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F07 Gran Turismo (2010 - Current)
The 5 Series Gran Turismo -- now available in the USA as a 535i, 550i and 550i xDrive model.

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  #1  
Old 03-27-2013, 09:49 AM
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ErnestHouse ErnestHouse is offline
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Question 5GT as a retirement car? Why did you choose one?

I've had my fill of Japanese and American cars (sedans, coupes, minivans convertibles etc). I'm looking at splurging upon retirement and getting a MY 13 or 14 535i GT RWD, X5 or Audi Q5 Hybrid.

I was going to get the Q5 Hybrid to replace my 9 year old crossover but the way AudiUSA packages it, I cant get the features I really want but GT has. I like the idea of the 5GT intermediate ride height and interior of the GT. Also, the better ride offered by the GT without having to go down to an A7 or 6 gran coupe level ride height. Not sure I want the first year 3GT either.

I read about the 5GT electrical/battery issues and I wonder if the 5GT will be more trouble than it's worth (always charging it, can't leave it airports....) for a Florida based mostly around town but occasional long trip driving pattern.

I'm test driving one tomorrow.

Do you recommend one for my usage pattern?

Why did you buy one? TIA

Last edited by ErnestHouse; 03-27-2013 at 10:40 AM.
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  #2  
Old 03-27-2013, 12:52 PM
jadnashuanh jadnashuanh is online now
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From what others have indicated, and my experiences, if you lock your vehicle, the battery issue isn't normally an issue. I left mine at a park and ride for 19-days in November. It did say it had shut down some functions because of power, but started and ran fine. I had to reset the radio stations and the seat memory, but it did start and operate fine. There are a huge number of computer driven functions in most modern cars, and some of them continue to run, especially if it isn't locked. This may be a function of where it was designed...in Germany, if you leave something visible in the car and the car is broken into or it was unlocked, you may not collect on any insurance since you 'enticed' someone to just take it. IOW, they expect you to lock the vehicle all the time when you're not using it, and I think, but do not know, that they designed the electrical load based on that fact. If you have the remote in your pocket and are walking by the car, that can trigger some things to wake up, even if you never open the door. This adds to the electrical load, since it takes awhile to shut down again. The range of the remote is enough where it might happen if the garage was either under or near where you are. It does have a 200A alternator, but it does not run all the time, so short trips can be an issue.

If most of your trips are short, you may want to consider a trickle charger, regardless, but if you lock it, you may never have issues. If your trips are mostly short, you will probably only get near the city mileage out of it, although unless you request they reprogram to turn off the auto stop, you may not find that an issue (it's not on my 2011, so I don't have a choice). It is a very nice vehicle to take a long trip in. I drove over 1000-miles one trip coming back from the UP in MI to NY in one day. My X-drive has seen over 30mpg on a trip, lightly loaded (two people, minimal luggage).

While it's annoying to ever have to take the vehicle in for non-maintenance issues, the warranty is good, and if you don't drive a lot, it should cover you for the full 4-years. After that time, you should have a good idea of whether you want to keep it or not. I happen to live 0.5-miles from the #2 rated BMW dealer in the country, and #1 is within easy driving distance, so my experiences in service may differ from the 'norm', but has been universally good.

It's a complex car, and the new models keep adding more enticing features, whether standard or optional, so it's a tribute to the whole thing that the last. Out of warranty fixes, should they be required, as a result can be costly, and it takes a good dealer service department to resolve, should it be needed. the 12-year factory rust warranty is nice, too, should that be a consideration. Just was talking to a neighbor, his truck is rusting in lots of places at much younger than that. Hope to never need the BMW warranty on that, but it's good to know it's there.
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  #3  
Old 03-27-2013, 03:23 PM
SimiClyde SimiClyde is offline
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Well, I really wanted a wagon, but She Who Must Be Heard opined that the 3 Series was too small for her taste.

In addition, at the time we ordered the F07, BMW was mid-cycle for the body style change, with the F31 still a ways out.

Finally, and this is no small part of the consideration, I wanted a BMW that looked quite different than most you see on the road.

So, in order: Unique Style, Size, Wagonesque
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2010 535i: Deep Sea Blue | Natural Brown | ED: 6-Aug-2009 | 2013 535iX GT: Neptune Blue | Venetian Beige | ED: 31-Aug-2012
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  #4  
Old 03-27-2013, 07:10 PM
jdubbs jdubbs is offline
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I've had my 2011 550i GT for a little over two years, and only crossed 12,000 miles today. I drive very little and not in the "recommended" driving pattern... little bi-weekly trips to the grocery or the mall, every 2-3 months I might drive an hour or so out of town, and once or twice a year on a longer trip, e.g., to LA. I've never had battery issues with this car, though I did with my previous BMW... a 6 series convertible, which I had to charge repeatedly as the battery kept dying. My driving habits are about the same as back then, but the GT has newer battery charging technology, something to do with redirecting brake energy into the battery, which I guess is making all the difference? BTW my GT is tricked out with all sorts of tech that would theoretically drain the battery (but hasn't, knock wood)... comfort access and so forth... and I never lock the car in my garage.
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  #5  
Old 03-27-2013, 08:42 PM
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ErnestHouse ErnestHouse is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jdubbs View Post
... BTW my GT is tricked out with all sorts of tech that would theoretically drain the battery (but hasn't, knock wood)... comfort access and so forth...
I notice you don't have xDrive. Do you have Integral Active Steering? Is it really useful?
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  #6  
Old 03-28-2013, 08:33 AM
jdubbs jdubbs is offline
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Active Steering is kinda controversial... some love it, others hate it. I'm in the latter camp; I had (basic) active steering on my 650i, and grew to depend on it... whenever I drove a rental it was like downgrading from power steering to manual steering. Integral active steering is better; it turns all four wheels depending on speed, etc. One key benefit is a much tighter turning radius: I can do a full u-turn from the left lane at pretty much any 4-lane intersection, which was never possible in the 650i, and was only barely possible in my old Z4 without any kind of active steering. I guess the main criticism people have (not me) is that you don't "feel the road" as much... steering becomes fairly effortless, and I suppose for some that creates a disconnectedness that they don't like. I would say it definitely takes a little getting used to, again I would compare to driving a car with power steering for the first time. The best steering I've experienced was in my E60 M5 (post-Z4, pre-650i), which unfortunately went back to the dealer due to faulty transmission (which was truly horrible, btw). The integral active steering in my GT is a close second though.
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  #7  
Old 03-28-2013, 11:01 AM
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ErnestHouse ErnestHouse is offline
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Whats making me look at Integral Active Steering is for when I am driving in residentials with many turns at intersections, speed circles and general winding around but all at under 30mph. I would like tight steering. Don't care about feel. I want small movements translating to steering. Anything for high speed steering is icing on the cake.

I just did a test drive of a 535i. In Sport mode, I got improved tightness in the residentials. Will Integral Active Steering improve the tightness in the under 30 manuvering around? It seems to me it would. Not sure.
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  #8  
Old 03-28-2013, 11:15 AM
jdubbs jdubbs is offline
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Yes, I would say this is where integral active steering has the most impact. At lower speeds, all four wheels turn (the front wheels go one direction, and the rear wheels go slightly the opposite) producing a tighter turning radius. At higher speeds, all four wheels turn the same direction (though the rears less so than the fronts) to make lane changes quicker. All in all you end up steering less to produce quicker/tighter results.

(Hopefully I got that right... it's been a while since I researched it).

Sport mode can affect a variety of metrics including steering, suspension, acceleration, etc. depending on the various packages/options you have. I have pretty much everything on mine (adaptive this, integral that, etc.... the only options I didn't get were night vision, active cruise control and the rear seat video monitors) so it's hard for me to know what does what any more. I do know that on mine, in Sport mode the steering response is stiffer (not so much tighter radius, but stiffer feel when turning the wheel) and I feel less insulated from the road in terms of suspension. I generally drive in Comfort mode, because after the 650i I had had more than my fill of feeling every pothole in San Francisco. For driving around curvy roads in the wine country, I do switch to Sport and the car feels zippier, more agile, etc.
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  #9  
Old 03-30-2013, 09:28 AM
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Fish23 Fish23 is offline
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Ernest, I wouldn't worry too much about the electrical issues that you read about in thia forum. Jad has provided excellent advice about leaving the car parked for an extended period as well as hints at how to minimize battery drain.

You may have read about my issues in the thread that covered the saga that magnumforc had that utimately led him to abandon the GT altogether for Range Rover. (I think he was poorly served by whatever dealers he visited to deal with the problems he experienced).

My issues were primarily related to extreme cold (like -10 to -25 degrees F) that is hard on the cranking capacity of any battery and BMW's AGM battery is no different. Add to that the Regenerative Braking
System, the impact of cold on it (it has to "warm up" before it will operate) and short trips. If your have an already-depleted battery, heated seats,heated steering wheel and lights on, you can see why I had ideal conditions for my difficulties.

In addition I also has a bad battery that my dealer replaced under warranty without question after the techs charged the old one for 5 hours at 6 amps and the voltage never increased the initial 8 volts when it should be in the 12-13 volt range.

The system seeks to protect cranking amps for starting the car and, by design, will actually shut off what has been deemed non-essential systems which could be mistaken for electrical problems but actually aren't.

The installation of a trickle charger by BMW or if you get one yourself you can keep the battery charged if the vehicle will be parked for an extended period at home and I have also used a solar trickle charger if away from home.

That said, living in Florida, you will not
endure what I do here in the Great White North. It really is a question of power management and if you always lock the car to shut it down you will minimize the drain on the battery and normal driving should keep your battery "topped up".

I would recommend that you become a GT-er and you will thoroughly enjoy the experience. Good luck. If you get one, pictures in this forum please.
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  #10  
Old 03-30-2013, 10:05 AM
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ErnestHouse ErnestHouse is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fish23 View Post
...That said, living in Florida, you will not
endure what I do here in the Great White North. It really is a question of power management and if you always lock the car to shut it down you will minimize the drain on the battery and normal driving should keep your battery "topped up".

I would recommend that you become a GT-er and you will thoroughly enjoy the experience. Good luck. If you get one, pictures in this forum please.
It's a little bit the opposite problem... A/C is needed in the summer and with short trips, do you think in fact the GT will suffer the same kind of lack of electrical power?

I can certainly do a trickle charger but would rather not.

As for becoming a GT'er, it's currently the top choice: Titanium Silver/Cinnamon/M-Sport/20s

Just not sure about the MY right now.

Last edited by ErnestHouse; 03-30-2013 at 12:45 PM.
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  #11  
Old 03-30-2013, 04:45 PM
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Fish23 Fish23 is offline
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Ernest, even with the frequent AC use in FL I don't think you would experience electrical system problems like I did. The only difference for me was the crippling cold and as I eventually found out, the bad battery. Even then, on both occasions when I had the same problem at similar temperatures, I was able to get my GT started but many systems had been shut down in accordance with system design.

My only complaint is that all that I learned about how the battery charging system works is not in the Owner's Manual and a recommended, temperature-dependent 'usage pattern' to help maintain charge should be included as well if no Power Tender (BMW's $200 (installed) trickle charger) or any other battery charger is used.

I don't think the AC will adversely affect a battery that does not have to overcome the effect of extreme cold on battery performance. Always making sure the vehicle is locked (and thus shut down) when leaving it will minimize the battery load and hence power drain.

With all the electrical system information that has been imparted in this forum, you should have all you need to allay most, if not all, of your concern about electrical system problems.
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  #12  
Old 03-31-2013, 09:26 AM
jdubbs jdubbs is offline
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FWIW, I run the AC pretty much continuously on my GT, and drive almost entirely short trips. No problems here.
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  #13  
Old 03-31-2013, 01:26 PM
jadnashuanh jadnashuanh is online now
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If I had to guess, I'd guess you'd be more likely to notice a problem in cold weather with short trips. First, the cold means the battery starts out with lower capabilities, and second, it may not warm up enough to get into the best charging situation. Sitting in traffic with the defrosters and seat heaters on can suck up more power than the a/c, since the compressor is engine driven, not battery run. The fans are likely to be on as fast during defrost as they would be for cooling and the a/c clutch, while a load, isn't as bad as all the heaters, especially when you throw in the cold temperatures. But, driven every day is better for it than sitting, especially if you do not lock it or get close enough with the fob to periodically wake it up.

Unless you have a reason to leave things to auto timeout, hit the start button twice when leaving, too. Shuts things down faster, and saves loading things down. Same thing with the headlights. Set the timer to just enough time to get into the house with maybe a little distraction rather than let them stay on for max time, or, if not needed, just leave the headlight switch in off rather than auto.
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  #14  
Old 03-31-2013, 03:09 PM
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Fish23 Fish23 is offline
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jad, exactly my experience and measures I now take to minmize battery drain. Two pushes on the Stop/Start and then I lock the car.

Not in the manual but what I learned in this forum is that if you just want to play the sound system you merely have to push the On/Off knob of the stereo and it will play but only for a set amount of time (8 minutes I believe) before it shuts down. Again this is the system conserving itself for the battery's most vital function, starting the motor.
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