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I am considering a 2012 535i. One of the requirements is that sometimes (depending on passenger) the car needs to have as soft a ride as possible (town-car like).

How soft can the suspension get with Dynamic Damper Control? This option comes only with the Sport package or the M-Sport package, which I presume normally would have a harder suspension. At the softest setting, would the suspension be softer than in the base 535, or would it still be harder?

Thanks in advance.
 

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The answer to your question is a little tricky. Since the sport versions come with larger tires, it's not only the suspension that is affecting the ride but the tires. The 18 inch tires on regular suspension is a smoother ride, but the 19 inch set up with DDC is a softer ride, if that makes any sense. The best set up for comfort would be to change the 19inch tires on a sport version to 18's. If that's to much to deal with go with the standard suspension set up, less complexity, and cost and swap out the RFT to some all season go flat tires.
 

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In Comfort mode and with non-RFT's, I feel like I'm in a Lincoln TownCar, that is until I hit a pothole, then I'm reminded that I still have 19" wheels.
 

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If you are interested, there are still some 2011's remaining.

They are unique in one regard.

My 2011 has the sport pack which includes the seats, shadowline trim, 19" sport wheels, sport steering wheel/paddle shifters, sport tranny, etc. but not the sport suspension. It has the standard suspension which is still sporty but not too rough.

You had to get the M sport pack in 2011 if you wanted sport suspension which came with adaptive drive.

So the 2011 is a nice compromise and it still handles quites well. Plus you can probably find a good deal on remaining 2011's.

For 2012, you have to get the adaptive suspension and sport pack options all together in either the new sport package or M sport package.

I am not sure how soft the adaptive suspension gets in the softest/comfort mode compared to standard suspension. You would have to drive both cars to compare.
 

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I think it's even a bit more complicated than that.

Europeans had an additional option about this time last year, something like an M Sport Suspension that was different than the US Sports package, then the M Sport Packages came out, .... yada yada a bit of a marketing/bundling mess that led to many in both areas trying to determine what was actually different or on their cars.

From what I found out they were all the same things, just bundled differently according to markets.
 

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Everything's Bigger in TX
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In Comfort mode and with non-RFT's, I feel like I'm in a Lincoln TownCar, that is until I hit a pothole, then I'm reminded that I still have 19" wheels.
This.

Sucks, because while the ride is good, I feel like I'm on the verge of losing control.
 

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Everything's Bigger in TX
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I think it's even a bit more complicated than that.

Europeans had an additional option about this time last year, something like an M Sport Suspension that was different than the US Sports package, then the M Sport Packages came out, .... yada yada a bit of a marketing/bundling mess that led to many in both areas trying to determine what was actually different or on their cars.

From what I found out they were all the same things, just bundled differently according to markets.
They are not the same things.

In 2011 your suspension choices were, in the US.

Base
Sport *
Sport w/ DHP
MSport **
Europe MSport ***

* Rumored to be slightly lowered from base, at least according to the sheets I have seen
** Same as Sport w/ DHP
*** Includes no active components (i.e. fixed dampers and no active anti-roll bars).
 

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They are not the same things.

In 2011 your suspension choices were, in the US.

Base
Sport *
Sport w/ DHP
MSport **
Europe MSport ***

* Rumored to be slightly lowered from base, at least according to the sheets I have seen
** Same as Sport w/ DHP
*** Includes no active components (i.e. fixed dampers and no active anti-roll bars).
Interesting note on the "lowered" for the sport. I did not notice that but then again I was not looking for it.
 

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They are not the same things.

In 2011 your suspension choices were, in the US.

Base
Sport *
Sport w/ DHP
MSport **
Europe MSport ***

* Rumored to be slightly lowered from base, at least according to the sheets I have seen
** Same as Sport w/ DHP
*** Includes no active components (i.e. fixed dampers and no active anti-roll bars).
Well I sort of agree with this. I'll have to dig out the reply my dealer got from BMW NA when I asked, but if I remember correctly:

Sport was essentially lowered a bit, slightly different springs I think, Sport w/ DHP had springs to match the programming, but essentially lowered also, but the increase in wheel size change taken into account. US MSport the same as Sport w/DHP, and Europe MSport sort of like US Sport but with fewer of the components of the package in the US.
 

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Well I sort of agree with this. I'll have to dig out the reply my dealer got from BMW NA when I asked, but if I remember correctly:

Sport was essentially lowered a bit, slightly different springs I think, Sport w/ DHP had springs to match the programming, but essentially lowered also, but the increase in wheel size change taken into account. US MSport the same as Sport w/DHP, and Europe MSport sort of like US Sport but with fewer of the components of the package in the US.
Interesting, when I looked at window stickers in the past on all BMW models, if they had the sport pack, they specifically called out sport suspension. My 2011 stickers had the sport pack with the the items listed minus "sport suspension". Maybe they left it off to avoid confusion?
 

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Interesting, when I looked at window stickers in the past on all BMW models, if they had the sport pack, they specifically called out sport suspension. My 2011 stickers had the sport pack with the the items listed minus "sport suspension". Maybe they left it off to avoid confusion?
No idea, and I'm talking packages, not options. Haven't really thought about this in a year, my take was the make up of packages that they came out with originally wasn't optimal for selling cars, and that the option list didn't allow people to get where they wanted to outside of packages. DHP wasn't as 'wanted' as they expected, and MSport was 'more wanted'. When you get to outside the US, tried not to follow it TBO, and haven't looked at how things are bundled in 2012 models.
 

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I find my car in normal mode is MUCH smoother than my S550. In comfort mode you better watch out you don't fall asleep. This is the smoothest vehicle I have ever owned....
 

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Everything's Bigger in TX
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Maybe they left it off to avoid confusion?
Doesn't specifically call out for sport suspension. However, every document that I have seen from my local shop foreman (alignment, printouts, etc.) refer to the Suspension configuration as "F10 535i, Sport, Lowered".

My "butt dyno" says there's more difference between the non-sport cars and the sport-only cars than just 19" wheels. That's not worth much but combine it with the printouts...

Unfortunately, no way to verify. Parts are all now model-specific and the days of being able to learn what car had what spring rates, etc., are long gone. Two cars may have the same part but it may be a different part number since the VIN denotes two different setups.
 

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The sport package does not have a firmer suspension. I have the DHP and have 18" wheels for the winter. The ride in comfort mode is quite luxurious. There is not much difference between the ride with my 19" summer wheels and 18" winter wheels. Those who lose control driving in the comfort mode need to go to driving school.
 

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Powerbon,

Your question is very subjective, so take my answer with a grain of salt....

You're buying a BMW, not a Crown Vic....so start there. The ride will be "tighter" regardless of what kind of set up you have, I would think?

I have a 2011 550i with 19' wheels, Sport package and DHP.....The wheels and runflats determine some of the "feel" of the handling due to the minimal amount of rubber/air between the road and the metal of the car. The stiffness of the RFT tire design adds a bit of harshness too.

That said, the 5 series is still an incredibly smooth ride. At first, I thought I WAS driving a Town Car because it was SO smooth and comfortable (I had a 335i/Sport Pkg previously as a reference).....However, this illusion of "Softness" (which is the LAST think I want in a BMW), goes away as soon as you PUSH the car harder.....That balance of comfort and performance is why I bought the car - it's amazing.

COMFORT setting is just that....highway cruising - quiet, smooth, boring. NORMAL is smooth and quiet, but if you do hit a curve sharply or make an agressive move - the car doesn't lose it's handkling or tightness.....it still handles like a BMW (despite the car's mass and size).

SPORT or SPORT + still has a smooth ride, but when you do push it into a curve or drive hard, the car holds its line, doesn't dip - it stays safe and confident. In my opinion the tranmission changes and steering changes between settings are more noticable (in NORMAL) driving conditions than the suspension.

You really only appreciate the engineering and versatility of this car when you drive it aggressivley. In normal driving, it's as smooth and comfortable as I would EVER want.

If you only want a comfortable "soft" ride, buy a Lexus or LIncoln, if you really want a BMW for performance, but like a softer ride for long highway trips, etc.....Make sure you get the adjustable settings feature (Comfort-Normal-SPort, etc.), you'll be fine.

I'm very impressed with how versatile this car is between performance and comfort!
 

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Everything's Bigger in TX
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The sport package does not have a firmer suspension. I have the DHP and have 18" wheels for the winter. The ride in comfort mode is quite luxurious. There is not much difference between the ride with my 19" summer wheels and 18" winter wheels. Those who lose control driving in the comfort mode need to go to driving school.
I should have been more specific and said:

"while driving in comfort mode, if evasive or sharp maneuvers are made while travelling over bumpy, broken or generally imperfect pavement, the lack of damping and softness of springing contributes to a lack of rebound control resulting in a 'porpoising' effect whereas the car takes several vertical oscillations to recover from the displacement caused by the imperfect pavement. Said oscillations can lead to a lack of confidence by the driver that he / she has complete control over the vehicle's transient responses during these evasive or aggressive maneuvers."

There, can I have my license back now dad?
 
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