2011 BMW 5 Series Long Term Road Test

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2011 BMW 528i: Sunday Drivers

September 13, 2011

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I spent last weekend driving our 2011 BMW 528i. Sunday morning we went for a drive up the coast. We weren't alone...

There are some cars I see on the road that make me feel like a kid. They make me want to slow down or speed up just to pace them and bask in their awesomeness. See exhibits A and B below:

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2011 BMW 528i: Leaving Soon

September 08, 2011

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The sun will be setting on our BMW 528i very soon. Every time a long-term car leaves the fleet I get a little sad. We'll be posting a wrap-up in a couple of weeks.

By the way, this photo was taken about 5 minutes before this area lost electrical power. I sat waiting for my bento box by candlelight.

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor

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2011 BMW 528i: Happy 20K!

September 06, 2011

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Our long-term 2011 BMW 528i celebrated its 20,000 mile anniversary over the Labor Day weekend. And this milestone means that it is near the end of its service at InsideLine.

Which is a shame, because I'm starting to warm up to it after I drove 350 miles over the long weekend. You can eliminate most of the drivability hesistation and surge problem with the paddle shifters. I'll put it in Sport mode and flick the paddles up and down through the ZF 8-speed auto gearbox. That's fun.

And although many people deride the new 5-series chassis as a creampuff, to me it still has a superb ride/handling balance and is superior to both our long-term Hyundai Equus and Infiniti M56.

Albert Austria, Senior VE Engineer @ 20,100 miles

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2011 BMW 528i: What's it worth after 20,000 miles?

August 25, 2011

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Our long-term BMW 528i has nearly 20,000 miles on the odometer, so I figured I'd run its specs through the Edmunds TMV (True Market Value) calculator to see what it would cost to buy it now in its current condition.

Here's what I found pricing it out in "clean" condition:

Trade-in: $45,029

Private Party: $47,450

Dealer Retail: $50,363

Original MSRP was $60K.

Kelly Toepke, News Editor

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2011 BMW 528i: I'd Buy This Instead

August 24, 2011

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Let's say I had the $60,500 needed to purchase our long-term BMW 528i. If you've been following any of my posts regarding this car, you'd know there's no way in hell I'd use that money in such a manner. But let's get really hypothetical for a moment and say that I would still NEED to spend that money on a BMW. What would I do?

Well, I'd buy an E39 M5. And let's be really specific and say that I'd buy this 2003 BMW M5 with only 13,797 miles on the clock, Titanium Silver on the outside and LeMans Blue interior. I could easily be swayed by this one as well. Either one would be about $40,000.

So, that's a difference of $20,000. I'd use that remainder to pay off the extra $1,550 extra bucks per year it would cost to fill up, along with any scary BMW maintenance and repair costs that may arrise (though the good boys at Summit Automotive should help with those somewhat). I still think I'd have a lot left over, so maybe I'd plant a few trees to offset the CO2 and maybe a snazzy keychain. Sure, I'd have to deal with ye olde navigation system that drove me nuts in our M3, but then that's nothing like the aggrivation I feel every time I drive the 528i. Nor is enough to counteract the fun I'd have in the M5.

I rest my case.

James Riswick, Automotive Editor @ 19,228 miles

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2011 BMW 528i: Save Your Money

August 23, 2011

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I've been hogging the BMW 528i for more than a week but I don't think I'd buy one.

Unless I was filthy rich I can't see spending $60,050 on a car. Yes, it is sumptuous and a joy to drive. But do I really need a luxury sedan to get me back and forth to work? Do I really need an automatic trunk opener when I go grocery shopping? Do I really need a power-adjustable steering wheel? Do I really need all of the packages that make this car cost $15,000 more than its base price?

Have you ever read Rich Dad, Poor Dad? The author, Robert Kiyosaki, advises you to buy your big ticket items with your wealth, not your income. So, unless I had an extra $60K lying around or some lucrative stock to sell off, I shouldn't put myself into that much debt for a car. Most Americans don't follow this simple rule, however, and it is part of the reason our economy is in such sad shape. We're a nation that lives on credit and we're wage slaves. They when we lose our jobs or get our hours reduced, we can no longer afford to keep up the payments on our cars and homes. And then we're screwed.

If you waited until you could really afford a BMW, saved up for one, planned for one, it wouldn't hurt so much if you were out of work for several months.

There is my financial preaching advice for the day.

This doesn’t mean I won’t be factoring a BMW into my retirement savings.

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor @ 19,209 miles

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2011 BMW 528i: Cheese Steak Run

August 18, 2011

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You all know by now I'm from Philly, born and bred. And my father owned the best cheese steak shop in world. Pat's and Geno's couldn't compare. But my store is long gone and now I live in L.A., so we must make do with what we can get.

Today, Michelle mentioned french fries, which made everyone hungry. Then that conversation morphed into cheese steaks. Next thing you know, Michelle and I are in the BMW 528i on a cheese steak run. If you're in the Santa Monica area, The Shack on 26th street has pretty good cheese steaks. The fries aren't bad either.

Now, we all need naps.

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor

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2011 BMW 528i: Image Problem?

August 17, 2011

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A friend of a friend bought an Audi A4 a couple of weeks ago and we were talking about the reasons behind his purchase. At some point in the discussion, the BMW brand was mentioned -- I asked if he'd considered a 3 Series as a possible candidate.

This guy's response was emphatic: He said he'd never buy a BMW, because BMW drivers are known to be "insert profane insult here" and he didn't want people making those assumptions about him. I tried to gently suggest that maybe he was generalizing just a tad but he wasn't having any of it; no BMWs for him, not ever.

I was aware of the negative stereotypes that some people have regarding BMW drivers, but this was the first time I'd come across someone who takes those stereotypes so seriously, they'd steer clear of buying one of the brand's models.

Me, I'd buy whichever car I like best, regardless of what other people think. But I guess I can understand where this guy's coming from. Luxury cars are mostly about image, after all, and if a brand's image doesn't sit well with you, that's certainly one reason to go looking in another direction.

What do you think? Would you avoid buying a BMW for the reasons that this guy mentioned?

Warren Clarke, Automotive Content Editor

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2011 BMW 528i: Almost to San Francisco

August 04, 2011

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I've been itching for a road trip. A real road trip. Multiple days. Multiple states. This weekend I'm driving our long-term 2011 BMW 528i from L.A. to San Jose and back. Those 800 miles aren't exactly going to scratch that itch, but it'll feel good to hit the road. Harris Ranch here I come.

I leave today. Please tune in next week for a full report.

Scott Oldham, Editor in Chief @ 18,042 miles

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2011 BMW 528i: Valet Love

July 29, 2011

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On the right is the valet and the main entrance to very swanky The Langham, Huntington Hotel and Spa in equally swanky Pasadena, CA. And on the left is our long-term 2011 BMW 528i, which was lovingly kept up front by the aforementioned valet.

Yep, that's how I roll. I even tipped him a buck.

Scott Oldham, Editor in Chief

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2011 BMW 528i: We're Going to Montana

July 09, 2011

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As you all continually remind us, it's important that we drive our long-term cars the way they're meant to be driven. As such, an F-150 SVT Raptor needs to romp around on fire roads, while a Sienna or Odyssey should be packed full of preschoolers. And what do you do with a midsize luxury sedan like our 2011 BMW 528i?

You take it on a hero's road trip.

Historically, that's the whole point of the BMW 5 Series. It's a driver's car -- and one with enough room and creature comforts that you can and should drive it for considerable distances.

Of course, we've complained variously that this F10 generation of the 5 Series doesn't live up to its forbears, that it's not a pure sport sedan anymore, that it has overbearing electronics that get between the driver and the road.

Well, now I'll see if a 1,236-mile drive to Greenough, Montana -- and back -- changes my mind. Right now, I'm digging the fact that we have a 528i with the soon-to-be extinct normally-aspirated inline-6, as this promises to be a quintessential 5 Series experience. We'll see if I feel the same way once I hit some serious elevation.

I have a long time to get to know this car. If you have any questions, post them here and I'll do my best to field them.

Erin Riches, Senior Editor @ 14,148 miles

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2011 BMW 528i: A More Sensible Alternative

June 21, 2011

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There are many people who buy cars and never think about the price of gas. I'm not one of them. I'm always looking for a car that is fuel efficient, fun to drive and -- more importantly -- less expensive. In my last "Sensible Alternative" blog post, I found a good alternate for the Infiniti M56. Now, I've found a great alternative for someone looking to spend $45K on a BMW and who had considered a BMW 528i.

The BMW 335d (Base MSRP: $45,025) costs $900 less than a 528i (Base MSRP: $45,925). Both cars can easily top $50K with packages, but let's just keep the discussion focused on the base price. The True Market Value (TMV) for the 335d is $2,962 less than the 528i, plus there is an additional $3,500 available in customer cash for the month of June. So you can potentially get a 335d for $8,600 under sticker price. That can buy a lot of diesel fuel. The 335d becomes an even better deal when you look at the costs over a five year period of time. Our TCO figure for the 335d is $62,838 versus $69,769 for the 528i.

Since the 335d is slightly smaller, there are a few sacrifices you'll have to make in terms of space, but it makes up for those in other areas. The 335d offers better fuel economy from its diesel engine, and is more fun to drive thanks to its 425 pound feet of torque. The 335d also comes with a few more standard features than the 528i, such as HID lights, anti-theft system, and Rear A/C.

Here are a few interesting stats to compare. Let us know which one you would pick.

BMW 335d BMW 528i
MSRP: $44,150 $45,050
TMV: $39,917 $42,879
TCO: $62,838 $69,769

Horsepower: 265 240
Torque: 425 230
Transmission: 6-speed 8-speed
Combined MPG: 27 25
Curb Weight: 3,825 3,814
Max Cargo Capacity: 12 cu ft 14 cu ft

Ron Montoya, Consumer Advice Associate @ 13,068 miles

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2011 BMW 528i: Not Enough

May 27, 2011

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I've gotten to drive our 5 Series a few times and I gotta admit something: it's kinda boring.

I say that because now that I've driven our Porsche a few times, it reminds me that driving isn't just going from A to B, it's about having fun too. Sure our Porsche rattles squeaks and smells of gas from time to time, but I feel happy and alive when driving it. I don't need to be going fast or reckless to have fun, just hearing the engine and having the window open is reward enough.

Our 528i has soothing alert chimes, coddles you in comfortable seats and is so refined and quiet that it's just numb. Now I'm not saying the 528i is a bad car, it is a very nice car. But for me it's missing that spark that makes a car a joy to drive. Life is too short not to experience it even on the short trips to the supermarket.

Scott Jacobs, Sr. Mgr, Photography

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2011 BMW 5 Series: My Have You Grown

May 24, 2011

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You don't need to look at the specs to know that the latest BMW 5 Series has grown a lot. It looks bigger and it feels bigger from behind the wheel. Yet, these perceptions got me thinking: How does the new 5 Series compare to the 7 Series from the late 1990s?

Well, buckle yourself in for a little spreadsheet action ...

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2011 BMW 528i: Nice Looking, But Not Distinctive Enough

May 17, 2011

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I've been on the fence about the 5 Series for awhile now. At first, I thought it was completely faceless and totally lacking in character (I actually liked the E60 more than most). Then I warmed up to some of its less obvious styling cues like the overall stance, the headlights and even the interior.

Yet to this day, whenever I see one on the road it's not immediately obvious whether it's a 5 Series or a 7 Series. And that's a problem for BMW.

Those 7 Series owners want something for all the extra money they paid and a distinctive look is usually part of the bargain. Even some 5 Series owners might take offense that their smaller, and supposedly sportier, sedan looks more like the big 7 Series cruiser. Not an easy thing to resolve, but here's hoping that the mid-cycle facelift adds a little extra something to the exterior of the 5.

Ed Hellwig, Editor, Inside Line

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2011 BMW 528i: Where Luxury Makes Sense

May 05, 2011

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Nothing like toiling through rush-hour traffic in a car as luxurious as our 2011 BMW 528i. Just sit back and enjoy the quiet, the seat heaters, the plush ride and even its smell of its quality interior materials.

Then I saw this...thing. A Lincoln Blackwood! Talk about unicorns.

For those who don't know, the Blackwood was a luxury pickup truck, basically a done-up F-150, that "sold" in America in 2002. It's a pickup with a carpeted truck bed featuring LED lights. Needless to say it was a sales flop, only selling about 3,300 in the U.S. for prices below what it originally stickered for.

Couldn't help but wonder as I drove beside them if they felt as good in their luxurious pickup as I did in the Bimmer...and, more importantly, what they're hauling in their "cargo trunk."

Caroline Pardilla, Deputy Managing Editor

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2011 BMW 528i: Who Put the Germ in German?

May 04, 2011

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Would you drive this car after I've had it and been sick for a week?

I took our BMW 528i to the car wash today to try to de-germify it. I hope it worked.

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor

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2011 BMW 528i: March Madness

April 13, 2011

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BMW's marketing people must have slipped something in the water last month because it was a huge month for the brand. Worldwide, the BMW Group sold 165,842 BMW, MINI and Rolls-Royce brand vehicles in March, a figure that sets a monthly sales record.

The brand can thank the 5 Series for a lot of this -- the model boasted the strongest sales growth within the lineup. BMW sold 30,954 5 Series last month, a figure that's more than double that of March 2010 (+114.5%). So I guess the strategy of making the car more luxury-focused (and more like the E Class) is working out okay for the brand.

Says Ian Robertson, member of the Board of Management of BMW AG, responsible for Sales and Marketing: "2011 got off to an excellent start for the BMW Group with new sales records. This positive development is mainly thanks to our attractive model range and healthy auto markets in many parts of the world -- in the established markets of Europe and the U.S., and in the emerging markets of South America and Asia. Sales volume of the year 2011 is expected to rise to well over 1.5 million units, a new all-time high, with the BMW, MINI and Rolls-Royce brands all achieving new sales volume records."

Warren Clarke, Automotive Content Editor

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2011 BMW 528i vs 2009 BMW 750i: Spot The Differences

March 24, 2011

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I've been seeing a few more 2011 5 Series on the road now. Or at least I think I have. Maybe a couple of them were 7 Series. From a distance, it's pretty hard to tell. So to educate myself on the details, I collected some pictures of our departed 750i and compared them our 528i. I was actually a bit surprised on how similar the two cars look in photos. The pics follow after the jump.

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2011 BMW 528i: 10,000 Miles and Going

March 17, 2011

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We've reached the 10,000-mile mark in our 2011 BMW 528i. After a hiccup or two early on the 5 Series seems to be on track. It hasn't yet seen the dealer for scheduled service and, according to the warning at startup, isn't due for another 4,700 miles or 15 months.

Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Manager @ 10,128 miles

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2011 BMW 528i: How Much Is Good Enough?

March 10, 2011

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There's luxury and then there's luxury. I was cruising along, feeling pretty good about life and soaking up all the swanky goodness offered by the 528i. And then I saw this beauty cut in front of me. Suddenly the BMW's leather felt less supple and its wood trim looked less rich.

The Bentley was being driven by a certain rapper known for spending time "in da club" and at "the candy shop." Looked like he was on a test drive, with someone from the dealership riding shotgun. I was tempted to roll down the window and shout: "Hey Fifty, have you taken a look at gas prices lately? Get the 5 Series instead -- it gets better mileage!" He'd have liked that.

I love the high-end look of cars like the 5 Series but obviously something rolling out of a Bentley dealership takes that kind of opulence to a whole new level. Luxury exotics cost a lot more than a run-of-the-mill premium sedan like our BMW. Even if I had enough money to ignite backyard bonfires, though, I'm not sure I'd make the leap from premium to luxury exotic.

How about you -- do you think Bentleys and Aston Martins are worth their price difference relative to the BMWs and Mercedes-Benzes of the world?

Warren Clarke Automotive Content Editor

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2011 BMW 528i: Maybe It's Not So Boring After All

March 08, 2011

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I once spent a good 15 minutes explaining to a seatmate in coach on a international flight (he must have been a patient soul) why the E60 BMW 5 Series (2004-'10) was not an attractive car. He countered with, "Yes, it's vulgar, but at least it's not boring."

And wouldn't you know it, now that the F10 generation is out, I've begun to find the E60 cars attractive when I see them, whereas I find the new 5 Series, including our long-term BMW 528i, boring.

Then, last night, we had a particularly dramatic sunset here, and the contours of the our 528i's hood caught my eye. I had no idea they were so complex, because they usually get lost in the Deep Sea Blue metallic paint. Last night, though, the light hit them just right, and and I found our long-termer almost beautiful.

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2011 BMW 528i: How Much Better Is It?

February 14, 2011

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When I did that road trip a couple weeks ago I gave my father-in-law a ride in our 528i. He's kind of a curmudgeon, so I was curious to hear his take. Basically, he came away saying it was a nice car. But he also didn't think our $60,000 528i is, say, twice as good as the typical $30,000 front-drive family sedan.

He has a point. The law of diminishing returns applies to cars, too. Whether you're moving from an Accord to a 5 Series or an S-Class to a Bentley, what you're getting seems less the higher you go. That said, our 528i is a pretty sweet car and I've been thinking about what it offers versus a family sedan. Thoughts follow after the jump.

Aspects about 528i that might make it seem worth it:

Features. Our 528i is packed with features. Some, like the dual-zone automatic climate control and heated front seats, you could still get on a loaded family sedan. But there others you wouldn't typically get, like the big high-resolution navigation screen, multi-adjustable front seats, adaptive suspension dampers, rear sunshades and parking cameras.

Interior quality. In general the 528i's interior is just nicer. The materials used are more upscale and everything feels like it's put together more solidly.

Driving experience. This isn't really about performance, as a Sonata 2.0T will handily out-do our 528i in a straight line. But there is a premium feel to the car in the way it rides and steers that you just don't get from a family sedan.

Image. Not sure how you value this, but it's certainly something you don't get from a family sedan. Most people would say owning a BMW is just more prestigious.

Rarity. This would be tied to image. But it's just natural that the more expensive a car is, the less you see of it.

Does this all add up to being worth $60,000? I guess it depends on your perspective. In the case of my father-in-law, it doesn't. And in many ways I agree with him. But having spent the past week and a half with our 528i, I can understand the appeal. There are certain things in life that are better. If you have the money, why not get what you want?

Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor @ 8,950 miles

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2011 BMW 528i: Our Favorite Caption

February 11, 2011

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Thanks to mrryte for this week's favorite caption.

Here are the others that knocked us out:

Achtung! Headstanden on das hood ist verboten! (technetium99)
Head stands on edge of open trunk hood are verboten! (ergsum)
To prevent injury, avoid the use of jumpers! (ergsum)
WARNING! Trying to check your oil level in a BMW may result in tension headaches! (technetium99)
Never park your car under floating punctuation. (chirsch3)
Beware of falling ninja stars (noburgers)
Two heads are better than one... (lji1)
F%^&, Where's the dipstick? (pengwin)
Always curtsy when addressing der Bimmer. (actualsize)
See celebrities with your BMW. Bang head; see stars. (vt8919)
Warning! Reading this label may cause a WTF moment. (ergsum)
Tarot reading gone wrong: death by punctuation, falling stars, or hungry cars. (waynester76)
Dang, I coulda had a V8! (joemt)
Warning: If decapitating Ninja Stars shoot out of engine, start breakdancing on hood (cruiserhead1)
Hoods in photo are closer than they appear. (sherief)
Professional mechanic. In a closed garage. (altimadude05)
This car really knocks me out! (litewerk)

To the winner:
You can select one of these three prizes:

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2011 BMW 528i: Your Write the Caption

February 11, 2011

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Editor Ed Hellwig took this photo of an overly concerned sticker in our BMW 528i. Funny how the dot of the exclamation point matches the disembodied head of the driver.

What is your caption?

We'll post our favorite this afternoon.

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor

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2011 BMW 528i: The 7 Series Experience

February 09, 2011

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In many ways, our 528i reminds me of our 2009 BMW 750i. First, there's the exterior. We mentioned previously that it can be tricky at first glance to tell the difference between the latest 7 and 5. Sitting inside, it's the same thing, with a very similar dash layout and feel. This deja vu applies to the driving experience as well. I haven't driven our 528i on a curvy road yet, but around town at least the dominant feeling is that of a luxury sedan rather than a sport sedan. Our 528i just feels big and not something that'll inspire you to slice around corners.

Whether this is good or bad likely depends on your perspective. On one hand, we're getting 90 percent of the 7 Series IMAX 3D experience for just $60,050. Equip a 740i similarly to our 528i and it'd cost about $75,000. Fifteen grand discount? That's pretty cool. On the other hand, our 5 doesn't really seem to follow the same playbook as previous 5 Series cars. Rather than seeming like a bigger 3 Series or even its own distinct model, it's mostly a smaller 7.

My take? I'd say the shift is a win for the majority of luxury sedan buyers. (You know who they are.) Enthusiasts with fond memories of the 1997-2003 5 Series get the loss.

Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor

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2011 BMW 528i: Road Trip

February 07, 2011

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I had the 528i over the weekend, which was a fortuitous selection since I had a family road trip (me, wife, 3-year-old daughter) planned to visit my in-laws. No surprises: the 528i is a great vehicle to have for a 600-mile round trip. Attributes like the quiet and compliant ride, stable handling, comfortable seats, decent-sized trunk and large navigation screen were all appreciated. I also had some fun showing off some the car's luxury features (parking cameras and auto-closing doors, for instance) to my father-in-law.

The biggest drawback on this trip was the mediocre front cupholder design. The two for the center console aren't wide enough to hold larger bottles, and there aren't any bottle holders in the doors. So my wife's larger blue bottle didn't fit and was frequently falling over.

Average fuel economy for the trip was 29.0 mpg.

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2011 BMW 528i: Styling Growing On Me, Kind Of

January 28, 2011

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When I first saw the newest 5 Series, I thought, well...nothing. It literally left no impression at all. Its design was pretty much featureless, just the usual BMW trademarks and some soft sheetmetal.

Our 528i has changed my opinion a little, but not much. It still doesn't turn heads, but I've seen a few other 5s around and with the right wheels and it improves the overall look quite a bit. And there's something to be said for subtlety when it comes to luxury sedans like this. Sometimes you just want to drive a nice sedan instead of advertising it to everyone around you.

Then again, there are plenty of other sedans that accomplish that already. Not sure BMW needed to become one of them.

Ed Hellwig, Editor, Inside Line

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2011 BMW 528i: Stupid Things People Do With Their 5 Series

January 26, 2011

OK, this doesn't have anything do do with our deluxe 2011 BMW 528i but couldn't help but notice how YouTube is populated with videos of people doing dumb stuff with their 5 Series. There's the guy who's videotaping himself at high-speed cruise, another doing burnouts on brick, and countless ones of those drifting in the snow.

You can bet we treat our 528i wayy better than any of these guys do their own rides.

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2011 BMW 528i: Trunk Action

January 24, 2011

I like it. The trunk of our BMW opens automatically with the press of a button. The lid opens at a good speed, not too fast and not too slow. The inside button is not too high for someone of my height (5'4") to reach to close the trunk.

See it in action:

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2011 BMW 5 Series: Our Favorite Caption

January 21, 2011

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Thanks to technetium99 for this week's favorite caption. I'm glad this photo panned out. Here are the others that made us shine:

All that bimmers is not gold. (ergsum)
The ride of choice for gold diggers. (teampenske3)
How are things panning out with the 528i? (ergsum)
Precious Metal (ergsum)
Gold rush hour (mrryte)
That panhandler just gave me the goldfinger!!!! (mrryte)
Turbo rush meets gold rush. (ms3omglol)
Au-Inspiring (ergsum)
Wow, so that's what happens if you eat the Alien Jerky.... (technetium99)
It's as good as gold, and that's no bullion! (ergsum)
Scott didn't think he'd strike it rich at the casino, but couldn't roulette out. (ergsum)
Objects in mirror are WAY Bigger than they appear. (wshuff)
Because everything else is fool's gold. (vt8919)
I went to Cash4Gold, and look at what I got!!! (rayray633)
Panhandles like it's on rails. (redwoodaggie)
horsepower ore fuel economy? (hugene)
The Au-ltimate Driving Machine (ergsum)

What was your favorite?

To the winner:
You can select one of these three prizes:

See full article and comment.


2011 BMW 5 Series: You Write the Caption

January 21, 2011

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Editor in Chief Scott Oldham sent me this picture of our BMW 528i from his trip to CES is Las Vegas. Looks like our BMW struck gold.

What is your caption?

We'll post our favorite this afternoon.

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor

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2011 BMW 528i: Our Favorite Caption

January 14, 2011

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Thanks to zoomzoom22 for this week's favorite caption. Here are the others that made our stomachs burst:

These aren't the meats you're looking for. (ergsum)
Hmm, Chewie. Chewie? Chewie!!! (ergsum)
Do not order the "Spaceballs Special"! (ergsum)
The Day the Jerk Stood Still (ergsum)
HOW TO COOK for HUMANS (blackngold1000)
And the place across the road serves Manwich! (technetium99)
Right now we have the Facehugger special for just $3.99 (mrryte)
Area 528i (cjgt)
BMW is searching for delicious, ultra-low carbon based life forms (aleclance)
At Alien Fresh Jerky we're always pleased to meat you! (ergsum)
Jerk off roading (stpawyfrmdonut)
It's a trap! (ed124c)
Damn, this is better than Snow's! (teampenske3)
We deliver. Just look for the Ford Probe. (vt8919)

What was your favorite?

To the winner:
You can select one of these three prizes:

See full article and comment.


2011 BMW 528i: You Write the Caption

January 14, 2011

bmw-5series-alien-1600.jpg

Chief Scott Oldham sent me this photo from his trip to CES in Las Vegas. Somewhere along the way he had a close encounter of the beef-loving kind.

What is your caption?

We'll post our favorite this afternoon.

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor

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2011 BMW 528i: Tobacco Holder

January 12, 2011

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Prominent in the center console of our long-term BMW 528i is what appears to be an ashtray. I was slightly surprised by this, as ashtrays are being replaced in most vehicles destined for North America with small storage boxes. (The ashtray in our 528 does pop out.)

Although smoking is down in the U.S -- with the exception of auto journalists (rimshot!) -- smoking is still popular in Asia, Europe, and other parts of the world, like Las Vegas.

I was in an Asian country over the holidays and discovered one reason for smoking's popularity there: it's cheap. A pack of smokes goes for less than a buck!

Albert Austria, Senior VE Engineer @ 7,300 miles

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2011 BMW 528i: Fresh Body Damage

January 07, 2011

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Last night in Las Vegas I entrusted our long-term 2011 BMW 528i to a valet at a swanky well-known restaurant. Mistake. This morning I found this. And the worst part? I tipped the jerk.

Scott Oldham, Editor in Chief @ 7,098 miles

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2011 BMW 528i: Road Trippin' to Vegas

January 05, 2011

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I haven't road tripped our long-term 2011 BMW 528i yet, so I've chosen the German sedan to take me to Las Vegas this afternoon. I'll be there until Friday evening attending the Consumer Electronics Show and then I'll drive back to the beach. Probably a 500 mile or so round trip.

I'll let you know how it goes.

Anything in particular you'd to know about our 5-Series?

Scott Oldham, Editor in Chief

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2011 BMW 528i: Would You Keep the Badges?

December 17, 2010

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A couple days ago I wrote about getting the "small" engine in the 5 Series. There were plenty of opinions on both sides of the spectrum, and all that back and forth reminded me of another possible decision.

If you bought the 528i, would consider removing the trunklid badges?

Like the first question, this is a somewhat loaded one as there are dozens of reasons for leaning one way or the other. Some buyers like the clean look no matter which engine is under the hood, while others purposely try to conceal their less-than-top-of-the-line choice by deleting the offending numbers. I'd go with no numbers regardless of which engine I paid for, just looks cleaner to me.

Ed Hellwig, Editor, Inside Line

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2011 BMW 528i: Into the Hood

December 10, 2010

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I have a confession to make regarding our 2011 BMW 528i. I like the way it looks. It's overall lines are on the conservative side and I'm ok with that. But what really catches my eye is the hood.

To me, a good-looking hood makes or breaks a car. If I have to look across it for miles on end, it should be aesthetically pleasing. Sometimes sharp angles do it. Sometimes it's a big hood scoop. In the case of the 528i, the smooth curves are what work for me. I'm not sure why they have me so captivated, but I am. Am I the only one?

Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Manager @ 5,703 miles

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2011 BMW 528i: Lights are More Interesting Looking Than the Car Itself

December 07, 2010

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Couldn't help but notice the intricate design of our BMW's headlights, especially since the rest of the car is so plain looking. Although Xenon headlights are standard on the 535i and 550i they're a $900 option on the 528i. And yes, they are the adaptive type so they look around corners when you turn the steering wheel.

But would you look at all the detailing packed into that housing? It's like a separate person got the job of designing the headlights, so they took the time to craft every surface. Glad they did too, as the rest of this 5 Series still leaves me a bit cold.

Ed Hellwig, Editor, Inside Line

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2011 BMW 528i: Go Ahead, Drive with Trunk Open

November 29, 2010

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The other day I pulled out of a parking lot only to have my wife yell, "Karl, you left the trunk open!"

I didn't believe her at first, as I'd checked my rearview mirror while pulling out of my parking space and didn't see a wall of dark blue in it. But she was correct, the trunk was wide open.

I'd opened the trunk to get my man-purse out, and I know I hit the power-close button as I walked away from it. But for whatever reason it didn't close, and when it's open it doesn't easily register in the rearview mirror (the photo above was taken with the trunk open).

Not sure if this is by design or just a fluke of the rear window/trunklid shape. And I'm not sure why you'd want to drive around with the trunk wide open, but if you own a new 5 Series you can do so without compromising rear visibility.

Karl Brauer, Edmunds.com Editor at Large

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2011 BMW 528i: Is it a 3, 5 or 7?

November 22, 2010

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Interesting couple of days in our long-term 2011 BMW 528i.

On Sunday at this gas station, a lady asked me if I was happy with new 3 Series.

Then...

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2011 BMW 528i: 5,000-mark Eclipsed

November 16, 2010

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Less than 2 months passed since we introduced our 2011 BMW 528i. Over the weekend it broke the 5,000-mile mark. That was quick.

Our relationship hasn't been without the occasional (or frequent) dealer visit. But to date the 5 Series hasn't cost us any money to keep on the road. Free scheduled maintenance makes the BMWs look good over the first years of ownership.

Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Manager @ 5,047 miles

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2011 BMW 528i: Taking a Vacation

November 03, 2010

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Our 2011 BMW 528i is hitting the road.

Last week I was sitting around wondering: Are the leaves still yellow in Tuolumne Meadows? I could have made a phone call, but instead decided to go find out myself. You only live once. So you aren't going to hear much from our BMW 528i over the next several days. We are headed to Yosemite.

Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Manager 3,600 @ miles

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2011 BMW 528i: Welcome the BMW E-Class

November 01, 2010

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Just back from a 1,000-mile weekend in this 2011 BMW 528is and it can't be more different than the previous 5 Series.

The new car is self-consciously gorgeous, at least in this particular $60,500 form with full luxury trim as well as the package of sport options. You can't tell the interior apart from the 7 Series. In comparison, the interior of the previous 5 looks incredibly austere and even cheap.

It seems to me like this car is following the lead of the Mercedes-Benz E-Class.

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2011 BMW 5 Series: Uh...Watch Your Head

October 29, 2010

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Much like the over protective radar system, our BMW assumes that you're not the brightest bulb in the chandelier. Hence this descriptive warning sticker found underneath the hood.

Who knew that when you prop a hood over your head it could come crashing back down on your noggin?

Ed Hellwig, Editor, Inside Line

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2011 BMW 528i: ShakyCam Walkaround (Day and Night)

September 30, 2010

As a bonus you get to see me trip in the nighttime footage.

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor @ 1,209 miles

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Edmunds Insurance Estimator

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

$245 per month*
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