Track test of F10 535 by inside line

by Bimmerfest.com Member - jimefam on August 25, 2010, 12:12 am
Inside Line tests hundreds of vehicles a year, but not every vehicle gets a full write-up. The numbers still tell a story, though, so we present "IL Track Tested." It's a quick rundown of all the data we collected at the track, along with comments direct from the test drivers. Enjoy.

The 2011 BMW 535i is the most radically different 5 Series for this, the sixth generation (F10 for the BMW geeks) of the venerable not-too-big/not-too-small midsize BMW sedan with a new engine, new suspension and a new eight-speed automatic.

Output from the 3.0-liter I-6 remains static at 300 horsepower, but the methodology is different. Instead of using the N54 twin-turbo inline-6, the new 2011 535i uses the new N55 single twin-scroll turbocharger, a variation on the I-6 we first saw on the 2010 BMW 535i GT. The 535i automatic also makes use of the ZF-built eight-speed automatic that also debuted on the 535i GT. The new trans promises increased fuel economy while maintaining crisp shifts and sporty performance. We know, we know, BMWs should be manuals, but let's get with the times for a minute; the 5 Series makes up more than 50 percent of BMW's global sales, and manual transmission take rates are lower than public school students not diagnosed with ADHD. A six-speed manual is still available for 2011, but the eight-speed is more interesting.

Apart from a single turbo, two more gearsets and a double-wishbone front suspension replacing the old struts, the 2011 5 Series is the first of the 5ers to come with electronic power steering (EPS). Our tester also comes equipped with the Dynamic Handling package ($2,500) and the Sport package ($2,200). Included are driver-adjustable dampers, active roll stabilization and a driving dynamics control that allows the selection of one of four different modes from Comfort to Sport +. Different selections vary the level of throttle response, transmission shift attitude, power-steering assistance and traction control. We also had the Sport automatic transmission option ($500) which added a three-spoke wheel with proper left-down, right-up paddles.

So, the 2011 BMW 535i has an automatic transmission, electric power steering and an electronic LSD. But is it still any good on our track?



Vehicle: 2011 BMW 535i
Odometer: 1,396
Date: 8/24/10
Driver: Chris Walton
Base Price (with destination and tax): $49,600
Options: Dynamic Handling Package ($2,700); Sport Package ($2,200); Dakota Leather ($1,450); Side and Top View Cameras ($800); Park Distance Control ($750); Dark Graphite Metallic ($550); Sport Automatic Transmission ($500); Rearview Camera ($400); iPod and USB Adapter ($400).
As-Tested Price: $60,225

Specifications:
Drive Type: Rear-wheel drive
Transmission Type: Eight-speed automatic
Engine Type: Turbocharged inline-6
Displacement (cc/cu-in): 2,979/181.8
Redline (rpm): 7,000
Horsepower (hp @ rpm): 300 @ 5,800
Torque (lb-ft @ rpm): 300 @ 1,200-5,000
Brake Type (front): Ventilated disc
Brake Type (rear): Ventilated disc
Steering System: Electric-assist rack-and-pinion
Suspension Type (front): Multilink
Suspension Type (rear): Multilink

Tire Size (front): 245/40R19 94Y
Tire Size (rear): 275/35R19 96Y
Tire Brand: Goodyear
Tire Model: Excellence
Tire Type: Asymmetrical all-season
Wheel Size: 19-by-8 inches front and rear
Wheel Material (front/rear): Alloy
As Tested Curb Weight (lb): 4,080

Test Results:
0 - 30 (sec): 2.3
0 - 45 (sec): 3.9
0 - 60 (sec): 5.9
0 - 75 (sec): 8.6
1/4 Mile (sec @ mph): 14.30 @ 95.06
0-60 with 1-ft Rollout (sec): 5.6
30 - 0 (ft): 28
60 - 0 (ft): 110
Slalom (mph): 64.9 stability off, 62.0 on
Skid Pad Lateral Acceleration (g): 0.84 stability off, 0.84 trac on
Db @ Idle: 42.3
Db @ Full Throttle: 73.4
Db @ 70 mph Cruise: 67.0

Acceleration Comments: Wide range of settings means wide range of results, from normal drive to sport/DSC off. At worst, it stumbles off the line, then gets with the program at @ 3,000 rpm. At best with brake torque and DSC off, it's still not what I'd call "snappy" off the line but at least the boost is in the right place for a decent run. Very smooth upshifts in every mode, but it seemed to delay 1-2 (possibly 3-4) in Sport mode. Crossed the finish in 4th gear.

Braking Comments: Highly susceptible to pavement irregularities, hence 10-foot variance in otherwise fade-free set of runs. Some smoking front pads, but no discernible loss of power. Obvious anti-dive suspension and lots of rebound damping. Firm pedal and straight stops throughout.

Handling Comments: Slalom: With DSC off in Sport, the tires were the limiting factor. Good balance between understeer/oversteer and good steering response but not enough ultimate grip to make it all work. In Sport + DSC on, the brakes would grab abruptly just as I approached a cone (expecting a little slide), so I had to back down the speed to keep from being pulled into cones by DSC. Skid pad: hard to balance/steer on the line with boost varying wildly -- requires constant steering with DSC off. With DSC on (Sport +) it requires virtually no steering, and throttle was more consistent (obviously being managed by computer), steering weight was appropriate, but almost no feel.

Source - http://blogs.insideline.com/straight...automatic.html

Test numbers were ok but not incredibly impressive.


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73 responses to Track test of F10 535 by inside line

solstice commented:
August 25, 2010, 12:26 am

"steering weight was appropriate, but almost no feel."
m4hk33 commented:
August 25, 2010, 12:43 am

its a 535, whats expected?
solstice commented:
August 25, 2010, 1:42 am

Quote:
Originally Posted by m4hk33 View Post
its a 535, whats expected?
What's expected? steering worthy of the bmw name for starters.
Army of steering lovers you better had over to insideline, the commenters (fringe buyers?) are ripping at your precious.
enigma commented:
August 25, 2010, 1:43 am

Quote:
Originally Posted by solstice View Post
"steering weight was appropriate, but almost no feel."
That and "hard to balance/steer on the line with boost varying wildly".

Of course, Inside Line is either biased (i.e. BMW didn't give them enough ad $) or idiots. Maybe not...
Newmanium commented:
August 25, 2010, 8:28 am

Has there been ANY mag test that has considered the steering feel to be decent, on par with E60?

And doesn't look like they had IAS, interesting.
tadtaggert commented:
August 25, 2010, 8:51 am

Quote:
Originally Posted by solstice View Post
What's expected? steering worthy of the bmw name for starters.
Army of steering lovers you better had over to insideline, the commenters (fringe buyers?) are ripping at your precious.
So how does this:

Quote:
Good balance between understeer/oversteer and good steering response but not enough ultimate grip to make it all work.
fit into your thinking? What's the intent of both a slalom and skid pad test? How does DSC impact the results and the comments you quoted?
jimefam commented:
August 25, 2010, 9:34 am

Again the issue is not that the steering is imprecise it does as its told. NOBODY is saying that, the issue is the feeling is artificial and doesn't communicate what the tires are doing. Unless you have driven a sporty car to the limit you may not know what we are referring to. I find it hard to believe there is even a debate about this as I would say that 90%(if not more) of the tester have had the same opinion and while you may say that these journalist know nothing i'm pretty sure that they have far more experience pushing a cars limits than most of the people posting on this forum(myself included). Is it a big deal well it depends on what your experience is with good handling cars, if it is limited or nonexistent then you'll be satisfied if however you enjoy the connection you get from a mechanical steering you will miss it big time. To summarize the car is a capable machine but it doesn't feel as sure footed as you'd expect from a company known for "the ultimate driving machine".
solstice commented:
August 25, 2010, 9:50 am

Quote:
Originally Posted by jimefam View Post
Again the issue is not that the steering is imprecise it does as its told. NOBODY is saying that, the issue is the feeling is artificial and doesn't communicate what the tires are doing. Unless you have driven a sporty car to the limit you may not know what we are referring to. I find it hard to believe there is even a debate about this as I would say that 90%(if not more) have had the same opinion and while you may say that these journalist know nothing i'm pretty sure that they have for more experience pushing a cars limits than most of the people posting on this forum(myself included). Is it a big deal well it depends on what your experience is with good handling cars, if it is limited or nonexistent then you'll be satisfied if however you enjoy the connection you get from a mechanical steering you will miss it big time. To summarize the car is a capable machine but it doesn't feel as sure footed as you'd expect from a company known for "the ultimate driving machine".
Exactly, we all agree that the steering is responsive but it's also numb and with little center feel.
solstice commented:
August 25, 2010, 10:30 am

I'll aso add that you do not need to push the car to the limit to notice the lack of feel. It's obvious at more or less any speed. You need the feel more at the limits but an enthusiast wants it all the time. Also limits does not always mean driving with you hair on fire, limits are part of any drivers reality and can be reached by things like rain, leaves, oil spill, snow, ice, gravel, wildlife etc, etc.
tim330i commented:
August 25, 2010, 11:05 am

I updated your thread with the article text

Tim
TJPark01 commented:
August 25, 2010, 11:21 am

Throw some Michelin PS2's on this car. It's gonna make a big difference on the skidpad and road feel. The Good Years are too soft for the BF crowd.
richschneid commented:
August 25, 2010, 12:15 pm

Quote:
Originally Posted by TJPark01 View Post
Throw some Michelin PS2's on this car. It's gonna make a big difference on the skidpad and road feel. The Good Years are too soft for the BF crowd.
The Goodyears are grand touring class tires and the ones on this test vehicle were grand touring ALL SEASONS. These are not performance tires. I agree that PS2s would make a big difference. Potenzas would also make a big difference. The other two things that also might make a diffenence is the addition of Integral Acitive Steering for the rear drive version of the car, and for the xDrive version the fact that this AWD car doesn't have electric steering. So far we have not seen testing of cars thus equipped. I think enthusiasts might like the IAS a lot more than the standard steering, especially at the limits.

These variations might have been made available by BMW to satisfy some of what is missing in the standard steering. You just have to purchase it. But for the average buyer the grand touring tires may be what they want. I tried to substitute performance tires on my order of the 550i xDrive, but was told that wasn't possible. So, if I don't like them I'm going to spring for the 2 grand and change them.
tadtaggert commented:
August 25, 2010, 12:30 pm

Quote:
Originally Posted by TJPark01 View Post
Throw some Michelin PS2's on this car. It's gonna make a big difference on the skidpad and road feel. The Good Years are too soft for the BF crowd.
Yep, when tires are the limiting factor in the slalom that's what I'd expect also, but still it's a fair test (and numbers) as those are the OEM tires.

As for the other comments, I can repeat what I've said before. To me, feel and feedback are two different things, quite different. I'll not (and have not) argue that the feel is different, it is, to some dramatically so. It's not what you'd expect if you've been driving BMW 3's and 5's for a while. It's different.

As for feedback, it's different also, but I will argue that it is not deficient. What gets me is those that don't like something and infer that it is broken in some way. Not saying that can't be the case in some things, just not here.

The steering is still mechanical, it is an electric power assist instead of a hydraulic system now, and that's part of the difference both to the feel and the feedback. There's the front suspension, different, the wheels are less off camber when pushed, less noise and vibration to the feedback, again a difference to the feel and feedback.

If you don't like it, that's fine. If you haven't driven it, you might be pleasantly surprised what you find, I won't promise you'll like it, but the feedback is there. Good/knowledgeable drivers can adapt to feel, so long as the feedback is there. Some just don't want to move on to something new, and that's fine too.
solstice commented:
August 25, 2010, 12:53 pm

"Good/knowledgeable drivers can adapt to feel, so long as the feedback is there. Some just don't want to move on to something new, and that's fine too."

I'm fine with moving onto something new if it's better. This is clearly not the case here.
Also humans are amazing at adapting to crap, the Stockholms syndrom being proof of how extreme that ability really is. It doesn't mean the downgrade never happened or that it should be accepted.
richschneid commented:
August 25, 2010, 1:03 pm

Quote:
Originally Posted by solstice View Post
"Good/knowledgeable drivers can adapt to feel, so long as the feedback is there. Some just don't want to move on to something new, and that's fine too."

I'm fine with moving onto something new if it's better. This is clearly not the case here.
Also humans are amazing at adapting to crap, the Stockholms syndrom being proof of how extreme that ability really is. It doesn't mean the downgrade never happened or that it should be accepted.
Have you actually ever driven an F10 with IAS, or an xDrive version, or one with performance tires? The X6 test I read with IAS was very positive about its performance on a road course. Does anyone have an actual test report on an F10 with IAS, especially one in which the car is equipped with actual performance tires. This debate is tiresome without such information.

Just to be clear that I don't always agree with BMW, I see no reason why BMW cannot offer max performance tires such as PS2s or Potenzas as a reasonably priced option on the F10 with sport package. The Goodyears they would replace are pretty expensive themselves so it shouldn't cost BMW that much to change them to performance tires. The Goodyears are actually labeled on the tire as "Made in Germany", so maybe there is some sort of contractural exclusive arrangement with Goodyear. It seems probable that these tires were developed by Goodyear specifically at BMWs request for the current 7 series and the F10. In order for Goodyear to recoup their development costs they may have insisteded upon exclusivity for a certain number of years. That's the only thing that makes sense to me.

PS. I just got off the phone with the Tirerack and the rep said the exclusive contract is most likely to be in place.
solstice commented:
August 25, 2010, 1:07 pm

For us that do not have IAS or X-drive and do not feel that you should need to swap brand new performance tires to get a good steering feel this discussion is very valid, sorry if it makes you tired. I also highly suspects that better tires will just make you loose even more of the feedback and feel those tires are capable of.
solstice commented:
August 25, 2010, 1:24 pm

tadtaggert, I know that our opinions and steering preferences differs wildly and that you choosen to ignore my comments but you do seem to be fairly clued up on the architectural part of the F10s electrical steering. If you read this comment I'd like to ask you if you see a possibility to swap the electric steering with the X-drives hydraulic steering and what kind of effort that would involve? If possible and performed by bmw would youthink it would have a chance to keep warranty and avoid a new type acceptance by the DOT?
tadtaggert commented:
August 25, 2010, 1:36 pm

Quote:
Originally Posted by solstice View Post
tadtaggert, I know that our opinions and steering preferences differs wildly and that you choosen to ignore my comments but you do seem to be fairly clued up on the architectural part of the F10s electrical steering. If you read this comment I'd like to ask you if you see a possibility to swap the electric steering with the X-drives hydraulic steering and what kind of effort that would involve? If possible and performed by bmw would youthink it would have a chance to keep warranty and avoid a new type acceptance by the DOT?
Ignore your comments? I have learned that we all can rest assured that whatever comments we make you will ignore and then tell us how we should think, and that is the basis for my fringe comment, however appropriate/inappropriate it may have been.

I have no idea if BMW would make the switch, I would guess not and would guess that it would certainly void any warranty.

I guess I really have only one question, why did you buy the car if you hate it so much?
richschneid commented:
August 25, 2010, 1:40 pm

Quote:
Originally Posted by solstice View Post
For us that do not have IAS or X-drive and do not feel that you should need to swap brand new performance tires to get a good steering feel this discussion is very valid, sorry if it makes you tired. I also highly suspects that better tires will just make you loose even more of the feedback and feel those tires are capable of.
If you don't have IAS and want better feel then you should buy it if you actually first test it out on your own. Maybe this discussion will cause people who want better steering to buy it instead of just complaining that BMW doesn't offer the steering feel they want. Maybe BMW DOES offer the steering feel you want, you just have to buy it. Why should someone who doesn't care about steering feel or feedback have to pay for something they don't want or need. The IAS may be designed specifically for buyers such as yourself. And since you have never tried it or read about it, you have no way of knowing one way or the other. You also have the option of getting different steering with the xDrive.

If you didn't consider or buy the IAS you have only yourself to blame, not BMW. It's only around $1750 list. If you think that is too much money then you might consider buying a less expensive make. BMWs are EXPENSIVE! And so are Michelin PS2s. If you want something better you have to pay for it and stop asking BMW to provide it for free. Good Grief.

BTW, I didn't say this discussion made me "tired". I said the discussion was "tiresome". Maybe that means full of "tires".
solstice commented:
August 25, 2010, 1:49 pm

"I guess I really have only one question, why did you buy the car if you hate it so much? "

I never said I hated the car, what I actually said is that I think it's overall a better car than my E60 and I wrote a post outlining some of the best features.
I really don't like the steering, the steering wheel and the lack of lateral support from the seats though. I thought that the lack of some things in my short test drive in a non ZSP, non DHP equipped car was going to be addressed with those packages added. There were a lot of new impressions to take in, in a very short period of time. Maybe I was not careful enough and put to much trust in bmw to deliver a car to my tastes, trust that they have rightfully earned during a long period of time. Looking in the rear view mirror I wish I waited some and checked out how the X-drive steering performs. There it is, not very revolutionary or strange is it?
solstice commented:
August 25, 2010, 1:54 pm

"Why should someone who doesn't care about steering feel or feedback have to pay for something they don't want or need."
Since it's not a luxuary item and the price of a bmw, any bmw should include good steering feedback and feel as standard. To have to pay for extra artificial stuff to get back to what is natural is frankly redicolous. Sorry.
solstice commented:
August 25, 2010, 2:02 pm

"I have learned that we all can rest assured that whatever comments we make you will ignore and then tell us how we should think"
Heh, you got that one backwards my friend.
tadtaggert commented:
August 25, 2010, 2:07 pm

Quote:
Originally Posted by solstice View Post
"Since it's not a luxuary item and the price of a bmw, any bmw should include good steering feedback and feel as standard. To have to pay for extra artificial stuff to get back to what is natural is frankly redicolous. Sorry.
!
TMQ commented:
August 25, 2010, 2:49 pm

BMW is not the only maker that runs into some issues with electric steering. The current Acura cars have also received criticism for that. Electric steering saves some fuel, it doesn't make sense to lose one of the best features of the brand in order to improve 0.5 mpg.
solstice commented:
August 25, 2010, 3:04 pm

Quote:
Originally Posted by TMQ View Post
BMW is not the only maker that runs into some issues with electric steering. The current Acura cars have also received criticism for that. Electric steering saves some fuel, it doesn't make sense to lose one of the best features of the brand in order to improve 0.5 mpg.
Agree, shedding some pounds would have been a better more performance oriented approach than jeopardizing a brand crown jewel.
richschneid commented:
August 25, 2010, 4:40 pm

Quote:
Originally Posted by solstice View Post
"Why should someone who doesn't care about steering feel or feedback have to pay for something they don't want or need."
Since it's not a luxuary item and the price of a bmw, any bmw should include good steering feedback and feel as standard. To have to pay for extra artificial stuff to get back to what is natural is frankly redicolous. Sorry.
That is not a logical statement. The car you want starts at 60k not 50k. You just don't want to accept reality. What you consider to be good steering may not be the same as 90% of the buyers of this car. They pay less and if you want something better you have to pay for it. I think the steering on the current three series STINKS, and I don't want to pay for a piece of junk just because you happen to like it. I think the standard steering on my E39s was nowhere near as good as the active steering on my 6. How do you know that the IAS isn't better than the steering on the E60, YOU HAVE NEVER DRIVEN IT OR READ ABOUT IT.

BMW is obligated to make only one thing. Cars that people want to buy. The company does not exist to cater to your personal needs. If more people buy this car than the competition that's your problem. Buy something else. If you don't like the steering then pay for something they do sell.

"Natural" has nothing to do with anything. These machines are made by PEOPLE, not God. There is no such thing as "NATURAL". The "natural" steering you are talking about is POWER steering it is not "natural" in any way, manner, or form. The very notion that steering is NATURAL is what is patently ridiculous.
richschneid commented:
August 25, 2010, 4:48 pm

Quote:
Originally Posted by solstice View Post
Agree, shedding some pounds would have been a better more performance oriented approach than jeopardizing a brand crown jewel.
If you want a lighter car buy a 3 series. The new one will be larger in size. If you want something bigger than a 3 and smaller than an F10 buy an Acura TL.
5Xwen commented:
August 25, 2010, 5:17 pm

Quote:
Originally Posted by richschneid View Post
Have you actually ever driven an F10 with IAS, or an xDrive version, or one with performance tires?
.
Does the xDrive have better steering feel than the non-x version?
solstice commented:
August 25, 2010, 6:09 pm

Quote:
Originally Posted by 5Xwen View Post
Does the xDrive have better steering feel than the non-x version?
This is what we are all eagerly waiting to find out. Noone (except bmw) knows since noone has driven one and there is no reports available as far as I know. But the likelyhood is very high that it will by far exceed the non X-drive feel and feedback since it's reported to have the hydraulic assisted steering that bmw as we know excels in. Personally I will likely trade to an X-drive F10 if it's up to bmw standard and bmw fails to get the electric steering any better in the next year or so.
solstice commented:
August 25, 2010, 6:11 pm

Quote:
Originally Posted by richschneid View Post
That is not a logical statement. The car you want starts at 60k not 50k. You just don't want to accept reality. What you consider to be good steering may not be the same as 90% of the buyers of this car. They pay less and if you want something better you have to pay for it. I think the steering on the current three series STINKS, and I don't want to pay for a piece of junk just because you happen to like it. I think the standard steering on my E39s was nowhere near as good as the active steering on my 6. How do you know that the IAS isn't better than the steering on the E60, YOU HAVE NEVER DRIVEN IT OR READ ABOUT IT.

BMW is obligated to make only one thing. Cars that people want to buy. The company does not exist to cater to your personal needs. If more people buy this car than the competition that's your problem. Buy something else. If you don't like the steering then pay for something they do sell.

"Natural" has nothing to do with anything. These machines are made by PEOPLE, not God. There is no such thing as "NATURAL". The "natural" steering you are talking about is POWER steering it is not "natural" in any way, manner, or form. The very notion that steering is NATURAL is what is patently ridiculous.
richschneid commented:
August 25, 2010, 6:59 pm

Quote:
Originally Posted by solstice View Post


As I said BMW does make a car for you. It is one of the following:

1. 535i: $49,600

Leather interior: $1450 (required with sport package)
DHP: $2,700
Sport Package: $2,200
Integral Active Steering: $1,750
Destination charge: $875

Total: $59,075

Dealer installed option: Michelin PS2 high performance tires @ $1,800

Total base price: $60,875

2. 535i xDrive: $51,900

Same equipment as above minus IAS: Total base price $61,425.

Now start with that base car and add your options and accessories. Now, test drive both of these cars and read road test reports on both. Decide which steering you like better.

Now, if you still think BMW is violating your trust in terms of making cars with steering that you like then, and only then, should you complain that BMW doesn't make cars that people such as yourself will like.

But do not complain that you have to pay $60,000 base price rather than $50,000. If you can find a $60,000 car that is more to your liking in terms of steering feedback, feel, and handling then I suggest you report back to the rest of us. But more importantly for yourself BUY IT.
richschneid commented:
August 25, 2010, 9:04 pm

Quote:
Originally Posted by 5Xwen View Post
Does the xDrive have better steering feel than the non-x version?
I don't know but I think the steering on the rear drive version with four wheel intergral active steering might be better than the hydralic assisted steering on the xDrive version. I think the only way you will know is to drive both and see which one you like better. I wish I could get my new 550i xDrive with IAS, but I think the xDrive will be almost as good. But I still don't know for sure whether or not the steering on the xDrive will be variable ratio, like the IAS, or fixed ratio at 17:1. Variable ratio is wonderful, I have it on my 650i.
solstice commented:
August 25, 2010, 9:20 pm

By pharding that actually have IAS and drove 1200 miles during his european delivery:

"The Steering is awful for a BMW. It has a sloppy feeling in the center when going straight. My 2008 550i M-sport felt so much better. And my E39 was even better before that. I have no idea why steering on the 5er keeps getting worse with each new iteration."

I hope "awful for a bmw" is not going to best the X-drive steering...
Newmanium commented:
August 25, 2010, 9:26 pm

schneid, it's starting to sound like you consider Lexus steering to be the ultimate standard. I realize you like light and variable ratio, but those are things the luxo cruisers specialize in (like the 6 series). The 5 series used to have a healthy element of "sport" in its blood, the F10 has diluted the traditional mix. This will probably attract more buyers from Mercedes/Lexus world, and satisfy those BMW owners who have secretly wanted the edges toned down a bit.

I'd just cool defending the F10 so much - you are the target market for this car, of course you're going to be satisfied. The steering is still a let down for others who like more sport in the car.
solstice commented:
August 25, 2010, 9:43 pm

Is there anyone who have ordered an X-drive F10 who do not like the non X-drive electrical steering that we can rely on to give a reliable review when the car arrives? We know rich is out...
Newmanium commented:
August 25, 2010, 10:22 pm

Not to beat on schneid's 650i, but I thought this line in the TruthAboutCars review on the 650i convertible was hilarious (w/active steering):

Quote:
Once you get used to the fact that the steering provides less useful feedback than the company's PR department, it's easy to pilot the lean-free machine though the corners at tremendous speeds– should you be so inclined.
richschneid commented:
August 26, 2010, 6:22 am

Quote:
Originally Posted by Newmanium View Post
schneid, it's starting to sound like you consider Lexus steering to be the ultimate standard. I realize you like light and variable ratio, but those are things the luxo cruisers specialize in (like the 6 series). The 5 series used to have a healthy element of "sport" in its blood, the F10 has diluted the traditional mix. This will probably attract more buyers from Mercedes/Lexus world, and satisfy those BMW owners who have secretly wanted the edges toned down a bit.

I'd just cool defending the F10 so much - you are the target market for this car, of course you're going to be satisfied. The steering is still a let down for others who like more sport in the car.
This is absolute nonsense. I have had four Bimmers including a '93 740i, a '99 540i sport, an E39 M5, and my 650i sport with active steering. I have driven multiple high performance BMWs on the track at the BMW facility in South Carolina. I have logged nearly 200,000 miles on my personal BMWs. The 550i xDrive will be my fifth consecutive BMW. I would not even consider for more than a few seconds any other brand.

I just think that the active steering on my 650i is the best steering I have had. Until proven otherwise I would anticipate that the IAS will be even better. My 650i is absolutely the best handling and steering BMW that I have owned. It is true that on the race track I thought the M6 was better, but only on the track. The first time I drove on a race track was at Bridgehampton in 1974.

I'm sorry for those of you "who like more sport in a car". But it seems to me that many people hold up the E39 M5 as an exemplar of the best of BMW "sportiness". I have owned one and can make a direct comparison.

It really comes down to one's personal definition of "sport". To me is is about how fast I can drive the car safely in real world situations. If the steering does not have as much feel as my E39 it doesn't matter as long as the car drives faster. To me my 650i with the so called "numb" active steering totally blows my E39 M5 out of the water. The M5 steering was slow in comparison and definitely not as suited to hard driving as my 650i, even if it did have a little more "feel". To me sportiness is about PERFORMANCE not the magnitude of the tactile sensations. Tactile steering sensations are purely COSMETIC unless they can be shown to actually influence the speed at which the vehicle can be driven.

The only area that I think the F10 really comes up short is the Grand Touring Tires. This severely limits the PERFORMANCE of the vehicle. That's why I included the option of the max performance tires in the base price of the car.

So, I think you are the one who should "cool" it on your criticisms of the car and my taste in cars just because your criteria of "sportiness" is based on feel and not performance.
richschneid commented:
August 26, 2010, 6:24 am

Quote:
Originally Posted by Newmanium View Post
Not to beat on schneid's 650i, but I thought this line in the TruthAboutCars review on the 650i convertible was hilarious (w/active steering):
"Once you get used to the fact that the steering provides less useful feedback than the company's PR department, it's easy to pilot the lean-free machine though the corners at tremendous speeds– should you be so inclined."

That is precisely my point, my 650i is very fast and drives much better than my E39 M5. Tactile feel is cosmetic, speed is quantitative.
solstice commented:
August 26, 2010, 4:51 pm

""Once you get used to the fact that the steering provides less useful feedback than the company's PR department, it's easy to pilot the lean-free machine though the corners at tremendous speeds– should you be so inclined."

Hmmm...yeah that sounds like the medicine for lack of feedback, remove some more with IAS...
Unless this is one of the mathematical two minus makes a plus kind of thing, numb + numb = thumb (up? ). Nah, I lean more towards: numb + numb = dumb.
richschneid commented:
August 26, 2010, 5:28 pm

Quote:
Originally Posted by solstice View Post
""Once you get used to the fact that the steering provides less useful feedback than the company's PR department, it's easy to pilot the lean-free machine though the corners at tremendous speeds– should you be so inclined."

Hmmm...yeah that sounds like the medicine for lack of feedback, remove some more with IAS...
Unless this is one of the mathematical two minus makes a plus kind of thing, numb + numb = thumb (up? ). Nah, I lean more towards: numb + numb = dumb.
You want feel. I want speed. That's simply a matter of personal preference. The operative word here are "corners at tremendous speeds".

It says "less useful feedback". Useful for what? The only use of feedback is to go faster. So, useless feedback is feedback that doesn't make you go faster. If you want "feedback" that makes you go slower, I would consider that truly "dumb" and truly USELESS. To give up some feedback in order to go faster is not "dumb", it is very, very SMART.

Sportiness is speed and performance. Feedback that doesn't increase performance is purely COSMETIC. Cosmetic enhancements are fine if that is what you want, and you can call that "sportiness" if you want, that's up to you. The four wheel IAS on the F10 may not have as much feedback as prior BMWs, but the laws of physics suggest that it is extremely unlikely that is won't be significantly faster. And that speed is what I call sportiness. You pays your money and takes your choice. Like I said it's a matter of personal preference.
solstice commented:
August 26, 2010, 5:44 pm

I agree with you rich, on a track for a driver that is paid to win not to enjoy the driving experience. On public roads I totally disagree. Confidence and feel is more important to enjoy a sporty drive at high speed than simply the car's ability to go fast. It's the combination of driver and car, not the car alone that dictates the result. Now, perhaps you are a supremely competent race driver that can do without some feedback to get to that ultimate speed from the active steering and your intention is purely to compete in closed course races but that is what I would call a "fringe buyer".
Newmanium commented:
August 26, 2010, 6:14 pm

So schneid is essentially conceding that he doesn't really care about road feel - as long as it goes fast around a corner, that's all that matters. Still don't see how a GS 460 would disappoint him, they can go fast around corners as well. Can't even believe we're having this discussion amongst BMW enthusiasts.

Bit surprising to see road feel described as "cosmetic" - all high end sports cars are excellent in this regards, the sportier you get, typically the more involvment you obtain (Lotus Elise doesn't even have power steering). Porsche in particular is renowned for their steering feedback. But what do they know?
richschneid commented:
August 26, 2010, 6:45 pm

Quote:
Originally Posted by solstice View Post
I agree with you rich, on a track for a driver that is paid to win not to enjoy the driving experience. On public roads I totally disagree. Confidence and feel is more important to enjoy a sporty drive at high speed than simply the car's ability to go fast. It's the combination of driver and car, not the car alone that dictates the result. Now, perhaps you are a supremely competent race driver that can do without some feedback to get to that ultimate speed from the active steering and your intention is purely to compete in closed course races but that is what I would call a "fringe buyer".
No, I am not a supremely confident race driver. The difference, as I have been trying to state, is that I feel like I have enough feedback for me to utilize the full potential of my car on the street and road. I simply don't feel that I need extra feedback in order to drive my car at the limit when I need to. My M5 probably had a little more feedback than my 650i but the 650i is still much easier to drive faster. To one person the steering on my 650i may feel numb and limit their confidence, but to me it doesn't. I really do agree with the gentleman who said it just takes a little getting used to. I felt right at home going to the active steering from the M5. I am not talking about going fast in a straight line. I am talking about going fast under all conditions. I just have more confidence with active steering. It's not that I "can do without some feedback", of course I need some feedback, but my car does give feedback. Of course it does. The feedback may be less, but I find it more than adequate. However, I find the control of the car to be much more. Confidence is about the feeling of control of the car, and I feel I have more control with active steering.

My car will generate approximately 0.92 g on the skid pad. I doubt if I ever generate more than 0.75 g. But knowing I could drive at 0.92 gives me confidence to drive at 0.75g. But the real difference between my M5 and the 650i is the responsiveness. The 6 is much more responsive to steering inputs at lower speeds and more stable at higher speeds. Four wheel active steering will be even more responsive. Even though it may have less "feedback" it definitely has more control and responsiveness. And it has enough feedback that I think I have enough to reach the limits of the car's performance with confidence. In fact, it gives me more confidence because I feel I have more control.

Today I have an X5 as a loaner from my dealer. The steering is standard and feels way to heavy and slow to me. Compared to the steering in my car it feels absolutely prehistoric.
solstice commented:
August 26, 2010, 6:54 pm

rich, why did you order X-drive instead of a good set of snow tyres so you could get IAS? Now you'll get stuck wit prehistoric steering and no confidence. Seems like a bad trade.
richschneid commented:
August 26, 2010, 6:58 pm

Quote:
Originally Posted by Newmanium View Post
So schneid is essentially conceding that he doesn't really care about road feel - as long as it goes fast around a corner, that's all that matters. Still don't see how a GS 460 would disappoint him, they can go fast around corners as well. Can't even believe we're having this discussion amongst BMW enthusiasts.

Bit surprising to see road feel described as "cosmetic" - all high end sports cars are excellent in this regards, the sportier you get, typically the more involvment you obtain (Lotus Elise doesn't even have power steering). Porsche in particular is renowned for their steering feedback. But what do they know?
Of course I care about road feel. I just get enough with active steering. Please tell me that you think a Lexus GS 460 will be as fast as an F10 550i with IAS on a road course. That is simply not a believable statement. Of course a Lotus or Porsche has more feel than a four door sedan and are much faster on a road course. But we are comparing apples to oranges here. Besides, by your logic BMWs should not have power steering since a Lotus doesn't. Yeah right!

The question I am asking is whether a $100,000 F10 M5 with four wheel active steering will blow the socks off a $110,000 Porsche Panamera even if it has less feel. This is what BMW enthusiasts have every right to discuss. I'll bet you anything it can.
solstice commented:
August 26, 2010, 7:04 pm

I dearly hope I'll never meet you in traffic rich. Someone who gets confidence to go fast from skid pad numbers...my oh my.
richschneid commented:
August 26, 2010, 7:28 pm

Quote:
Originally Posted by solstice View Post
rich, why did you order X-drive instead of a good set of snow tyres so you could get IAS? Now you'll get stuck wit prehistoric steering and no confidence. Seems like a bad trade.
I had to wait until 1992 to buy my first BMW because that was the first year any BMW had traction control and I didn't want to own two vehicles. I put four dedicated snow tires on it. Every BMW I had owned has had four snow tires in the winter. The traction is respectable but not great. Last winter we had enormous snowfall and I had to use my wife's or stepson's front wheel drive cars on some days to get around, both of which were equiped with four Bridgestone Blizzaks. This winter I plan on driving frequently to New York City and will want to be prepared for any weather in the mountains of central Pa. So, I am going to equip my xDrive with Bridgestone Blizzak performance LM-25 RFT winter tires. I have Dunlop Wintersport M3 on my 6 but I think the LM-25s will be better.

I spoke with customer service at BMW USA this afternoon about the aweful steering on the X5. I was reassured to be told that the website about the 550i xDrive is correct in that it will have different steering. The 550i xDrive will have vehicle speed, not engine speed, sensitive variable ratio variable assist steering even though it is not active four wheel steering. In additon, the steering effort with DHP and sport transmission will be programmable to my taste. So, I'm okay with this. This steering is not prehistoric like the one on the X5. Thanks for asking. Also, since it's hydralic assist instead of electric you might like it too.

I have been waiting for an 8 cylinder BMW sedan with AWD for some time and last winter almost made me think of changing brands. The 750i xDrive is just way too big for me.

I am truly disappointed that the 550i xDrive is not available with four wheel IAS and it is compromise I have to live with. I think the xDrive will compensate somewhat for the lack of active steering. I also will not buy a car without Active Criuse Control which is only available with the automatic transmission, not the SMG.

My dream car would be an F10 M5 with xDrive, IAS, and ACC. (Actually, it would be the next generation M6 with these but I need a bigger back seat.) But, alas, I don't think that will ever happen. But I can always dream that maybe someday BMW will build the car I really want. In 1986 when I got the first Acura legend I got a letter from Honda asking me what I wanted in my next car. The Legend had 150 hp and front wheel drive. I told them I wanted 200 hp and four wheel drive. Now they make the RL with 305 hp and AWD and with four wheel active steering. But an Acura is no BMW. So, I guess BMW may eventually come through for me too, but until then I guess I just can't trust them.
richschneid commented:
August 26, 2010, 7:47 pm

Quote:
Originally Posted by solstice View Post
I dearly hope I'll never meet you in traffic rich. Someone who gets confidence to go fast from skid pad numbers...my oh my.
I drive very sedately in almost all situations. I rarely exceed the speed limit by more than 10 mph and only in certain circumstances do I really push it. But when I push it I want to know exactly what I am doing. When I test drove the 550i I really pushed it on the deserted two lane roads in the hills outside of Pittsburgh. When the drive was over the salesman who was sitting next to me in the car said: "You really know what you are doing."

Of course, I get confidence from skid pad numbers. I study all the performance numbers from all of my cars. These include all the parameters published in the road tests. That's why they publish them, to be read and understood. I translate those numbers to the feel and performance of my cars and to the other cars that are near me on the road. I have read every issue of C&D and R&T since 1964 and I have never had an accident since I got my driver's liscense that year. Driving is physics, so it does help that I have a degee in physics. But good drivers do not need a degree in physics to understand how skid pad numbers should affect how they drive their cars.

I also study the test numbers on tires on the tirerack website. It's very important to understand the strengths a weaknesses of the tires on one's car.

BTW, the customer service rep at BMW USA told me that my 550i xDrive went into production today at precisely 8.46.42 am this morning. To the second. How's that for German precision. That's why their cars are so great. Delivery is expected first or second week in October.
solstice commented:
August 26, 2010, 8:53 pm

rich, it would be a laugh if your xi turns out the have the heavy heft and feedback I love and you rate prehistoric and my car coupled with IAS have the insulated, variable, boosted feel you love but I rate artificial, numb and without feedback and center feel...
Newmanium commented:
August 26, 2010, 8:54 pm

Quote:
Originally Posted by richschneid View Post
Of course I care about road feel. I just get enough with active steering. Please tell me that you think a Lexus GS 460 will be as fast as an F10 550i with IAS on a road course. That is simply not a believable statement. Of course a Lotus or Porsche has more feel than a four door sedan and are much faster on a road course. But we are comparing apples to oranges here. Besides, by your logic BMWs should not have power steering since a Lotus doesn't. Yeah right!

The question I am asking is whether a $100,000 F10 M5 with four wheel active steering will blow the socks off a $110,000 Porsche Panamera even if it has less feel. This is what BMW enthusiasts have every right to discuss. I'll bet you anything it can.
I don't think a GS 460 will be as fast, but I think it will be as fast as you'll ever drive a 550i, and just as comfortable.

On one hand you talk about the importance of the active steering with cutthroat track times... but that's when steering feel becomes much more important. If you regularly drove at that level, you'd know that. Any one of us would be at a much greater disadvantage on a track with active steering because we wouldn't get much feedback at the limit (and wouldn't be experienced enough to basically drive blindfolded).

But it sounds like the reason you personally like it is because it's easier to use (requires less effort to turn on a nice Sunday drive, as well as in the parking lot). This obviously has nothing to do with performance.

And the reason the 650i can go fast in a corner has nothing to do with steering - that's where the suspension comes in. The worst steering in the world could go amazingly fast around corners if mounted on an Ariel Atom.
solstice commented:
August 26, 2010, 9:08 pm

"Ariel Atom".
Man, how I want one of those!
richschneid commented:
August 26, 2010, 9:56 pm

Quote:
Originally Posted by Newmanium View Post
I don't think a GS 460 will be as fast, but I think it will be as fast as you'll ever drive a 550i, and just as comfortable.

On one hand you talk about the importance of the active steering with cutthroat track times... but that's when steering feel becomes much more important. If you regularly drove at that level, you'd know that. Any one of us would be at a much greater disadvantage on a track with active steering because we wouldn't get much feedback at the limit (and wouldn't be experienced enough to basically drive blindfolded).

But it sounds like the reason you personally like it is because it's easier to use (requires less effort to turn on a nice Sunday drive, as well as in the parking lot). This obviously has nothing to do with performance.

And the reason the 650i can go fast in a corner has nothing to do with steering - that's where the suspension comes in. The worst steering in the world could go amazingly fast around corners if mounted on an Ariel Atom.
That's exactly the point I am making, the steering should be judged by track times and how it responds at the limits. I think the four wheel active steering will be faster and more precise at the limits on the track. When I do drive near the limits that's important to me. Of course it's always a combination of suspension and steering that determines handling. You can judge whether or not you get ENOUGH feedback by how well a car handles at the limits. You do this by measuring track times when the car is pushed to it's limits on the track. NOT by how it FEELS but by how it performs. My car definitely has a better suspension than my M5 had, and it ALSO has much better steering. It's the combination of both that makes it handle so much better than my M5. You are absolutely corrct about this.

I'm glad to see you and I agree with about this.

Of course, you want a car that is easy to use in parking lots and driving normally around town. That's what makes BMW's unique, THEY DO BOTH. They as are easy to drive around town as other cars, and will blow your socks off when pushed to the limits. That's what my car does. That's what an F10 550i with IAS and the new five link aluminum suspension with DHP will do even better. That is what was apparent to me when I test drove the 550i. It drives like a limo around town and a Porsche on the track. You push comfort mode and drive on the rough streets of NYC or Pittsburgh. You push sport or sport plus and bash it around the winding hilly roads of southwest Pennsylvania at high speeds at 0.8g. The 650i does both better than my E39s and the F10 does both better than my 650i. That's what it's supposed to do. That's why it costs so much. That's why when I got out of the 550i I said to myself that it made my 650i seem like a Model A.

It's not one or the other it's BOTH.

I think you are finally starting to get the picture here.
richschneid commented:
August 26, 2010, 10:01 pm

Quote:
Originally Posted by solstice View Post
rich, it would be a laugh if your xi turns out the have the heavy heft and feedback I love and you rate prehistoric and my car coupled with IAS have the insulated, variable, boosted feel you love but I rate artificial, numb and without feedback and center feel...
That would be cruel, I admit, but I think my car will have good feedback and center feel and also have the responsiveness and variable effort that I want. Remember I always drive my car set in sport mode that gives it the heft you like, but all I do is push a button to decrease the steering effort in a parking lot or heavy traffic. You see the point is to let everyone get what they want at the push of a button.
solstice commented:
August 26, 2010, 10:14 pm

"It drives like a limo around town and a Porsche on the track"
If you ever driven a 911 on a track you got to be kidding or your senses are more numb than the F10s steering.
jimefam commented:
August 26, 2010, 10:21 pm

Quote:
Originally Posted by solstice View Post
"It drives like a limo around town and a Porsche on the track"
If you ever driven a 911 on a track you got to be kidding or your senses are more numb than the F10s steering.
Amen to that!
enigma commented:
August 27, 2010, 2:31 am

I can't believe you guys are still wasting your time trying to convince this guy who believes his 550i handles as well as or better than the 911 or Cayman.
richschneid commented:
August 27, 2010, 5:47 am

Quote:
Originally Posted by solstice View Post
"It drives like a limo around town and a Porsche on the track"
If you ever driven a 911 on a track you got to be kidding or your senses are more numb than the F10s steering.
Of course, it doesn't FEEL like a Porsche 911 on the track. And I didn't say 911. Actually, I was thinking about the Porsche Panamera (not the Porshe Panamera Turbo) or Cayman (not the S). I should have said: "It drives like a limo around town and is as fast as a Porsche Cayman or Panamera on the track." Sorry. I'll try to be more specific in the future to avoid any more such confusion.

The previous reference was to the test report posted by another gentleman on a different thread that an E60 M5 has the same track time as a Porsche Cayman (not a Cayman S). I guess you didn't read that post on the other thread. OF COURSE, it doesn't feel the same but it goes just as fast. There was some debate as to whether or not a 550i with IAS, DHP, Sport package, and Sport Automatic and Michelin PS2s might or might not be as fast or faster than an E60 M5 on this particular road course. I was also referring to the comparison test earlier this year of the 750i with the Maser QP and Panamera.

I'm sure the F10 M5 will be faster than the Cayman on the track. I don't know if it rides like a limo around town like a 550i in Comfort Mode. But it might, we'll have to wait and see.
pharding commented:
August 27, 2010, 7:40 am

Quote:
Originally Posted by enigma View Post
i can't believe you guys are still wasting your time trying to convince this guy who believes his 550i handles as well as or better than the 911 or cayman.
+1
richschneid commented:
August 27, 2010, 1:33 pm

Quote:
Originally Posted by enigma View Post
I can't believe you guys are still wasting your time trying to convince this guy who believes his 550i handles as well as or better than the 911 or Cayman.
I never said a 911, and I said it MIGHT be as fast as on a road course as a Cayman. But it certainly will be very close. I did say an F10 M5 will be FASTER on a road course than a Cayman. The M5 will not handle the same as a Cayman. But whether or not it handles as well as a Cayman depends on your definition of "well". If handling "well" is about track times then the M5 handles better. If it's about "feel", then a good case can be made that the M5 doesn't handle as "well".

But I will say this, a fully equipped, meaning with Michelin PS2s, rear drive 550i for $80,000 will very likely be just as fast or even faster than a $110,000 rear drive Porche Panamera on a road course.
TMQ commented:
August 27, 2010, 5:38 pm

Quote:
Originally Posted by richschneid View Post
"Once you get used to the fact that the steering provides less useful feedback than the company's PR department, it's easy to pilot the lean-free machine though the corners at tremendous speeds– should you be so inclined."

That is precisely my point, my 650i is very fast and drives much better than my E39 M5. Tactile feel is cosmetic, speed is quantitative.
To me, the driving experience is about the the quality, not the quantity. You can drive quite fast in a Lexus.

Now, think about one of the ultimate human experiences, sex - is it about how good it feels, or how fast or slow it gets done?
Stealth.Pilot commented:
August 27, 2010, 5:44 pm

There's something wrong with the lateral acceleration. 0.84G is not great. Even my Lexus GS460 did 0.89G in C&D test. Our 2007 550i did 0.9G

Are the tires too small maybe?
TMQ commented:
August 27, 2010, 5:48 pm

Quote:
Originally Posted by richschneid View Post
That would be cruel, I admit, but I think my car will have good feedback and center feel and also have the responsiveness and variable effort that I want. Remember I always drive my car set in sport mode that gives it the heft you like, but all I do is push a button to decrease the steering effort in a parking lot or heavy traffic. You see the point is to let everyone get what they want at the push of a button.
Not to pick on you, but that's exactly where the problem is. It'll be so easy, no skill required. Perhaps you'd see things differently if you were a surgeon.

Quote:
Originally Posted by richschneid View Post
I never said a 911, and I said it MIGHT be as fast as on a road course as a Cayman. But it certainly will be very close. I did say an F10 M5 will be FASTER on a road course than a Cayman. The M5 will not handle the same as a Cayman. But whether or not it handles as well as a Cayman depends on your definition of "well". If handling "well" is about track times then the M5 handles better. If it's about "feel", then a good case can be made that the M5 doesn't handle as "well".

But I will say this, a fully equipped, meaning with Michelin PS2s, rear drive 550i for $80,000 will very likely be just as fast or even faster than a $110,000 rear drive Porche Panamera on a road course.
So will a $35K 135i. Or a $24k MazdaSpeed3. Lots of things get you fast. But how does it feel in there?
richschneid commented:
August 27, 2010, 7:05 pm

Quote:
Originally Posted by TMQ View Post
To me, the driving experience is about the the quality, not the quantity. You can drive quite fast in a Lexus.

Now, think about one of the ultimate human experiences, sex - is it about how good it feels, or how fast or slow it gets done?
Thinking you can drive a Lexus as fast as the equivalent BMW on a road course is simply not true. Driving fast and in control is about Quality. But quality is not about steering feedback only it's about vehicle control and performance. There is absolutely no comparison between a Lexus and a BMW. I know in my car the active steering enhances the quality of the driving experience above that of my E39 M5 even though the M5 steering may have had more "feedback" it had less precision, control, and less ability to drive fast. I have a 3 series loaner today (the service manager apologized for giving me a Monster X5 without park distance control and he didn't want to stick me with it for the weekend). The steering is heavy and slow, but not nearly as bad as the X5. It is not possible to drive it as agressively because it takes a lot more steering input to turn. How can heavy fixed steering ratio around 16:1 possibly allow you to drive as fast on tight low speed corners as lower effort steering with a variable ratio that is around 12:1 at low speed. The added feedback just does not compensate for slowness and added effort. It just doesn't make any sense. It is just not as much fun to drive.

Human sexuality, BTW, is a lot more complicated than driving.
richschneid commented:
August 27, 2010, 7:19 pm

Quote:
Originally Posted by TMQ View Post
Not to pick on you, but that's exactly where the problem is. It'll be so easy, no skill required. Perhaps you'd see things differently if you were a surgeon.


So will a $35K 135i. Or a $24k MazdaSpeed3. Lots of things get you fast. But how does it feel in there?

Surgeons have fine delicate sensory perception. Since you think feedback is required to drive a car well, obviously it takes a lot more skill to drive a car with less feedback. When you run a scapel through tissue, there is almost no feedback because the scalpel is so sharp. You have to be able to cut with your vision and extreme tactile sensitivity to utilize the most minimal amount of feedback.

Of course, I have done surgery even if I'm not a surgeon now. As I have said before, the same kind of tactile sensitivity and visual acuity is required to do cardiac catheterization. It takes a lot of training to appreciate the almost non existent feedback that comes from the tip of the catheter touching the heart and transmitted back along a thin catheter to your fingertips. You also have to visualize three dimensions from a black and white floroscopic two dimensional image. This is similar to guiding the car by using your eyes as well as your hands.

Of course you can have a lot of fun in a Mazda. A 135i is a fantatic automobile. But we are talking about very expensive luxury vehicles here. We are comparing 550i's at $80,000 to Porsche Panamera's at $110,000.
richschneid commented:
August 27, 2010, 7:36 pm

Quote:
Originally Posted by BATMAN75 View Post
There's something wrong with the lateral acceleration. 0.84G is not great. Even my Lexus GS460 did 0.89G in C&D test. Our 2007 550i did 0.9G

Are the tires too small maybe?
It absolutely is the tires. The tires on the F10 are Grand Touring class tires, it's not about the size. The size is still 245 front and 275 rear for the sport package. I think these cars should be equipped with ultra high performance tires like Bridgestone Potenzas or Michelin PS2. This level of tire has always been standard equipment for 5 and 6 series BMWs with the sport package. With the proper tires the F10 should corner at over 0.92g which is the test number for my 650i.

The comparison test between the 750i and the Porsche Panamera I referred to above had the 750i shod with the grand touring Goodyear Excellence tires. This is simply not a fair comparison. The agent at the Tirerack this week told me he thinks BMW has an exclusive contract with Goodyear for these tires. He told me that other owners have told him that BMW will not give them a credit for the Goodyears to upgrade to appropriate tires. My dealer checked with BMW and was told the same thing.

A set of four Potenza RFTs with mounting and balancing and tire pressure monitors for my car will run around $1800. I may be forced to do this in order to make my $80,000 car achieve it's full potential. I think this problem may be changed by BMW in the future. But for now we are stuck.
Newmanium commented:
August 27, 2010, 7:41 pm

Quote:
Originally Posted by richschneid View Post
It is not possible to drive it as agressively because it takes a lot more steering input to turn. How can heavy fixed steering ratio around 16:1 possibly allow you to drive as fast on tight low speed corners as lower effort steering with a variable ratio that is around 12:1 at low speed. The added feedback just does not compensate for slowness and added effort. It just doesn't make any sense. It is just not as much fun to drive.
Think we finally got to the bottom of it - easy light steering is "faster" around the corners because you're limited in how quickly you can turn the wheel. No problem with that, but that's primarily a personal taste thing (and something that sports cars are generally incompatible with). The physical fitness to drive an F1 car is much higher than you'd expect.

Making something easier to turn does not help you go round corners faster - it just makes driving corners less physically demanding. Still say that people who value these sort of things should be getting a Lexus or Mercedes. You sound like you've been tolerating BMW not being like Lexus/MB all these years, and now that they're slowly watering things down, you're getting more and more excited.

Things like boosted steering are just designed to make you feel like a better, faster driver than in reality. The car does most of the work so a novice can pretend like they know how to drive a sports car, but really they're just going 10mph extra around corners and then revving on the straights. Real sports cars aren't about tricks like this - they're about predictability and feedback for driving on the edge.
tadtaggert commented:
August 27, 2010, 8:00 pm

It seems even the people at Inside Line have differing opinions, or at least differentiate between slalom/skid pad testing and driving: Another Inside Line Review
richschneid commented:
August 27, 2010, 8:10 pm

Quote:
Originally Posted by Newmanium View Post
Think we finally got to the bottom of it - easy light steering is "faster" around the corners because you're limited in how quickly you can turn the wheel.

Making something easier to turn does not help you go round corners faster - it just makes driving corners less physically demanding. Still say that people who value these sort of things should be getting a Lexus or Mercedes. You sound like you've been tolerating BMW not being like Lexus/MB all these years, and now that they're slowly watering things down, you're getting more and more excited.
No, I have been loving the active steering on my 650i since I got it in October, 2005. Of course, everyone will be able to get more performance from faster lighter steering than heavier slower steering. The rate at which the steering wheel will rotate is determined by the torque you generate on the steering wheel divided by the resistence of the steering. So, regardless of how strong you are, if you apply maximum steering effort the wheel will turn faster the less the effort. And the lower the steering ratio the more the front wheels will turn for a given amount of rotation of the steering wheel. The lower the steering ratio the more responsive the car will be. However, the lower the steering ratio the more effort it takes to turn the wheel. So, it is not practical to have the same amount of assistence for 12:1 steering as it is for 16:1. That's why the steering ratio on the 3 series and X5 I have had this week is so high and the steering is so slow and simultaneously heavy. So, if you have variable ratio you have to have variable assist.

Also, a 12:1 ratio is far too low at highway speeds. My active steering has a ratio of 18:1 at 75 mph which makes the car far more stable with more on center feel at speed than if it had the 12:1 it has at low speeds. The steering on my 550i xDrive is not active or four wheel, but it is speed related variable ratio, variable assist. This has nothing to do with Lexus or MB and everything to do with the same engineering brilliance that BMW engineers used to create the active steering on my 6, and create all the new even better steering available on the F10.

Now if you add rear wheel steering the car becomes far more responsive and maneuverable. So, the trick is to have driver adjustable steering effort in addition to variable ratio and assist so that those who want more effort, like you and me, can just dial it in with a turn of the idrive or a push of the DHP button. I like the heavier feel so I always drive my 6 in that mode even on the highway, but the highway ratio always stays at 18:1. Even though I keep the higher effort assist at low speeds, the ratio goes to 12:1 so the car is more responsive and maneuverable but the assist is automatically increased to keep the feel the same as it is at high speeds with the much slower steering ratio.
solstice commented:
August 28, 2010, 1:42 am

This has been quite an eye-opener. I had no idea that the ability to enjoy and appreciate a communicative steering was somewhat of a rarity even among car lovers that frequent sites like this one. Just another thing to add to the long list of things I'm thankful for in the lottery of life.
richschneid commented:
August 28, 2010, 8:24 am

Quote:
Originally Posted by solstice View Post
This has been quite an eye-opener. I had no idea that the ability to enjoy and appreciate a communicative steering was somewhat of a rarity even among car lovers that frequent sites like this one. Just another thing to add to the long list of things I'm thankful for in the lottery of life.
I think car lovers all enjoy "communicative steering". It's just that different car lovers want want it to be communicated in different ways. To make a simple analogy about communication, you can get exactly the same information from a verbal communication whether it is whispered in your ear or screamed in your face. You don't get any more information from the screaming than from the whisper. It just sounds different. The overall actual information communicated is exactly the same.

I hope this clarifies the substance of this discussion somewhat.

The other issue is your communication with the car, which is the car "hearing" what you have to say and responding to you. I just think that variable ratio, driver selectable variable assist is the best way for the driver to communicate with the car what he wants the car to do.

Commucation is a two way street.
solstice commented:
August 28, 2010, 12:09 pm

"i can't believe you guys are still wasting your time trying to convince this guy who believes his 550i handles as well as or better than the 911 or cayman."
I see what you mean and I'm done.
richschneid commented:
August 28, 2010, 1:42 pm

Quote:
Originally Posted by solstice View Post
"i can't believe you guys are still wasting your time trying to convince this guy who believes his 550i handles as well as or better than the 911 or cayman."
I see what you mean and I'm done.
I never said a 550i handles as well as a 911, so why is anyone trying to convince me when I always knew it was true. This entire implication that I said that a 550i handles as well as a 911 is patently absurd and totally out of touch with reality. The question I asked, which no one has responded to, is whether or not it handles as well as a Panamera.

Did it ever occur to you that you might actually learn something useful from this discussion? I have. Or, do you think you already know everything and couldn't possibly learn anything from anyone?

I will take your capitulation as an indication that you have no further useful arguments and realize you have been wrong all along. Just kidding.
MikeTerp commented:
August 29, 2010, 1:19 pm

The Lexification of BMW continues. Heavier with numb steering and so-so performance numbers even with all kinds of performance packages. Great. Guess we will have to see if the new F30 comes in heavier too. Along with power by four-bangers, that would be just awesome.