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BMW 5 Series, Sedan, Wagon
#237 of 540 Arrogance...
May 21, 2003 (7:39 pm)
Back in 1998 when I first started contemplating BMW ownership, I was really turned off by the generally prevailing stereotype regarding the arrogant folks who drove BMWs, and I did not want to become associated with folks of that ilk in any way shape or form. Fortunately after a single test drive (yes I drove it, not my gardener or my chauffeur for that matter); I was convinced that I would deal with the negative stigma and move on. At the same time as I was shopping, I was also starting to contribute here in the town hall, and was impressed with the general decorum of the folks in the BMW discussions, not at all what the stereotype might suggest. There are however, exceptions, and as a rule, the folks who stand out as being more closely aligned with the “Stereotypical BMW owner” are folks who seem to be intolerant of the opinions of others.
For the record, I do not like the E60, and if that offends anybody, that is not my problem. For those who like the E60, I can only say that I am glad they have found a car that they like.
#238 of 540 idrive - Toronto_guy
May 21, 2003 (7:58 pm)
I really doubt that all high-end cars will have versions of idrive (with internet bells and whistles) in 10 yrs. This isn't some abstract guess, I work in a field closely associated with the telematics industry.
I was at the Telematics conference in Detroit in 2000 when Ford and Qualcomm announced Wingcast, an all singing and dancing 'mobile office' initiative. There were presentations on getting stock quotes, booking hotels, making dinner reservations, having your car transmit error codes directly to your dealership then check your calendar and book an appointment and on and on .....
Meanwhile, OnStar gave one clear message - "you're driving on a deserted road at 3 am, hit a tree and are injured, how do you get help?" That simplicity really resonated and the "safety and security" aspect of telematics became the predominant theme. At a time when cell phone use is being legislated away, the trend is for less distractions while driving, not more. Wingcast folded in 2002 and OnStar turned a profit in Q1 2003.
The problem with idrive is that it requires concentration and eyes off the road to operate (unless you want to pull over and stop to change a few settings). Ok, so many idrive controls are replicated elsewhere, then why have idrive? BMW could replace the manual/visual components of idrive with voice commands, but again, why have idrive in the first place?
It seems that BMW have taken a "because we can" attitude in developing idrive. The best guess is that it will either disappear or evolve to be an entirely different system more in line with safety considerations and consumer demand.
May 22, 2003 (12:29 am)
I have been following the development of E60 with keen interest, paying especially close attention to 545i. All indication seems that the Active Front Steering will be standard on 545i6. I am real worried about this AFS. In addition to the high rate of failures (as seen by many testers in Sardinia), what worries me even more is when it actually does work. Quoting Richard Bremner of www.channel4.com (I can't find the link any more) "the problem was all in our heads - literally. ... Your brain was geared itself to the steering's rate of response around town. Back on the open road, you're dealing with a different steering calibration. ... My colleague underestimated the amount he needed to turn the wheel to take right turn, which certainly startled the driver in the Punto coming the other way."
I understand the brain will adjust and remember after certain practice. However the thought of my better half who, most likely an occassion driver of the bimmer because of MT, may not fully master this AFS and find herself staring at an oncoming truck, is really troubling.
May 22, 2003 (5:23 am)
zhangqi... The reviews I've read in the dedicated automotive press from knowledgeable experts, including those who test drove cars with and without AFS, have been positive. I have yet to find a negative discussion about AFS from various sources.
Have you checked out Edmunds first thoughts on the new 5 Series?
#241 of 540 RE: karmikan
May 22, 2003 (10:14 am)
Mike, please e-mail me when you have a minute: snagielyahoo.com. Thanks.
May 22, 2003 (12:23 pm)
Recent "First Drive" review at Edmunds can be found here.
#243 of 540 aesthetics and i-drive
May 22, 2003 (1:35 pm)
As for the look of the new 5, I really like it a lot. I own an '01 525, and my wife has an '02 X5 and we both really love the new body styles. I think the new 7 is one of the hottest cars around. But beauty is in the eye of the beholder. If you don't like it, that's a shame since the 5 is probably the best car in its class.
As for the i-drive, I was hoping they would have simplified it a lot from the 7, but it doesn't really sound like they have. I would actually prefer some other standard luxury features like a great in-dash 6-disc changer, auto-headlights and such that other cars in this class already offer. However, I do give BMW a lot of credit for pushing the technology envelope. You have to take some chances and go out on a limb in order to revolutionize things instead of just incremental upgrades. Just my opinion.
#244 of 540 Looks vs Performance
May 22, 2003 (1:57 pm)
Like I said in an earlier post, it took me a while to adjust to the 1997 5 when it debuted. I was in my 1990 5 and have grown to love its look. But the reason I bought the 1990 5 was performance(esp handling). There were other cars(e.g. Mercedes) that look better but since I was the one doing the driving, performance was more important.
In my opinion, my 1990 5 looks as good as my 1997 5. But in the performance department, we are talking about 7 years of engineering refinement in the works. That is a hard fact to ignore especially from a company like BMW. So when I test drove the 1997 5, it was its performance that won me over, not the looks.
The 2004 5 would have to work the same magic in the performance department (its look is fine) for me to sign those papers.
I somewhat agree that some people buy BMW for the badge - the “Stereotypical BMW owner" but for me that was the furthest from my mind.
FWIW, I think the M coupe would have been perfect if I don't already have my 2-seater sports car which has comparable performance.
#245 of 540 AFS by riez
May 22, 2003 (2:23 pm)
Yes I have read Edmunds first drive of E60 as well as many others including the one written by Richard Bremner that I quoted in a previous post.
Several testers mentioned that AFS failed during hard winding road testing, and they had to use Microsoft solutions (shut down and power up) to reboot. Sometimes even the reboot failed to bring it back on. They also mentioned that BMW engineers on hand had no clue what the problem was. They suspected something electrical (sounds familiar? E65?). Someone called the first batch of E60 buyers "beta testers", I would agree, having been a "beta tester" myself years ago. What a mistake!
Back to AFS, most press reviews on E60 were written by people who, I would say, are very experienced, very good drivers. However that can't be said for general 5-series buyers. How many E39 are auto? How many E39 are driven by women? How many are old?
My point is not to start a debate of auto vs manual or about women or old driver, it is rather that the vast majority of future E60 owners will not have Michael Shumacher-like reflexes or experience to deal with a sudden malfunction of something as critical as steering wheel. If one person gets injured due to this new technology, that is one too many to me.
So I wish the AFS will be a STAND-ALONE option (not bundled with ZSP) or can be turned off intentionally, to give people a choice.
May 22, 2003 (2:36 pm)
Yes, I agree with you. In fact it should be an OPTION, maybe in a luxury package. I don't want to have to pay for it and have to leave it OFF all the time.
AFS are for Cadillac and 18-wheeler, no?