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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 It's here! U.S. owner first impressions of the 535i (updated with pics)
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      05-28-2010, 01:39 AM   #1
ibimmer346
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Thumbs up It's here! U.S. owner first impressions of the 535i (updated with pics)

My 535i has been delivered! I've driven it for about 60 miles and wanted to report my first impressions. First, the car:

535i Deep Sea Blue/Cinn Brown *6MT*
Packages: Sport, Prem 1+2, Dynamic Handling
Options: Comfort Access, Integral Active Steering, HUD, USB/Smartphone

For some perspective, I returned a 2007 335i E93 off lease. It was an auto tranny.

The looks: It's definitely a large car from the exterior. Long, sloping hood and high ceiling. The rear is not very long, however. I like the stock wheels on the Sport Package 535i. DSB is a beautiful color. I had a Monaco Blue E93 and DSB is lighter than that color. Somewhere between Monaco and Montego Blue from the E9x series. I'm not completely satisfied with the Cinn Brown interior. Was hoping for more of a Chestnut color, but that option doesn't exist for the F10. However, given the other options I'm still happy with my choice. Haven't seen Oyster in person yet, though.

The handling: With the dynamic handling package and integral active steering I'm happy to report that the car can either be very nimble and sporty or cushy and calm. You get to choose. In Sport mode, I was quite surprised how well the car handed given its size. I can easily do a U-turn with two lanes going the other direction at a stoplight (legal in CA). Even in the Comfort setting, the car will still perform a quick turn if you ask it to, but will smooth out most road imperfections. The gas pedal, however, is Jeckyl and Hyde. I think it's too touchy in Sport mode, but I probably just need to get used to it.

The tranny: I have mixed feelings about the 6MT. MT cars I have owned include an Acura RSX, Acura TSX, and VW Jetta. The good news is that the shifter has very short throws that are as satisfying as the Honda shifters I've owned. It's nicely weighted and feels great. I may get a new grip, though. The clutch is way different from anything else I've driven. I've never driven a BMW MT before, so I don't if it's just how BMW clutches are. My biggest complaint is that I don't feel any engagement point at all. I guess you just have to learn the proper pace for lifting the clutch because I just don't feel any feedback from the pedal. Kinda like shifting with hiking boots on. It's very weird.

The sound: Very different than my E93 335i. The E93 exhaust has an awesome sound that really projects. But the F10 is *quiet*. I don't hear hardly any exhaust note in the F10. Instead, the engine sounds come from up front. Waiting for a little while more before I redline it to hear how it screams, but so far it's pretty tame.

Interior: I really like the interior a lot. The gauges are elegant and very BMW themed. The dash features are well done. I like the way the Nav screen is integrated into the dash. The info display under the tach shows all kinds of useful information. The whole lower right quadrant of the gauge panel under the tach is one big screen! Climate controls are well done. Ambient lighting is a nice touch at night. I have two complaints: I think the center console is too high, and I don't like the fact that the 6MT console effectively loses one of the cup holders. Technically, there are 2 cup holders on the 6MT, but one of those is the center console that you have to open up. And if you put a cup there, you can't have anything plugged into the USB port or store your sunglasses. I don't understand why the 6MT console loses a cupholder.

I have Comfort Access and I have yet to see any key slot in the interior at all. There isn't one where the "ashtray" would be or anywhere else on the dash I've found. Guess you don't need one.

Another interesting limitation with the USB/Smartphone integration. If I plug my iPhone into the cradle, then you can only access the music if nothing is plugged into the USB port. But if you plug anything into the USB port, you won't see the iPhone content. This is OK for me. I keep a 32G flash stick plugged into the USB port with all my music. But I wanted everyone else to be aware of the limitation.

One more touch: The Cruise Control display (non active cruise). When you turn on the cruise and set a speed a small green dot appears on the outside of the speed gauge at the set speed. If you hit the brake, the dot turns amber. Once you resume the dot turns green again. It's pretty cool. The cruise speed shows up in the HUD when you set it. I was amused when I saw it.

All I can think of for now. Sorry, no time to do nice pictures today. I'll take some this weekend.

Any requests for more details about the car or pictures to take?



REVIEW UPDATE:


Took my first drive in the hills and twisties in Eastern San Diego County this evening and wanted to update my review.

The handling:

Short version: Wow!

Let's recap... this car has both the Dynamic Handling Package and Integral Active Steering. So all the suspension goodies are there. And I'm coming from a 335i E93 as my "comparison".

With the suspension in "Sport" mode, the car handles freakishly well in the corners. Both the accelerator and steering are boosted a little more in "Sport", so it takes less effort to get a reaction out of the car. Driving aggressively, that's great. But just driving around town I find it a little annoying. I use the "Normal" or "Comfort" settings when chilling out or when stuck in traffic.

Don't worry though, even in Normal or Comfort if you need to make a sharp turn the car has your back. It's just that you'll need to push it a little more. You can't really turn the Active Steering "off", so it's hard for me to say how AS effects the way the car drives. But the handling sure feels solid with the 4-wheel steering as I would expect!

Compared to the E93, I think the F10 handles at least as well if not better. But the F10 isn't as fast, that's for sure. To be fair, I'm still breaking the car in and getting used to the clutch, so no red-lines yet. Maybe once I get the RPMs over 4500 it'll come alive more.

The only thing that disappointed me in the driving experience is the lack of engine sounds compared to the E93. The F10 is way quieter and doesn't have a visceral sound to it. I'm assuming the muted personality is on purpose.

For me, ZDH and IAS are so worth it. I'm buying a BMW for the driving experience. Those options are where the joy lives now; the Sport Package is mostly for show. In my opinion, if you only get ZSP you're probably missing out.

The HUD:

I read someone else recommend that you only get the HUD if you have the Nav system. I'm going to echo the same sentiment. The HUD displays current speed, cruise control speed setting, "system check" messages, and Nav route guidance instructions. I had the Nav system route me home to check it out.

The Nav route guidance on the HUD is way cool. An arrow always shows which way you should be currently heading. Even as you get to a bend in the road, the arrow guides the way around the turn. In a sense, the car tells you there's a curve coming before you get there!

Also, the HUD displays your next turn information with the name of the road to turn on next, which way to turn, and how far away it is. It's a lot of information all displayed in the HUD, almost to the point of being distracting.

So on my route I home, I saw the following things on the HUD display:

1. Current speed
2. Cruise speed setting
3. Which direction I should be driving (straight ahead mostly)
4. The name of the next street to turn on.
5. Which way to turn on that street.
6. The distance to the turn.

When you get to the turn, it'll display a picture of the intersection showing which lanes to turn in. The same display you see on the Nav screen. Is that cool or what? As a gadget guy, I've died and gone to heaven.

Driving around town you generally don't have the Nav routing you and don't have the cruise control on. So all you'll see most of the time is the current speed.

The HUD is in full color, too. The main speed and Nav directions show up in BMW Amber. The cruise information is green, and the "check messages" are in red. Start up the car and you'll see "Fasten Seat Belts" in red right in front of you.

With polarized sun glasses, the HUD mostly disappears. I have some polarized glasses and some non-polarized ones. There was a big difference seeing the HUD between them. If you get the HUD, you'll need to have non-polarized sunglasses probably.

I had no trouble seeing the HUD in the daylight. The only time it "disappeared" on me was when I happened to drive behind a white car.

Tomorrow, I'll get some pictures. I promise.
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Last edited by ibimmer346; 05-28-2010 at 11:10 AM.
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      05-28-2010, 01:59 AM   #2
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Congrats man.

Nice story. You're going to get used to the MT for sure.

But you have collected your F10 already as a US citizen before june 19th?

Anyway I have to wait just less than 2 weeks I guess.

What kind of wheels do you have?

Cheers
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      05-28-2010, 02:11 AM   #3
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Thx for your r.v, I guess the MT needs a bit of getting used to if you are coming from an AT. Enjoy ur F10!
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      05-28-2010, 05:24 AM   #4
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Thanks for the review. Sounds great.
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      05-28-2010, 05:32 AM   #5
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Congrats on your 535i and appreciate the review, I hope you enjoy it over the weekend more

POST PICS!
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      05-28-2010, 08:13 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ibimmer346 View Post
...I have Comfort Access and I have yet to see any key slot in the interior at all. There isn't one where the "ashtray" would be or anywhere else on the dash I've found. Guess you don't need one.....
Congrats. You are one of the first in the US to take delivery of the f10. Thank you for the insightful review.

The cup holder in the center console has two cup holders when the lid is open. There is an opening in middle space in front of the two cup holders. The key fob goes in there vertically. In place it sticks straight up.
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      05-28-2010, 08:36 AM   #7
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The clutch feels detached only because of the clutch delay valve. Get it replaced with a modified one and it'll be ok.
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      05-28-2010, 09:53 AM   #8
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Yes, bring a handful lot of the deep sea blue exterior photos (with different light conditions if possible)please, Im really interested

Quote:
Originally Posted by pharding View Post
Congrats. You are one of the first in the US to take delivery of the f10. Thank you for the insightful review.

The cup holder in the center console has two cup holders when the lid is open. There is an opening in middle space in front of the two cup holders. The key fob goes in there vertically. In place it sticks straight up.
That's only in the ones with auto trans. With manual the lay out is quite different, as described on the first post
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      05-28-2010, 10:08 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ibimmer346 View Post

{SNIP}
Any requests for more details about the car or pictures to take?
First of all, congratulations!

Does the tach have a variable redline? I have had that on a couple of Bimmers (both ///M models), and I liked having the guidance on how warm the car truly is, especially when starting out in winter.
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      05-28-2010, 11:02 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MBrown1003 View Post
Does the tach have a variable redline? I have had that on a couple of Bimmers (both ///M models), and I liked having the guidance on how warm the car truly is, especially when starting out in winter.
No there is not a variable red line on the tach. I think that's only on M models.
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      05-28-2010, 11:46 AM   #11
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Very cool...

Did you happen to receive an owners maual in pdf format? if so, would you be willing to share so we all can take a peek?
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      05-28-2010, 11:59 AM   #12
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You might be able to answer this since you got Nav, but does it have a compass anywhere? The E60 didn't have a compass anywhere, but my older 3 series had one and I really miss that.
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      05-28-2010, 12:35 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joberon View Post
Did you happen to receive an owners maual in pdf format? if so, would you be willing to share so we all can take a peek?
The PDF version will be on the BMW website eventually I'm sure. I got a paper version and there's an electronic one built into the car on the screen.
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      05-28-2010, 12:40 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TX535i View Post
You might be able to answer this since you got Nav, but does it have a compass anywhere? The E60 didn't have a compass anywhere, but my older 3 series had one and I really miss that.
Don't think so but I'll double-check. The heading is displayed on the nav screen though.
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      05-28-2010, 12:48 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pharding View Post
Congrats.
The cup holder in the center console has two cup holders when the lid is open. There is an opening in middle space in front of the two cup holders. The key fob goes in there vertically. In place it sticks straight up.
Not on the 6MT cars. The area in front of the shifter is an ashtray. Verified in the owner's manual there is no physical keyslot on MT cars. And I'm not sure that slot does anything on AT cars. If the keyless start malfunctions you have to hold the key next to a marked area on the steering column and start the car within 10 seconds. The book implies it's the same for AT and MT.
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      05-28-2010, 01:55 PM   #16
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My 2007 530i had a variable red line.

How were you so lucky to get the car before June 19th.
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      05-28-2010, 01:55 PM   #17
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Hey ibimmer346, you didn't comment on the HUD. What do you think of it? What information does it display? Is your cruise speed displayed (if you set it)? Is it visible in both daylight and at night? Do you think it's worth the cost?
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      05-28-2010, 01:58 PM   #18
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congrats! any pics? would be great to see that interior. I've seen around 30 F10s a month ago during a NATO summit here (they were courtesy cars). They looked quite small to me actually, or much better proportioned than the E60. the rear i epecially good!
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      05-28-2010, 02:14 PM   #19
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Congrats! And thank you for sharing your information. Would love to read some more about your driving impressions. Is it as sporty as you would expect for a midsize luxury BMW?
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      05-28-2010, 02:43 PM   #20
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congrats, my neighbor called me up to come out yesterday to see his friends... i wasnt home though
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      05-28-2010, 02:45 PM   #21
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congrats. The clutch/gear engagement are smoother on BMW than VAG, and I don't know about Hondas'. However, it shouldn't be to the point where you can't feel the engagement. Well, you will probably get used to it. I had a hard time getting used to my old zhp. I was so used to the E36 M3, that when I got my hands on the ZHP it was totally night and day, and it took me while to properly master the clutch on the ZHP.
Enjoy your car
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      05-28-2010, 03:20 PM   #22
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Congrats!

Let's see pics of the Deep Sea Blue!

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