2011 BMW 5 Series Long Term Road Test

2011 BMW 528i: Fix The Throttle Response In One Easy Step

December 15, 2011

12_bmw_528i_front.JPG Step One: Buy a 2012 BMW 528i.

Hey, I said it was easy, not inexpensive. This is, however, a sure-fire, 100% effective solution to the crummy throttle response in our longterm 2011 BMW 528i. Hit the jump to learn why.

A 2012 BMW 528i recently showed up at Edmunds Global HQ for a few days, so I -- being the most vocal critic of our longtermer's driveability -- saw fit to spend some time with it. And I'm pleased to report that with the 2012 5er, BMW has exorcised all trace of our longtermer's throttle hesitation. Dip the throttle from a standstill in the 2012 model and the car immediately picks up. It's seamless and responsive, just as you'd expect from a normally aspirated straight six.

Except that you're not driving a normally aspirated straight six. The 2012 528i has a new, turbocharged (gasp!) four cylinder engine.

That's right, the new turbo four has better throttle response than the erstwhile inline six. To be clear, the '11 528i's hesitation seemed to be electronic in nature, perhaps some monkey motion associated with the drive-by-wire throttle/Valvetronic system. You'd dip into the throttle and for a brief, maddening moment, nothing would happen. At all. This to me is the telltale of something electron-fed and not a purely mechanical characteristic.

Whatever the case, the newfound alertness to throttle inputs is a welcome change.

There's more - the new turbo four has a (selectable) start/stop system that shuts off the engine when you reach a halt. You'd think this would defeat all the response-y goodness. You'd be wrong. Even with the start/stop system activated, the new car still manages to out-respond the old one.

Plus, this four cylinder is smooth and torquey and is said to provide better fuel economy than the six cylinder. The four cylinder engine could sound better, sure. But I'll trade that for the wholesale improvement in throttle response the 2012 model brings.

--Jason Kavanagh, Engineering Editor

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The Edmunds TCO® estimated monthly insurance payment for a 2011 BMW 5 Series in VA is:

$150 per month*
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