2011 BMW 5 Series Long Term Road Test

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2011 BMW 528i: The 'Nail' in Our Tire

July 25, 2011

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Here's an addendum to Mr. Dover's Saturday post on our 2011 BMW 528i's new rear tires. You'll recall that Santa Monica BMW went to yellow alert when a service technician reportedly found a nail in our long-term car's left front tire.

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2011 BMW 528i: Skipping

July 25, 2011

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Our long-term 2011 BMW 528 got new rear tires on Friday, just before I took it for the weekend. Mike Schmidt warned me to take it easy for a bit to break them in. I told him, sure, I know. I related to him a story of a friend of mine in Detroit who had never fallen from his motorbike. Until he got a new rear tire and rode fast just after mounting it. That big, greasy donut spun up and spat him off in a corner. "I don't know about those Dunlops," he said. The rest of us in the riding group asked him if he forgot about wearing off the tire mold release...

By coincidence, we also got Dunlops on our 528 -- 18-inch runflat SP Sport Maxx GTs. After driving 100 miles (more than enough to scrub the tires), I decided to drive quickly on a freeway on-ramp. The pavement turned out to be bumpy, and the rear of the car noticeably skipped a few times going around the bend. Nothing to get worried about, though.

I hadn't notice this before in the 528, but I will try it when I get it the next time I get the car. Because those tires should have been scrubbed in by then.

Albert Austria, Senior VE Engineer @ 17,600 miles

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2011 BMW 528i: Free Maintenance is Expensive

July 23, 2011

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See how smooth the rear tires are on our 2011 BMW 528i? Like a baby's butt. And as anyone who has been around a baby's butt knows, those things aren't safe. We needed new tires...

Take a note of the tread. I can't explain the pattern. Sometimes we do fun things with cars. But the abnormal wear itself led me to an epiphany. Routine oil changes every 15,000 miles can be bad news for the average consumer. Let me explain.

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2011 BMW 528i: First Oil Change

July 22, 2011

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Since our long-term 2011 BMW 528i was more than ready for an oil change by the time I returned from Montana, I called a dealership the morning after my return to schedule an appointment. So this was a Friday morning.

After a couple rounds of phone tag with Santa Monica BMW's switchboard and service department, I finally got in touch with Robert, who was friendly and professional, and quickly took down a lot information in detail (the car's VIN, the car's paint color, my address) so that it would all be in the computer when I arrived. He told me the service department had a slot available at 7:45 a.m. Monday and that I would have an "open appointment," meaning the first available service advisor would help when I arrived with the car. He also asked if I'd want to take the shuttle back to work, and I said yes.

When Monday morning rolled around, the appointment went smoothly... mostly.

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2011 BMW 528i: We Went to Montana, Part 3

July 18, 2011

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Early in the trip, in a slightly seedy section of North Las Vegas, this happened.

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2011 BMW 528i: 1,000 Miles to First Service

June 27, 2011

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Look fast. The service due warning on our 2011 BMW 528i only lights up the IP when you first start the car. If you aren't paying attention you'll miss it. If you are paying attention, you can also track this information through the iDrive menu.

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2011 BMW 528i: Still The Same Oil

May 06, 2011

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Today we reported the cost of the first scheduled service (7,500 mile) on our long-term 2011 Infiniti M56. Oil and filter change and a tire rotation cost us time and $74.38.

The post made me wonder about the servicing of the other fancy sport sedan in our fleet, our 2011 BMW 528i. Well, the BMW has covered 11,500 miles and has yet to need a service. In fact, the car's computer says it won't need an oil change for another 2,500 miles.

And when it does need that oil change it will be at no cost to us because BMW covers scheduled servicing for the first 4 years or 50,000 miles.

Score one for BMW.

Scott Oldham, Editor in Chief @ 11,498 miles

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2011 BMW 528i: Self Oil Check Good for Compulsive Hand Washers, Not for the Perpetually Impatient

March 09, 2011

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<rant> Yesterday, after the 2011 BMW 528i had been sitting at the car wash being hand-dried and fussed over for a good 20 minutes, I figured it would be a good time to check the oil, or rather to ask the car to run a self oil check. I sat in the cockpit for maybe 15-20 seconds, and when it still wasn't finished checking, I figured I couldn't wait any longer to head back to the office, what with afternoon traffic and all.

I drove for maybe 15 minutes. Still not done checking. I parked the car and waited a solid 60 seconds. Finally done with the check. Oil level OK. Yes, obviously, I should have remained parked in the first place.

Still, too much waiting, I say. I can do it faster on my own. Or even, if I actually can't do it faster, it feels faster because I'm doing something -- getting out the car, lifting the hood open, removing the dipstick, wiping it with a napkin, etc. -- rather than just sitting there waiting. </rant>

Erin Riches, Senior Editor @ 9,882 miles

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2011 BMW 528i: Needs No Oil

January 15, 2011

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Our long-term 2011 BMW 528i has used zero oil in its first four months and nearly 7,500 miles of driving. Not a drop. Oh, and no there's no mechanical dipstick under the hood to back up this electronic version. Get over it.

Scott Oldham, Editor in Chief

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2011 BMW 528i: Oil Consumption Update

November 22, 2010

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There has been none. Our long-term 2011 BMW 528i has yet to consume a drop of oil.

That is all.

Scott Oldham, Editor in Chief @ 5,484 miles

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2011 BMW 528i: Engine Light Off...For Now

October 14, 2010


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I was asked to take our new 5 Series to the dealership for service and gladly agreed since I rarely pass up a chance to drive a BMW. I've driven the 3 and 7 Series and even the Z, but never the 5. This was by far my favorite. I just kept thinking, "This is a spectacular car." It seemed more refined than earlier BMWs yet still retaining all that great German car feel. And the sense of security it delivers is amazing. On my way home, blasting along in the car pool lanes at 60 mph, passing traffic that was stopped dead, the 5 felt solid and ready to haul down the speed if anyone suddenly jumped the double yellow.

Meanwhile, back on planet Earth, I showed up for my appointment at Long Beach BMW this morning and waited 20 minutes before I met with my service advisor. It gave me a chance to catch up on headlines from CNN blasting in the waiting room and down a cup of above average coffee. After some confusion about what needed to be done, the part was located, the car disappeared into the shop and I left for home. Three hours later -- all fixed.

There is a sense of emptiness which accompanies a returned car with no real explanation of what was wrong and what was fixed. I defaulted to trying to decipher the service report which said that "micro leaks" had been found in the evaporation system. A loose hose was discovered and a new filler neck was ordered. The bottom line: the engine light is off and we're back on the road.

Philip Reed, Edmunds senior consumer advice editor @2,240 miles

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2011 BMW 528i: Another Warning on the IP

October 08, 2010

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Take a look at the warning our 2011 BMW 528i threw up on the instrument panel last night. Seems simple enough, right? I probably didn't have the key in the car when trying to start it. Or the key fob battery in our new 5 Series was going bad. Either was a logical answer. But there was more than logic involved here.

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2011 BMW 528i: Check Engine Light Update

October 07, 2010

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Our phone rang this morning. It was Long Beach BMW calling to inform us that parts arrived to remedy the check engine light on our 2011 BMW 528i. This was a nice surprise. Last thing we knew, the parts were on backorder indefinitely. We'll schedule an appointment for next week.

Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Manager @ 1,749 miles

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2011 BMW 528i: Check Engine Light Already

September 28, 2010

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Last week Kelly had you guessing as to why we were sitting at Long Beach BMW in the long-term Flex. Well, we were there for a check engine light on our new addition, the 2011 BMW 528i.

Our OBD code reader would not read the proprietary BMW code, though it did allow us to clear it. So we did. And later that day it returned. We made a 9am appointment and arrived early. "The check engine light is on," we explained to our advisor. She took some notes and left us with a, "We'll take a look and call you in a couple of hours with an update. Want a rental car?." We declined the rental because it was more hassle than benefit, and were on our way.

At 3pm that afternoon we called and left a voicemail. An hour later our advisor called, "The tech hasn't looked at your car yet. Something came up and he was too busy to look at it. I will call you tomorrow with an update. Want a rental car?" Again, we declined the rental. And again, there was not a peep from our advisor until we called back at 1pm the next day.

"The tech looked at your car," she began, "There is a minute leak in the emission system. But this is a new car. If we can locate the problem it will take time to order parts... blah, blah." Two hours later, another call, "We found it. There is a leak from the fuel filler neck. We would order the parts but they are on backorder. So we actually can't order them until the backorder is lifted. But when it is, we'll order the part. Your car is ready for pick up."

How would you feel if this was your new car experience?

Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Manager @ 1,103 miles

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Edmunds Insurance Estimator

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

$150 per month*
* Explanation
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