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F10 / F11 (2011 - Current)
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  #51  
Old 08-29-2014, 08:12 AM
bow66 bow66 is offline
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My experience/test drives and purchase

Hello, new BMW owner here (former infiniti m37x owner) who just went through the test drives of '14 535xi, 535d, and 550xi. For snow I needed awd so xi was a requirement. Impressions were while 535 was fine for around town, on the highway, passing at speed ran out of oomph. 535d was great in town for initial acceleration, but again on hwy at speed passing not so great. 550xi was simply amazing and seemed to offer almost limitless power (well for such a heavy sedan).

Bottom line, bought the '14 550xi since out west with lots of open roads just a more enjoyable road car. So my advice is to gauge your usage and if lot of town driving then any of them would be very nice. For the open road and passing, 550 significantly better.

Now as to handling/cornering etc. I didn't find any of them that significantly different from each other. Yes subtle nuances with nose with 6 vs 8, but compared to my '13 corvette grand sport summer fun car, they all pitch and roll a lot. So I think any of the 3 are fine depending on how you gauge your usage/needs. As for fuel mileage, I get around 18 in suburban town, and 25 on open hwy if the mileage meter is reasonably accurate in the 550xi.

Anyway, that is my 2 cents. And I wish you the best in your choice.
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  #52  
Old 08-29-2014, 07:39 PM
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Spartan01 Spartan01 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WillInDenver View Post
I want to talk you out of xDrive. BMW uses the soft, non-sport suspension on the xDrive models, so if a sport sedan composure is of any value to you at all, DHP is a critical option. Then:
  • The xDrive model itself costs $2300 more than the RWD model
  • DHP is $3500
  • The xDrive model weighs 200 pounds more, pretty much all in the nose of the car
  • The xDrive models ride 10mm higher than the RWD models - a visual difference that compromises the sporty attitude of the car; may or may not be an issue for you
  • In my opinion, BMW should have gone farther with the damping on the DHP sort mode in the F10 - meaning that the xDrive with DHP still isn't on par with the RWD sport suspension car.
Sadly and unfortunately, the xDrive F10 is a real compromise over the RWD F10. Suspension treatment, weight, visuals. And, comparably equipped to provide a sporting drive experience, the xDrive costs a whopping $5800 more than a RWD option. Amazing.

I have owned both, sort of. Right now I have an xDrive 535 and I am living the compromise I describe above. I used to have a RWD 545 in the previous 5 series generation.

Truly, unless you live in an extremely hilly locale, a set of snow tires on a RWD car will be just fine for you. In fact, I thought my RWD car with snow tires was more stable than my AWD car with all-season tires under most circumstances. You could get a great set of snows for under $1000, and even if you wanted a dedicated set of wheels you would still be thousands ahead of the xDrive price.

Oh, on 535 v 550. I drove both and bought the 535. This is totally subjective, but I felt like the 535 was fast enough that I would not second guess the decision. So far, that has turned out to be true. It's not the same as the old days, when your choice in BMW models was "the fast one" and "the other one". They're both fast, the 550 more so.

Best luck.


EDIT:

I don't know whether I'm respected, but I disagree, just for the record. At least make sure you drive both, decide for yourself.
Very difficult to look away from the X-drive as I live in the NE and the winters aren't the friendliest. My Infiniti M35 sport was RWD w/ Blizzaks for the winter. As great as the suspension, handling, and fun factor of the car was, it wasn't the greatest rwd in the snow (even with blizzaks.) I've had my share of getting stuck in the snow and having my car drift during snow storms and they haven't been fun.
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  #53  
Old 08-29-2014, 07:43 PM
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Spartan01 Spartan01 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bow66 View Post
Hello, new BMW owner here (former infiniti m37x owner) who just went through the test drives of '14 535xi, 535d, and 550xi. For snow I needed awd so xi was a requirement. Impressions were while 535 was fine for around town, on the highway, passing at speed ran out of oomph. 535d was great in town for initial acceleration, but again on hwy at speed passing not so great. 550xi was simply amazing and seemed to offer almost limitless power (well for such a heavy sedan).

Bottom line, bought the '14 550xi since out west with lots of open roads just a more enjoyable road car. So my advice is to gauge your usage and if lot of town driving then any of them would be very nice. For the open road and passing, 550 significantly better.

Now as to handling/cornering etc. I didn't find any of them that significantly different from each other. Yes subtle nuances with nose with 6 vs 8, but compared to my '13 corvette grand sport summer fun car, they all pitch and roll a lot. So I think any of the 3 are fine depending on how you gauge your usage/needs. As for fuel mileage, I get around 18 in suburban town, and 25 on open hwy if the mileage meter is reasonably accurate in the 550xi.

Anyway, that is my 2 cents. And I wish you the best in your choice.
Absolutely great advice and great insight. The dealership I'm working with up here has a test track that we can use. I'll most likely test out the 535 & 550 to see the difference in power. I've lived with my GS350 for 2 years (300 hp) and it was adequate and quick. When I had my FX 50, it was absolutely fun. But I didn't see myself punching the gun all of the time, so the lack of opportunity with my city driving may warrant me to go for the overall package that the 535xi presents itself. But then again, I may find myself loving the 550
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  #54  
Old 08-30-2014, 10:05 PM
mselheimer mselheimer is offline
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I owned a 550i with Dinan Stage 2 for the last 3.5 years. It screams. If you want to be thrown back in your seat and like quick throttle tip in, then go for it if gas mileage isn't a concern. I consistently averaged 16.8-17.3 mpg in mixed city and highway driving (about a 60/40 split on most tanks). I always put in 93 octane so that's a cost consideration perhaps.

I just bought a 535d today and only have about 60 miles on it so far. It's not as fast / push you back in the seat as what I had but it's plenty quick and with 413 lb ft of torque you get a lot of that push you back in the seat feel that you don't get with the 535i. I've test-driven the 535 and own a 335 convertible (same engine). It's a fun engine and you won't go wrong with it, but in terms of fun to push it -- the 550 is first, then the 535d, and then the 535i no question. Don't go on HP when comparing the d and the i -- the add'l 113 lb ft of torque in the d matters.

My 2011 550i M-sport did not come with the M-sport suspension (not sure if current models do, but I suspect so). My 535d did and it sits a bit lower and corners a little tighter.

Whatever 5er you choose, I know you will love it. I've owned 14 cars (4 of them BMW along with MB, Acura, Saab, Nissan, others) and there is just no comparison to the driving experience!
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  #55  
Old 08-30-2014, 10:14 PM
willtc willtc is offline
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I have a 535i and I kinda of regretted my decision of not opting for the 550i. I mean... it's enough power, but it doesn't have the push me back onto my seat kind of power. Well, doesn't matter, I'll be selling it in 2-3 months and will get a 550i after!
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  #56  
Old 08-30-2014, 10:45 PM
schnell525 schnell525 is offline
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RWD 5 series, especially a 550 is impaired compared to an 550ix. If you get snow, or have any question about snow...get xdrive. RWD 550 will not perform, with the best of snow tires like an AWD xdrive. Simple is that. If you commonly get snow storms of 6-12" snow storms especially in the great lakes, get an xdrive. there's no argument. if someone says they get around just fine....that's bullscheiss. line up at a stop light on a hill next to a RWD BMW and an xDrive, and the xDrive is gone. add snow tires and the car can handle real snow. if you don't get that kind of snow, you probably don't need it. just good snow tires. if you live in a snowy area, even with xDrive i'd recommend getting snow tires. simple as that. 14' of snow last year--yeah, RWD F10 platform drivers can argue against that...no way. They're stuck going up anything uphill spinning along, even with snows. Every car with AWD goes around them.

Any naysayers don't live in real snow conditions, or are just grumps that don't want to admit that AWD is superior.

The 550 is nice. It does have power. It does drink gas. If you can afford the car, you can afford the gas. However having a 535xi F10 previously, it does do well in all driving conditions. You don't need the 550--you will be fine with the 535 for all around driving. If you're looking to play games while driving, the 550 is your car.
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  #57  
Old 08-31-2014, 01:03 PM
stockahead stockahead is offline
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xDrive - why every one thinks BMW intelligent AWD system is only good for snow? its advantage is obvious on every slippery road surface, that is:
wet conditions, wet leaves, bumpiness, winding roads and so on.

combined with a powerful engine - like the one under the hood of 550i - it certainly gives you dominance and more safety than a non-xDrive car.

picking up mine, hopefully, mid of September. Like to see some pics, gentlemen?
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  #58  
Old 08-31-2014, 03:43 PM
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Spartan01 Spartan01 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mselheimer View Post
I owned a 550i with Dinan Stage 2 for the last 3.5 years. It screams. If you want to be thrown back in your seat and like quick throttle tip in, then go for it if gas mileage isn't a concern. I consistently averaged 16.8-17.3 mpg in mixed city and highway driving (about a 60/40 split on most tanks). I always put in 93 octane so that's a cost consideration perhaps.

I just bought a 535d today and only have about 60 miles on it so far. It's not as fast / push you back in the seat as what I had but it's plenty quick and with 413 lb ft of torque you get a lot of that push you back in the seat feel that you don't get with the 535i. I've test-driven the 535 and own a 335 convertible (same engine). It's a fun engine and you won't go wrong with it, but in terms of fun to push it -- the 550 is first, then the 535d, and then the 535i no question. Don't go on HP when comparing the d and the i -- the add'l 113 lb ft of torque in the d matters.

My 2011 550i M-sport did not come with the M-sport suspension (not sure if current models do, but I suspect so). My 535d did and it sits a bit lower and corners a little tighter.

Whatever 5er you choose, I know you will love it. I've owned 14 cars (4 of them BMW along with MB, Acura, Saab, Nissan, others) and there is just no comparison to the driving experience!
How is the noise level when driving? Did you feel the car lacking power at all on the highway? Being that you have the sport suspension, I suspect you have the rwd?
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  #59  
Old 08-31-2014, 03:48 PM
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Spartan01 Spartan01 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by schnell525 View Post
RWD 5 series, especially a 550 is impaired compared to an 550ix. If you get snow, or have any question about snow...get xdrive. RWD 550 will not perform, with the best of snow tires like an AWD xdrive. Simple is that. If you commonly get snow storms of 6-12" snow storms especially in the great lakes, get an xdrive. there's no argument. if someone says they get around just fine....that's bullscheiss. line up at a stop light on a hill next to a RWD BMW and an xDrive, and the xDrive is gone. add snow tires and the car can handle real snow. if you don't get that kind of snow, you probably don't need it. just good snow tires. if you live in a snowy area, even with xDrive i'd recommend getting snow tires. simple as that. 14' of snow last year--yeah, RWD F10 platform drivers can argue against that...no way. They're stuck going up anything uphill spinning along, even with snows. Every car with AWD goes around them.

Any naysayers don't live in real snow conditions, or are just grumps that don't want to admit that AWD is superior.

The 550 is nice. It does have power. It does drink gas. If you can afford the car, you can afford the gas. However having a 535xi F10 previously, it does do well in all driving conditions. You don't need the 550--you will be fine with the 535 for all around driving. If you're looking to play games while driving, the 550 is your car.
I agree. Although I can't get the sports suspension, I will probably tack on the DHP to help. But safety first. Can't do anothe rwd in the winter time.
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  #60  
Old 08-31-2014, 05:58 PM
Squiddie Squiddie is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by schnell525 View Post
RWD 5 series, especially a 550 is impaired compared to an 550ix. If you get snow, or have any question about snow...get xdrive. RWD 550 will not perform, with the best of snow tires like an AWD xdrive. Simple is that.
If the snow is on the road inhibiting your movement it's maybe time to think a bit less "perform" and start thinking what happens with the other things besides acceleration. Steering, braking, that sorta thing.
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  #61  
Old 08-31-2014, 08:08 PM
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Me530 Me530 is online now
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If you get snow or any question about snow...get a decent set of snow tires and save thousands of dollars and have a bazillion times more fun in your new BMW on top of it. The rwd 550 will perform and you'll just be fine if you use a bit of common sense.

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  #62  
Old 08-31-2014, 08:10 PM
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WillInDenver WillInDenver is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by schnell525 View Post
RWD 5 series, especially a 550 is impaired compared to an 550ix. If you get snow, or have any question about snow...get xdrive. RWD 550 will not perform, with the best of snow tires like an AWD xdrive. Simple is that. If you commonly get snow storms of 6-12" snow storms especially in the great lakes, get an xdrive. there's no argument. if someone says they get around just fine....that's bullscheiss. line up at a stop light on a hill next to a RWD BMW and an xDrive, and the xDrive is gone. add snow tires and the car can handle real snow. if you don't get that kind of snow, you probably don't need it. just good snow tires. if you live in a snowy area, even with xDrive i'd recommend getting snow tires. simple as that. 14' of snow last year--yeah, RWD F10 platform drivers can argue against that...no way. They're stuck going up anything uphill spinning along, even with snows. Every car with AWD goes around them.



Any naysayers don't live in real snow conditions, or are just grumps that don't want to admit that AWD is superior.
Signed,
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  #63  
Old 09-01-2014, 04:29 AM
Libbing Libbing is offline
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I've got a 2011 550x. Almost 70,000 miles on it now. I usually get a 535 or 535d loaner when the car is in for scheduled maintenance. Having driven them all enough times now, I would not own any 5 series other than the 550 (I suppose an M5, but I want the xdrive). For me, the 535 is simply underpowered. It has to work way too hard to deliver performance. I'll admit that I have a high bar when it comes to acceleration, but even my wife made the same comment last time she got into one. She appreciates power but isn't a junky like me.

In my opinion, the diesel is still too loud. It's not awful, but my car is way better in terms of noise (and that is comparing a car with 70,000 miles on it to a new 2014 d). I was relieved to get out of it and back in mine. I was a bit surprised by that. I am a bit sensitive to sound - that diesel humming really bugs me. Others might not even notice I suppose.

Lots of discussion about gas mileage. I average about 20 with mix of highway and city. I think my average speed is 40-45 according to the trip computer, so more highway than city. However, you need to run the math on that gas mileage and keep it in perspective
20000 miles per year / 20mpg = 1000 gallons / yr x $4 / gallon = $4000 / yr
20000 miles per year / 30 mpg = 667 gallons x 4 = $2667
so the 535 is cheaper by 1333 / year with those stats. If that swings the decision, then there you go. Just doesn't seem like a lot compared to the price of the car! (I suppose combined with the more expensive base price, that can start to add up!).
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  #64  
Old 09-01-2014, 07:57 AM
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Spartan01 Spartan01 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Libbing View Post
I've got a 2011 550x. Almost 70,000 miles on it now. I usually get a 535 or 535d loaner when the car is in for scheduled maintenance. Having driven them all enough times now, I would not own any 5 series other than the 550 (I suppose an M5, but I want the xdrive). For me, the 535 is simply underpowered. It has to work way too hard to deliver performance. I'll admit that I have a high bar when it comes to acceleration, but even my wife made the same comment last time she got into one. She appreciates power but isn't a junky like me.

In my opinion, the diesel is still too loud. It's not awful, but my car is way better in terms of noise (and that is comparing a car with 70,000 miles on it to a new 2014 d). I was relieved to get out of it and back in mine. I was a bit surprised by that. I am a bit sensitive to sound - that diesel humming really bugs me. Others might not even notice I suppose.

Lots of discussion about gas mileage. I average about 20 with mix of highway and city. I think my average speed is 40-45 according to the trip computer, so more highway than city. However, you need to run the math on that gas mileage and keep it in perspective
20000 miles per year / 20mpg = 1000 gallons / yr x $4 / gallon = $4000 / yr
20000 miles per year / 30 mpg = 667 gallons x 4 = $2667
so the 535 is cheaper by 1333 / year with those stats. If that swings the decision, then there you go. Just doesn't seem like a lot compared to the price of the car! (I suppose combined with the more expensive base price, that can start to add up!).
Great comparison of gas. Puts it in perspective that 1300-2000 / year extra isn't all that much when buying a bmw and gaining over 400 hp. Sent you a pm for some other questions if you don't mind.
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  #65  
Old 09-01-2014, 10:32 AM
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ScottF10 ScottF10 is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stockahead View Post
xDrive - why every one thinks BMW intelligent AWD system is only good for snow? its advantage is obvious on every slippery road surface, that is:
wet conditions, wet leaves, bumpiness, winding roads and so on.

combined with a powerful engine - like the one under the hood of 550i - it certainly gives you dominance and more safety than a non-xDrive car.

picking up mine, hopefully, mid of September. Like to see some pics, gentlemen?
I agree 100%. I used to be so anti-xDrive, but now that I have it, it's advantages are obvious. The best part is that the xDrive is that it's actually faster than the non xDrive by .2 seconds in the 0-60.
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  #66  
Old 09-01-2014, 10:59 AM
Libbing Libbing is offline
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I love the x drive. Best handling vehicle in the snow I've ever had (and between me and my wife we've have at least 5 4 wheel drive vehicles). Being in Michigan, it really is a luxury having such a sporty vehicle that also handles so well in the snow. I've got to believe an x drive with snow tires must be awesome. If I had to do it over, I would have gotten snow tires in addition to the x drive. If keeping the car for a while, not really much of an extra expense since you are spreading miles over two sets rather than burning up one set in half the time.
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  #67  
Old 09-01-2014, 01:44 PM
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cordoor cordoor is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spartan01 View Post
Great comparison of gas. Puts it in perspective that 1300-2000 / year extra isn't all that much when buying a bmw and gaining over 400 hp. Sent you a pm for some other questions if you don't mind.

And everyone's perspective is different. Over three years (life of a lease), that right there is a new 55" 4K TV and a trip to Cancun for two at the nicest all-inclusive.


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