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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 1500 Mile Update - Thoughts and Impressions on 535i
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      06-28-2010, 10:08 PM   #1
Hoss NY
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Cool 1500 Mile Update - Thoughts and Impressions on 535i

As promised, here’s my report after 1500 miles. I’m past the break-in period now and have driven the F10 for a month.

Specs

Model/Options: 535i Dark Graphite (Sophisto), Oyster/Black, Anthracite, ZCV, ZCW, ZDA, ZDH, ZP2, ZPP, ZSP, 2TB. Here’s the “Delivery” report with photos.

Performance

This is really a story about 4 cars (Comfort, Normal, Sport, Sport+), when talking about performance. You can definitely feel the difference when driving.

In comfort mode, the acceleration is controlled and smooth – the transmission keeps the rpms relatively low. There’s some damping in the acceleration from a start, which minimizes any jerks and jumps. The steering is relatively loose and the handling is soft. I would say the F10 feels similar to the E350 as far as steering and handling is concerned in this mode. Minor differences would be that the F10 in comfort mode feels a slight bit stiffer; the E350 a little smoother. The F10 in comfort mode also accelerates with much more authority than the E350. I drove them back-to-back at the UDE at Hunterdon BMW in NJ this weekend. Overall, the car is very comfortable in this mode – quiet, smooth and luxurious. My wife likes it the best as a passenger.

In normal mode, the steering and chassis stiffen a bit and the acceleration is a little less damped. It’s a good balance between sporty and luxurious. It revs about the same as comfort mode but feels more solid in the turns. The car handled cobblestone roads, tough patches of highway and road sections under construction much better than I expected in both normal and comfort mode. Great for highway cruising. The F10 cruises at 80+mph smoothly and effortlessly.

In sport mode, the chassis and steering become very solid and the throttle becomes instantly responsive. The shift points move up by about 500 rpms or so and the power is immediate at any speed. It's a blast to drive. We all know the specs. This is my normal mode for smooth, windy local roads and on-ramps. The ride can be a harsh on uneven roads or through a pothole minefield. But that’s sport mode. I honestly have not yet explored sport + mode.

There are two instances where I really notice and enjoy the sound of the N55 engine: (1) when accelerating modestly in normal mode it makes a powerful, low rumble, (2) when screaming at high rpms in sport mode you really feel it.

The bottom line is that the car behaves differently depending on the settings. You can change its performance based on your mood, passengers, road conditions, etc. This driving dynamics control is one of my favorite features.

The brakes are typical BMW -- extremely powerful.

Comfort/Convenience

The Navigation system has some very nice features. I like the split screen where you can have a perspective view on the left and the north facing view on the right. There are info windows that show you exactly what you need to know – current time, radio station, arrival time and distance to destination. I also like the dynamic routing to avoid traffic as much as possible as well as the alternate routing feature. Well done.

I remain impressed with the audio system. Satellite radio, ipod integration, and audio performance are all first class. Good quality sound is important to me and this car has it.

The Multi-contour seats are great. I like the way they conform to your back. On these hot summer days I sometimes think about the ventilated seat option. If you live in a hot climate, I could see lots of comfort value here.

The Convenience Package remains the one package I could have skipped and not missed. It works fine but I don’t think it’s worth the extra $. I got it based on the reviews and coolness factor – it’s just not very thrilling to me in real life.

The Fold-down rear seats make a huge difference for loading up the trunk with stuff at Home Depot or Costo. An 8x10 rug, 8 cases of drinks, 10 bags and boxes of grocery stuff with plenty of room left over for more.

BMW Assist with “reading” the news feature is almost useless. The engineers didn’t quite get this one finished before the code freeze deadline. Klunky.

After driving it around for a month, I’ve concluded the space is fine. I was debating on the F01 7 for space reasons but went with the F10 5 for the drive, keeping my fingers crossed that the rear legroom would be ok for my teenage kids (6’0” and 6’4”). No problem.

Safety

The Driver Assistance Package is, without question, the biggest positive surprise on this car. The lane departure warning and blind spot detection help make one a better driver. I like these features and almost always use them. They’re an extra check. I’m amazed at how well Auto high beams works. It works much faster and better than you could by manually shifting from high to low and back. And Parking Assistant – I’ve tried it in real combat parking situations and it works great. It has worked perfectly every time, including the first time I tried it. I highly recommend this package.

Looks

I’ve received a number of complements on the car, to my surprise. On the highway, people driving similar class cars pull up parallel and drift back a few times on either side to check out the F10. I’ve found people peering in the window in the parking lot. Typical comments include: “Hey is that the new 5? Sweet!” The best was in a parking lot when guy stopped and yelled out window, “Hey man, that car is hot as shXX!”

For those in the decision stage, I hope this helps in your car/options choices. I'll report again after a few more thousand miles.

Last edited by Hoss NY; 06-28-2010 at 10:14 PM.
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      06-28-2010, 10:57 PM   #2
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Thanks for the review as I just ordered one on Friday and it is nice to hear from current owners. Thanks again.
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      06-28-2010, 11:35 PM   #3
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Is the "normal mode" of the steering and suspension with ZDH the same as the standard set-up without ZDH?
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      06-28-2010, 11:57 PM   #4
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Any picts of the anthracite headliner (in daytime)?

Love your car...

Thanks in advance!
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      06-29-2010, 02:42 AM   #5
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Ditto... and Heads Up for new owners

Hoss - Good report out. Same experience here... I'm also pushing 1,000 miles after 3 weeks of ownership. Coincidentally, I do have the same color and specs as yours except that I have Beige interior and HUD (Heads Up Display) which I really really enjoy especially when I use it with Navigation. With HUD, road directions are much clearer, turn arrows are right in your face and you can always keep your eyes on the road without looking down. Most of my miles is the 300+ I picked up when I drove home from Southern California to the San Francisco Bay Area after taking delivery from a SoCal dealership - best deal I could find when I ordered in mid-April and it was worth way more than my one-way plane ticket to take delivery of the car. As you mentioned, ride is as smooth as silk in Comfort mode. Overall, a great driving experience so far.

Having not seen it, I gambled on Dark Graphite (Sophisto) when I ordered and boy am I happy with it! Depending on the time of the day, I really like the different shades and accents the color gives me - just like a reserved chameleon. I love it best in late afternoons when it is solid deep gray and then at high noon the metallic sparkles come out and you'll think the car is a different color altogether.

Seizing this opportunity to give a heads up to all new owners...Be very careful about what you put in the coin box and the cup holder trays in the center console. Do not store coins or similar items in them!! I did this and somehow I could not get both trays to latch or open properly because the coins found their way into crevices in the trays. I ended up at the dealer only to be told that they must remove the whole center console in order to get to the coins which had interrupted the open and close mechanisms. Imagine your new car being taken apart after just 3 weeks. So I went home and used my ingenuity using folded paper and a small hair tweezer to force the coins out. After about an hour or so, and many tries, I was able to get a nickel, a dime and a quarter out of the crevices. Now both tray mechanisms are working fine.
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      06-29-2010, 05:49 AM   #6
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makes me want to consider a 535 as opposed to a 550
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      06-29-2010, 08:31 AM   #7
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Nice story. I only have the 704 sports suspension and the 8 speed autobox with flippers... and I must say on long journeys it's comfy but in tighter bends it's still a boat so I think I'm going to buy the Eibach Pro Kit in about a few months. But in longer faster bends the somewhat floating chassis feels very secure and safe/fast. A real BMW...still.

The car is very quiet and the fuel consumption is so much better than the E90 M3 6MT I came from, also the autobox is doing a great job(a few years ago I hated autoboxes in general)

So to me the only thing is the boatlike behavior of the car in tighter bends which is somewhat logical, it's a small 7 series and still heavy.

Also the electric steering needs some time to getting used to. I 've driven 1200 miles now in 3 weeks...

The car is also 'fast enough', I several times touched 130/140mph(also today) no sweat where I'm from. Beyond 140mph it takes a little while to go to (topspeed on the speedo) 262kmh/163mph and still in a rather comfortable way.

Great car, but I want to have the suspension a few clicks sportier, more direct if possible(I'm running on Goodyear Excellence 19"RFT's)


Cheers
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      06-29-2010, 10:12 AM   #8
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Nice review, enjoyed reading it! How has your MPG been so far?
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      06-29-2010, 10:21 AM   #9
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Great write up.

Is the dynamic routing for traffic a free feature or is there a subscription fee for it?
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      06-29-2010, 10:36 AM   #10
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GREAT review.
1. Active Ventilated Seat Option. - I live in a warm climate so this is something that I'm sure I was going to get some mileage out of. The cooling feature is instantaneous and keeps you from suffering STS (Sweaty Taint Syndrome). I could do without the active seat portion, as it's behavior is rather odd. I haven't gone on any long trips, so I can't vouch for or against it yet.

2. Convenience Package - I have to disagree. I have a bit of a tight squeeze in my 2 car garage and the fact you don't have to slam the door makes this is a great feature. (One unintended consequence, is that I keep half-way closing the doors on my other 2 cars that don't have this feature. Oops. The auto close trunk is also great because the model without this feature takes some effort to close the boot. Not herculean, but not as easy as the E350. It's really the comfort access that makes this package shine. Keeping the key in your pocket (purse) at all times makes entry and exit seamless. Once you get accustomed to this. Having to fish for a key-fob seems ridiculous.

3.Driver Assistance Package - Lane departure warning is least useful in my mind. The steering wheel doesn't vibrate with enough force and I found it to be a little annoying at times. The blind spot detection is very useful, but sometimes in bright sunlight the yellow indicator lamps tend to get washed out and a bit hard to see. At night they're brilliant. The Parking assistant has been the biggest surprise. This car is very WIDE. Your much more likely to damage this car during parking and not driving. I had to parallel park at night in a hill in the dark by the beach in an area I was unfamiliar with. It takes all the guess work out of, (I hope I don't scratch these rims on the curb, fear).

4. Your performance assessment couldn't be more accurate. Car can be mild mannered Clark Kent, or Superman. You have the power to control it. I honestly haven't tried Sport + yet either. People have bitched incessantly about the RFT's on previous BMW's. These Good Year tires have been great so far, but only time will tell.
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      06-29-2010, 12:00 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tk005x View Post
Is the dynamic routing for traffic a free feature or is there a subscription fee for it?
The car gets traffic information over FM. There's no subscription for it. But it does mean you need something broadcasting that information in your local area. It works in San Diego. Not sure about other locations.
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      06-29-2010, 12:04 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tk005x View Post
Great write up.

Is the dynamic routing for traffic a free feature or is there a subscription fee for it?
Free with Navi.
The news, weather, Google search, concierge, etc. are cost features: $200/year for the Convenience Plan through BMW Assist.
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      06-29-2010, 12:05 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TDS1 View Post
Nice review, enjoyed reading it! How has your MPG been so far?
After 1400 miles of fill-ups, my overall mileage has been 22.5mpg. That includes mostly city driving with some highway driving. This is on a 535i with 6MT. Fuel cost of 15 cents per mile.

Compared to my Jetta diesel where I've had a fuel cost of 9 cents per mile.

(I use the Gas Cubby iPhone app to track this data. It's a cool app.)
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      06-29-2010, 06:08 PM   #14
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Thank you Gents for the great feedback. It is always welcomed.
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      06-29-2010, 08:59 PM   #15
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Very good review - thanks.
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      06-29-2010, 09:33 PM   #16
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do these different modes require an option package or does it come standard, also, how do you access this when your driving the car. I test drove one the other day and swore I would never buy one because the suspension was too soft. I would have loved to have dialed it in a bit like you did. also, I noticed the sport package doesn't offer a suspension upgrade. why not? is that because of these driving modes you mention above?
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      06-29-2010, 11:11 PM   #17
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In the U.S. BMW decided to separate out the suspension package from the rest of the Sport Package. So if you want the selectable suspension, you must get the Dynamic Handling package (ZDH) to get the sportier suspension. ZDH requires you also get the Sport Package as well. With the dynamic handling package, there is a rocker switch next to the shifter where you can select, at any time, between one of 4 suspension modes.

And if you want even more you can get the Integral Active Steering option which requires you get ZSP and ZDH. This option has steering that's more responsive at all speeds. And IAS offers 4-wheel steering that allows for more stable control at high speed and tighter turning at low speeds (according to BMW). I have the IAS option on my car and I really like it.
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      06-30-2010, 08:52 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ibimmer346 View Post
In the U.S. BMW decided to separate out the suspension package from the rest of the Sport Package. So if you want the selectable suspension, you must get the Dynamic Handling package (ZDH) to get the sportier suspension. ZDH requires you also get the Sport Package as well. With the dynamic handling package, there is a rocker switch next to the shifter where you can select, at any time, between one of 4 suspension modes.

And if you want even more you can get the Integral Active Steering option which requires you get ZSP and ZDH. This option has steering that's more responsive at all speeds. And IAS offers 4-wheel steering that allows for more stable control at high speed and tighter turning at low speeds (according to BMW). I have the IAS option on my car and I really like it.
slick, sounds pricey though. may be cheaper to go with aftermarket suspension
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      06-30-2010, 09:55 AM   #19
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This might be of some importancy for EU continental F10 owners:

You might think:"Robin RTFM" but anyway. I've driven my 535iA with 704 sportssuspension(1 cm lowered and a bit more sporty chassis, no electronics I thought, not available icw all the electronic handling stuff, only available atm in EU continental) for 3 weeks now.

And there is the sportsbutton on the centreconsole: Normal/Sport/Sport+. I just thought , that's about the auto tranny which revs a bit longer in sport/+.

I pushed the button a few times in traffic and didn't notice anything more than imo just a 'placebo'effect, just because I dont have the electronic dampers and stuff. So I switched it back to normal after a few seconds.

Yesterday I kept it in sportsmode and the IDrive said(as ever) :Optimal tranny an CHASSIS for sporty driving(including a picture of the internals of the car) I didn't pay any attention to that, until.....I found out the steering was getting heavier and the suspension was getting more rigid. No placeboeffect at all. The car remains stiffer in bends and the steering is less 'Cadillac'like!

WOW. It's like a free gift!

Another F10(530d Sportautomatic +704 M technik) driver from another dutch carforum confirmed what I said.

Any input from EU F10 drivers with the option 704 icw the sportautotranny?

Cheers
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      06-30-2010, 05:26 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robin Hood View Post
This might be of some importancy for EU continental F10 owners:

You might think:"Robin RTFM" but anyway. I've driven my 535iA with 704 sportssuspension(1 cm lowered and a bit more sporty chassis, no electronics I thought, not available icw all the electronic handling stuff, only available atm in EU continental) for 3 weeks now.

And there is the sportsbutton on the centreconsole: Normal/Sport/Sport+. I just thought , that's about the auto tranny which revs a bit longer in sport/+.

I pushed the button a few times in traffic and didn't notice anything more than imo just a 'placebo'effect, just because I dont have the electronic dampers and stuff. So I switched it back to normal after a few seconds.

Yesterday I kept it in sportsmode and the IDrive said(as ever) :Optimal tranny an CHASSIS for sporty driving(including a picture of the internals of the car) I didn't pay any attention to that, until.....I found out the steering was getting heavier and the suspension was getting more rigid. No placeboeffect at all. The car remains stiffer in bends and the steering is less 'Cadillac'like!

WOW. It's like a free gift!

Another F10(530d Sportautomatic +704 M technik) driver from another dutch carforum confirmed what I said.

Any input from EU F10 drivers with the option 704 icw the sportautotranny?

Cheers
Robin
Robin Hood, AFAIK, the Normal/Sport/Sport+ in the Sports Auto transmission changes the throttle map, the transmission change up points and the steering response. If I understand you correctly, together with the M-Sport (704) suspension, it also affects the suspension, making it stiffer/sportier when Sport/Sport+ is selected. This is very interesting indeed.

Would you be able to post the link to the Dutch car forum that you mentioned?

Thanks.
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      06-30-2010, 06:42 PM   #21
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Quote:
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Nice review, enjoyed reading it! How has your MPG been so far?
Thanks. My mileage has averaged about 22 mpg overall with a mix of sport and normal. High twenties in highway cruising so far.
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      06-30-2010, 10:51 PM   #22
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i test drove the F10 a couple weekends ago at a BMW Ultimate driving event. i got to drive it back to back with the latest generation E350.

my opinion, the F10 beats the mercedes in every performance category. it just feels like a true sports sedan. the benz is quite sloppy.

is the F10 better than the E60? maybe. you guys might think so. but in my opinion its not a better car than the E60. its larger in nearly every dimension which is better for comfort, but it is a couple hundred pounds heavier and feels slower than the E60 535i.

it handles the corners about the same as the E60, but the E60 just feels more spirited.

bout the only thing i liked about the car was the high resolution screen. its pretty impressive.

thats about it. i'm keeping my E60 for quite some time; maybe BMW will sell me on the 7th iteration of the 5.
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