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2010 2011 BMW 5 Series Forum F10 BMW 5-Series (F10) Forums General 5-Series Sedan and Wagon (F10 / F11) Forum Test Drive Today in the F10 in Chicago - Uber Awesome
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      05-24-2010, 10:30 PM   #1
pharding
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Test Drive Today in the F10 in Chicago - Uber Awesome

This evening I test drove a new 535 F10 at Elmhurst BMW is suburban Chicago. As an architect I am into the aesthetic of the car in addition to the driving performance. First of all it was noticeably larger than my 2008 550. The front of the car has noticeably more volume with the vertical nose of the car creates a larger front end volume. The additional 2 creases on the hood emanating from the BMW medallion look really cool. The front windshield has more rake or slope than the E60 giving the car a more sleek appearance. The rear of the car appears wider with more presence than the E60. It is probably due to less taper on the sides toward the rear of the car than the E60. The overall design is clearly more conservative than the E60 which broke new ground and was widely emulated. The F10 builds upon the BMW formal language and has an incredibly elegant, refined exterior envelope.

The cabin fit and finish is incredibly impressive, definitely two steps above the E60. The ultra refined interior has rich, well detailed finishes and shapes. The ergonomics of the F10 are incredibly well executed. Prior to this evening's test drive I had some concerns. Having sat in the 2011 535 GT, I thought that its center stack was too wide and cramped my leg room. Fortunately the center stack in the F10, while much wider than my E60, was slightly less wide than Gt version. It was quite comfortable and I did not feel that the center stack cramped my legs. BMW had those dimensions dialed into the nth degree. The cabin uses the volume of space throughout quite well. The driver's door panel and controls do not assert themselves on the driver's left leg. The cabin definitely feels more spacious without being vacuous. The center console with its two hatches is noticeably wider than the E60 with more space. The screen is slightly larger and is not tucked back into the dash. The screen and navigation system are both beautiful and easy to navigate through the menu. The cup holders are better resolved than those on the E60 that always seemed to be in the way. There is a receptacle between the two cup holders for the key which is important because you can no longer plug the key into the steering column. However I did not care for this approach because it forces you to keep the cup holder lid up with the key in place.

The F10 was a Sapphire Black 535 with the Venetian Beige leather interior. It is a classic BMW color scheme and the car looks spectacular. I did not care for Oyster Gray headliner with the beige leather. It looks clumsy in an expensive refined interior. It looks like an ordering mistake. The reminder from BMW that was my lease was nearly up had a photograph of the Venetian Beige interior and it had a beige headliner which looked spectacular. In fact I disliked the Oyster headliner with the beige leather so much that I am going to change the color scheme of the F10 that I have on order. I am going to bag the Venetian Beige interior and go with Oyster interior or maybe Oyster Black interior.

The driving characteristics of the 535 without the sport suspension were incredibly impressive even by the already high BMW standards. With my client adviser in the car I didn't drive overly aggressive into turns for fear of trashing their F10 on its first test drive. Even without the sport suspension the car had that wonderful sporty BMW feel. The 535 is very torquey and fun to drive. Its power was was impressive even in comparison to my 550 with the sport package.

The F10 exceeded my already high expectations. It is incredibly impressive in person. I am amazed that BMW created a car that is perfect in so many respects. The comfortably equipped 535 with everything that you really need had a sticker price of $56,000. It has to be the best value of any car produced in my lifetime. With the F10 you get perfection with a moderate price tag. What a great, fun to drive sports sedan.

Thanks to Josh Douglas at Elmhurst BMW for emailing me immediately when the F10 hit the dealership. Elmhurst BMW isn't the biggest BMW Center in the Chicago area. However the sales experience and service are second to none. Negotiating my Euro Delivery F10 was quick and to the point without the usual sales games. Plus I got a great price.
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Last edited by pharding; 05-26-2010 at 05:48 AM.
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      05-25-2010, 04:55 AM   #2
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Thanks for the review!
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      05-25-2010, 06:18 AM   #3
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      05-25-2010, 08:26 AM   #4
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Great review!

I drove a similiarly equipped 535 this past weekend @ Princeton BMW here
in N.J. It's definitely priced to sell. But I did find the steering a bit
light compared to my E90. I couldn't floor the accelerator as much as I would have liked (car had less than 100 miles on it), but it felt quietly quick and smooth.

I agree on the handling, even with the standard suspension, it was quite good. I took an onramp really hard with a total of 4 of us in the car, and it DEFINITELY is an improvement over the E60...does indeed feel very close to my E90.
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      05-25-2010, 08:34 AM   #5
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The F10 is now in the middle of the previous 5er and the 7er. It is kind of like a baby 7 er, except more athletic. It is rare for something to exceed my expectations. This went well beyond my expectations. There were improvements over my beloved E60 in an amazing number of ways without introducing change for changes sake, without substance, like US auto manufacturers do. BMW definitely dialed the F10 into perfection.
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      05-25-2010, 09:01 AM   #6
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Excellent review and great side-by-side pictures!
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      05-25-2010, 09:30 AM   #7
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Thanks for the honest review. I agree about the oyster headliner, it is something to be communicated to BMWNA about the mismatch in color. My guess would be that they are all going to be the oyster/gray headliner for a cost effective approach, make only one headliner. In the interior, you will notice the black dash with the top of the door trim black separating the beige from the oyster to not make it as noticeable. Of course, the anthracite headliner is always available.
Paul, you can always come back on June 5th for the driving event and hit gas pedal a little harder, the car will be broken in by then I've driven the cars on the track well over 150mph before, so 60 around a corner isn't scary.
Now its time for me to go actually "drive" the vehicle.
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      05-25-2010, 10:20 AM   #8
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Thanks for a spot on review, enjoyed the visual and written comparisons.

Congrats on your order.
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      05-25-2010, 10:52 AM   #9
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What's that strange looking fin on the trunk lid ?

Also, what a pity that the beige interior includes a beige rear shelf that will cause much reflection in the rear glass. The parcel shelf should have been black to minimize reflection.
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      05-25-2010, 11:38 AM   #10
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Quote:
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What's that strange looking fin on the trunk lid ?
reflection of the antenna.
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      05-25-2010, 11:50 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sealobo View Post
reflection of the antenna.
That is correct.
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      05-25-2010, 04:42 PM   #12
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Thanks for the review.
E60 looks way more aggressive in these shots tho.
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      05-25-2010, 04:45 PM   #13
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Amazing review and a big plus for the comparative pics
Much better written than in many auto magazines
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      05-25-2010, 04:51 PM   #14
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What is that car parked in the handicapped spot? That 550 is gorgeous. Way cooler looking than the f10 535... is that the new 3 series?
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      05-25-2010, 04:54 PM   #15
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oh, they tell me that's an E60... very avant garde.
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      05-25-2010, 04:57 PM   #16
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What plate does the 535 have on?
Is it street legal??
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      05-25-2010, 05:03 PM   #17
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I think it's disclaimer about it being a new model even though it looks older than the '08 next to it.
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      05-25-2010, 05:05 PM   #18
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Certain states allow dealers to use those instead of dealer plates from the DMV. I can only guess he lives in one of them. I think a lot of southern states allow it.
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      05-25-2010, 05:41 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheFlashback View Post
I should disagree on this topic - I drove F10 535 myself a week ago - it is huge, soft and bulky. It is not even close to my E39 540I M Sport. I was hugely disappointed since I do not know what to buy at this point.... My E39 is turning 90K. The real hope is to wait till the new 6 comes out.
The next iteration of 3er, not the refresh of the current version, is getting larger also. That may be comparable in size to your E39. The design is rumored to be more sporty and less staid than the current 3er sedan.
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      05-25-2010, 05:51 PM   #20
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THat is awesome. The side by side comparison does justice, and one can really tell that the F10 (strange by for 3 decades or so we got used to E as designated body style) looks wider. I have yet to visit my friend at BMW of Monrovia, and check this machine out.
Have you driven the E60 535i? if so, do you feel any difference as far as power, and handling between E60 vs F10?
Congrats on your new purchase

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      05-25-2010, 06:48 PM   #21
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wow, watching that rear shot... new 5 series is definitely more "executive".
after they touch-up the front bumper later down the road, this car is going to look flawless.
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      05-25-2010, 06:54 PM   #22
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For some reason I like the old one better.... but the back of the new one is amazing....
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