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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 06-26-2010, 04:19 PM
carnuts3 carnuts3 is offline
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Car & Driver Comparo Places 535i Last

August Car & Driver article compared the 535i to the new Infiniti M37 and Audi A6 3.0T. The 535i came out in last place due in large part to numb steering feel. The bimmer also felt massive. It is interesting to note that the point totals show the bimmer coming out last in steering feel, handling and "fun to drive"- all the attributes that one expects from a BMW. This is very disappointing. But to be honest, after my 535i test drive, I walked away with similar impressions, but I was hoping I was wrong. Is the sport being systematically drained from the BMW that we have come to love? I am not a happy camper.
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  #2  
Old 06-26-2010, 06:40 PM
1stTimeLongTime 1stTimeLongTime is offline
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Wink


I hate to start off my career here in a derisive way, but I am tempted to change my name to 1stTimeLastTime after reading this and other whiner wanna-be-enthusiast posts.

Car and Driver says the steering is "numb", and this confirms your feeling after a 10 minute test drive, so you are "dissapointed"?!!

Well then, I guess the talented engineers at BMW who spent the last several years developing a completely new car that would gather back lost buyers, have superior styling, interior, technical and comfort options, and offer superior "large sedam" feel with relatively small sedan drivabilty have been outsmarted by an internet poster and a corporate journalist that thinks a Nissan and a BMW should even be mentioned in the same article.

So many want to pretend they can feel, and even critique the differences between the computer's adjusted feel and that which their inherent skill with un-assisted automotive engineering could produce. You put less trust in the engineering sold by your stated favorite car company than in the opinion of a sell-out magazine. You probably have a post elsewhere regarding how disappointed you are that the mid-range reprodution from the crossovers in your Bang and Olefson seems flat when put up against the Yamaha in a recent issue of Stereophile magazine.

I too, drove the 535i, with quite a bare minimum of driving dynamic options, and I think it is the absolute perfect ride for the class and purpose of drivers it is intended for.

My gosh I am so hopeful that you run out and buy an Infinity.
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  #3  
Old 06-26-2010, 07:06 PM
baloo588 baloo588 is offline
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Same. I could care less with Car in Driver. I find the new Infiniti M37 to feel like crap and the aging Audi to feel very un-refined. The New BMW 5 is simply amazing in feel and refinery and comfort. IF you WANT A GOOD ride, and SPORTY handling, get the Dynamic Handling Package. Simple as that. Car and Driver is stupid enough not to even mention that.
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  #4  
Old 06-26-2010, 07:10 PM
CC Brown CC Brown is online now
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This Car and Driver article is comparing a 2009 BMW 535i. As you may know or not from your post BMW has a new car called the 2011 535i. Which car did you drive?
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  #5  
Old 06-26-2010, 07:53 PM
bmw5151 bmw5151 is offline
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F 10 Steering

I also drove the 535i - basic car - and agree totally about the steering. The car without Dynamic Drive just doesn't steer the way a BMW should. Felt the same as a current Mercedes E350 or a Lexus GS. If you want to have any sporting feedback on the steering, either order the Dynamic Drive or get a Jag XF. Sad but true. I bet BMW will address this issue soon with a software fix to the electronic steering assist. This is why I have learned (the hard way) never to get a car within the first year or two of introduction.

Otherwise I do like the F10, as the 550i with Sport/DD I drove is far superior.
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  #6  
Old 06-26-2010, 08:03 PM
tunafish tunafish is offline
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I'm not 100% sure what you mean by "dynamic drive" or "DD". There is a dynamic handling package (ZDH) which has damping control, active roll stabilization, and adaptive drive. Then there is the Integral Active Steering (IAS, or 4 wheel steering) which requires ZDH. Did the "DD" car you drove have ZDH only or ZDH+IAS?
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  #7  
Old 06-26-2010, 09:16 PM
okc329 okc329 is offline
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Tale of Three Autos ...

As you will recall, the BMW Ultimate Driving Event was to provide the new 5 series cars and comparable models from Mercedes Benz and Lexus for back to back to back comparisons. Some dealers have been setting up courses on large parking lots such as stadiums but Plaza Motors in St. Louis decided they would map out a course of about eight miles with all types of roads near the dealership and just hand the participants the keys to what ever they wanted to drive. I expected to be able to drive new 535i, the current Mercedes E350 and the Lexus GS350 all of which are cars I have had my eye on. When I got there they said no Lexus but they had an Audi A4 instead. Well, I didn't think that was a comparable car so I decided to skip it.

I first drove the Mercedes and was impressed. It felt very solid, was plenty responsive and had a really high quality ride. Steering might have been a little more firm but it wasn't bad. It was a very hot day and the A/C worked great. Overall, it felt much like my car ('97 E320) as far as solidity and size goes. Quality of the interior materials has been compromised and I did not like having the transmission selector back on the column.

Then I drove the BMW. With the turbo, it will really scoot when you floor it. Turbo engagement is not as smooth as I had heard. Frankly, I felt a little cramped in the driver's seat and with the front legroom adjusted for me there is not much left for a person behind me.The car I drove had 3700 miles on it . The brakes seemed grabby at low speeds and it pulled to the right on the highway. Car may have had some rough treatment and I told the interviewer afterwards about those things, The ride and steering were both very direct and the steering and suspension really fed road properties through to my hands and seat. I think the run flat tires were somewhat responsible for this. The quality of the seat leather, plastics and the door coverings disappointed me just as they did in the Mercedes. I also had to max out the A/C to get it cool. I can see why a younger driver would like the car's attributes but I think that over the long haul, I would prefer more of a "grampy" car.

After those two, I decided to walk over to the Lexus shop and see if they had a GS350 I could drive. Salesman went to the garage and came back with one that was just off the truck the day before. It still had the plastic on the seats and protection covers on the wheels. Anyway, away we went I must say that I liked it the best. The ride quality was in between the Mercedes and the BMW and the steering was, I thought, very positive. Engine was quiet and responsive enough for me. The interior quality was impressive and the car seemed to fit me well and still had adequate space of three others. There is a hybrid version of this car called the GS450. They are rare but Plaza is supposed to get th one in during the first week of July. I want to go back to try it as I really enjoy the motors and transmission in my wife's 2008 RX400h.

Anyway, I had fun for a couple of hours and would drive them all again before I decide on another set of wheels.
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  #8  
Old 06-26-2010, 10:43 PM
bmw5151 bmw5151 is offline
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Sorry about the confusion. I had heard the term Dynamic Drive used in the past for the grouped electronic chassis "enhancements." Probably more often used in Europe than in N. America. What we get grouped in the ZDH, or "Dynamic Handling Package," Europe has them as separate components. From the BMW AG website: "Dynamic Driving Control.How would you like to drive today? Dynamic Driving Control, fitted as standard, gives you total control to meet your or your passengers' needs in the BMW 5 Series Sedan. A touch of the paddle next to the gearshift lever changes the level of driving pleasure from NORMAL to SPORT: the engine responds more spontaneously to the accelerator and the eight-speed transmission Steptronic lets the engine rev high before quickly changing up a gear. At the same time the steering and chassis tighten. Touch the paddle again to enter the SPORT + mode where the Dynamic Stability Control allows controlled drifting to the limit. The currently active mode is permanently displayed underneath the speedometer, and in the SPORT mode the drive train and chassis settings can be quickly and individually configured using the iDrive Controller for dynamic driving on badly surfaced roads for example. The COMFORT mode is available with Dynamic Damping Control which provides both the driver and passengers with maximum comfort on longer journeys."

They can also add another DDC: "Dynamic Damping Control.Uneven roads, potholes, cobblestones or flawless tarmac with Dynamic Damping Control there is now a chassis for every road and every driving style. More The perfect damping setting is what engineers are in search of on the test tracks. What they find is usually a compromise. However, with Dynamic Damping Control the BMW 5 Series Sedan provides a suitable setting for every surface without you having to intervene. A control unit on each wheel evaluates movements four hundred times a second and adjusts the shock absorbers accordingly. The electronics system works so fast that when the front wheels encounter a pothole, information is sent to the rear wheels so that sufficient cushioning is in place. The rebound and compression damping are continually and independently set to end the need for compromise which means that the dampers adapt to the state of the road irrespective of which Dynamic Driving Control mode is selected, for exceptional ride comfort even when driving hard on bumpy surfaces"

And finally: "Adaptive Drive.With Dynamic Drive the Dynamic Damping Control has been extended to Adaptive Drive. Equipped with active roll reduction the BMW 5 Series Sedan glides through bends with ease and comfort. Dynamic Drive calculates the current driving situation based on lateral and longitudinal acceleration, speed and steering wheel angle and keeps the BMW 5 Series Sedan stable using stabilisers on the axles. In curves or during sudden changes of direction, it minimises body roll and enhances stable handling. By virtually eliminating swaying or tilting behaviour, Dynamic Drive delivers unmatched comfort, agility and stability to ensure travelling in the BMW 5 Series Sedan remains an undisturbed pleasure. "

Regardless, without the ZDH, the steering is just too light in my opinion.
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  #9  
Old 06-27-2010, 01:34 AM
pharding pharding is offline
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That article is so like Car and Driver. They are prone to pick one thing that they perceive as a shortcoming and trumpet that and just ignore the other fine qualities of the 5er. They have done that for the last 8 years. Audi makes a fine product. However very few people, if any, would claim that an Audi A6 is better than a BMW 5er, especially the new F10. I personally do not care for the drive train of the Audi A6 and I find the Infiniti M37 to be an inferior imitation of a BMW.
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  #10  
Old 06-27-2010, 01:37 AM
chrischeung chrischeung is offline
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I haven't read the article, but I do agree with some of the points raised. Yes, it is a big and heavy car. I think I will get used to it though. The steering lack of feel may be due to electric assistance - moving away from hydraulics? I did find the steering also numb, even compared to my wife's Mazda6 where you can feel most road ripples (and the torque steer). But I'll reserve my opinion until I drive an F10 on the roads I drive every day. So what if it is? It will still steer the car, right? A lot of the electronic gizmos won't make it to the M5 - since they are contrary to what would be used on a sports car, since they numb the feel of the car. Things like active steering and ARS. I expect the same approach with the F10 M5.

If you want a more communicative car, get a Miata, 3er or Porsche. The 5er has evolved more into a luxury GT cruiser, rather than into a sports car. And since they are after a larger share of the market, that's the direction they need to head - appealing more to the main stream than the enthusiast.
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  #11  
Old 06-27-2010, 01:48 AM
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enigma enigma is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1stTimeLongTime View Post

I hate to start off my career here in a derisive way, but I am tempted to change my name to 1stTimeLastTime after reading this and other whiner wanna-be-enthusiast posts.
If this is your last post, no one will miss you. "Wanna-be-enthusiast"? And I suppose you are a self-proclaimed "real enthusiast"?


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Originally Posted by 1stTimeLongTime View Post
Car and Driver says the steering is "numb", and this confirms your feeling after a 10 minute test drive, so you are "dissapointed"?!!
The OP says he's disappointed. Why would you have so much objection? Isn't a test drive enough for a potential buyer to be disappointed? The OP is entitled to his opinion as you are. Your opinion is somehow more credible than his?


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Originally Posted by 1stTimeLongTime View Post
Well then, I guess the talented engineers at BMW who spent the last several years developing a completely new car that would gather back lost buyers, have superior styling, interior, technical and comfort options, and offer superior "large sedam" feel with relatively small sedan drivabilty have been outsmarted by an internet poster and a corporate journalist that thinks a Nissan and a BMW should even be mentioned in the same article.
Well then, why do we waste our time test driving this thing. We should all trust BMW that it has created the ultimate driving machine, and like the lemmings that we are, we should just buy the next newest and greatest creation from Bavaria.


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Originally Posted by 1stTimeLongTime View Post
So many want to pretend they can feel, and even critique the differences between the computer's adjusted feel and that which their inherent skill with un-assisted automotive engineering could produce. You put less trust in the engineering sold by your stated favorite car company than in the opinion of a sell-out magazine. You probably have a post elsewhere regarding how disappointed you are that the mid-range reprodution from the crossovers in your Bang and Olefson seems flat when put up against the Yamaha in a recent issue of Stereophile magazine.
There is a name to describe your kind: badge whore. Just because something has a premium brand on its cover, it must be better than the rest? How much more biased can you be?


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Originally Posted by 1stTimeLongTime View Post
I too, drove the 535i, with quite a bare minimum of driving dynamic options, and I think it is the absolute perfect ride for the class and purpose of drivers it is intended for.
Yes, I bet, just perfect for supposedly experts like yourself. You're such an expert, and your opinion matters more than the OP's and the others'. Yet, you don't provide any details behind your expert opinion (oh right... you don't need to because the engineers at BMW created the perfect car, and who needs details, right?)


Quote:
Originally Posted by 1stTimeLongTime View Post
My gosh I am so hopeful that you run out and buy an Infinity.
My gosh, I am so hopeful we don't have as many lemming buyers like yourself.
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  #12  
Old 06-27-2010, 01:53 AM
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Originally Posted by chrischeung View Post
I haven't read the article, but I do agree with some of the points raised. Yes, it is a big and heavy car. I think I will get used to it though. The steering lack of feel may be due to electric assistance - moving away from hydraulics? I did find the steering also numb, even compared to my wife's Mazda6 where you can feel most road ripples (and the torque steer). But I'll reserve my opinion until I drive an F10 on the roads I drive every day. So what if it is? It will still steer the car, right?

If you want a more communicative car, get a Miata, 3er or Porsche. The 5er has evolved more into a luxury GT cruiser, rather than into a sports car. And since they are after a larger share of the market, that's the direction they need to head - appealing more to the main stream than the enthusiast.

I agree with your points... except the direction BMW needs to take. For BMW's financial coffer, I agree with you, but I can't say I like it. Appealing to the main stream is where Lexus is at. If I wanted that, I can save myself a lot of money and get a real Lexus.
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Old 06-27-2010, 03:00 AM
chrischeung chrischeung is offline
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I can save myself a lot of money and get a real Lexus.
But isn't that what we are buying these days? A Lexus with electronic controls to make it into a BMW?

Think about it - the 4WS, EDC, ARS etc. make a soft car stiffer and more agile. They don't make a stiff car softer. So really the comfort mode is the "base" setup of the car. And everything from there on up, Normal, Sport, Sport+ is artificially induced. It's almost like comparing a naturally beautiful woman to one who is beautiful just because of make up. A little sad, I agree. We just have to find solace in the still naturally superb engines and transmissions.

It may currently be that the best naturally suspended car is not a BMW in the mid size luxury sector. What would be a good competitor to the F10 would be an Infiniti M bsed on the Nissan GTR (they share the same floor plan I believe).
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Old 06-27-2010, 09:36 AM
petee1997 petee1997 is offline
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Between my wife and I we have owned four BMW's. All great cars. However I traded my BMW on a 2010 E350 4Matic last August. Why? Because it looked great and dove well. C&D with all their little stats of the miniscule differences between many great cars misses the point. People buying these particular cars are getting older and won't take their car to the track.
My wife decided to wait for the new 5 series BMW. After seeing the car in the flesh,she thought it looked like a big 3 series or a small 7 series. She has now ordered a 2011 E350 4Matic. Motivation was owning a distinctive car. How fast a car can corner was not a factor nor the 0 to 60 time. I don't think that all that C&D stuff is much influence on the over 40 crowd.

Last edited by petee1997; 06-27-2010 at 10:08 AM.
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Old 06-27-2010, 10:29 AM
carnuts3 carnuts3 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by enigma View Post
I agree with your points... except the direction BMW needs to take. For BMW's financial coffer, I agree with you, but I can't say I like it. Appealing to the main stream is where Lexus is at. If I wanted that, I can save myself a lot of money and get a real Lexus.
+1. Counting my current ride, I've only leased BMW's over the past forteen yrs (six in all)....my wife also drives one. Each time my lease ended I would go out and test drive the competition . Not even close...the BMW driving experience was unique (steering feel and handling, sportiness, etc, etc) and hands down superior, period, end of discussion. I've even influenced my friends to buy BMW's - easy sell. At lease end, anytime I mentioned that I was also looking at other alternatives, everyone simply laughed saying that I was wasting my time because everyone knew I was going to get another BMW - and they were right! When I test drove the F10 (both the 550i w/ ZDH and the 535i) I walked away underwhelmed for the first time in forteen years. I was shocked that a BMW would leave me feeling that way. I'm going to go back and test drive again in the hopes that I can overcome my concerns, particularly about the F10's size and "heavier" feel. With all the hype about the F10 (yes, it certainly is a beautiful car), I was expecting to feel as exhilarated as I felt when I first test drove the E39 (or even my E60) - but if didn't happen for me. Yes, I am unapologetically very disappointed.
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Old 06-27-2010, 10:50 AM
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TJPark01 TJPark01 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by petee1997 View Post
Between my wife and I we have owned four BMW's. All great cars. However I traded my BMW on a 2010 E350 4Matic last August. Why? Because it looked great and dove well. C&D with all their little stats of the miniscule differences between many great cars misses the point. People buying these particular cars are getting older and won't take their car to the track.
My wife decided to wait for the new 5 series BMW. After seeing the car in the flesh,she thought it looked like a big 3 series or a small 7 series. She has now ordered a 2011 E350 4Matic. Motivation was owning a distinctive car. How fast a car can corner was not a factor nor the 0 to 60 time. I don't think that all that C&D stuff is much influence on the over 40 crowd.
I am on the other side of your decision. I was in the Market for a E350 sedan. After driving it I was really amazed at the lack of power, poor transmission behavior and lack of leather seats on a 60k car. The car is not slow, but you have to wind it up to get going and the downshifts were pretty harsh. The salesman told me that E350 Sedan can only be had with leather if you order them from the factory, otherwise you have to step up to the E550.
The car did ride quite nicely, I will say that. The controls are easier to use than a 5, and aside from the plastic seats, the interior is very nice. A few things that are just inexcusable are:
Exposed speakers and hinge springs in the trunk
No leather on E350 unless ordered from Sindelfingen
Soft Engine (new DI motor next year for 2012 model, can't wait that long)
Flared arches on rear quarter panel look silly

Then I drove the 5 series. I was afraid that the sport package with the RFT tires were gonna make me hate this car. But the good year RFT's are quiet and behave really well. The car is much more precise than the E class, in every way, ride,handling, power delivery and just plain looks better. I went into my car shopping with my mind made up on an E350, walked out with a 535i. (and no I am not a Benz hater, my last car was a 07 CL550).

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Old 06-27-2010, 11:04 AM
pharding pharding is offline
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I went to the Ultimate Drive Event and I was totally underwhelmed by the E Class. It is so far behind the F10 in every category it is rather amazing. I have yet to see the perfect car. There is as series of trade-offs that go with purchasing a car. For my needs the F10 is as close to perfect as it gets. I do not need Car and Drive to endorse my decision. I have driven all of the competitors to the F10 and in my opinion is far and away the best. That is good enough for me.
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Old 06-27-2010, 01:38 PM
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I went to the Ultimate Drive Event and I was totally underwhelmed by the E Class. It is so far behind the F10 in every category it is rather amazing. I have yet to see the perfect car. There is as series of trade-offs that go with purchasing a car. For my needs the F10 is as close to perfect as it gets. I do not need Car and Drive to endorse my decision. I have driven all of the competitors to the F10 and in my opinion is far and away the best. That is good enough for me.
Pharding, in the end I think that your points are well taken - but because it's a BMW I am conditioned to expect near perfection - short sighted, naive?... probably, but I guess I've been spoiled too long.
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Old 06-27-2010, 02:47 PM
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At the driving event, I was very disappointed in the E class's driving experience. It felt very underpowered (and it was the first car I drove) and not athletic at all. The A6 was nimbler and felt like it accelerated better, but the engine was very loud and felt rough. The F10 outclassed them all, IMO. I do wish they had an M37, though, to see if the price difference is material.
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Old 06-27-2010, 03:30 PM
Nh32010 Nh32010 is offline
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The quality of the seat leather, plastics and the door coverings disappointed me just as they did in the Mercedes.

I AGREE WITH YOU, DURING THE ULTIMATE DRIVE EVENT I WAS ALSO DISAPPOINTED AND PRETTY SHOCKED WITH THE LOW QUALITY OF THE INTERIOR WITH BOTH THE F10 AND THE MERCEDES. EVERYONE CAN SEE THAT THE INTERIOR LOOKS GREAT BUT WHEN YOU TOUCH IT FEELS REALLY CHEAP. BUT, AS THE (DEVELOPED) WORLD IS STILL STRUGLING WITH THE ECONOMIES, AUTO MAKES (LIKE IN OTHER INDUSTRIES) MUST FIND WAYS TO SAVE ON COSTS.
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Old 06-27-2010, 04:00 PM
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westwest888 westwest888 is offline
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An A6 3.0T is a fine automobile, and looks striking with 19" wheels (the S4 has the same engine and wheels). The new 5 looks kind of like the old 745i short wheelbase. A much bigger car.

Last edited by westwest888; 06-27-2010 at 04:02 PM.
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Old 06-27-2010, 06:46 PM
chrischeung chrischeung is offline
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I do not need Car and Drive to endorse my decision.
That may be true for you = but BMWNA needs it for the F10 to be a success. BMW hugely courts C&D in their advertising and market segmentation.

BMW may get away with it for the F10, but if the F30 fails to make C&D's top 10, I'm pretty sure some heads will roll in Munich.
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  #23  
Old 06-27-2010, 09:33 PM
pharding pharding is offline
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BMW in the Midwest is more concerned about the Audi A4 eating into 3 series sales.
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  #24  
Old 06-27-2010, 09:49 PM
listerone listerone is offline
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I've driven the new 535i and owned the M35 (2008).Never had any experience with the Audi.My experiences...not that they're exactly relevant...lead me to strongly prefer the 5er.I liked the M I owned (a lot) but it couldn't hold a candle to the 535.

Just my 2 cents' worth.
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  #25  
Old 06-28-2010, 10:10 AM
Crmgr Crmgr is online now
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What they really didn't like about the new 535i was the change to electronic steering and lack of road feel. They had high marks for the solid body and updated interior.

I think BMW will jump on the steering issue and make a running change on the production line. This could bump up it's ranking. It all boils down however, to what factors are important to you as a car buyer. While I hate to admit it, perhaps BMW is taking the 535i in a new direction, i.e the 700 series at a lower price point.

Last edited by Crmgr; 06-29-2010 at 07:18 AM.
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