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G30 (2017 - Current)
The next generation 5 Series, chassis code G30, arrives at dealers in February 2017. Looking like a scaled down 7 Series and riding on the CLAR platform, the new 5 Series will have a focus on lightweight and sporty performance. Engines options will come from BMW's new B family for the 530 and 540 and a turbocharged V8 for the M550i. Read more about the 2017 5 Series

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  #1  
Old 08-07-2017, 05:15 PM
StevenFW StevenFW is offline
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M550 vs 540 xDrive

Hi all,

This has been discussed within other threads but I have not seen too many threads addressing this as the primary topic. Trying to decide on 540 xDrive vs. 550 for next lease. Pharding has been a great help with his opinion, just curious to hear from others who have gone through this particular decision tree or have test-driven both, own one or the other, etc.

When the 2017 iteration was announced, I was leaning towards the 540 and going back to the 6 cylinder. This will be my 5th 5 series, started with the 2005 545 8 cylinder, then 2008 535 6 cylinder, and the last two have been the 2011 and 2014 550. The 2011 had DHP, 2014 had 704 suspension. I was happy with the 2011, preferred the 704 on the 2014, however had multiple issues with the 2014, was always concerned that perhaps the less frequently manufactured 8 cylinder vehicles are/were less reliable (this was an issue in 2005, although no major issues with the 2011). The major reason otherwise for considering going back to the 6 cylinder was for handling as while I love the acceleration (see below) of the 8, it is a bit "nose-heavy" in general handling and the 6 has always felt somewhat better balanced in turns and otherwise - noted this on my 2008 535 and loaners. Nevertheless, the acceleration on the 2011 and 2014 as compared with the prior 6 cylinders on these models was superior and therefore I stayed with the 8.

The new 6 on the current 540 by all reports is significantly quicker, even better in feel then the upgrade in HP and torque might suggest. However, I am torn between this car and the M550. I test drove both just to get a sense of the engines as the test drives are always short and the models do not have all of the suspension options that I would get, so difficult to get a sense of much else.

I'm less concerned about badging and really just concerned about the driving dynamics for a car that I will be driving for 3 years. I was going to go with the 540, however the two concerns I have are as follows:

-will I miss the 550 engine (of course now much faster than current 550, 3.9 0-60)
-will I be unhappy with the 540 704 M Sport suspension as compared with the M adaptive suspension on the 550 as I would be also opting for the DHP on the 550 which would mean the ability of being able to get the 704-type suspension WITH ARS, etc. I will be getting IAS with both (option on 540, part of the DHP on 550).

In summary, what I am asking is this - coming from a 2014 550 - go with the M550 for the engine and new M suspension, or go with the 540 with 704 M Sport suspension that still has a very powerful classic engine. I ask to consider this just from a mechanical standpoint however, of course, I also ask from a financial standpoint; as I am getting many of the options on the 540 that would be standard on the 550, the difference in selling price would be around approximately $8,000.

Thank you everyone for reading the long post as well as your input.
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  #2  
Old 08-07-2017, 05:40 PM
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I had a 2011 550 and also a 2014 550. Both of them were rock solid. I had the DHP on the 2011 and 704 on the 550. I hated DHP compared to the 704.

My 2017 is a regular 540xi.

For me: The regular suspension is softer, not necessarily a bad thing but assuredly less sporty. I do miss 704 but I'll live. The car is otherwise fast enough, and the steering is tight enough, to satisfy me. The Fuel consumption is noticeably better. However, there are times that I miss the insane torque at any RPM, and the nice deep V8 growl. I have to drive the 540 in sport mode.

If price was no object I would have gotten the M550 but I'm already paying more for my 540 than my previous 550. I'm so far happy enough with the 540xi. We'll see where BMW is at with their leases and ED program in 2020 when my lease is up.
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  #3  
Old 08-07-2017, 06:48 PM
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I had a 2012 550. Being a card carrying speed freak I loved the engine. I went from that to a 2015 310 hp A7 Audi, then a 2016 333 hp A7. They were so responsive and torquey that I really did not miss the 550s power. With the new 540 it's even faster than the A7s. I'm seriously thinking about a Dinan Stage I tune that for about $1500 I'll have a car actually faster than my old 550. As it is stock, all the road tests show the 540 to be a virtual dead heat with the 550 I had (keep in mind mine was the earlier 400hp version).

I freely admit that money was my only issue for getting the 540. I'm about two years from retirement and I am trying to be a LITTLE more fiscally responsible. Not only did I save $8,000, but I get amazing gas mileage on the 540. I have a super easy commute because I leave early and beat rush hour. My commute from the Houston suburbs is 25 miles with very few red lights. I typically average 34 in the morning and about 30 coming home.
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Old 08-07-2017, 07:08 PM
ImolaRedM ImolaRedM is offline
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If you like more spirited driving and don't mind DHP then get the ZDH. However, if you're like me and felt DHP was too soft then get 704. I wanted the lower and firmer springs and adaptive dampers so I went with the M550i and standard Adaptive M Suspension. I really didn't like DHP (ARS) in the E60 or F10 and didn't want to risk another softly sprung car in this G30. I couldn't be happier with the non-eARS suspension on the M550i. So in short the suspension is what pushed me to the M550i.

The engine on the M550i is a beast. I could do without the fake exhaust noise and extra weight but I have no regrets getting the V8. The Inline-6 has always been my favorite engine and if I could get a similar suspension on the 540i then I might have had a more difficult decision to make. One thing to keep in mind between your F10 550i and switching to a G30. Consider if you're okay with less torque in the 540. The 0-60 time is one thing but torque is another.
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  #5  
Old 08-07-2017, 07:29 PM
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Price was not a consideration when I was deciding. I chose to go with the 540 for the reasons you state (e.g. 550 was "nose heavy"), plus a few more.

I preferred my E60 535 and the F10 535 over my F10 550 for spirited driving on twisty mountain roads. With the 550, I had to be on the brakes harder into corners due to the increased speed from acceleration. This dramatically reduced the fluidity of the drive and for me, made it less fun. It's a bit exhausting to be on and off the gas and brakes so frequently and hard with that car on these types of roads. To bring any fluidity back to the drive, I had to be gentle. And so then, what's the point?

I test drove the M550. It felt better than the F10 550 and many of my complaints were resolved. But man it was brutal in Sport+ when you take your foot off the gas after you've mashed it down. I hated this about it and felt like the car was just too much.

So I'm going back to the goldilocks 6 cylinder.


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  #6  
Old 08-07-2017, 08:13 PM
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I had a F10 550. When I bought the G30 I went through the same deliberation. 550 or 540, 540 or 550, what to do, what to do??

In the end, I went with the 540 M Sport. Absolutely no regrets. The car is every bit as fast as the F10 550. At start up the car has a better exhaust note than the F10 550. The 540 actually has a nice burble.

Of course it is a new model but I find the 540 tracks better than the F10 550. While I never really found the 550 nose heavy the 540 is a noticeable improvement. Better, level braking. On the twisty roads the F10 550 was a bit more prone to drift. I found I was often putting in slight corrections in the steering when I was doing a long sweeping curve. The 540 tracks strait and flat.

Of course, you cant go wrong with either car. In my view when you are putting out that kind of money dont hold back 10% and get a car you think you might regret. No point buying a car and wishing or thinking in the back of your mind that you should have spent the money on a different model (of course that kind of thinking had me spending wayyy to much money on an audio system)

I went from the F10 550 to the 540 and have absolutely no regrets (except I dont like the sport seats haha). To me anyway the 540 is a big improvement over the F10 550. It as quick as the F10 550, and handles even better. Never once have I wished I went for the 550. But then I purposely did not test drive the G30 550.......
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Old 08-07-2017, 09:32 PM
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I had the same consternation about the decision. The problem was that I was in a very nice lease on the my 550. No way to get anywhere close that figure on the G30. While I would love the power of the beastly V8, the reality of most of my driving is that I barely ever use that power. The 550 was always very nose heavy, and you really felt it in cornering. I'm hoping the improved handling dynamics will equalize the loss of power, although I see that the 540 is about on par with the 2011 550.
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Old 08-08-2017, 01:20 AM
gtobynj gtobynj is offline
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I went from f10 535d to g30 540ix and despite the fact that the 540 is as fast as both my e46 M3 and e39 M5 I miss the staggering torque of the diesel even after 5,000 miles... I'd imagine you'd feel the loss going from the 8 to the 6 too


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Old 08-08-2017, 09:34 AM
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I also had to decide between 540 or M550.

I chose the M550 for the M Sport adaptive suspension.
Don't need the V8, is a great engine but makes the car heavier, don't need Xdrive , makes it even heavier.

If BMW offered a 540i with M sport adaptive suspension, that would be my choice.
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Old 08-08-2017, 11:00 AM
jjsC6 jjsC6 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by casper View Post
I also had to decide between 540 or M550.

I chose the M550 for the M Sport adaptive suspension.
Don't need the V8, is a great engine but makes the car heavier, don't need Xdrive , makes it even heavier.

If BMW offered a 540i with M sport adaptive suspension, that would be my choice.
I thought they did. $700 option.
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Old 08-08-2017, 02:34 PM
Diver624 Diver624 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StevenFW View Post
Hi all,

This has been discussed within other threads but I have not seen too many threads addressing this as the primary topic. Trying to decide on 540 xDrive vs. 550 for next lease. Pharding has been a great help with his opinion, just curious to hear from others who have gone through this particular decision tree or have test-driven both, own one or the other, etc.

When the 2017 iteration was announced, I was leaning towards the 540 and going back to the 6 cylinder. This will be my 5th 5 series, started with the 2005 545 8 cylinder, then 2008 535 6 cylinder, and the last two have been the 2011 and 2014 550. The 2011 had DHP, 2014 had 704 suspension. I was happy with the 2011, preferred the 704 on the 2014, however had multiple issues with the 2014, was always concerned that perhaps the less frequently manufactured 8 cylinder vehicles are/were less reliable (this was an issue in 2005, although no major issues with the 2011). The major reason otherwise for considering going back to the 6 cylinder was for handling as while I love the acceleration (see below) of the 8, it is a bit "nose-heavy" in general handling and the 6 has always felt somewhat better balanced in turns and otherwise - noted this on my 2008 535 and loaners. Nevertheless, the acceleration on the 2011 and 2014 as compared with the prior 6 cylinders on these models was superior and therefore I stayed with the 8.

The new 6 on the current 540 by all reports is significantly quicker, even better in feel then the upgrade in HP and torque might suggest. However, I am torn between this car and the M550. I test drove both just to get a sense of the engines as the test drives are always short and the models do not have all of the suspension options that I would get, so difficult to get a sense of much else.

I'm less concerned about badging and really just concerned about the driving dynamics for a car that I will be driving for 3 years. I was going to go with the 540, however the two concerns I have are as follows:

-will I miss the 550 engine (of course now much faster than current 550, 3.9 0-60)
-will I be unhappy with the 540 704 M Sport suspension as compared with the M adaptive suspension on the 550 as I would be also opting for the DHP on the 550 which would mean the ability of being able to get the 704-type suspension WITH ARS, etc. I will be getting IAS with both (option on 540, part of the DHP on 550).

In summary, what I am asking is this - coming from a 2014 550 - go with the M550 for the engine and new M suspension, or go with the 540 with 704 M Sport suspension that still has a very powerful classic engine. I ask to consider this just from a mechanical standpoint however, of course, I also ask from a financial standpoint; as I am getting many of the options on the 540 that would be standard on the 550, the difference in selling price would be around approximately $8,000.

Thank you everyone for reading the long post as well as your input.
If you lean towards handling get the 540 with the M sport suspension (lighter front end) and if you lean towards power get the M550. I have the M550 with the standard adaptive suspension and it's very nice but these are not sports cars, too big and too heavy. I had DHP on my last 2 550's and was not at all happy with it but compared to the available X Drive suspension it was an improvement but not anymore, with the M Sport suspension now available on X Drive cars I would never get it again. I guess the standard M550 suspension is somewhat of a hybrid but it feels much more linear where the DHP version was not.
I test drove the 540 with M sport suspension and was very impressed but I like HP and was willing to sacrifice some handling to get it. It all depends on what floats your boat.
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Old 08-08-2017, 03:45 PM
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quackbury quackbury is offline
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Originally Posted by jjsC6 View Post
I thought they did. $700 option.
There is a HUGE difference between the $700 Dynamic Damper Control (which comes with the standard, non-MSport springs and anti-sway bars) and the 550-exclusive Adaptive M Suspension
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Old 08-08-2017, 03:57 PM
casper casper is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jjsC6 View Post
I thought they did. $700 option.
Is not the same, the $700 option is DDC (Dynamic Damper Control), is a base suspension with adjustable dampers.

The M550 M sport adaptive suspension is different.
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Old 08-08-2017, 04:02 PM
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I'd still take the 704 suspension over the adjustable stuff any day of the week. The adjustable stuff won't make you any faster, it won't make you a better driver, and it's added complexity that will cause huge repair bills down the line (to those of you who don't lease).
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Old 08-08-2017, 05:30 PM
jjsC6 jjsC6 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by quackbury View Post
There is a HUGE difference between the $700 Dynamic Damper Control (which comes with the standard, non-MSport springs and anti-sway bars) and the 550-exclusive Adaptive M Suspension
Quote:
Originally Posted by casper View Post
Is not the same, the $700 option is DDC (Dynamic Damper Control), is a base suspension with adjustable dampers.

The M550 M sport adaptive suspension is different.
So you two have driven both? Also, are you saying the dynamic dampers on a 540 are not available on an M-Sport? The option does not even show up on a 540 online build so it's hard to tell what it isn't available with.
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Old 08-08-2017, 05:51 PM
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cordoor cordoor is offline
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Originally Posted by jjsC6 View Post
So you two have driven both? Also, are you saying the dynamic dampers on a 540 are not available on an M-Sport? The option does not even show up on a 540 online build so it's hard to tell what it isn't available with.


I have.

You can get dynamic dampers with M Sport on the 540, but you will get the base suspension instead of the "sporty" 704 suspension if you do this.

Note that 704 lowers the car about 10 mm, which looks a lot nicer.
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Old 08-08-2017, 08:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by casper View Post
If BMW offered a 540i with M sport adaptive suspension, that would be my choice.
Quote:
Originally Posted by jjsC6 View Post
I thought they did. $700 option.
Quote:
Originally Posted by jjsC6 View Post
Are you saying the dynamic dampers on a 540 are not available on an M-Sport?
This is one of those places where BMW's nomenclature confuses folks.

Casper was talking about the 540i. It is available with the base suspension, the excellent 704 M Sport suspension, the base suspension with Dynamic Damper Control ($700 upcharge, and you lose the 704 springs and anti-sway bars in the process), OR the Dynamic Handling Package for $3500 (which a lot of us really dislike). Casper was saying his "ideal" car would be a 540 with the Adaptive M Suspension. Alas, that is only available on the M550i.

As for jjsC6's last comment, DDC is available on an MSport (though it does not appear on the online configurator today - it did last month), but selecting them removes the 704 from the build. That's a trade off many of us find a big step backwards for a $700 added cost.

I remember someone (Markl53?) was able to suctom order an F10 with 704 AND Dynamic Dampers. That always struck me as the ideal setup for the F10. To the best of my knowledge, no one has been able to duplicate that trick on a G30.
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Old 08-08-2017, 09:23 PM
StevenFW StevenFW is offline
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Quackbury is correct, BMW descriptions make this very confusing, and his points demonstrate what is actually available.

That's one of the reasons why I was interested in the M550 suspension with the DHP option, as it is lowered by 10 mm similar to 704 and also has dynamic dampers and ARS - the 704 with dynamic dampers and ARS has only previously been available on the 6 series, hence why I am intrigued with this suspension.

All of these comments have been great, so helpful and useful in allowing me to arrive at a decision, reading all of the perspectives. I really appreciate everyone taking the time to write.

Getting very close, plan to make decision tomorrow, so please keep the opinions coming........
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Old 08-09-2017, 05:56 AM
bostongio bostongio is offline
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I think this confusion is a direct result of BMW not knowing what it wants to be anymore. It used to be the "ultimate driving machine." Now it's trying to be everything to everyone, resulting in nothing that's very good to anyone.

Way too many options, and most dealers don't even have cars on their lot that have all of them in order to try and compare each suspension setup to one another. Dealers don't always seem to understand the differences themselves, either, saying things they believe to be true (but are not).

They need to whittle these things down to a smaller number and focus on a clearly defined vision of what they want to be as a car company now and in the future. The 5 Series is clearly showing their lack of direction in suspension setups.
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Old 08-09-2017, 06:15 AM
jjsC6 jjsC6 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by quackbury View Post
This is one of those places where BMW's nomenclature confuses folks.

Casper was talking about the 540i. It is available with the base suspension, the excellent 704 M Sport suspension, the base suspension with Dynamic Damper Control ($700 upcharge, and you lose the 704 springs and anti-sway bars in the process), OR the Dynamic Handling Package for $3500 (which a lot of us really dislike). Casper was saying his "ideal" car would be a 540 with the Adaptive M Suspension. Alas, that is only available on the M550i.

As for jjsC6's last comment, DDC is available on an MSport (though it does not appear on the online configurator today - it did last month), but selecting them removes the 704 from the build. That's a trade off many of us find a big step backwards for a $700 added cost.

I remember someone (Markl53?) was able to suctom order an F10 with 704 AND Dynamic Dampers. That always struck me as the ideal setup for the F10. To the best of my knowledge, no one has been able to duplicate that trick on a G30.
Thanks! I freely admit to not being fully up to speed on them, but why should that stop me from having an opinion

If I ordered a car I'm pretty sure I would have ordered the adjustable suspension. I just always figure that's a good thing and I consider $700 a bargain. Even both of my BMW motorcycles have adjustable suspensions. One is just adjustable, the other has multiple adjustments and it is dynamic in each range. .
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Old 08-09-2017, 06:27 AM
jjsC6 jjsC6 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bostongio View Post
I think this confusion is a direct result of BMW not knowing what it wants to be anymore. It used to be the "ultimate driving machine." Now it's trying to be everything to everyone, resulting in nothing that's very good to anyone.

Way too many options, and most dealers don't even have cars on their lot that have all of them in order to try and compare each suspension setup to one another. Dealers don't always seem to understand the differences themselves, either, saying things they believe to be true (but are not).

They need to whittle these things down to a smaller number and focus on a clearly defined vision of what they want to be as a car company now and in the future. The 5 Series is clearly showing their lack of direction in suspension setups.
Certainly BMW has morphed over the past ten years or so. But I think they are very clear on where they are going, and I persoanlly think they are going the right direction. And I think the improvements in the G30 suspensions are boarderline amazing.

I admit that living in Houston and basically using my car as a commuter car, I don't need an extremely nimble car as I would if my commute was on Mulholland or the Tail of the Dragon, but then again my use of the car is the norm, not the exception. And keep in mind that I have road raced motorcycles, autocrossed and drag raced cars, and I've owned many true sports cars, my last a 2009 Z06. So I do have sporting bones in my body (I still ride the wheels off my bikes on the back roads). But BMW knows that by far most owners want a nice luxury sedan that has good suspension control without beating us up. My A7s subjectively handled better, but my 540 has a better overall ride/handling tradeoff.
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Last edited by jjsC6; 08-09-2017 at 02:52 PM.
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  #22  
Old 08-09-2017, 09:31 AM
snowbimmer snowbimmer is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StevenFW View Post
Quackbury is correct, BMW descriptions make this very confusing, and his points demonstrate what is actually available.

That's one of the reasons why I was interested in the M550 suspension with the DHP option, as it is lowered by 10 mm similar to 704 and also has dynamic dampers and ARS - the 704 with dynamic dampers and ARS has only previously been available on the 6 series, hence why I am intrigued with this suspension.

All of these comments have been great, so helpful and useful in allowing me to arrive at a decision, reading all of the perspectives. I really appreciate everyone taking the time to write.

Getting very close, plan to make decision tomorrow, so please keep the opinions coming........
I went a route similar to yours over the years. A 2006 six cylinder, a 2008 six cylinder, a 2011 six cylinder and a 2014 eight cylinder with DHP. All were xdrives, so no 704 suspensions. I felt I could never quite get the combination I wanted in a BMW...and AWD is a requirement.

I absolutely loved the 2014 F10 550xi. Wonderful engine - smooth and powerful. Only added about 4 extra quarts of oil in 43,000 miles. Very fun to drive out in the country. Test drove a G30 540xi in January and was really impressed. But, it wasn't a V-8. Then, after looking at the M550 I could see that BMW finally threw in all the stuff I wanted in one car: AWD, M-Sport suspension, DHP with ARS and DDC, Adaptive Drive, 4 wheel steering and a V-8. Ordered in February and picked up in May.

Immediately loved the car. Felt sad about giving up a great F10 550, but soon forgot all about it. Silky smooth ride, very powerful and multiple ways to configure the setup.

Just got back from a 2500 mile trip over 10 days (4 were idle). Wow. Only 300 miles on freeways, the rest on the back roads of Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming and Montana. Averaged 26.9 MPG, rarely going under 70 mph. Blasting across Idaho I crept the speed up. My wife was messing with her phone. I said, "..and there's 100 mph!" She looked up, said Wow and went back to her phone. Got out of the car each day and never felt like I had just driven 400 miles.


To critique:

Handling: Excellent - nice in the corners, very little sway or lean
Power: Passing is never a problem
Comfort: No aches and pains
A/C: No problems cooling. Many days in the high 90's

I'd buy this car again in a heartbeat. Drove over 400 miles on the last day and after getting home and unpacking I was looking forward to getting back in to drive 4 more miles for gas and a car wash. Put it in Sport mode and blasted off. Yehaw!
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  #23  
Old 08-09-2017, 09:51 AM
casper casper is offline
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Like snowbimmer. I just completed a 2000 mile drive over 5 days, florida, georgia and the carolinas.

Last day was a 580 mile drive in one shot.

The M550 is fast, handles great (mountain roads in N Carolina), great gas mileage, comfortable.

I have to go now, the M550 is washed and ready for another drive.



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Last edited by casper; 08-09-2017 at 10:26 AM.
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  #24  
Old 08-09-2017, 02:20 PM
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TexasSpartan TexasSpartan is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jjsC6 View Post
I had a 2012 550. Being a card carrying speed freak I loved the engine. I went from that to a 2015 310 hp A7 Audi, then a 2016 333 hp A7. They were so responsive and torquey that I really did not miss the 550s power. With the new 540 it's even faster than the A7s. I'm seriously thinking about a Dinan Stage I tune that for about $1500 I'll have a car actually faster than my old 550. As it is stock, all the road tests show the 540 to be a virtual dead heat with the 550 I had (keep in mind mine was the earlier 400hp version).

I freely admit that money was my only issue for getting the 540. I'm about two years from retirement and I am trying to be a LITTLE more fiscally responsible. Not only did I save $8,000, but I get amazing gas mileage on the 540. I have a super easy commute because I leave early and beat rush hour. My commute from the Houston suburbs is 25 miles with very few red lights. I typically average 34 in the morning and about 30 coming home.
I have a '15 535 and am considering the 540 as well when my lease is up but what really caught my eye is your mpg. I'm about 26 miles outside of Houston and commute to the Energy Corridor every day and my mileage is barely 20. Granted, I have it in sport mode most of the time but 34 mpg is phenomenal!
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  #25  
Old 08-09-2017, 02:55 PM
jjsC6 jjsC6 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TexasSpartan View Post
I have a '15 535 and am considering the 540 as well when my lease is up but what really caught my eye is your mpg. I'm about 26 miles outside of Houston and commute to the Energy Corridor every day and my mileage is barely 20. Granted, I have it in sport mode most of the time but 34 mpg is phenomenal!
I know where you are and where you are going (I ride my motorcycles out through Simonton damn near every week). The key is to leave for work around 5:15 am! My commute is across NASA1 and up I-45 and my office is right on the feeder road. I kid you not, before I got off my exit this morning I was showing 37. I've checked my mileage with a calculator twice now and it's about 1 mpg optimistic. So that was "only" 36 . And I cruise in at about 75 mph on the freeway.

You'll find the 540 a big step up. It's that good!
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2017 BMW 540 M-Sport Carbon Black/Ivory
2016 Lexus GX 460---Wife's car
Bikes...2017 Yamaha FJR1300---2017 KTM 1290 Superduke GT---2012 Ducati Panigale
Previous BMW: 2012 550 M-Sport

Last edited by jjsC6; 08-09-2017 at 02:57 PM.
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