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Recent Comments about the 535/550

Old 05-25-2007, 08:03 PM
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Car & Driver:

After driving all varieties of 5-series, this is the car that was unanimously voted the best buy. The 200 pound weight-savings over the more powerful 550i results in a car that feels more balanced, with a sportier feel and greater willingness to engage and conquer corners on the roads snaking down toward Death Valley?s floor, 282 feet below sea level. Even better, the 535i should be good for scampering to 60 mph in the mid-to-high five-second range, nearly running with the far more expensive 550i.
...

As torquey as the 550i is, though, it is only marginally quicker than the 535i, and as the road bent deeper into the mountains, we noticed the additional weight in the nose more and more. For all the additional power of the V-8, the overtly sporting nature of the car in six-cylinder guise is spoiled. It feels surprisingly ponderous and much larger than the smaller-engined cars?still a gratifyingly fast and powerful four-door, but no longer a sports sedan.

The twin-turbo inline-six, quite frankly, renders the 550i obsolete, a tool for ignorant status seekers and those with a vendetta against Mother Earth. If that?s the way you feel, though, save yourself $10,000 and just turn on the pump at a gas station and lay the nozzle on the ground. In addition to the inline-six?s better feel and responses at the limit and better fuel economy, the 535i just barely trails the 550i in performance categories that matter on U.S. shores. Maybe on a German autobahn the additional power would come in handy at high speeds, but here, that ten grand would be better funneled into heated seats and the Sport package.
See http://www.caranddriver.com/previews/13051...w-5-series.html for the full text.

Bill Howard, BMWCCA:

The new six-cylinder engines make a big difference. The 3.0-liter six in the base 528i is indeed powerful, much like the old 535i. The 3.0-liter turbocharged six in the 535i continues to be cat quick, as it is in the 3 Series sedans and coupes, and returns fuel economy on the high side of 20 mph in you don?t punch the throttle too much. The 550i with the same V8 engine as last year adds a bit more power on top of the 535i, but frankly it may not be much and we expect 550i sales will shrink a bit as part of the 5 Series sales pie.
See http://www.bmwcca.org/node/8275 for the full text.

Lou
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Old 05-25-2007, 08:08 PM
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Can?t get the sport package and paint colors that come on the 550i with lesser 5ers. BMW is still able to distinguish the different models.
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Old 05-25-2007, 08:18 PM
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Interesting article. Maybe I will go with the 535 after all. This appears to be a more efficient use of my funds to purchase the car and to save money on gas, while reducing greenhouse gases.

I do not understand why this thread is being pushed off from the main forum. Is this news that we should not see?
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Old 05-25-2007, 08:25 PM
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Originally Posted by pharding' post='428432' date='May 25 2007, 11:18 PM
Maybe I will go with the 535 after all. This appears to be a more efficient use of my funds to purchase the car and to save money on gas, while reducing greenhouse gases.
It is a tough decision, and one I keep going back and forth on as well.

Consider that the 550 Sport Package is a very nicely equipped car, and offers some pretty nice extras (M-Tech suspension, 19's, etc.). If you drive 10,000 mies per year, and gas is $3.50/gallon over that time frame, the 550 will only cost an additional $175 - $275/year using the EPA ratings of 15/23 mpg with the automatic. The money savings are not all that great. However, IF (and it's a big if) BMW releases an enhanced 550 engine in 2009 (perhaps a twin turbo?), what will happen to the value of the 08 550's compared to that of the 535's with the new I6 twin turbo engine?

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Old 05-26-2007, 11:33 AM
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It's disappointing that even though they tested a 550i Sport that it felt ponderous. I was hopeful that the new suspension would be tighter.

We read similar reviews between the 530 and 545 when the E60 first came out ... that the 530 had better balance and was more fun to toss around. But the V8s used to have a 100HP advantage over the inline 6s. Not any more ... the gap is down to about 40HP (the bi-turbo is certainly underrated at 300HP). So C&D has a point that the 550 seems less relevant now.

It is a tough choice - especially when you can boost the power of the bi-turbo so easily. But the 550i sports package is a sweet deal ... I'd go for the 550 again.
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Old 05-26-2007, 12:14 PM
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Originally Posted by tachyon' post='428624' date='May 26 2007, 02:33 PM
But the 550i sports package is a sweet deal.
What's the "real difference" between the "regular sport" and "M-Sport" suspension?

Lou
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