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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 07-20-2014, 09:39 AM
bmw325 bmw325 is online now
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Mein Auto: 528i
1500 mile impressions (2014 528)

I like this car more than I thought I would. It rides much better than my 335 without feeling like a boat. Steering feel is decent as long as you leave it in "sport" mode (more on that later). Seems to be able to take corners quite well. I actually prefer driving it on windy roads since the steering feels better that way. Going straight on the highway it feels kind of vague on center. Actually sort of reminds me of the recirculating ball steering in the e39 m5 I drove recently. Not great but fine.

I'm learning how much cr*p you have to lug around when traveling with a baby. Which makes the huge trunk nice to have. Managed to get a crib, bassinet, stroller, multiple bags, and other random things in there with room to spare on a recent trip to visit the inlaws. Of course, this makes the lack of a spare tire well even more galling. The battery is gigantic and sits underneath the center of the trunk floor though.

Looked at the back of my mom's Focus recently and was relieved that I didn't choose the "hot hatch" route this time around. Just wouldn't have worked. In -car storage is ok but could be better. It's amazing how small the door pockets are for such a big car. But I like the driver side glove box, larger cupholders and split center console lid compared to the e92. It's possible to pickup 2 large coffees and transport them without spillage.

The infant seat fits easily - one bonus of the multi-contour seats is that they tilt in the middle which gives more room for infant seat (and better shoulder support).

It's certainly a comfortable cruiser-- I ended up having to spend about 7 hours in the car recently (long story), and had no soreness in my back or shoulders. The AC seems to work better than on my previous 3 series-- even on a 95 degree day it stays "American car cool". And having full dual controls is very nice (fan, temp, direction) But I sometimes worry that the rear vents aren't enough for the baby-- kind of wish I'd spent $500 and gotten the rear climate control (didn't even think of it at the time). One nice thing on the 5 is the ability to adjust how much seat heating goes on your back vs butt. Nice if you want the heat on your back only.

The electronics all work well- and its great to have built-in Google voice search. We end up using that all the time. The nav seems to work much better than the one in my 335 did (though it still has its moments of dementia). And its useful to be able to summon Siri from the steering wheel on occasion. Even the built in voice control works very well- I've used to search for specific Artists or Songs and to enter nav destinations. Seems to get it right 9/10 times. The processing time is a bit long though.

Power is unobtrusive. Basically, the engine doesn't define the car as it did with my 335. It goes about its job, revs smoothly, sounds pretty good, and never seems to be out of breath. I've passed people in 8th gear with the engine spinning at 2k. My only complaint is that sometimes you feel vibrations at idle. Then again, my 335 always idled roughly despite its "perfectly balanced" inline 6. I recently discovered that this goes away if you switch to "Eco Pro" mode so I'm assuming it has something to do with the AC compressor. And I tend to use Auto Start/Stop anyway. It's almost comical how small the engine looks in the engine bay. It probably almost qualifies as a mid engine car given how far back it is with the front edge well behind the front wheels. Even standing outside the car, you can barely hear the engine-- the cooling fan is louder. I recently heard an F30 328i drive by me and it sounded like a diesel. So they've clearly taken steps to mitigate this on the LCI 528.

As for build quality, the car feels very solid with no squeaks or rattles (unlike my previous cars). It's so quiet that I often end up doing 90 without realizing it. And the paint seems to have less "orange peel" than past BMWs. The doors close easily with a satisfying thunk.

That being said, I'm not convinced that the materials are any better than what's on a 3 series as some here claim. The overall design is nicer, but if you look around its all the same plastics. And some of the buttons don't feel as solid as they did on my e92. (As an example, press the trip odometer reset button. It feels like something off of a cheap toy). The biggest upgrade is the Nappa leather on my car-- which is much nicer than the Dakota leather on the 3 series and the standard 5 series. The stitch pattern doesn't bother me. And I love the mocha color-- looks great and a nice change from the black that I typically get. Recently rode in a friend's F30 and the leather felt very hard and rough in comparison. The msport wheel looks cool, but I miss the old cruise control stalk in my e92.

Also, the aluminum hex trim isn't as nice as it was on my e92 in terms of color and texture. I'm happy that I had the choice though- I really dislike wood trim. My wife's only complaint is that the seatbelts don't adjust for height. A strange omission. One other small nit is that I feel a plastic seam on the backside of the door handles every time I open it. Feels very cheap…....didn't have that on past BMWs or even cheaper cars that I've driven. The electric seat adjustments also feel a bit "jerky" compared to my e92 and the lumbar support button actually rotates when I press it. On a recent trip, I noticed the sensitivity to crosswinds that others have mentioned (kind of weird that I didn't experience this on the autobahn). And in bright sunlight, you can see an outline of what appears to be a big "Sticker" that has all the markings on it. Had I opted for the HUD with the 6WA cluster, however, this wouldn't be the case.

I recently had a chevy malibu rental for a week that had a better start/stop system, height adjustable seat belts, better knob/button quality and better on-center steering feel (and no seam on the back of the door handles). Still vastly prefer the 5 overall, but there's really no excuse for a BMW to have these little niggles. And its not just my car -- my dads 550 is the same way. Since this is my first 5 series my expectations for interior quality were quite high. Or maybe I've just been hanging around these forums too long and have developed a severe case of OCD. Then again, like many here, I tend to like German cars for the attention to detail- so I don't think I'm being overly critical.

In terns of looks, I happen to think the 5 is the best looking of its ilk. I still turn back and look at it when I park it - the dark graphite paint combined with all the surface details are very pleasing. Proportions are spot on. Amongst 4 door cars only the tesla and s4 look better to me. I have to admit that it was really the looks that drew me to the 5 because I'd typically avoid such a large car. But I'd prefer the no-line front bumper..the msport is a bit overdone and cartoony IMO. The round fog lights look dated too. For some reason, the pre-LCI Msport looks a little better with the smaller fogs at the edges (instead of centered as in the LCI). But I got the Msport for the nicer looking wheels, thicker steering wheel and Nappa leather. On a 528, its worth the price for those items alone…....the body kit was an unfortunate side effect.

My biggest complaint has to do with all of the modes. There are 4: sport+, sport, comfort and eco pro. Plus D and DS for the transmission. And yet there's no way to customize them. Eco pro has 2 settings (climate and sailing) you can play with but that's about it. Thought I could enable a config screen for sport mode but it didn't work (in past years it was possible apparently which is strange). I've read rumors that the "config sport mode" screen will return to the base cars in 2015 so maybe a software flash at some point will address this. Yes, I could've special ordered electronic damper control and gotten the config screen, but I'm overall happier with the 704 suspension. I do sometimes play with eco pro on long highway drives - it will drop the trans into neutral allowing the car to coast further. Kind of weird to see the tach at 800 rpm while doing 75.

I find it annoying that the transmission always starts in 1st regardless of mode and is very eager to downshift as you're coming to a stop. I end up leaving it in sport mode for the steering but don't love the touchy throttle, high shift points, 8th gear lock out and disabling of auto start/stop. It also likes to show off how aggressively it can shift which gets a bit old with passengers. Overall, I preferred the older ZF6 in my 335. So I've basically decided to shift it manually with the paddles all the time. Since I've started doing that I've been much happier. Then again, I'll never be fully happy with any automatic transmission. I'm a "dyed in the wool" manual lover, but my wife is steadfast in her refusal to drive one. Kind of bums me out to think we could've gotten one of the last of the F10 manuals sometimes. Perhaps if I'd ordered ACC, I wouldn't notice since I'd let the car drive itself in heavy traffic.

Even leaving it in sport and shifting manually I've been averaging about 27 mpg (compared with about 23 on my 335). The combo of better gas mileage, cheaper insurance and a cheaper lease saves about a $100/month which is a nice bonus.

So would I do it again? Yes. While I'd love a Tesla or S4, paying double or triple what I'm paying for this lease just makes no sense. Even a regular Audi A4 would address some of the nits I have with the 5, but would have cost more to lease while being less roomy and comfortable.

I wish I'd spent about $40 more and gotten HK, HUD, 4 zone climate control and active cruise. For the price, there's nothing I'd rather have. And most of my nits wouldn't be addressed even if I bought an 80k 550. It works well for its intended purpose and looks great. And despite my nitpicks, I barely miss my 335!
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Last edited by bmw325; 07-20-2014 at 09:51 AM.
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  #2  
Old 07-20-2014, 11:25 AM
shadowyman shadowyman is offline
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Did someone forget to post pics? Great review. I kind of agree the quality of the interior is not necessarily superior to 3 series. The design is better but the material remains the same.
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  #3  
Old 07-20-2014, 12:53 PM
Motorboat411 Motorboat411 is offline
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How does Sport mode effect your steering? I have a 2014 535i M-sport and there is no change in steering feel between any driving modes?
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  #4  
Old 07-20-2014, 01:20 PM
bmw325 bmw325 is online now
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Mein Auto: 528i
1500 mile impressions (2014 528)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Motorboat411 View Post
How does Sport mode effect your steering? I have a 2014 535i M-sport and there is no change in steering feel between any driving modes?

Sport mode makes it heavier. Do you have xdrive? Mine is rwd with eps - perhaps the hydraulic units in the xdrive models aren't adjustable
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  #5  
Old 07-20-2014, 01:22 PM
Motorboat411 Motorboat411 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bmw325 View Post
Sport mode makes it heavier? Do you have xdrive? Mine is rwd with eps - perhaps the hydraulic units in the xdrive models aren't adjustable
Mine is RWD as well. Do you have Sport trans? The only 535i in which I noticed steering getting heavier was a 2011 with DHP pkg.
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  #6  
Old 07-20-2014, 02:36 PM
bmw325 bmw325 is online now
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Mein Auto: 528i
1500 mile impressions (2014 528)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Motorboat411 View Post
Mine is RWD as well. Do you have Sport trans? The only 535i in which I noticed steering getting heavier was a 2011 with DHP pkg.

I do have sport trans. It's a very noticeable difference but I'd be surprised if 535s with eps didn't have this. I do know that the driving mode switch wasn't standard until 2014 - so perhaps in prior years you had to order DHP, msport or sport trans to get the switch (and the ability to switch on the heavier steering).

Just re-read your post and see that you have a 2014 msport as well. That would be very odd if the ability to change steering effort was tied to ordering sport trans. But a lot of things bmw does make no sense to me.
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  #7  
Old 07-20-2014, 04:43 PM
mness mness is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bmw325 View Post
I do have sport trans. It's a very noticeable difference but I'd be surprised if 535s with eps didn't have this. I do know that the driving mode switch wasn't standard until 2014 - so perhaps in prior years you had to order DHP, msport or sport trans to get the switch (and the ability to switch on the heavier steering).

Just re-read your post and see that you have a 2014 msport as well. That would be very odd if the ability to change steering effort was tied to ordering sport trans. But a lot of things bmw does make no sense to me.
The driving mode switch (Sport/Comfort) was definitely standard in 2013 when I got my car.
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2013 535i M-Sport: Carbon Black with Oyster/Black Dakota, Sport Auto Transmission, Driver Assistance Package, Premium Package, Multi-Contour Seats, Heated Seats, Navigation, Harmon/Kardon stereo. Bridgestone Potenza S-04 Pole Position non-runflats, Painted reflectors, M5 grille.
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  #8  
Old 07-20-2014, 05:58 PM
Alex75 Alex75 is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mness View Post
The driving mode switch (Sport/Comfort) was definitely standard in 2013 when I got my car.
I think it became standard with MY 2012 or something like that when they introduced the auto stop start feature and the eco-pro mode.
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  #9  
Old 07-21-2014, 07:23 AM
Edino Edino is offline
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Great review. On my 2013 530i (6cyl) I have the same view on that crappy reset button for the ODO meter; first time I used it a scratched it with my nail.... Its probably the only low quality switch in this BMW. Your observation is that the car starts in 1st gear always; mine does not in ECO PRO mode, it starts in 2nd gear. I would love to have the same 2nd gear start in comfort mode as driving away from start smoothly in first gear is almost impossible; the pickup and throttle response is so strong, that with the slightest application of the throttle you shoot away.... Another strange thing with ECO PRO in my car is that it firms up the suspension like in sport mode; that is a very strange combination, and I wonder now if these modes can be programmed differently. Steering is significantly heavier in sport and sport+, just like it should be. With regard to the AC, I also agree, it is among the strongest I have experienced... as long the setting is manual. The car cools down very quickly when standing in 110F heat.
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  #10  
Old 07-21-2014, 07:37 AM
bmw325 bmw325 is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Edino View Post
Great review. On my 2013 530i (6cyl) I have the same view on that crappy reset button for the ODO meter; first time I used it a scratched it with my nail.... Its probably the only low quality switch in this BMW. Your observation is that the car starts in 1st gear always; mine does not in ECO PRO mode, it starts in 2nd gear. I would love to have the same 2nd gear start in comfort mode as driving away from start smoothly in first gear is almost impossible; the pickup and throttle response is so strong, that with the slightest application of the throttle you shoot away.... Another strange thing with ECO PRO in my car is that it firms up the suspension like in sport mode; that is a very strange combination, and I wonder now if these modes can be programmed differently. Steering is significantly heavier in sport and sport+, just like it should be. With regard to the AC, I also agree, it is among the strongest I have experienced... as long the setting is manual. The car cools down very quickly when standing in 110F heat.
Wow- in the US we are very envious of the 530 (we never got it here). I think they only sold them in the middle east. Are they still making them or did they discontinue it for 2014?

Interesting that your car starts in 2nd in ECO PRO- that makes a lot of sense. No idea why my car starts in 1st in all modes. I don't have the adjustable suspension so I can't comment on that. I have the BMW esys program used to "code" the car and have been poking around looking for a configuration parameter that would allow me to change it, but no luck so far.

I guess the AC really is good if it can deal with a 110 degree day in Dubai!
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  #11  
Old 07-21-2014, 10:15 AM
rcliff1 rcliff1 is online now
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Great review. Thanks for posting!
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  #12  
Old 07-21-2014, 10:50 AM
BigK BigK is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shadowyman View Post
Did someone forget to post pics? Great review. I kind of agree the quality of the interior is not necessarily superior to 3 series. The design is better but the material remains the same.
Hope it's the E90 3er you're referring to because the F30 interior feels very cheap.
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Old 07-21-2014, 11:14 AM
bmw325 bmw325 is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigK View Post
Hope it's the E90 3er you're referring to because the F30 interior feels very cheap.

I have more experience with the e92 and have only sat in and driven the f30 on test drives. But the only things that stood out to me as definitively cheaper were the leather, plastic around the gear lever and the center console lid. The radio prset and climate control buttons feel a bit higher quality actually. I know some don't care for the overall design but that's a different matter.
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Old 07-21-2014, 12:19 PM
BigK BigK is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bmw325 View Post
I have more experience with the e92 and have only sat in and driven the f30 on test drives. But the only things that stood out to me as definitively cheaper were the leather, plastic around the gear lever and the center console lid. The radio prset and climate control buttons feel a bit higher quality actually. I know some don't care for the overall design but that's a different matter.
I don’t think the interior design of the F30 bothers me (whether or not it looks better than E90/92 is personal taste). However when I had drive the 320i and 328i, things just don’t feel like they’re well screwed together. There’re a lot of rattles/squeaks (but that might due to individual cars). The biggest problem is the extensive use of hard plastics and if I touch the passenger side of the center console, there’s a big gap between the hard plastic and the carpet.

While I understand that manufacturers need to have cost-cutting measurements to stay competitive, I’m disappointed by the end result. The car drives wonderfully especially the 328i, but personally I wouldn’t buy it.
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Old 07-21-2014, 12:40 PM
bmw325 bmw325 is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigK View Post
I don’t think the interior design of the F30 bothers me (whether or not it looks better than E90/92 is personal taste). However when I had drive the 320i and 328i, things just don’t feel like they’re well screwed together. There’re a lot of rattles/squeaks (but that might due to individual cars). The biggest problem is the extensive use of hard plastics and if I touch the passenger side of the center console, there’s a big gap between the hard plastic and the carpet.



While I understand that manufacturers need to have cost-cutting measurements to stay competitive, I’m disappointed by the end result. The car drives wonderfully especially the 328i, but personally I wouldn’t buy it.

The squeaks, rattles and gap you mentioned would bother me too
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Old 07-21-2014, 01:45 PM
Edino Edino is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bmw325 View Post
Wow- in the US we are very envious of the 530 (we never got it here). I think they only sold them in the middle east. Are they still making them or did they discontinue it for 2014?

Interesting that your car starts in 2nd in ECO PRO- that makes a lot of sense. No idea why my car starts in 1st in all modes. I don't have the adjustable suspension so I can't comment on that. I have the BMW esys program used to "code" the car and have been poking around looking for a configuration parameter that would allow me to change it, but no luck so far.

I guess the AC really is good if it can deal with a 110 degree day in Dubai!

The 530i is discontinued for 2014; 2013 was the last year. Here in Dubai the engine range you can purchase is the same as in Germany; as long its petrol. No diesel available here, which is not a problem, as a liter diesel cost nearly twice as much as liter of 98 octane fuel.
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Old Yesterday, 11:08 AM
infinity99 infinity99 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bmw325 View Post
Wow- in the US we are very envious of the 530 (we never got it here). I think they only sold them in the middle east. Are they still making them or did they discontinue it for 2014?

Interesting that your car starts in 2nd in ECO PRO- that makes a lot of sense. No idea why my car starts in 1st in all modes. I don't have the adjustable suspension so I can't comment on that. I have the BMW esys program used to "code" the car and have been poking around looking for a configuration parameter that would allow me to change it, but no luck so far.

I guess the AC really is good if it can deal with a 110 degree day in Dubai!
I am from saudi arabia and I have got a 2013 530i which sadly has been discontinued as of 2014 in the middle east as well :/
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