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Old 10-12-2004, 10:46 AM   #1
Driving Impression E60 from an E39 owner
 
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beewang
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posted by beewang

I know the battle line was drawn long ago by the E39 loyalist. I too, was once skeptical w/ the direction of the new generation of BMW (aka a Chris Bagel hater). Individualís taste in automotive style is not a topic I want to debate on. However, I must say that we absolutely love the new 545 SMG that recently purchased. Albeit outdated, it is my intention to keep my E39 M5. For the M5 is a special car IMO, and will remain as an ď///MĒ car for its useful life. That is all I can say about that.

Onto the new 545: The car is simply amazing. Aside from its astonishing looks (IMO, of course) our 545 contains pretty much all the best BMW has to offer, I will try to cover my impression, item by item:

i-drive: I think the I-drive is a much improved version of what BMW offered as part of the navigation system. The process is much simplified compare to the widescreen navigation system in my M5. I canít speak from I-drive system in other BMWs but I can say this, the people who thinks the I-drive system in the E60 to be ď..too complicated..Ē and have difficulty to use the system are the same people who canít use a computer for web surfing. It is nowhere near the task of programming VCR. Really!! If you have problem using I-drive in the E60, you will the 21st century a serious challenge w/ the blue tooth mobile phone and tivo as well the HDTV.

On a separate note, the voice command (if you are too lazy to click the I-drive, too busy driving) is F-A-N-T-A-S-T-I-C! it recognized my off accent inglish and thatís pretty f***king good!



HUD: This is an long overdue item for the BMW world. A common problem amongst the BMW drivers is that you canít see the speed you are traveling (because we all want to drive the bimmer as a sports car and not have the steering wheel tilted up like being a truck driver). At any given moment, I know exactly how fast I am traveling (comes in handy when you spot the local law enforcement ahead, and able to adjust how fast you need to brake to be within the law) without taking my eyes off the road. Also, able to see the navigation directions without moving my head and re-focus to the road again. I highly recommend this option. I do NOT find the HUD data distracting, and no, it is NOT like reading sub-title while watching a flick. One noticeable problem is when I saddle back into the olí E39 M5, I feel psychologically ďblindĒ as the HUD is not on the car.

SMG: Oh baby!! Look, as much I enjoy the ďcontrolĒ of manual tranny, there is just no way around it. SMG gives you the control and the unbelievable shifting speed (and this is just the SSG version of SMG, just imagine what the SMG3 in the new M5 can do!). There is a certain learning curve w/ a SMG to be able to get the system to learn your driving style. As well as you learn how the SMG system works. In fact, I would say the learning curve for the driver portion is VERY similar to how one learns to drive a manual transmission. It isnít difficult, it just takes a lilí time (a few hours). Having the opportunity to drive the SMG for a week, I can easily make the car drive as smooth as an auto tranny limo in both auto mode or manual mode.

Logic-7: I have the M-audio option from BMW for the E39 M5 (not great, its just okay!) and I recommend everyone to get the Logic-7 system if you have the opportunity. (You are foolish if you donít) And those of you who either bought the car off the rack or just didnít order the car w/ the L-7 upgradeÖ. Be happy w/ what you have and NEVER let the curiosity get the best of you and play w/ a car that has L-7. You WILL be miserable for the remainder duration of your E60 ownership. DONíT do it!

Active suspension: Geezes!! The guy who designed this system for BMW needs to get a salary raise. I went thru several hair-pin turns and the 545 ate it up it like gravity didnít exist. The 545 manage the turn better than my stock E39 M5, that IMO is pretty damn impressive!

Active headlights: Man!! The E39 owners will never know what they are missing. Kindda like the guys/gals who bought their car without xenon headlight, would never know what they are missing.

Active steering: So whatís all the fuzz about??!! What is there not to like about it? I think its really cool to not have to crank my steering wheel side-to-side going thru a tight canyon road. It kinnda gives me a taste how driving Formula 1 car is like.

PDC: Althought the PDC is pretty much the same, the visual distance provided by the I-drive screen is very entertaining. Thumbs-up!!

Cheers,

beewang
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