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E60 (2004 - 2010)
BMW 5-Series (E60 chassis) was first seen in the Unites States in the fall of 2003 with a 2004 Model Year designation. The E60 is now available as a 528i, 528xi, 535i, 535xi, 550i and a 535xi sports wagon! -- View the E60 Wiki

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  #1  
Old 08-28-2010, 07:36 AM
NewBimmer2010 NewBimmer2010 is offline
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What's the difference between the 3 series and 5 series other than size and - price?

Between 328i and 528i (prior to the 2011 model, which has a 240 horsepower), and between 335i and 535i as well. Is that $8-10K price difference just for the size? Wouldn't it make more sense to get a 335 than a 528?
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  #2  
Old 08-28-2010, 07:40 AM
hmc hmc is offline
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Ride quality and sense of refinement - big difference
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  #3  
Old 08-28-2010, 09:17 AM
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Fahrer Fahrer is offline
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You can get the 5 series without runflats. The 5 is much roomier of course. The 3 would be sportier with the TT engine but the runflats simply make the ride worse without the expected improvement in handlng ( with or without sport package). If you get the 528 with a manual trans, the engine sounds great and has more than adequate power.
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  #4  
Old 08-28-2010, 09:54 AM
NewBimmer2010 NewBimmer2010 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fahrer View Post
You can get the 5 series without runflats. The 5 is much roomier of course. The 3 would be sportier with the TT engine but the runflats simply make the ride worse without the expected improvement in handlng ( with or without sport package). If you get the 528 with a manual trans, the engine sounds great and has more than adequate power.
Thanks for your perspective. Keep them coming pls. I am giving advice to a relative. He'd like a bigger car but is debating whether it's worth the cost
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  #5  
Old 08-28-2010, 10:48 AM
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ChrisTO ChrisTO is offline
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If your relative cares about technology there are some subtle things - being a former e46 owner i can't validate if these things are now found in the e90:

- with sport package active roll stabilization. it corners very flat despite the size of the car
- AL hood and front fenders...etc. which helps with vehicle dynamics
- the HVAC is far far superior to the 3series. you can adjust things like turning on the fan at predetermined times - very useful to come back to a somewhat cooler car. infinite vent settings as opposed to the typical settings.
- wiper blades cover a far larger area with that fancy kick of the one wiper arm
- seat heater adjustment as in distribution of amount of heat between back and seat base
- not only dual climate control but each side has it's own independent fan. while you can't set the individual fan speed it will vary the speed between the two sides of the car depending on the difference in temp setting.
- idrive is standard kit even if you don't order navi - some may view this as a negative but for me it's a bonus as there are so many individual settings you can change without dealer assistance. and all the various CBS you can access that you can't see on the 3er.
- there maybe some options you can get only on the 5er. not sure if active cruise or dynamic headlights are available on the 3er. night vision (cause that is so useful to have )

size you got already which is obvious.

for some people all they care about is size delta and none of the tech bits. and maybe size is a big factor, all depends on priority/importance.
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Last edited by ChrisTO; 08-28-2010 at 10:50 AM.
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  #6  
Old 08-28-2010, 12:09 PM
Munich77 Munich77 is offline
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Plenty of differences. For luxury car makers, technology flows downhill. So the 5 series has more advanced technology than the 3 series. There are obvious size differences of course too. The 5 series rides much better than a 3 series too. The 3 series is a bit more handy and feels a bit more sporty. If you ever have rear seat passengers frequently, the 5 series will be the better car.
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  #7  
Old 08-28-2010, 02:32 PM
wolfgang0524 wolfgang0524 is offline
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There are tons of differences. Your friend should really try both out and see what he likes better.

Some differences:
Cars seats fit way better in the 5 series
Golf clubs fit way better in the 5 series
My leg doesn't rug the center console when driving the 5
The comfort seats in the 3 are pretty amazing and they are totally amazing in the 5: 8 way vs 20 way
There are some cool technology items that are only available in the 5: heads up display, ventilated seats, night vision, lane departure, active cruise, active roll stabilization, and heated rear seats

The 3 may be more fun around town, but I don't think you can beat the 5 for highway driving.

I have tons of fun in the 5. I've taken it to the track and on some nice mountain twisties. With active roll stabilization it corners unnaturally flat.

If you don't care about the size differences or the cool tech features, then the 3 is a fantastic car. I certainly wouldn't spend the money just to say you have a 5 versus a 3. You really can't go wrong either way.
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  #8  
Old 08-28-2010, 04:41 PM
NewBimmer2010 NewBimmer2010 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wolfgang0524 View Post
There are tons of differences. Your friend should really try both out and see what he likes better.

Some differences:
Cars seats fit way better in the 5 series
Golf clubs fit way better in the 5 series
My leg doesn't rug the center console when driving the 5
The comfort seats in the 3 are pretty amazing and they are totally amazing in the 5: 8 way vs 20 way
There are some cool technology items that are only available in the 5: heads up display, ventilated seats, night vision, lane departure, active cruise, active roll stabilization, and heated rear seats

The 3 may be more fun around town, but I don't think you can beat the 5 for highway driving.

I have tons of fun in the 5. I've taken it to the track and on some nice mountain twisties. With active roll stabilization it corners unnaturally flat.

If you don't care about the size differences or the cool tech features, then the 3 is a fantastic car. I certainly wouldn't spend the money just to say you have a 5 versus a 3. You really can't go wrong either way.
I have personally test drove both and felt 528 was much better, but he said I might be "paronoid" because the specs of both cars we read don't justify it.
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  #9  
Old 08-28-2010, 04:57 PM
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jagu jagu is offline
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The 5 series is equipped with a more robust transmission.
It has te getrag transmission while the 3 series has the GM unit and there is an obvious difference.
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Last edited by jagu; 08-28-2010 at 05:01 PM.
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  #10  
Old 08-28-2010, 05:11 PM
hmc hmc is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jagu View Post
The 5 series is equipped with a more robust transmission.
It has te getrag transmission while the 3 series has the GM unit and there is an obvious difference.
I thought 5 series is equiped with ZF transmissions. So is 335.
Only 328 has GM unit.
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  #11  
Old 08-28-2010, 05:38 PM
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jagu jagu is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hmc View Post
I thought 5 series is equiped with ZF transmissions. So is 335.
Only 328 has GM unit.
You are most probably correct. I had a 328 and 528 loaner back to back and there was a big difference.
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  #12  
Old 08-28-2010, 06:29 PM
BMWFAN275 BMWFAN275 is offline
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Just try sitting in the back of the 3 versus the 5. If you are going to carry passengers for any distance, you need the 5.
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  #13  
Old 08-28-2010, 07:03 PM
Vax Vax is offline
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335 is more fun to drive....alone.

The 5 has a better technology package and is a more refined car. It obviously handles passengers with ease. It's pretty fun to drive as well. I'd say get the sport package either way. The seats alone are worth it.
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  #14  
Old 08-28-2010, 07:21 PM
jsimon7777 jsimon7777 is offline
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Looking at things positively:

The 5 is:
quieter
roomier
smoother suspension
more options
higher quality materials
way more trunk space

The 3 is:
smaller
nimbler
lighter
quicker with the same engines
cheaper

The 7 is:
more luxurious
more options
better ride
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  #15  
Old 08-28-2010, 08:12 PM
jzwu jzwu is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jsimon7777 View Post
Looking at things positively:

The 5 is:
quieter
roomier
smoother suspension
more options
higher quality materials
way more trunk space

The 3 is:
smaller
nimbler
lighter
quicker with the same engines
cheaper

The 7 is:
more luxurious
more options
better ride
and most problems.
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