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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 06-28-2010, 09:19 PM
Hoss NY Hoss NY is offline
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Location: NYC
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 80
Mein Auto: F10 535i
Cool 1500 Mile Update - Thoughts and Impressions

As promised, here’s my report after 1500 miles. I’m past the break-in period now and have driven the F10 for a month.

Specs

Model/Options: 535i Dark Graphite (Sophisto), Oyster/Black, Anthracite, ZCV, ZCW, ZDA, ZDH, ZP2, ZPP, ZSP, 2TB. Here’s the “Delivery” report with photos.

Performance

This is really a story about 4 cars (Comfort, Normal, Sport, Sport+), when talking about performance. You can definitely feel the difference when driving.

In comfort mode, the acceleration is controlled and smooth – the transmission keeps the rpms relatively low. There’s some damping in the acceleration from a start, which minimizes any jerks and jumps. The steering is relatively loose and the handling is soft. I would say the F10 feels similar to the E350 as far as steering and handling is concerned in this mode. Minor differences would be that the F10 in comfort mode feels a slight bit stiffer; the E350 a little smoother. The F10 in comfort mode also accelerates with much more authority than the E350. I drove them back-to-back at the UDE at Hunterdon BMW in NJ this weekend. Overall, the car is very comfortable in this mode – quiet, smooth and luxurious. My wife likes it the best as a passenger.

In normal mode, the steering and chassis stiffen a bit and the acceleration is a little less damped. It’s a good balance between sporty and luxurious. It revs about the same as comfort mode but feels more solid in the turns. The car handled cobblestone roads, tough patches of highway and road sections under construction much better than I expected in both normal and comfort mode. Great for highway cruising. The F10 cruises at 80+mph smoothly and effortlessly.

In sport mode, the chassis and steering become very solid and the throttle becomes instantly responsive. The shift points move up by about 500 rpms or so and the power is immediate at any speed. It's a blast to drive. We all know the specs. This is my normal mode for smooth, windy local roads and on-ramps. The ride can be a harsh on uneven roads or through a pothole minefield. But that’s sport mode. I honestly have not yet explored sport + mode.

There are two instances where I really notice and enjoy the sound of the N55 engine: (1) when accelerating modestly in normal mode it makes a powerful, low rumble, (2) when screaming at high rpms in sport mode you really feel it.

The bottom line is that the car behaves differently depending on the settings. You can change its performance based on your mood, passengers, road conditions, etc. This driving dynamics control is one of my favorite features.

The brakes are typical BMW -- extremely powerful.

Comfort/Convenience

The Navigation system has some very nice features. I like the split screen where you can have a perspective view on the left and the north facing view on the right. There are info windows that show you exactly what you need to know – current time, radio station, arrival time and distance to destination. I also like the dynamic routing to avoid traffic as much as possible as well as the alternate routing feature. Well done.

I remain impressed with the audio system. Satellite radio, ipod integration, and audio performance are all first class. Good quality sound is important to me and this car has it.

The Multi-contour seats are great. I like the way they conform to your back. On these hot summer days I sometimes think about the ventilated seat option. If you live in a hot climate, I could see lots of comfort value here.

The Convenience Package remains the one package I could have skipped and not missed. It works fine but I don’t think it’s worth the extra $. I got it based on the reviews and coolness factor – it’s just not very thrilling to me in real life.

The Fold-down rear seats make a huge difference for loading up the trunk with stuff at Home Depot or Costo. An 8x10 rug, 8 cases of drinks, 10 bags and boxes of grocery stuff with plenty of room left over for more.

BMW Assist with “reading” the news feature is almost useless. The engineers didn’t quite get this one finished before the code freeze deadline. Klunky.

After driving it around for a month, I’ve concluded the space is fine. I was debating on the F01 7 for space reasons but went with the F10 5 for the drive, keeping my fingers crossed that the rear legroom would be ok for my teenage kids (6’0” and 6’4”). No problem.

Safety

The Driver Assistance Package is, without question, the biggest positive surprise on this car. The lane departure warning and blind spot detection help make one a better driver. I like these features and almost always use them. They’re an extra check. I’m amazed at how well Auto high beams works. It works much faster and better than you could by manually shifting from high to low and back. And Parking Assistant – I’ve tried it in real combat parking situations and it works great. It has worked perfectly every time, including the first time I tried it. I highly recommend this package.

Looks

I’ve received a number of complements on the car, to my surprise. On the highway, people driving similar class cars pull up parallel and drift back a few times on either side to check out the F10. I’ve found people peering in the window in the parking lot. Typical comments include: “Hey is that the new 5? Sweet!” The best was in a parking lot when guy stopped and yelled out window, “Hey man, that car is hot as shXX!”

For those in the decision stage, I hope this helps in your car/options choices. I'll report again after a few more thousand miles.
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  #2  
Old 06-29-2010, 01:29 AM
aderoz aderoz is offline
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Location: California
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 5
Mein Auto: No car yet
Ditto... and Heads Up

Hoss - Good report out. Same experience here... I'm also pushing 1,000 miles after 3 weeks of ownership. Coincidentally, I do have the same color and specs as yours except that I have Beige interior and HUD (Heads Up Display) which I really really enjoy especially when I use it with Navigation. With HUD, road directions are much clearer, turn arrows are right in your face and you can always keep your eyes on the road without looking down. Most of my miles is the 300+ I picked up when I drove home from Southern California to the San Francisco Bay Area after taking delivery from a SoCal dealership - best deal I could find when I ordered in mid-April and it was worth way more than my one-way plane ticket to take delivery of the car. As you mentioned, ride is as smooth as silk in Comfort mode. Overall, a great driving experience so far.

Having not seen it, I gambled on Dark Graphite (Sophisto) when I ordered and boy am I happy with it! Depending on the time of the day, I really like the different shades and accents the color gives me - just like a reserved chameleon. I love it best in late afternoons when it is solid deep gray and then at high noon the metallic sparkles come out and you'll think the car is a different color altogether.

Seizing this opportunity to give a heads up to all new owners...Be very careful about what you put in the coin box and the cup holder trays in the center console. Do not store coins or similar items in them!! I did this and somehow I could not get both trays to latch or open properly because the coins found their way into crevices in the trays. I ended up at the dealer only to be told that they must remove the whole center console in order to get to the coins which had interrupted the open and close mechanisms. Imagine your new car being taken apart after just 3 weeks. So I went home and used my ingenuity using folded paper and a small hair tweezer to force the coins out. After about an hour or so, and many tries, I was able to get a nickel, a dime and a quarter out of the crevices. Now both tray mechanisms working as designed.
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  #3  
Old 06-29-2010, 05:09 AM
aschiou aschiou is offline
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Location: Fairfax, VA
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 6
Mein Auto: BMW, Lexus
Thanks for the great review. I know the same question has been asked many times before. Do you think if you had bought the 550i you might have had a better experience in performance? I don't know if you got a chance to test drove the 550i or not, I did feel the difference when I drove both. Curious to know the experience in day to day driving and if there has been any moment that you may say I wish I got the V8. Thanks.
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  #4  
Old 06-29-2010, 05:52 AM
pharding pharding is offline
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Mein Auto: 11 550i
Great review. One of the unrecognized features that I like is the deep, one quarter glove box left of the steering wheel. Also the way-points feature on the I-Drive is great.
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  #5  
Old 06-29-2010, 10:20 AM
emimix emimix is offline
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Location: KSA
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 80
Mein Auto: BMW 550i
Thumbs up

I also got the sophisto gray...it's an amazing color!
AS you said, it gives my bimmer a different color in different times and different distances
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  #6  
Old 06-29-2010, 11:14 AM
530CE 530CE is offline
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Location: San Antonio
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 311
Mein Auto: 2012-535i
Well now after reading these reports you have all messed my mind up. I’ve driven the F10 twice now and although it feels heavy it drives wonderful and I love the Dynamic handling package. I had just about talked myself into keeping my ‘08 535 that expires in September. Now after reading your reviews I think I’d kick myself for not just going ahead and getting a new one now. I have to think about this a little more. I’m thinking the Dark Graphite with Cinnamon. I just wish I could trust this economy a little more than I do.
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