2011 BMW 528i: Lexus Mode Standard
December 08, 2010
There, I fixed the switch titles on our long term 2011 BMW 528i.
You'd think that with a bunch of cars, picking cars would be like picking berries. But really, there are a number of factors that combine to make some cars feel like asteroids, passing once a century or so. The BMW 528i is my Halley's Comet. It's never been available to me before. Not once. So when I saw a free brick of white space next to it, I snagged it without looking any further. I still have no idea what short term cars we have.
But the point: The 528i is remarkably soft. Seats, steering and ride are all plush and numb. Like a pillow coated in novacaine. Like a Lexus with the steering precision to stay in your lane / on the road. On my ride home it was per-fect. I didn't even care that I was in traffic. But then I got home and realized that, for maybe the first time ever, I'd taken a BMW straight home. I didn't hit a canyon and I wasn't planning to hit one later. Which, of course, forced me to hit one later.
Rocking that little rocker upwards puts the car in sport mode (and then Sport +) and the throttle's sharper and the steering is a little heavier, but its still a very soft ride. Each time you start 'er up, you're back to 'normal' mode -- fuel economy regs and whatnot.
As noted by Jacquot in our Track Tested, "Feels fairly soft in rapid transitions -- even in Sport Plus. Is well-mannered, however. Chassis isn't snappy like an Infiniti. BMW is showing a change of direction here."
And as it is on the track, it is in the real world. Even in Sport +, this rides like a comfortable non-sport BMW. Maybe the $1,000 adjustable dynamic dampers help that, but truth be told, I really like this ride. I won't take it through the canyons again, but if I ever get a change to drive it home, or up PCH, or back to Massachusetts for a vacation, I'll jump at the chance. I rarely said that about our old 1-Series.
Mike Magrath, Associate Editor, Inside Line