I'm a long term Audi owner (have had six), who decided to look around when they dropped the free maintenance. I test drove the new Audi A6 wagon and the BMW 530xiT. The BMW did just about everything better than the Audi and the monthly lease rate was better. The choice was a no-brainer! The 530xiT ride and handling are first rate, as is the build quality. The engine is exceptionaly smooth but could use a bit more low end torque. Winter performance, especially with snow tires, is exceptional. The iDrive is not as scary as expected but could be better. I like my BMW so much that we replaced my wife's Audi with a BMW 530xiT too!
I was set to buy a Lexus GS 300 AWD until I drove the 530xi. It is a great, but expensive, car! Also drove the Audi A6, Infiniti M35AWD and Acura RL. The handling is superb and the attention to detail is appreciated. Long live iDrive - for me it is like using a mouse or joystick. No more fumbling for the correct button or the proper position on a touch screen! Should have listened to the owners' forums and ordered the Head Up Display.
To me, this is a big car - just as long and heavy as our full sized mini-van. Drives very well and easy around town. I live in Europe (US spec) so tons of fun on autobahn. Easy driving at 130mph with (sleeping) wife and two kids. Night vision is a hoot, but we'll see how useful it is. Owners manual is a tome, but worth the read, esp the voice command section. Once set up iDrive is no issue; though my wife has yet to tackle it.
I bought the car special order from Germany with a 6 speed manual. The car has been exactly what I've been expecting, sporty, spacious and with all the luxury you expect with a BMW. The car has been exceptionally reliable with 60k miles without any mechanical or electrical issues. I only wish NA would have the choice for a M5 6 spd Wagon. I am quite sad to see the wagon discontinued when the GT model came to Canada. The car is a perfect family mover.
One of best purchase experiences of many cars over 40 years of driving. Car has its problems, mostly electrical. Especially iDrive is a bad idea. Poor execution. Driver's seat adjusts forward and up on its own. Screen display blanks, iDrive inoperable, no GPS, no radio, no access to system functions or warnings. Reprogrammed multiple times, reverts to same problems in short time. Electronic key replaced 3 times in attempts to cure Comfort Access issue. Nothing.