some time for me to get adjusted. I don't think it's fair to compare it with a 3-series, it's a bigger car with a slightly different purpose in life. I still feel good about my choice. YMMV.
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2014 535i Individual | Azurite Black/Amaro Brown Merino | Premium | Cold | PDC | Rear Camera | Anthracite Hdr
Prior: 2011 535i AT | Black Sapphire/Cinnamon | Premium | Heated Sts | Nav | Sirius | Anthracite Hdr & Trim
Prior: 2008 335i 6MT Sedan | Black Sapphire/Terra Leather | Premium | Cold | CA | OEM Alarm
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Last edited by markl53; 08-28-2010 at 08:41 PM.
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  #2  
Old 08-28-2010, 06:01 PM
wessew wessew is offline
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Location: Orlando, Fl
 
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Mein Auto: 2006 X3; 2011 550i
Very nice review. My wife and I tested a number of vehicles this past week in fairly rapid succession. They included: BMW 535, Infiniti M 37, Jaguar XF, and Lexus GS 460. We found the Infiniti, even in base configuration, to be rough riding. The sport model, which we also drove, was quite harsh on normal roads. It had good handling etc., but a punishing ride. The Lexus was too small on the inside and seem too soft for us to be comfortable. The technology seemed to be dated, as well. We liked the Jaguar the best in terms of handling and ride quality. The technology in the Jaguar seems a bit dated in terms of the navigation system responsiveness and the engine/transmission. But it had a really smooth, sporty ride--the best of the bunch. The BMW was a surprise to us. It seemed to handle very well as you approached reasonable limits and was very comfortable, but the ride quality and steering feel seemed to be both soft. My wife was most surprised as we have owned a half dozen BMW's in the past. This model had the softest suspension and lightest steering of any of them--almost floating, but not quite. It might be fine in the end, but it make take some getting used to. In addition, I have a suspicion that BMW may tweak the suspension/steering feel in subsequent versions. I would not be comfortable buying it without some tightening in the suspension/steering response which may or may not come with the available upgrades: sport suspension, dynamic handling, etc. Of course, those options cost a pretty penny and one could argue they would not be necessary if the car was set up "properly" from the beginning. I say properly because in years past all you had to do was to pick the model and add the non-performance options and you could be assured of an excellent balance of handling and ride. Now, it seems like you have to be very careful of the costly performance options packages. Just my take...
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