Down to Details - 2011 BMW 528i Long-Term Road Test

2011 BMW 5 Series Long Term Road Test

2011 BMW 528i: Down to Details

June 09, 2011

BMW 528-EQ.jpg

There's plenty to moan about with our 528i, but there's also plenty to praise. Here are a few details worth noting:

The 7-band EQ: You have better odds of finding typewriter ribbon at an Apple Store than seeing anything more than a three-band equalizer in most of today's cars, even sport-lux models like the 528. But only a few screens deep within the iDrive menu is a seven-band EQ control.

It's a little cumbersome.

Twist the iDrive knob to hover over the frequency band you want to change, push the button to select, twist the knob again for increase/decrease, the press again to exit.

The iDrive's twist-push-press makes you miss tactile faders or knobs from something like an old AudioControl unit, where you can reach out and make snap adjustments. But I imagine it becomes a pretty seamless sequence with practice, and really applicable for those with audio OCD. As Doug Newcomb noted though, all the EQ in the world can't save crummy tone at the source, and the 528 stock audio set flat does sound a little fuzzy and ill-defined.

BMW 528-door handle.jpg

The Handshake: Ed mentioned that both the M56 and the 528i's door handles felt somewhat hollow and plastic. Can't disagree on the 528 observation; you expect something with more mass. Every ounce counts I guess, but the 528 handles are at least thick enough not to feel fragile and they have a nice, damped pull. I can't believe I've spent this much thought on a door handle, but I'll give it up to the product planners who probably end up at the dinner table across from their wives, talking about Susie's day at school, all the while lost in thought about the proper damping rate for the rear passenger door handles.

BMW 528-buckle.jpg

The Recessed Buckle: stays out of your rear-seat passengers way, but easy to grab when you have the occasional rider in the middle. Small detail, but maybe one of those things that reaffirms the purchase and the price.

Dan Frio, Automotive Editor

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