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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 12-29-2012, 05:55 PM
Wagons_Rock Wagons_Rock is offline
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528 1st impressions versus E61 535

Have a new 528i loaner over the weekend while E61 535i Touring is in shop for routine work. Its an interesting comparison.

1st impression was that while the N54 is effortless, with lots of torque at low revs, the 4-cylinder requires a different driving style, keeping revs up for adequate performance, with a small engine feel; setting transmission to sport mode takes care of some of this, but not to the extend that I felt I had power in reserve; by contrast eco mode feels positively lethargic. I had no trouble adapting to the auto stop/start: yes there is a slight jump when starter engages, but its nearly instantaneous, and minimally impacted driving in traffic. The new 8-speed ZF is really smooth compared to the 6 speed auto box.

Surprisingly, I found aspects of the F10 the interior build quality a bit substandard compared to E61, given that its been touted as a 5 in 7-series clothes; the glove box is really flimsy, while the E61 closes with a solid sound. As many have noted, the new (really not so new) iDrive is a huge improvement over the previous generation. The loaner has several options I was pleased to try: Color heads up display is really good when navigation is in use, but otherwise sparse when only speed is displayed, although I really liked the white/red switch for night time driving. BMW could display a lot more information on the heads up, such as rpm, instantaneous mpg, oil temp etc? The side and rear view camera's are nice, especially in combination with park distance control. Active blind spot detection, which I thought would be really useful, was a bit of a let down: the warning triangle in the mirror column is not easily seen, and the system engages too early, when cars behind are some distance away and easily visible in mirror. I think some competing systems have a warning symbol display in the mirror itself, which would be more useful, combined with an audible warning not to make a turn, and triggered by steering wheel input when a car behind really is in the blind spot

When directly illuminated by bright sunlight, the black panel instrument display washed out and was nearly invisible, and adding to this problem, the black instrument screen has reflective surface compared to conventional displays. I think there is room for improvement.

Overall, if I could get an F11, I'd go for the N55 or its replacement, instead of the 4-cylinder. I'd pass on the blind spot system, but get the heads up display. Hoping the 5-series touring will come back to US.
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  #2  
Old 12-29-2012, 07:29 PM
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markl53 markl53 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wagons_Rock View Post
Have a new 528i loaner over the weekend while E61 535i Touring is in shop for routine work. Its an interesting comparison.

1st impression was that while the N54 is effortless, with lots of torque at low revs, the 4-cylinder requires a different driving style, keeping revs up for adequate performance, with a small engine feel; setting transmission to sport mode takes care of some of this, but not to the extend that I felt I had power in reserve
I have an F10 535i, having had an E90 335i prior to that. You probably would feel the same about the previous F10 528i with the NA 6-cylinder I'm guessing. Once you feel the torque of the N54/N55, I don't think you'll be happy with either of the 528i engines.

Quote:
The new 8-speed ZF is really smooth compared to the 6 speed auto box.
The only F10's I've driven were other 535i's during a test drive, so I assume the 8-spd works as well in the 528i. Yes, it's an awesome automatic, IMO. I came from driving two 6MT BMW's prior.

Quote:
Surprisingly, I found aspects of the F10 the interior build quality a bit substandard compared to E61, given that its been touted as a 5 in 7-series clothes; the glove box is really flimsy, while the E61 closes with a solid sound.
Well, OK. If you think so. Most people feel the F10 interior blows away that of the E60/E61. If the glove compartment was your main complaint, so be it. I actually like how it closes with no sound.

Quote:
Active blind spot detection, which I thought would be really useful, was a bit of a let down: the warning triangle in the mirror column is not easily seen, and the system engages too early, when cars behind are some distance away and easily visible in mirror.
IMO, with mirrors properly positioned, there are no blind spots. This feature, to me, is a gimmick that has really caught on. The warning light is lit most of the time, isn't it? Thanks, but I"ll save the $$$.

Quote:
Overall, if I could get an F11, I'd go for the N55 or its replacement, instead of the 4-cylinder. I'd pass on the blind spot system, but get the heads up display. Hoping the 5-series touring will come back to US.
Glad you liked the F10. There was an earlier discussion about some availability of the F11 in the US -- I spotted one a week or so ago.
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Last edited by markl53; 12-29-2012 at 07:33 PM.
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  #3  
Old 12-29-2012, 07:48 PM
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Needsdecaf Needsdecaf is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wagons_Rock View Post
Have a new 528i loaner over the weekend while E61 535i Touring is in shop for routine work. Its an interesting comparison.

1st impression was that while the N54 is effortless, with lots of torque at low revs, the 4-cylinder requires a different driving style, keeping revs up for adequate performance, with a small engine feel; setting transmission to sport mode takes care of some of this, but not to the extend that I felt I had power in reserve; by contrast eco mode feels positively lethargic. I had no trouble adapting to the auto stop/start: yes there is a slight jump when starter engages, but its nearly instantaneous, and minimally impacted driving in traffic. The new 8-speed ZF is really smooth compared to the 6 speed auto box.

Surprisingly, I found aspects of the F10 the interior build quality a bit substandard compared to E61, given that its been touted as a 5 in 7-series clothes; the glove box is really flimsy, while the E61 closes with a solid sound. As many have noted, the new (really not so new) iDrive is a huge improvement over the previous generation. The loaner has several options I was pleased to try: Color heads up display is really good when navigation is in use, but otherwise sparse when only speed is displayed, although I really liked the white/red switch for night time driving. BMW could display a lot more information on the heads up, such as rpm, instantaneous mpg, oil temp etc? The side and rear view camera's are nice, especially in combination with park distance control. Active blind spot detection, which I thought would be really useful, was a bit of a let down: the warning triangle in the mirror column is not easily seen, and the system engages too early, when cars behind are some distance away and easily visible in mirror. I think some competing systems have a warning symbol display in the mirror itself, which would be more useful, combined with an audible warning not to make a turn, and triggered by steering wheel input when a car behind really is in the blind spot

When directly illuminated by bright sunlight, the black panel instrument display washed out and was nearly invisible, and adding to this problem, the black instrument screen has reflective surface compared to conventional displays. I think there is room for improvement.

Overall, if I could get an F11, I'd go for the N55 or its replacement, instead of the 4-cylinder. I'd pass on the blind spot system, but get the heads up display. Hoping the 5-series touring will come back to US.
I love the E61. Really thought about getting one, but older iDrive, N54 bugaboos, issues with sunroof drains and the load leveling suspension kept me away.

In any event, having driven with the blind spot monitoring, I have to disagree with your assessment. First, the lights are much better positions on the column than the mirror. They don't take up any mirror real estate and don't distract from the image in the mirror when lit. They are definitely noticeable even in daylight. Second, the system is dual stage as you described. The visual warning is stage one, then if you either steer into the cars path when lit, or hit the turn signal when lit, the steering wheel vibrates to warn you.

I think given time you would have gotten used to it. I do agree it is a bit conservative with the distance, but other than that it is a very good system.

The N54 is a lot torquier than the N20, even more than the N55 despite similar ratings. Plus, the 6 speed isn't so up shift happy and that extra 500 to 800 rpm keeps the engine in more of the sweet spot. Makes a big difference.

Enjoy your E61, it's a classic. If the F11 comes here, I'll have an order in day one and the F10 will be up for sale.
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  #4  
Old 12-29-2012, 07:55 PM
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markl53 markl53 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Needsdecaf View Post
I love the E61. Really thought about getting one, but older iDrive, N54 bugaboos, issues with sunroof drains and the load leveling suspension kept me away.

In any event, having driven with the blind spot monitoring, I have to disagree with your assessment. First, the lights are much better positions on the column than the mirror. They don't take up any mirror real estate and don't distract from the image in the mirror when lit. They are definitely noticeable even in daylight. Second, the system is dual stage as you described. The visual warning is stage one, then if you either steer into the cars path when lit, or hit the turn signal when lit, the steering wheel vibrates to warn you.

I think given time you would have gotten used to it. I do agree it is a bit conservative with the distance, but other than that it is a very good system.
Needs, I thought in a few previous posts, you stated you would forego the blind spot feature next time?
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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
Prior: 2005 330i 6MT | Black Sapphire/Sand Leather | Premium | Cold | UGO | OEM Alarm
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