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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 01-26-2013, 02:30 PM
pelorus pelorus is offline
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MPackage 535 vs 550 Steering & Other Questions

Hey guys-

I was hoping for a little help from fellow car enthusiasts on making sure I order the right car, and I give my sincerest thanks in advance.

The dealer today couldn't give me answers to the questions I have.

I'm ordering either a 535i or 550i (Titanium Silver / Oyster Nappa) with the M-Package.

I test drove a 535Xi and 550Xi back to back today. Both cars had the M-Package. No pure rear wheel drive 5's were in the lot to test. The 535Xi I drove also had a performance exhaust system which the dealer said was installed at the port.

In terms of driving impressions, mind you I'm really shocked to say this, but even with cost being no object, the 535Xi was more fun to drive. The 550Xi had tremendous thrust, but the 535Xi had MUCH heavier steering at all speeds - and this sport exhaust warbling behind your head was the icing on the cake. The 550Xi engine sounded like a mute compared to the 535Xi, and the steering felt feather light. Both cars were in Sport+ mode per the button on the center console, and both had the auto trans in Sport mode as well.

Does anyone know why a 535Xi M-Package and a 550Xi M-Package would feel so different in terms of steering? NONE of these cars had Adaptive Drive or Dynamic Damper control.

I mean I was blown away by the sense of occasion you felt driving this 535Xi. I didn't expect the car to mesmerize as it did. I know this is reaching, but the steering tightness and feel and sound of the sport exhaust kind of felt like a Porsche 993. Its the only way I can describe it. I mean for a V6 sports sedan, this car truly had that sense of occasion with the sound and steering feel. The V8 model did not have this sense of occasion - it felt like your average mass produced luxury car even with its raw power.

Also, does anyone know if steering feel changes when you go with rear wheel drive versions on these cars?

I really want the steering to feel nice and heavy as it did on this test drive with the 535Xi. The dealer said "probably the heavier engine block leads to lighter steering in the 550Xi".

Thank you again for any help with this.
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  #2  
Old 01-26-2013, 03:57 PM
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AggieKnight AggieKnight is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pelorus View Post
In terms of driving impressions, mind you I'm really shocked to say this, but even with cost being no object, the 535Xi was more fun to drive. The 550Xi had tremendous thrust, but the 535Xi had MUCH heavier steering at all speeds - and this sport exhaust warbling behind your head was the icing on the cake. The 550Xi engine sounded like a mute compared to the 535Xi, and the steering felt feather light. Both cars were in Sport+ mode per the button on the center console, and both had the auto trans in Sport mode as well.

Does anyone know why a 535Xi M-Package and a 550Xi M-Package would feel so different in terms of steering? NONE of these cars had Adaptive Drive or Dynamic Damper control.
That's odd. It could have something to do with the all-wheel drive cars, but I had the opposite impression when I compared the 535 to the 550. Don't get me wrong, the 535 is a really nice car, but I was utterly blown away by the 550...ordered one and picked it up in Europe, where it ate up roads all over Austria and Germany. Dang thing kept a ****-eating grin on my face even when I was stuck in the break-in period.

The only other thing I could think of is if the options besides the M-sport on the cars had an impact.

But, I'd encourage you to wait to order until you can drive the car you want.

Just my 2 cents...you can't go wrong with either car IMHO.
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  #3  
Old 01-26-2013, 04:01 PM
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Decboy Decboy is offline
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To answer your steering question, both the 535xi and 550xi have hydraulic steering so the feel should be the same. If you were comparing a 535xi with a 550i, then the steering on the latter would feel different due to the electric steering on the RWD models. I haven't driven the AWD models so can't comment too much on that.

As for the engines, my experience is similar throughout my multiple test drives between the 535 and 550. Yes, the inline 6 has a more sportier feel overall. The V8 is smoother but the power is really in the acceleration. Not to take anything away from the inline 6 which is a great engine, but the acceleration in the V8 is effortless. They are just different engines. It is subjective so go with what you like better.

When I was shopping between the two, here were the main differences with the 550: 1) Navigation, multi-contour seats, rear camera, park distance were all standard 2) V8 Engine 3) Lack of auto start stop - ASS 4) rectangular exhaust tips.
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Last edited by Decboy; 01-26-2013 at 04:11 PM.
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  #4  
Old 01-26-2013, 06:50 PM
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Bruce917 Bruce917 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pelorus View Post
Hey guys-

I was hoping for a little help from fellow car enthusiasts on making sure I order the right car, and I give my sincerest thanks in advance.

The dealer today couldn't give me answers to the questions I have.

I'm ordering either a 535i or 550i (Titanium Silver / Oyster Nappa) with the M-Package.

I test drove a 535Xi and 550Xi back to back today. Both cars had the M-Package. No pure rear wheel drive 5's were in the lot to test. The 535Xi I drove also had a performance exhaust system which the dealer said was installed at the port.

In terms of driving impressions, mind you I'm really shocked to say this, but even with cost being no object, the 535Xi was more fun to drive. The 550Xi had tremendous thrust, but the 535Xi had MUCH heavier steering at all speeds - and this sport exhaust warbling behind your head was the icing on the cake. The 550Xi engine sounded like a mute compared to the 535Xi, and the steering felt feather light. Both cars were in Sport+ mode per the button on the center console, and both had the auto trans in Sport mode as well.

Does anyone know why a 535Xi M-Package and a 550Xi M-Package would feel so different in terms of steering? NONE of these cars had Adaptive Drive or Dynamic Damper control.

I mean I was blown away by the sense of occasion you felt driving this 535Xi. I didn't expect the car to mesmerize as it did. I know this is reaching, but the steering tightness and feel and sound of the sport exhaust kind of felt like a Porsche 993. Its the only way I can describe it. I mean for a V6 sports sedan, this car truly had that sense of occasion with the sound and steering feel. The V8 model did not have this sense of occasion - it felt like your average mass produced luxury car even with its raw power.

Also, does anyone know if steering feel changes when you go with rear wheel drive versions on these cars?

I really want the steering to feel nice and heavy as it did on this test drive with the 535Xi. The dealer said "probably the heavier engine block leads to lighter steering in the 550Xi".

Thank you again for any help with this.
Pumped to hear that the M performance exhaust works, my car will arrive with one.
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  #5  
Old 01-27-2013, 05:17 AM
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K-A K-A is offline
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IMO the powertrain on the 535i is the ideal setup for this car. It's the most "BMW" setup of the F10 variations. The I6 is just so unique, sporty and well rounded. It's interesting that you said "sense of occasion" as that's what I really feel from this car and the way it drives. Yes, the motor is outdone by the 550i in every power measure, but the N55's charms are separate from that, it's a certain "feel" you get, a sound, and out of all the cars I drove when I was car shopping, it was the only engine that actually felt individual to a certain brand of car (the other and even far more-so was the 991 Porsche's flat six).

As for the steering I do know the 535i is said to be a superior handling, more fun to drive variation than the 550i, due to the near 50/50 weight distribution and comparable lightness (the 550i is heavier in the front which is not where you want the extra weight if you're choosing).
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  #6  
Old 01-27-2013, 08:35 AM
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markl53 markl53 is offline
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Drive a couple more 535i's to verify your findings. Granted, I have a 2011 non-sport 535i, and while I don't find the steering "annoyingly" light, especially at speed, I would not describe it anywhere near "heavy". For whatever reason, that particular 535i you drove may be an outlier as far as steering feel. OTOH, I think the overall topic of steering lightness is a bit overblown -- you quickly get used to the steering effort of any car you're driving. I'm not talking about steering responsiveness or accuracy (both of which are excellent+ on my 535i), I'm talking about turning effort.
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Last edited by markl53; 01-27-2013 at 08:38 AM.
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  #7  
Old 01-27-2013, 09:08 AM
bimmerific bimmerific is offline
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I ordered my '11 535ix with the standard suspension. It also has the standard ZF eight-speed transmission, so I cannot offer you a direct "apples-to-apples" comparison. However, in this configuration, I would not describe my vehicle's hydraulic steering as "heavy." Moreover, it certainly is not as "heavy" as the steering in Mrs. bimmerific's '08 335ix coupe -- but it does feel "connected" to the road, and registers terrain compositions and conditions very well.
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  #8  
Old 01-27-2013, 05:08 PM
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My 2012 535xi is purported to have hydraulic steering, and yet its feel is so light as to make me wonder whether it really has electric steering. My 2007 530xi has much, much tighter steering, which I prefer.
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  #9  
Old 01-27-2013, 06:39 PM
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K-A K-A is offline
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Looks like it all comes down to what you were calibrated to before, eg: when I first got my F10 (and even now), coming out of my E-Class, I almost thought there was something wrong with the car since the steering was so much heavier and required so much more effort than the practically sloppily light steering (overboosted) in the E-Class. I gotta say, the E's steering made day to day driving very simple (you know what demographic M-B is going for with that car after you experience both cars' steering) so I think it's a greatly appropriate steering for that car, but in comparison my 535i's steering is very noticeably weighted to the point where I'd assume someone like my Girlfriend would prefer to the drive the E, as the steering feel would be "friendlier" to her. Just some perspective.

As for me, I re-remember why I love a heavier/sportier steering feel again.
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  #10  
Old 01-27-2013, 08:52 PM
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Popoemt Popoemt is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by K-A View Post
Looks like it all comes down to what you were calibrated to before, eg: when I first got my F10 (and even now), coming out of my E-Class, I almost thought there was something wrong with the car since the steering was so much heavier and required so much more effort than the practically sloppily light steering (overboosted) in the E-Class. I gotta say, the E's steering made day to day driving very simple (you know what demographic M-B is going for with that car after you experience both cars' steering) so I think it's a greatly appropriate steering for that car, but in comparison my 535i's steering is very noticeably weighted to the point where I'd assume someone like my Girlfriend would prefer to the drive the E, as the steering feel would be "friendlier" to her. Just some perspective.

As for me, I re-remember why I love a heavier/sportier steering feel again.
Wait... you let your girlfriend out of the kitchen...????

Whats going on here???
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  #11  
Old 01-29-2013, 01:50 AM
smashhell smashhell is offline
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I can answer your question.
The 550xi even with AWD does NOT have hydraulic steering. It's electric. Because of the V8, the hydraulic steering system wouldn't fit in the 550.
Only the 535xi have hydraulic steering.
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Last edited by smashhell; 01-29-2013 at 01:55 AM.
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  #12  
Old 01-29-2013, 05:25 AM
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geo3515 geo3515 is offline
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Originally Posted by smashhell View Post
I can answer your question.
The 550xi even with AWD does NOT have hydraulic steering. It's electric. Because of the V8, the hydraulic steering system wouldn't fit in the 550.
Only the 535xi have hydraulic steering.
Wrong.
http://www.realoem.com/bmw/partgrp.d...51&hg=32&fg=10
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  #13  
Old 01-29-2013, 05:51 AM
The X Men The X Men is online now
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I thought the electric steering was larger and would not fit in the X-drive.
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  #14  
Old 01-29-2013, 06:07 AM
douggie douggie is offline
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Just give us back the hydraulic steering! Leave the electric stuff for the Prius!
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  #15  
Old 01-29-2013, 06:09 AM
radarguy radarguy is offline
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Originally Posted by geo3515 View Post
Maybe. Your reference is for the 2012 iX. According to my SA the 2013 535iX has electric steering. I don't know about the 2013 550 iX. My 2011 535 iX has hydraulic assisted steering.
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  #16  
Old 01-29-2013, 06:21 AM
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geo3515 geo3515 is offline
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Originally Posted by radarguy View Post
Maybe. Your reference is for the 2012 iX. According to my SA the 2013 535iX has electric steering. I don't know about the 2013 550 iX. My 2011 535 iX has hydraulic assisted steering.
My reference is for the production month 11/2012, so it's 2013 model. Actually, both 2013 535iX and 550iX have hydraulic steering, only 528iX has electric one:
http://www.realoem.com/bmw/partgrp.d...00&hg=32&fg=12
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  #17  
Old 01-29-2013, 12:13 PM
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Originally Posted by radarguy View Post
Maybe. Your reference is for the 2012 iX. According to my SA the 2013 535iX has electric steering. I don't know about the 2013 550 iX. My 2011 535 iX has hydraulic assisted steering.
We all know the SA are always right because they are so well trained
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