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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 Autoblog Reviews 2011 550i
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      09-24-2010, 11:16 AM   #1
Jason
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Autoblog Reviews 2011 550i

Autoblog has posted its full length review of the 2011 BMW 550i:

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The BMW 5 Series isn't nearly as old as General Sherman, but it does have its own impressive lineage. Designed as a replacement for the "New Six" sedans in the early 1970s, the 5 Series was the fifth of BMW's "new series" cars. The first 5 Series sedans (known internally as type E12) were fitted with four- or six-cylinder gasoline engines sending power to the rear wheels. The second-generation models (E28) followed the same template, but that chassis is credited with introducing diesel powerplants and the amazing M5 the fastest production sedan on the planet when it was launched in 1984. The third-generation platform (E34) brought enthusiasts eight-cylinder power, an engine configuration that found its way under the hood of the fourth-generation (E39) M5 model. The fifth-generation model (E60) has been around since 2004. Last year, it was offered with a twin-turbo inline-6, V8 and V10 (M5) powerplants.

As you read in our First Drive in January, the all-new sixth-generation 5 Series (F10) has moved significantly upscale. Now riding on a modified 7 Series platform (thus making it easy for BMW to produce both the 5 Series and 7 Series at its plant in Dingolfing, Germany), the slightly smaller sedan nearly equals its bigger sibling when it comes to luxurious appointments and ride comfort. The two even share most of the same powerplants and drivelines.



At the launch of the 5 Series, we spent countless hours behind the wheel of the "entry-level" 535i model equipped with BMW's single-turbo "N55" inline-6 and new eight-speed automatic. That car was fitted with the optional paddle shifters (Sport Automatic) and next-generation electric Integral Active Steering (IAS). Now we now have our hands on the range-topping 400-horsepower 550i with the standard automatic transmission and standard electric steering.

The base MSRP of the 2011 BMW 550i is $59,700 (plus $875 destination). Our test car, wearing Titanium Silver Metallic paint over Cinnamon Brown leather, is fitted with the Convenience Package (comfort access entry), Dynamic Handling Package, Premium Package 2 (rearview camera, rear sunshades, heated front seats, iPod and USB adapter, satellite radio and premium hi-fi audio), Sport Package (19-inch alloys, sport steering wheel and multi-contour seats) and split fold-down rear seats. The bold number at the bottom of our window sticker reads $70,450.



Interestingly enough, our car isn't heavily optioned. In fact, we would have added the Sport Automatic with shift paddles (more on that later), four-zone climate control and Smartphone integration. While we don't condone such behavior, you can further burden your 5 Series with night vision, side and top view cameras, a head-up display, radar cruise control and 20-inch factory alloy wheels. With a heavy hand on the options list, a non-M model 2011 5 Series can top $95,000. *Gulp.*

The cabin of our test car arrived loaded with premium Dakota leather (standard on the 550i) and dark Burl Ash wood with contrasting aluminum trim. A silver exterior over brown upholstery isn't a color combination they teach at Art Center in Pasadena, but it looks sharp in the new sheet metal. Primary instrumentation is logically distributed and easy-to-read under nearly all conditions (kudos to BMW for giving us an oil temperature gauge). Satellite navigation, standard on the 550i, upgrades the center information screen to a razor-sharp 10.2-inch 1280 x 480 pixel "transreflective" display, meaning light from the sun actually enhances the images on the screen (the screen, and all other displays, are easily read through polarized sunglasses, too). The passenger compartment is beautifully trimmed, both inviting and functional, but the big news is under the hood.


In contrast to the 3.0-liter single-turbo "N55" inline-six found under the hood of the 535i (rated at 300 horsepower and 300 pound-feet of torque), the 550i is fitted with a direct-injected 4.4-liter twin-turbo "N63" V8 punching out 400 horsepower and a stump-pulling 450 pound-feet of torque. While a six-speed manual transmission is available (more kudos to BMW), our test car arrived fitted with the automaker's new buttery-smooth eight-speed automatic (ZF 8HP70). The two turbochargers, nestled in the valley between the cylinders, do a fine job of boosting atmospheric pressure right off idle. Throttle lag is negligible, and power is strong and seamless. BMW says the 550i will hit 60 mph in five seconds flat on its way towards an artificial electronic wall at 150 mph. Until the next-gen M5 arrives, this is the quickest 5 Series on the market.

We had one week with the 550i. As most vehicles appear rather competent in 20-minute bursts around town, when speeds never exceed 50 mph and seats always feel fresh and comfortable, we had something a bit more challenging in mind for BMW's new 5 Series we took it to visit General Sherman. With four people on board and a decent amount of gear in the trunk, the one-day, 600-mile round-trip drive involved hundreds of miles of mind-numbing highways, capped by an invigorating 7,000-foot climb into the southern Sierra Nevada mountain range. The plan was to turn around and head back home that night.



The 5 Series sedan would prove to be a comfortable fit. Our six-foot two-inch frame drops into the 18-way multi-contour front seats and melts. With articulated upper backrests, and extendable lower cushions, the seats are more comfortable than your mother's womb (and they heat up equally as warm). The rear seats are acceptable for adults, but the space would never be considered generous, as the backs of the front seats are not sculpted for rear passenger knees. (In truth, the 5 Series rear seating area only has about an inch in every dimension on the smaller 3 Series "E90" sedan.) We did find trouble installing a child booster in the back seat, as the thick outboard seat bolsters forced the plastic seat inward, covering the female end of the seatbelt buckle.

Nevertheless, nobody chooses a BMW 5 Series for interior room they select it for the way it drives.

Last year's 550i (E60) was fitted with a 4.8-liter normally-aspirated "N62" V8, rated at 360 horsepower and 360 pound-feet of torque. It's hard to believe, but the new 400 horsepower twin-turbo 4.4-liter makes the outgoing engine seem anemic. Around town, the 550i launches with serious authority. The accelerator goes down and all skulls are pressed back into the head restraints. Strangely enough, there isn't a whole lot of noise to accompanying the thrust - it's eerie, almost electric. The eight-speed gearbox (the 535i and 550i do not share the same transmission) shifts through the gears smoothly, but not as quickly as we would have expected.
Rest of review here: http://www.autoblog.com/2010/09/24/2...est/#continued
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      09-24-2010, 12:20 PM   #2
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decent review but I dont know what they are saying about the car not being optioned out. It has the Convenience Package (comfort access entry, automatic high beams), Dynamic Handling Package (adjustable supension, 4 wheel Steering, and active roll stabilization) Premium Package 2 (rearview camera, rear sunshades, heated front seats, iPod and USB adapter, satellite radio and premium hi-fi audio), Sport Package (19-inch alloys, sport steering wheel and multi-contour seats) and split fold-down rear seats.
If the want the sport automatic and smartphone intergration it adds a WHOPPING $650 to the price.

As for the other options mentioned they are also options on the competitors cars as well. Also I sell and have sold BMWs for over 6 years and have sold radar cruise TWICE and have yet to sell rear climate control for the 5 series sedan. I wonder what car they drive to say the car didnt have a lot of options. They mush have a fuly loaded bentley or something. As for the $95,000 price you can make an e class cost $95,000 if you install every single options plus accesories so what is the point of mentioning that? I have yet to sell one of these for over $75,000 and I dont think anyone here has deliveried a 550i at even $75,000.

The majority of 550i go out about 69000-72,000 which is actually a great price considering a fully loaded 335i sedan is only $15,000-$17,000 LESS. The 550i is actually LESS money than an M3 by thousands. Would I take a 550i over an M3? No way but it IMO the best mid size 4 door anyone is offering this days espically because you can get a real manual transmission which feels great in the 550i. One area where the 550i (any new body 5 for that matter) could be better is in sterring feel. The sterring is a little light but still feels light years beyon Lexus and Mercedes and better than the A6. Just a quick review from me how the car stacks up and I wanted to explain the pricing further.
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      09-24-2010, 12:53 PM   #3
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ahhh...a jersey resident i cant wait to see this car up close in white
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      09-24-2010, 12:58 PM   #4
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Damn the first real review of the 550I and its pretty much one mans opinion. For that I'd rather here from all the owners who have already recieved theirs on here. I want a magazine that is actually gonna do a review by the numbers like insideline just did on the 535I.
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      09-24-2010, 01:12 PM   #5
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Quote "We had one week with the 550i....

The steering is properly weighed and incredibly accurate, but a bit numb ("isolated" is probably a better description). There has been a lot of negative press with regards to new electric steering technology, but we didn't find it a deal breaker as it seems to match the tone set by the rest of the vehicle. That said, we became accustom to it within an hour and didn't have any problems dodging cantaloupe-sized pine cones in the road.

Our big gripe, however, is directed at the transmission. To be perfectly blunt, there isn't a single electronic setting we like. When the toggle (located to the left of the transmission shifter) is in "Comfort" or "Normal" mode, the gearbox seems to have a mind of its own as it constantly shifts to higher gears seeking fuel economy (EPA 17 mpg city / 25 mpg highway). In search of more power, we keep goosing the throttle commanding the opposite reaction. On the other hand, when in "Sport" or "Sport+" mode, the transmission is more responsive but wouldn't go into eighth gear. As we alluded to earlier, our test car is missing the "Sport Automatic" option, a serious omission. This $500 upgrade adds proper paddle shifters and remaps the transmission for faster shifting (plus, it allows you to further tune the steering and throttle response through the Driving Dynamics Control). It could only make things better.

... The remaining question is whether this change in focus will let enough light through the 5 Series' stifling canopy for more sporting competitors to grab a foothold."

No problem of so called play/numb on-center. The last para implies that it is still the king in its class

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      09-24-2010, 02:10 PM   #6
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wow that turbo'd V8 will have some nice tuning potential also..
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      09-24-2010, 02:13 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ALPINE6SPD View Post
decent review but I dont know what they are saying about the car not being optioned out.
Quote "Interestingly enough, our car isn't heavily optioned. In fact, we would have added the Sport Automatic with shift paddles (more on that later), four-zone climate control and Smartphone integration."

Fair view. The sport automatic transmission is a must have for an F10 auto, and $500 for it is comparatively, peanuts, I would say

Last edited by bm323; 09-24-2010 at 08:35 PM.
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      09-24-2010, 02:31 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bm323 View Post
Quote "Interestingly enough, our car isn't heavily optioned. In fact, we would have added the Sport Automatic with shift paddles (more on that later), four-zone climate control and Smartphone integration."

Fair view. The sport automatic transmission is a must have for an F10 auto, and $500 for it is comparatively peanuts I would say
I think the sport auto tranny also gets you leather wrap around the base of the auto stick. Make is look a lot nicer:
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      09-24-2010, 04:52 PM   #9
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wow 550 is awsome
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      09-24-2010, 05:32 PM   #10
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nice review.
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      09-24-2010, 08:48 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ALPINE6SPD View Post

Would I take a 550i over an M3? No way but it IMO the best mid size 4 door anyone is offering this days espically because you can get a real manual transmission which feels great in the 550i. One area where the 550i (any new body 5 for that matter) could be better is in sterring feel. The sterring is a little light but still feels light years beyon Lexus and Mercedes and better than the A6.
I agree with you man. I would also take the M3 any day. But it's meant for a different customer.

I have driven pretty much every new premium midsize luxury sedan out there, and prefer the new 5er over all of them. Also had a chance to really push the new 550i on the performance track at Spartanburg, SC. The steering does feel a bit numb compared to the last gen. However it's incredibly accurate and feels better than the competition. I'm anxious to see how the new M5 steering feels.
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