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F10 / F11 (2011 - Current)
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  #1  
Old 10-14-2012, 04:10 AM
John NY John NY is offline
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Impressions of 550xi after 2 weeks

I wanted to give you my perspective of a 2013 550xi for those considering or researching this model. I took deliver of my 2013 550xi about two weeks ago. I've put about 500 miles on it. Understanding the reason I bought this car will factor in to how useful my commentary might be to you. I didn't buy this car to serve as a sports car. I have dedicated sports cars to serve that purpose. This car is strictly intended to be a functional, family car that can transport me, my wife and two teenage sons with sufficient power to get me on and off of the highways. I wanted a comfortable car with all of the creature comforts, that is wrapped in an aesthetically pleasing body. So, with that backdrop, here are my thoughts.

1. Handling - My first BMW was a 1998 528i, which was followed by a 330, a handful of X5s. The BMWSs I kept are a 2002 M3 cab, 2007 335 hardtop convertible and a 328xi. By far, the 550 is more luxurious and provides smoother ride than the older model BMWs. Having said that, there is very little body roll, and handling is fine for everyday driving. I have no clue as to how this car would handle a track. The car does not have the road feel in the steering wheel that my other BMWs have, but I wasn't looking for that in any event.

2. Options - The HUD, the various camera views, soft close doors all work as advertised. I particularly like the top view cameras that make parallel parking very easy. It is far more superior than the typical back up camera, which doesn't do anything to let you see your surroundings. I think this is a must option.

3. Run flat tires - My first introduction to run-flats was with a 2004 330xi. They were awful. They were loud, gave extremely harsh ride and would develop either a cracked sidewall or a bubble for no the smallest of potholes. I used to cringe every time I saw any imperfection on the road. After three tire changes, I swapped them out with non-run flats. Although I've read a lot here about people being dissatisfied with the run-flats, I think these are far more superior than what you got in 2004. My 550 came with 19" Eagle LS2 all season tires, and they have been great so far. The ride quality is excellent and no cracks or bubbles, even though I've hit my share of potholes in NY. I did buy tire and wheel insurance, and I'm starting to wonder if that was wasted money.

4. Bang & Olufsen - By far my favorite feature of the car. I love high quality music. My home system includes Breyston, Cary, VTL equipment with B&W speakers. While the B&O system isn't nearly as good at replicating the studio sound, it is pretty darn good. It is by far superior to anything I have heard in any other car stereo. Having said that, if you are wed to satellite radio, I would pass on this option, because it will bring out the limitations in sound quality. The best is to play individual CDs, and the second best option is an iPod.

5. Negatives - The only negative that I can comment on is a very faint rattle I get near the driver-side B pillar. It's not loud enough to bother me, but it is there. Having had bad prior experience with having the dealer try and fix rattles, which inevitably leads to more squeaks and rattles just from having to take the car apart, I will try and live with it, so long as it doesn't get worse.

In any case, these are my thoughts. I hope they are useful. Cheers.
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  #2  
Old 10-14-2012, 06:37 AM
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Needsdecaf Needsdecaf is offline
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Don't worry, you will end up using the wheel and tire insurance. Glad you are enjoying your car!
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  #3  
Old 10-14-2012, 06:53 AM
leewtech leewtech is offline
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Quote:
Don't worry, you will end up using the wheel and tire insurance.
Why? Have historically you gone through the cost of 4 tire/rim replacements in the same period as the warranty? Do the math. Most policies require you average at least one flat per year consistently to just break even. That is some pretty horrible luck, substandard roads in your living area, or poor avoidance driving.

Those policies are pure profit for the dealer.
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  #4  
Old 10-14-2012, 07:27 AM
preeble preeble is offline
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I am enjoying my 2013 550xi after 2 months of ownership. I agree with the original poster on all points, but I don't have the b-pillar rattle and I did not get the roof-mounted camera. In retrospect, I should have gotten it as it seems like a really cool option. My initial impression of the B&O sound system wasn't great, but I have grown to really like it, especially after adjusting some of the sound settings. IMO, it is worth the $3700 upgrade.

I also purchased an extra set of OEM staggered wheels (with Primacy summer tires) and have been happy with those tires (no bubbling after 1000 miles). I just put the original wheels and GY tires on this weekend, so I will keep a look-out for bubbles. The wheels that came with my car are going to be my winter wheels and I will replace the GY LS tires with snow tires as soon as they are worn out or I get the bubbles. Not sure if I will stick with the run flat style or not. My 997 doesn't have run flats (or a spare) and I never gave it a second thought. I guess I should apply the same logic for the 550.

Lastly, I also put in Dinan Stage 2 - I can't say enough how powerful it makes the car feel - definitely more butt-power than my 997.2.
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  #5  
Old 10-14-2012, 07:28 AM
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dunderhi dunderhi is online now
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Thanks for the review.

On the GY LS2 issue, I believe they have been redesigned and complaints have significantly decreased around here. Now only if the set I have sitting in my basement would redesign themselves...
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  #6  
Old 10-14-2012, 07:42 AM
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ish ish is offline
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Thanks for the review. My new 550xi Msport should be here before Thanksgiving.
The car will be my wife's daily driver and will take over for my RR doing the 465 mile trips between our house in NJ and beach house in NC.
My limited driving impressions of the 550 and the 535 we have this weekend make me think this is the perfect car for the job.
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  #7  
Old 10-14-2012, 07:53 AM
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dalekressin dalekressin is offline
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Nice review with appropriate perspective on family needs.
Don't consider taking this vehicle on a track.
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  #8  
Old 10-14-2012, 08:33 AM
Emilner Emilner is offline
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Congrats on the car!!


Quote:
Originally Posted by leewtech View Post
Why? Have historically you gone through the cost of 4 tire/rim replacements in the same period as the warranty? Do the math. Most policies require you average at least one flat per year consistently to just break even. That is some pretty horrible luck, substandard roads in your living area, or poor avoidance driving.

Those policies are pure profit for the dealer.

Well, you must be new to BMW and runflats. After 10 tires and 3 rims in less than 2 years on my 550ix M sport, and now 1 tire and 2 bent rims on my 2 month old 650 I can say they are not pure profit. Maybe they are for those in parts of the country with goods roads, but in metro NY where the roads resemble Beruit on a good day the insurance is a necessity...
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  #9  
Old 10-14-2012, 01:50 PM
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Needsdecaf Needsdecaf is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by leewtech View Post
Why? Have historically you gone through the cost of 4 tire/rim replacements in the same period as the warranty? Do the math. Most policies require you average at least one flat per year consistently to just break even. That is some pretty horrible luck, substandard roads in your living area, or poor avoidance driving.

Those policies are pure profit for the dealer.
You have no clue about the LS2's do you?
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  #10  
Old 10-14-2012, 04:45 PM
leewtech leewtech is offline
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Quote:
You have no clue about the LS2's do you
I got 8 of them. Have clue.

WTF are you guys hitting to bend a rim? A stiff sidewall does not transmit enough force on its own to bend a rim. You have to hit something so hard it compresses that sidewall which a normal tire would do as well.

Off roading your cars?
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  #11  
Old 10-14-2012, 05:20 PM
mg650 mg650 is offline
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Am at one month and 1100 miles in on the same car. Cant agree more on the camera. Never has a car been this easy to back into a tight spot. Have this in our x5 too where it is just as handy.

Am positively surprised by the highway fuel economy. Just got 25.6 (based on dash readout) on a long trip this weekend

On the runflat issue- i have 3 cars with them and have no complaints about the noise or handling. I can say that in my 335 vert i hit a pothole so hard it put giant bubbles in 2 tires, visibly bent a rim, and popped a plastic cover off my front bumper. My coffee cup popped up and hit the cieling of the car. Yet - the car got me to work and home that day. I have to think ordnary tires would have both been destroyed.
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  #12  
Old 10-14-2012, 05:26 PM
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ish ish is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by leewtech View Post
I got 8 of them. Have clue.

WTF are you guys hitting to bend a rim? A stiff sidewall does not transmit enough force on its own to bend a rim. You have to hit something so hard it compresses that sidewall which a normal tire would do as well.

Off roading your cars?
A stiff sidewall will absolutely transmit enough force to pop the clear coat finish off a rim on a small pothole and bend the crap out of a rim on a bad one. I have had a wide variety of cars and have never had an issue until run flats.

Here in the North East you can spend your life dodging potholes, but every once in a while they are gonna get you.

Where do you live?
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Last edited by ish; 10-14-2012 at 05:31 PM.
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  #13  
Old 10-14-2012, 05:35 PM
leewtech leewtech is offline
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I live in Mass.

I think you guys have to look at the tire profile and not how it is constructed. Bashing into a road hazard with a low profile tire is obviously more likely to do damage....ANY low profile tire. Just cause it is a run flat does not increase that likely hood.

Must be a NY/NJ thing with the craters in the road. We get lousy conditions during the winter, but I am the type of guy that avoids sewer covers never mind potholes. Nothing like doing a little auto crossing down Main Street!

Peace!
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Old 10-14-2012, 05:47 PM
Madjackdog Madjackdog is offline
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John, do you have Damper control or Adaptive Drive on your car? Tks.
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  #15  
Old 10-14-2012, 06:01 PM
John NY John NY is offline
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John, do you have Damper control or Adaptive Drive on your car? Tks.
I do not have those options.
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Old 10-14-2012, 06:44 PM
Emilner Emilner is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by leewtech View Post
I got 8 of them. Have clue.

WTF are you guys hitting to bend a rim? A stiff sidewall does not transmit enough force on its own to bend a rim. You have to hit something so hard it compresses that sidewall which a normal tire would do as well.

Off roading your cars?
One was bent on a regular sewer drain I could not avoid. It was a really minor bump too, there was nothing really wrong with the drain, it just sunk in slightly. I joked to my wife- watch the rim is bent and sure enough it was. 20's with 30 series tires don't help. When you can't see rubber on the bottom of the tire/rim you know there's trouble...
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Old 10-14-2012, 09:23 PM
yogi799 yogi799 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John NY View Post
This car is strictly intended to be a functional, family car that can transport me, my wife and two teenage sons with sufficient power to get me on and off of the highways.
Congrats on the ride, but

Do you REALLLY need a 400HP V8 turbo to merge from a ramp? LOL

I'd think you need that to outrun the cops
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Old 10-15-2012, 02:25 AM
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ChrisF01 ChrisF01 is offline
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Originally Posted by yogi799 View Post
Congrats on the ride, but

Do you REALLLY need a 400HP V8 turbo to merge from a ramp? LOL

I'd think you need that to outrun the cops
No such thing as not enough power
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Old 10-15-2012, 04:07 AM
John NY John NY is offline
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Originally Posted by yogi799 View Post
Congrats on the ride, but

Do you REALLLY need a 400HP V8 turbo to merge from a ramp? LOL

I'd think you need that to outrun the cops
You are right. It's not a question of need, but rather, personal preference. I have very little patience for unresponsive, slow cars. When I step on the accelerator, I want the car to get me to where I'm trying to go. I think the 550 passes that test.
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Old 10-15-2012, 04:11 AM
John NY John NY is offline
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No such thing as not enough power
While I agree, it comes down to how much more are you willing to pay for more HP and torque. At some point, in my personal view, the cost for an additional 100 horses isn't worth the return on actual performance.
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Old 10-15-2012, 05:14 AM
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dunderhi dunderhi is online now
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Originally Posted by John NY View Post
While I agree, it comes down to how much more are you willing to pay for more HP and torque. At some point, in my personal view, the cost for an additional 100 horses isn't worth the return on actual performance.
There's a cost to benefit threshold that most everyone reaches. Dropping $3k for only an additional 10hp is why I am stopping at Dinan Stage 3. The first 100hp gain for Stage 2 was a bargain at $3k, but now it's a case of deminishing returns.
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Old 10-15-2012, 06:23 AM
John NY John NY is offline
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Originally Posted by dunderhi View Post
There's a cost to benefit threshold that most everyone reaches. Dropping $3k for only an additional 10hp is why I am stopping at Dinan Stage 3. The first 100hp gain for Stage 2 was a bargain at $3k, but now it's a case of deminishing returns.
I agree.
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Old 10-15-2012, 07:57 AM
P-TownM3 P-TownM3 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dunderhi View Post
There's a cost to benefit threshold that most everyone reaches. Dropping $3k for only an additional 10hp is why I am stopping at Dinan Stage 3. The first 100hp gain for Stage 2 was a bargain at $3k, but now it's a case of deminishing returns.
Agreed. I only went to stage 3 because I had to get rid of the hybrid sounding stock exhaust, and spending an additional $200 for the stage 3 software above and beyond the cost of the Dinan exhaust made sense.

I would not throw down another ~$3500 for stage 4...only to gain another 20hp....not worth it, imo.
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Old 10-15-2012, 09:20 AM
Mikez38 Mikez38 is offline
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Originally Posted by Emilner View Post
Congrats on the car!!





Well, you must be new to BMW and runflats. After 10 tires and 3 rims in less than 2 years on my 550ix M sport, and now 1 tire and 2 bent rims on my 2 month old 650 I can say they are not pure profit. Maybe they are for those in parts of the country with goods roads, but in metro NY where the roads resemble Beruit on a good day the insurance is a necessity...
How did you know if a wheel is bent? I am also concerned with wheel cracks and guess that a good visual inspection would work.
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Old 10-15-2012, 10:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by leewtech View Post
I live in Mass.

I think you guys have to look at the tire profile and not how it is constructed. Bashing into a road hazard with a low profile tire is obviously more likely to do damage....ANY low profile tire. Just cause it is a run flat does not increase that likely hood.

Must be a NY/NJ thing with the craters in the road. We get lousy conditions during the winter, but I am the type of guy that avoids sewer covers never mind potholes. Nothing like doing a little auto crossing down Main Street!

Peace!
Where in Mass?

I live in Boston and the roads here are terrible and most potholes can't be avoided, which is why I stuck with the base 18inch wheels on my E70, instead of getting ZSP with the 19s and 20s.
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