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|3rd September 2017, 15:23||#1|
Join Date: May 2010
Thanked: 840 Times
My BMW 530i (G30)!
I have a keen interest in cars that are great looking, technologically advanced and are world cars (not just Indian or developing country only). Especially, I cannot stop following the global development and release of a new generation car, the cars I have bought are usually one of the first few manufactured post launch. I am keen on cars released in India very soon after the global debut, so that they look fresh for a long time as they age through the model's life cycle. They should also be priced at reasonable levels of value for what they offer and compared to the international pricing.
The last car I bought was the Ford Ecopsort, fully four years ago. There was much excitement around the launch, India was one of the first markets the car was released in and I managed to buy the second or third car sold in Chennai. It has served me well with almost zero problems and aged gracefully indeed. Even today, I meet many people at work who want to buy the Ecosport for its fresh looks, not sure if they were in hibernation all this while! Granted, the car does look attractive from several angles than its competition such as the Vitara Breeza, which looks too rounded and Hyundai-sqe. Ownership review here: http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/test-d...-sea-grey.html (My Ford EcoSport Diesel Titanium-O (Sea Grey))
Previous to that, I purchased what was probably the very first unit of the Diesel Polo sold anywhere in India, back in 2010. http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/test-d...trendline.html (Meet my new Polo TDI Trendline)
Last edited by 84.monsoon : 10th September 2017 at 09:20.
|3rd September 2017, 19:44||#2|
Join Date: May 2010
Thanked: 840 Times
re: My BMW 530i (G30)!
The long road to choosing a new car
So, it was time for another brand new car after 4 years of the Ecosport. I commute very little for my work, but recently, an opportunity has arisen to take long driving trips once in a while, to a holiday cottage in the hills. The Ecosport has done very little by way of lifetime miles and is in pristine condition. It has had zero breakdowns or major issues and the battery filed for the first time two days after its fourth birthday. It is a great city car and can cruise reasonably well on the highway for an occasional long distance trip. I got the top end model, so features-wise, I will miss very little (In fact there is one or two that even my new car from several segments higher does not have, more on this later). The resale value is not very high tough, it is expected to fetch around 60% of the original purchase price. It was decided to keep it around as a beater car.
My first thoughts towards a new car started last year, as the Ecosport was approaching its three year mark. Given the reliability of the Ford and the hassle-free ownership experience, the launch of the Ford Endeavour piqued my interest. I have had a 4X4 (Toyota 4Runner) in the US long ago and enjoyed a few trips in off-road parks. The range of off-road capabilities were truly impressive, plus the fact that it was a brand new model across the world impressed me. I even booked the car, but then had the worst experience from Ford afterwards. There was no clarity on delivery date, the price was increased a couple of times in rapid succession. The elections were happening in Tamil Nadu in May 2016, it was the heydays of cash raj (pre-demonitization) and the word on the street was that all the Endevours were getting allocated to Politicians for the rallies to the rural areas and to movie stars who wanted a fourth or fifth car. In deep frustration, I canceled the booking.
I then briefly checked on the BMW X1 when it was launched. It was a truly compelling package at a great price point for the base version. Interior space was terrific, the engine was a peach, and again, it was a brand new model. Due to some other funding needs at that time, I reluctantly put off my decision. But the lure of the BMW brand lingered and sub-consciously influenced my future decision, more of that later.
Finally, it looked like I would settle for an SUV-ish vehicle. Most of the new launched were in this category and my sights were set on two of the most exciting vehicles to launch in 2017 from my perspective - The VW Tiguan and the Skoda Kodiaq. These cars seemed to offer the best of all worlds - great fit and finish (making them feel like a real upgrade on the the Ecosport), powerful and nice to drive, 4X4 capability that one might need in a pinch, high seating position for good visibility, spacious interiors, and most importantly, the German DNA that I missed moving from a VW to the Ford. The launches of were gettign quite a bit delayed and speculations about the pricing of these vehicles in the automotive press ranged wildly from a 25 Lac on road price to 35 lacs.
Finally, the news of the impeding launch of the Tiguan was in the air. Although the Kodiaq was way better looking on the outside, the insides were a bit drab. And there were speculations of a much higher price point for the Kodiaq versus the Tiguan in India, although internationally the Kodiaq is priced below the Tiguan. I decided to book the Tiguan and hop it comes in close to the 30 lac on-road price point,. which would make for reasonable value, especially with a 4X4. Also, eliminated the Compass form the consideration set after a quick look at the interiors, which were barely larger than the Ecosport and had a boring and lackluster design and finish, hardly evoking a premium experience compared to the Ecosport. . The test drive of the Tiguan proved to be satisfactory, power being just about adequate and all other bits just as good as expected, the sunroof being quite breathtaking.
But alas, the pricing turned out to be a shock. The on-road price was close to Rs. 40 Lacs, 25-30% higher than expected. The GST related price reductions were also meager, the vehicle still coming out close to 38 lacs once all manner of warranties, insurance etc. were included. I did not cancel the booking immediately, but was giving it a lot of thought on price versus value.
Just then, the BMW 5 series was launched. It had not even been on my consideration set. The legendary 5-series was always an aspirational car though for the last 20 years, one I always thought I would own "someday". I used to have a poster of the E39 5-series up on my wall back then.
Everything turned on its head from the time the G30 5-series was launched. I spent many an hour reading up about the brand new global car, which has received raging reviews all over the world. I had looked at a few used F10 cars two years ago, so was quite familiar with what to expect of the model. Every review I read and Youtube video I saw were praising the G30 to the heavens, calling it a scaled down 7 series and going gaga over the rich feature list. The handling and dynamics had also supposedly "improved considerably from the F10" and "BMW had gone back to its roots" with this car.
The price tag was mouth watering, at 49.9 Lacs ex-showroom factoring in the competitive stance against the Benz E class and the post GST benefits. . Granted, it would turn out 50% higher than the price I would pay for the Tiguan, but it was a couple of classes higher in my mind and incredible value. Having considered buying a car for Rs. 40 Lacs made it easier to fathom the near 60 lac on road price for the BMW.
After mulling over Tiguan versus BMW 5 Series versus the Kodiaq for a few days, finally decided to take a test drive of the 5 series. The Tiguan seemed quite a bit over-priced for what it offered and the driving excitement was just not there, it did not have the power to satisfy when you felt like you need an insane burst of speed to overtake an irritating SX4 or Innova Crysta out on the highway - it had just enough power to feel adequate for cruising and mild to medium overtaking. The Kodiaq was still shrouded in mystery. Even the final state of tune of the Diesel engine was not known. The 143 ho tune was just about enough for the Tiguan but for the larger 7 seater Kodiaq, it may prove too flat and powerless. Yet, this was the tune that was being most talked about by the automotive press. Also the pricing was predicted to be around Rs. 45 Lacs on-road, which was not hard to believe given how the Tiguan had been priced.
Last edited by 84.monsoon : 3rd September 2017 at 21:25.
|3rd September 2017, 21:33||#3|
Join Date: May 2010
Thanked: 840 Times
Diesel Versus Petrol
Having started seriously considering the G30 5-series, I knew my heart was not on the 520D. I wanted a fast car now - no compromises. So it had to be the 530D or the 530i. The 530D could introduce future issues from the raging Diesel scandals all over the world and more importantly, it would land way over even my stretched price bracket at close to Rs. 75 Lacs, so the answer was plain and obvious - I would go for the 530i.
Some more thoughts on the future of Diesel - Seeing all the furor in Europe over Diesel cars, it appeared to be foolhardy to spend so much on a Diesel version for a car I expected to keep as long as possible. Anyone considering a high end Diesel car investment at this point in time should take a broader look at what is happening around the globe. I had spent a week in Europe last month and there is a state of meltdown that the Diesel car market seems to be going through. Customers feel completely deceived by the collusion and bad ethical practices of the big 3 German companies (Diamler/VW/BMW) over diesel cars. Beyond the original diesel-gate scandal, lots more skeletons are falling out of the cupboards on the ills of Diesel and how cleverly the industry had concealed these for the last 15 years. The general consensus is that Diesel will be dead in the near future as a passenger car fuel.
Most people I spoke to said they were really upset about "living in a cave" built by the big-3 companies. Most said the software solutions offered by the auto makers will not be good enough to deliver the minimum emission standards, fuel economy and performance needed in real life, and the cars may need to be scrapped. Many said their next car will be petrol and some had already switched. My colleague just bought a brand new Passat powered by the 1.4 TSI engine and was singing praises of the smoothness and punch such a small engine delivered. He had been a lifelong Diesel fan and owned many Diesel cars and felt he had been brain washed by the propaganda machine of the car manufacturers and had he known what modern Petrols can deliver and how much damaging Diesels can be on the environment (for example, generating up to 40 times of allowed NOX emission levels in real life), he would never have bought a Diesel car. I see governments in Europe, US and elsewhere actively moving to dis-incentivize or ban Diesels altogether, especially older cars. I think India will not be far behind given the levels of pollution in our cities. So investing a big amount on a Diesel car at this time did not seems be such a great idea. Some interesting articles on the troubles Diesel is going through in Europe from New York Times below:
Yet despite all this, the lure of the legendary 530D is hard to resist for sure. I had looked at some F10 530Ds in the past and the engine is simply yummy. After further refinements and bum-up in power, the new model would do 0-100 in less than 6 seconds and it would be a peach, I am sure. So completely understand those who are going ahead and getting the Diesel. As for me, the logic was solid and clear about going for the 530i. I can live with a 6.2 second time for 0-100!
Last edited by 84.monsoon : 3rd September 2017 at 21:39.
|4th September 2017, 16:07||#4|
Join Date: May 2010
Thanked: 840 Times
Booking and Buying Experience
I made the call first to my banker who got the BMW SA on a conference call within 5 minutes. As soon as I mentioned I wanted to get the sport line, the SA started explaining what I would miss in a Sport Line car versus Luxury line. When I pointed out that the Petrol does not come in Luxury line, there was a bit of surprised response from the SA. Apparently of the 40+ bookings they had, not a single one was for the Petrol. I made it clear that I had good reasons to go for the petrol and I was very clear in my choice. The dealer promised a test drive ASAP (albeit on a Diesel car, since that was the only one available for a test drive) and also he said he will find out colors and availability details of the petrol. The Tamil Nadu market for luxury cars is so heavily diesel dominated, even after spending 60+ lacs on a car, people here worry about mileage and re-sale value more than anything else.
The Test drive experience was really good. They had got a Diesel Luxury Line car for the test drive. My first impressions from the test drive were as follows:
The SA told me that the Petrol version would be available in a 2 weeks. The first production run was happening in the third week of July - I could choose from Imperial Blue or White exterior color and Beige or Cognac upholstery. If I wanted any other colors, i would have to wait for the next production run! It took me all of 5 minutes to decide on Imperial Blue (the classic BMW color) and as far as the interiors, one look at the Cognac upholstery on the test drive car was enough to almost convince me to go for it. Deliberated about "Night Blue" upholstery for a bit but thought (a) it it would be monotonous to have blue exterior and interior too. (b) I would have to wait for the next production run of petrols, who knows when that would be! Signed off the booking form with Imperial Blue exterior and Cognac interior, hoping hoped the combination would work out well.
The booking experience was pretty good, got a few calls from different folks confirming the booking, but it was clear the agents had not handled the 530i booking before, they would often would say 520D or 530D and I would have to correct to 530i. I did not opt for BSI or RSI yet, planning to go for it later.
Although the car was ready for delivery more or less on the date promised, everyone overlooked the fact that this would be the first 530i to be sold in Tamil Nadu and therefore there was an RTO process to go through, to produce the first car before the authorities and get it updated the RTO databases throughout the state. Although the car was delivered with temporary registration more or less as promised, I would not use it for two full weeks afterwards while the bureaucracy ground through the processes steps. The car was finally registered almost 20 days after the date of making fully payment. Also, we don't get these dream petrols in India yet and even when we do, they will be exorbitantly expensive.
Last edited by 84.monsoon : 9th September 2017 at 10:18.
|6th September 2017, 22:01||#5|
Join Date: May 2010
Thanked: 840 Times
First Impressions - Exterior
The car was delivered late evening on a Friday and went first to the local temple before coming home. It was given a thorough Puja and then dispatched home. So, the first look I had of my car was in semi-darkness. The first thing you notice about the G30 in the dark is how massive the headlamp area is. It has been significantly widened as compared to the previous generation and meets the kidney grills in a thick broad strip. The full LED headlights (high-beam, low-beam, fog lights and DRLs all in LED) are really powerful even in normal beam setting. The Luxury line has an even more powerful adaptive LED headlamps with LED turn indicators and cornering lights. I found the illumination and throw of the beam to be excellent even in the Sportline.
The overall shape of the car is quite sleek and flowing. It is hard to differentiate the G30 and the F10 when you have a casual glance at them. The F10 has a slightly longer bonnet with more crease lines while the G30 has a slightly more conventional sedan proportions with the bonnet being a bit shortened to free up more interior room. The wheels seem to be pushed out even more towards the edges. The front overhang is particularly short, at only 862 mm and the rear overhang is 1099 mm. For comparison, the Audi A6 has front overhang of 912 mm. The car is well proportioned and does not look too long, although in reality it is the longest in the segment (with the exception of the new EWB E-class) at 4936mm. For comparison, the Audi A6 4915mm long and the previous generation E class is 4879 mm long).
A very interesting feature is the active stream kidney grill. When the car is not being used, the louvres are closed and they also close while cruising in the highways or when the engine cooling demand is not high. The open out while starting the engine, accelerating hard or other usage conditions when more cooling is required. This is supposed to aid aerodynamics and increase efficiency. Another simple yet interesting feature is the air curtain around the front wheels. Basically, there is an opening on the body just behind the front wheels marked by a slanted aluminum member which provides some character to the long side section of the car as well. This allows the air entering into the wheel wells to leave through the curtain opening.
The Sport Line has a subdued look compared to the Luxury Line. The lower front area and the clusters around the fog lamps are in a shiny black finish, while the Luxury line has a heavy dose of chrome in the front, including the fog lamp surround and even on the edges of the Kidney Grill slats.
The car is supposed to be 70KG lighter than its predecessor despite increased dimensions, mainly by using lighter yet stronger materials in the construction. One can feel it in the way the doors, the bonnet and the trunk lid feel. They do not feel very heavy not have huge "thunk" sounds associated with German cars. Yet, they feel very sturdy and precisely built. The shut lines are really quite thin and the paint quality is exemplary. Given how these cars are evolving, we may need to rethink the "thunk" test of sturdiness. The newer materials are lighter yet stronger and more reliable.
In the side profile, the car looks extremely long. The Sport inscription in chrome and the alloy wheel design is the one way you can differentiate the sport line and the luxury line. The alloys in the sport line stand out more than those in the Luxury line. The look elegant yet sporty. The inside areas of the ridges are coated in a grey colored paint, which makes the wheel looks dark when viewed externally. The 245-45-18 tires look quite low in profile and my first thought was to wonder if the ride would be too rough. However, the run flats and the dynamic dampers seem to neutralize this a bit, more on the later. My car came with pirelli run flat tires. There is a thick strip of "satinized aluminium" around the windows and adds a sense of occasion and prestige to the car.
The rear of the car looks the least changed, other than a small variations in the the tail lamp design. The sport line has twin exhaust tailpipes coated in dark black casings. The boot feels light to lift up, again probably due to the use of Aluminium. The surprise is that BMW has done some India specific engineering to build a cavity for a spare tire. You lift up what appears to be a low platform on the boot floor, to reveal the spare tyre, it is substantially smaller in size than the regular tires, but still takes up quite a bit of space. Due to the India Specific engineering, the boot floor is almost flat, except for the outer edges and while it is smaller than the international models, seems sufficient for a large suitcase plus a couple of extra bags.
The fuel lid door is push type and there is no external marking about the type of fuel (Diesel versus Petrol). The first time I refueled on a rural petrol pump on a long road trip, the attendant remarked that I should stick a Petrol sticker because he rarely sees a petrol BMW and it is highly likely someone may make a mistake and fill Diesel.
The bonnet is released with two pulls on the lever towards the right of the foot area. t is hydraulically mounted and lifts up and stays in position easily once lifted without any support rods etc. The engine bay is neatly laid out and uncluttered, with the twin power turbo 2.0 litre engine longitudinally mounted and forming the centre of the stage, apt for a BMW! The engine is placed quite a bit to the back of the bay and only partly visible. The compartment looks reasonably filled up but there is definitely space in front of the engine that can accommodate larger and longer in-line 6 engines and V8 engines, such as those of the 540i and 550i.
Three remote controls are provided, two standard units and a BMW "Display Key". More about the Display Key later. The regular units are themselves rather large and I was hard pressed to find a key pouch that can hold the remote as well as a couple of house and office keys together. The remote control allows remote opening of all windows and the sunroof by pressing down the unlock button and keeping it pressed for a few seconds - this will be useful on a hot day! This is a fairly common feature in German Cars that I find quite useful. By the same token, the lock button can be held for a few extra seconds to close all windows and the sunroof as well as fold back the wing mirrors.
The wipers make a full sweep of the front glass area, leaving very little part of the surface untouched. I was able to check the rain sensing function of the wipers during a long drive with rain on and off. The function is not highly sensitive and starts to work only after consistent rain is detected. Once it starts, the function is quite practical and varies speed according to the intensity of rain. The car also has a rain sensing sun roof, which closes automatically once rain is detected.
The Sportline does not have the 360 degree camera which allows a display of the whole car against its settings on all sides. However, I found the reverse parking camera and the Park Distance Controls to be sufficient to park and take out the car for all occasions I have been in so far. The Park Distance Control gets automatically activated once you approach any obstacles in the front, front sides, rear or rear sides. This results in a display of the relent portion of the car on the iDrive with green, yellow or red lines showing up, based on how far you are from the obstacle. It can also get activated and start beeping in dense city traffic with pedestrians and two wheelers moving too close to the car in the areas mentioned. I found the PDC to be too safe, i.e., it starts to beep loudly and show red even if you are about 9 inches from the wall or an obstruction. It will take some gettign used to, before I can estimate how far I can push on the limits shown by thee system safely.
Last edited by 84.monsoon : 10th September 2017 at 17:15.
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|9th September 2017, 10:43||#6|
Join Date: May 2010
Thanked: 840 Times
First Impressions - Interiors
The first thing that strikes me on entering the cabin is just how much larger it looks and feels compared to the previous generation. BMW seems to have done something special to carve out more space. The cabin feels quite wide, it is hard for me, as a tall person to reach out to the glove box on the passenger side. The interior is dominated by the 10.25 inch touchscreen. This unit is wide and placed with excellent visibility to the driver. The system is very responsive and is more like an iPAD than a car infotainment system in terms of the smoothness of navigation.
BMW has built in multiple modes to interact with the Infotainment system. Literally everything can be operated through the touch function on screen, but the iDRIVE controller and associated buttons have been retained, probably due to the fact that this is an easier and safer way to operate the system while the car is in motion than to use the touchscreen. Also, it will make the transition easier for prior BMW owners.
The the system has six main tabs - Media, Navigation, Vehicle Information, Connected Drive etc. The Navigation system had been updated during the delivery process and had no trouble locating my home precisely on the map. Sicne I am not too familiar with iDrive, I used the touch screen directly for entering addresses etc. and it worked very well.
Pairing my iphone was quick and seamless and the surprise feature was that I could navigate the current playlist of album using the scroll wheel located on the right side of the steering wheel. The right side of the speedometer cluster digital display converts to show a list of songs in the current album or playlist and I was able to scroll through and select songs, using only my right thumb!
The Sportline uses a lot of piano black and aluminum trim all over the dash. The top part of the dash is standard contoured soft-touch finish common in most BMWs of the past. The Sportline misses the sensatic leatherette finish on top of the dash. That would have made the dash look more premium for sure. It is bits like this that are frustrating about how BMW has chosen to equip each trim. The sportline misses touch sensor based entry into the car, which even my Ecosport has, at one fifth of the price.An essential feature like this, that costs hardly anything to add should not have been compromised on a luxury car costing 60 big ones. The intent I think ,is just to create some artificial differentiation between the slightly lower priced Sportline and the Luxury line trim. The sad part is, petrol buyers do not even have an option to go to the Luxury Line of the M-Sport, which seems highly illogical.
Back to the interiors of the sportline, one cannot complain about the seats. Mine come with Cognac colored Dakota Leather upholstery. it is just plain luxurious in appearance and comfort. goes well with the Imperial Blue exterior color. It feels rich and the intense smell of leather permeates the cabin even today after a month of ownership. Another advantage over beige is that it would show dirt and stains less due to its darker color. There are stitches and some "piping" in contrasting black along the length of the seat. The Cognac colored trims extend outwards onto the doors and inwards on to the center armrest as well, coccning you the driver and co-passenger in a luxurious cognac leather capsule.
The seat feels superbly comfortable and has a massive range of electric adjustments. One of the problems I had seen with sedans for tall people is ingress, where the low steering wheel comes in the way. Felt a bit of this in the BMW as well when the seat is in the highest position, but it was OK to get in once the seat was lowered a little. The SA suggested another solution, to use the memory seats in the first setting for ingress and second setting as soon as I get in, which is ingenious! It was in any case, much better than cars like the Camry Hybrid, where I struggle to get in and have to push the seats all the way back before I even try to get inside. Equally irritating when I get out of the Camry, as soon as you switch the engine off the steering goes to the lowest position which makes it very hard to get out as well.
Since I have not had a sportline BMW car before, I was unfamiliar with the adjustable side bolsters. While these are not very useful in regular driving, I found these very helpful when driving up to the Kodaikanal hill station on my first long trip. As you flick the car through the hairpin bends, these adjustable side bolsters come in very handy. You can set them to close in or loosen out relative to your torso and a tighter setting felt perfect when the car is zipping through the curves - it anchors your body and prevents any side to side movement and you can better enjoy the drive.
The front seats have a manual adjustment to increase the seat swab for enhanced thigh support. I did not find this feature very helpful, since my typical driving position has by knees somewhat up at the edge of the seat. It may probably be more useful for shorter passengers. This feature is not available in the Luxury line - one of the few features where Sportline scores (Another being Launch Control!)
The digital instrument cluster looks really smart. When the car is turned off, all you see are the arcs of the exterior of the dials and everything else is blank, as soon as you turn it on, the dials take completely different avatars depending on the driving mode you are in. In EcoPro mode, the dials look like those of a hybrid car, where everythign is blue, the speedometer ends at 130 KMPH and instead of the RPM meter, you see the fuel economy gauge. It shows fuel consumption in litres per 100 kms, and also has a based at the zero consumption level, which is what you are in most of the time when you are stationary at traffic lights etc. The engine is switched off when the vehicle is not moving fore a few seconds continually and the AC and other power requirements are fed from the battery. If the battery charge dips below 80%, the engine is switched back on. Also when the car is decelerating in the EcoPro mode, it appears the engine switches of, because the dial is showing zero fuel consumption or swings even further left t the charge position, which means the kinetic energy of the decelerating car is being used to charge the battery. I guess one could call this a mild hybrid type of behavior, although I am not sure that is technically true. Unlike a hybrid car, this car cannot move away from standstill without the engine switching on and consuming fuel, however the battery charge is used to power the car for air conditioning, and the electronic and media systems during deceleration and when it is stopped at traffic signals.
What I found amazing was that you could not tell exactly when the engine goes off. There is absolutely no noise or vibration in the cabin when the engine is running, so it feels no different when the engine shuts off. You do sense a mild tick when the engine comes back on, but this is hardly distracting or pronounced. The noise insulation inside the cabin is very good overall, the only thing that is heard pretty loud is the car's own honk, which has a deep "Paaarp" note typical of the luxury Germans.
The dials look like those of a normal car in Comfort mode, displaying speed and RPM just as in any other car. The speedometer has markings till 260 KMPH, this is the first car I have owned where there is a semblance of a relationship between the maximum speeds marked on the speedometer and how fast the car can go in reality! The maximum speed of the 530i is rated at 250 KMPH, just 10 KMPH short of the maximum marking on the speedo. For comparison, my Polo had markings up to 240 KMPH and the Ecosport had markings up to 220 KMPH, but I have never managed to go anywhere close to those speeds.
In sport model, the dials turn an angry red. The left side shows the speed and the right side shows the current gear you are in using bid bold letters at the centre of the red dial markings. It looks designed to tempt you to go faster and spin the engine up all the way to the 7000 rpm redline. I cannot wait to use this more extensively, but the car has done only around 1000 KMS and BMW recommends to say under 160 KMPH speed and 4500 rpm engine speed until the 2000 KM break in period is done.
I tried using the iDrive touch controller a bit, it is quite precise and oozes a sense of engineering excellence that has been perfected over generations. The touch sensitive main knob surface with handwriting recognition works like a charm and I was able to effortlessly scribble address details and song names. However, for right hand drive markets one is using the left hand for these functions which is not ideal, since a majority of people like me are right handed. I am sure I will get more used to it progressively and be able to use it as a primary means of interacting with the Infotainment system, but I am certainly not here yet! I find it easier to use the touchscreen directly whenever I come to a stop or use the scroll roller on the steering to flip through the songs.
Ambient lighting is present in multiple colors including green, blue, red, orange etc. Each shade also has a companion shade that comes mixed with white lighting strips. It is not unduly loud and the light strips going across the center of the dash and the doors are fairly thin and not loud in any way. They do add to the overall look and feel during night driving, however, the driver can seldom enjoy them with the unpredictable traffic and need to keep eyes glued to the road in our cities and highways.
The door sills hold a classy illuminated "sport line" emblem in orange letters on a steel plated surfacing. It is generous indeed to see these on all four doors, compared to just the front doors in most other cars with this feature. The doors have rather large bottle holders which can accommodate 1 litre bottles easily. In front of the gear lever, there is a closed compartments with nicely damped covering in piano black the cover can be locked in the forward position or closed off totally. Once open, it reveals positions for smaller cups and an storage area to keep the cellphone. In the Luxury line trim, this space is enabled with wireless charging for the phone and the BMW display key, but again this feature is omitted in the sportline. it is nice to see the ambient lighting also illuminates this compartment. In the Luxury line and higher models, the cellphone storage area also features wireless charging, a feature again unfortunately left out on the Sportline. Instead a USB charging port has been provided. All in all, BMW has strayed away from its general positioning of Sport and Luxury lines, with the overall feature set being more or less equal, with a few trade-offs in comfort versus sportiness. There is generally a trim below Sport and Luxury Lines, called Expedition or so, which misses many features. In the case of the new 5-series, I think BMW has missed many small convenience features which would normally be expected on the Sportline trim, since there is no lower trim and they have to somehow build an artificial differentiation based on missing a number of small features which cost hardly anything to add.
The foot well is quite massive in dimensions and the dead pedal is perfectly shaped and angled to rest ones' left foot. However for large footed people wearing wide shoes, I feel the brake pedal and the accelerator could have done with some more spacing between them.
The Audio system produces very clear notes and generally the quality of sound is quite good compared to all the cars I have had before. However, considering this is a luxury car, I would have expected a better sound system. The lower frequencies do not seem to come though with enough thump and the sound lacks depth. Some of this could probably be compensated by adjusting the sound settings which I have not gotten around to trying yet, but I suspect this will not make a massive difference. The car introduces the "Gesture Control" feature into this segment. Although at first this seems gimmicky, you start finding it useful after a while. Basically you can use finger gestures in front of the Infotainment system to perform functions such as accepting and rejecting calls, turning the vole up and down, switching radio stations and tracks etc. For example, moving you index finger around in a circle clockwise increases the volume, while doing to counter-clockwise reduces the volume. The system takes a moment to detect your gesture, for instance, the first full circle you make with your index finger does not change the volume, it wakes up gesture control and the second circle starts to turn up the volume rapidly. BMW promises to introduce many more gesture features through software updates.
Air conditioning is adequate and cools the car gradually at a steady pace. However it is not what one would describe as powerful or chilling. I feel it is intentionally designed to be non-intrusive and therefore doe snot blow air with the ferocity required for rapid cooling in the Chennai heat. The Sportline has dual zone auto air conditioners for the front seats as well as manual air speed and temperature controls for the back seat passengers. The Luxury line comes with 4-zone climate control, but this is one feature I will not miss since the car will be self driven and not chauffeur driven. The rear sets are not going to be regularly used.
The rear of the cabin features wide well bolstered and comfortable seats with very good thigh support and nicely angled backrest. The beach is not too low to the floor and ingress and egress is reasonably comfortable. The knee room is much better as compared to the previous generation of the 5-series, but not quite as good as the Toyota Camry or the Skoda Superb. The ability to stretch out is much more improved once the passenger seat is pushed all the way forward so chauffeur driven sorts may find this car quite good. However, I have not see the new E Class EWB, but I am sure that will beat the 5-series hollow in terms of rear seat comfort and leg room.
The sunroof is not panoramic but quite decently sized. The open area dies not extend to rear passengers but very usable by the driver and front passenger. But again, as with so many other things about this car, the car is built around the driver and his or her comfort and to deliver the driving excitement to that individual. The single biggest positive the Sunroof, though, is that the opaque inside cover is made of a thick board type material sheathed in fabric and not just a fabric curtain as in the Mercedes Benz cars or even the VW Tiguan. I have heard numerous complaints from Mercedes owners about how much heat comes through the sunroof even with the inner curtain drawn shut because it is a thin fabric and lets through the heat and light in the Chennai sun. I was relieved to see that the G30 had a solid panel cover which would transmit zero light or heat through once closed.
There is an electrically operated roller sun blind for the rear window. The control is available at the driver side armrest. There are manually operated roller sun curtains on the rear windows as well. All interior lights are white LED lamps and illuminate the cabin brilliantly. The rear passengers get a cigarette lighter adapter but disappointingly, no USB charging points. Even out front, there is a single USB charging point in the cellphone holding area out front, I would have expected in these days dominated by devices carried by each member of the family, there would be more USB points. I find Skoda cars are more thoughtfully designed in this regard with more creature comforts and conveniences.
Last edited by GTO : 12th September 2017 at 09:06. Reason: speeds :)
|10th September 2017, 09:46||#7|
Join Date: May 2010
Thanked: 840 Times
On the Road
Over the last month, I have driven the car a dozen times in the city and also taken it on one long road trip from Chennai to a hill station and back, around 520 KMs each way. All along, I have been fairly considerate of the fact that the car is still within its break in period. Currently, the car has around 1200 KMs under its belt and it has been a pure Joy Ride so far!
Visibility is excellent out front, however there is a blind spot at the bottom of the A pillar. The windows are quite spacious and offer a good view out to the sides. Rearward visibility is not perfect due to the high position of the rear window relative to the front seats. The reverse parking camera helps navigate the car very well when needed. Safety is well addressed with a number of features including 8 airbags covering front, front side and side curtains for front and rear passengers, ABD, Dynamic braking lights, Dynamic stability and traction control, cornering brake control etc. The car also features attentiveness alert, although I have not been able to see it demonstrated yet. There is also supposed to be an indicator if the tyres are damaged and running flat.
The most common drive mode one would be using is the Comfort Mode. This mode is well suited to city and most highway drives. I find myself using this mode the most often for a number of reasons. I found the gear lever to be very likeable - it is short, nicely shaped to fit into your palm and all it takes is a extremely short flick to switch between Reverse, Neutral and Drive. Turn on the engine with the start/stop button, slot the short gear lever into "D" with a flick of the wrist and you are ready to go.
What I found interesting is how far the BMW Efficient Dynamics features have been pushed in the car. Not only does the engine get turned off when the vehicle is stopped, if you happen to leave the car after starting it up, exit the vehicle leaving it in Park mode on the gear lever, the whole car switches off within 2 minutes. You then need to re-start the car with a push of the start button! All these measures seem to save fuel substantially in city driving, I was able to do between 8 and 9 KMPL in Comfort Mode with a fair amount of start-stop driving in the city. This is indeed impressive for a large petrol powered car. The EcoPro mode seems to do even better, since it is more aggressive in cutting off the engine and also charges the batteries aggressively during deceleration. Although the car cannot move on its own without the engine turning on (unlike a hybrid), it seems to use the batteries quite extensively to power the car when it is slowing or stopped without the need for the engine to be on.
Once in "D" mode and the brake pedal released, the car creeps forward slowly at around 5-7 KMPH. When you as much as touch the accelerator and apply a mild force, the car accelerates smartly, in a very linear way. Need to jump ahead to fill a gap? Poke down on the accelerator and in a fraction of a second the 8 speed gearbox shifts down a notch or two and the vehicle is surging forward. The gear shifts are totally imperceptible unless accelerating aggressively when you can feel the gear box drop a cog or two in response to accelerator input. There is zero turbo lag despite the engine being significantly turbocharged and all 350 NM of torque comes in at a very low speed of 1450 RPM and the torque curve stays flat till 4800 rpm, an amazing spread of engine speed of almost 3400 rpm, where the maximum torque keeps coming relentlessly. Even the peak power of 252 HP comes in at a fairly early 5200 rpm for such a high revving car. All of this means, power is accessible instantly at any engine speed.
The Comfort mode lets you potter around in a relaxed drive across the city as well as tackle long distance highway drives effortlessly. It provides quite a bit of punch in accelerating to pass other fast moving cars in the highway. At no time on my 1000 KM drive did I feel the need to use the sport mode to pass other cars. Passing between lumbering, slow moving trucks (exactly half of whom do not seem to understand which is the fast lane and which is the slow lane) is like child's play. Just point the car and use the precise steering to zig-zag between them and you are through the know on the road in a jiffy.
I used to cruise the highway at around 110 KPH in my Ecosport and that is the limit of speed that felt safe and well controlled. At that speed, I felt I could react rapidly to anything that happens on our unpredictable highways, which could call for a sudden slowing down or a sudden speeding up, depending on the situation. With a Honda CRV 2.4 AWD I owned for a few years, I felt I could increase the safe cruising speed to 120 KPH. The car had more oomph and better stopping power. With the 530i, I feel just as safe at 140 KPH - the car has so much reserve power for maneuvers that may call for a sudden speeding up, as well as the brakes feel really strong, linear and confidence inspiring to slow down the car in a split second. So 140 KPH has become my steady highway cruising speed with the BMW. Of course, with the kind of traffic and undisciplined lane use we have, I had to slow down innumerable times, for passing or going through populated areas, but I could get back to the cruising speed in seconds. So, it is not about how fast a car can go that determines how quick you are on your highway trip, it is what is the steady speed you can comfortably and safely cruise at and how quickly can you get back to your cruising speed once slowed down. In this respect, the BMW scores very highly, and I could cover a 520 KM trip including a 2-hour ascent to 7000 foot high hill station in a matter of 7 hours.
The transmission almost seems to have a brain of its own. The speed alone does not seem to determine the gear it is on. While driving out on my long trip, I was trying out the behavior of the car for the first time on the highway and would accelerate and decelerate more often. When I held speed of around 125 KMPH in Comfort mode for stretches of steady speed in between, the engine rpm was 2000. But after a few hours, the roads opened out and I would go at more predicable speeds with less variation. Almost all of a sudden, the engine rpm dropped to around 1700 and I realized the car had not been using the top gear before. I increased speed steadily during the rest of the trip and the engine rpm settled at 2000 rpm at a stead 140 KPH cruising speed. This seemed pretty low for a large petrol car with an engine that can technically rev to 7000. At this speed, there is obviously a lot of grunt left in the engine.
The brakes of the car are strong, progressive and predictable. it is possible to bring the car down from 140 KPH to less than half the speed very quickly. This increases the confidence you can have on the car in high speed cruising situations. But one thing to remember is that when you are coasting on the highway with no accelerator input, , especially in Ecopro mode, there is no engine braking absolutely and the low aerodynamic resistance and low mechanical friction of the cars power train mean that you will lose speed very slowly. When cruising at a speed of about 130 KPH, it is possible to let go of the accelerator almost a kilometer ahead of a toll booth and put the car into Ecopro and the car would keep going, losing speed very slowly and can take you all the way to the toll booth pretty smartly.
The EcoPro mode alters the behavior of car substantially. It almost feels like a different car. The transmission feels like a CVT with a certain stretching/elastic band type feel as you accelerate and decelerate. The car tends to up-shift very quickly and coming back to lower gears is more lethargic when you need to accelerate. However, it is fun to drive in this mode once in a while when you are in the mood to go green. The display is very interactive and is showing you the instantaneous fuel consumption on fully one half of the massive instrument cluster, on the large right side dial. It also males you acutely aware of when the engine is cut ff off while decelerating and the kinetic energy is converted to charge the battery. There is a display of how much distance was traveled without actively engaging the engine, e.g. while decelerating or breaking. There is an efficient dynamics scale to show you how well you score on the green quotient of your drive. I found that when you switch to EcoPro and consciously switch to a sedate style of driving the mileage improves very quickly. This makes EcoPro the ideal mode from Chauffeur drives inside the city.
So far, I have used the sport mode a bit in the city. I have not been too aggressive given the car is still within the break in period. However, I used it quite extensively on a 55 KM drive uphill to a hill station trip ascending 7000 feet. The road was in fairly good shape and there are a lot of twists and turns. There is also a lot of slow traffic along the way that needs to be overtaken. I resorted to Sport mode for most part of this drive. It was pure fun. The car would hold one lower gear lower than on the comfort mode. the mode offers quick bursts of power to navigate the straights that would emerge in between the twists and turns, during which time it is amazing how the car is able to perform overtaking maneuvers with short distances to complete passing and get back on the right side of the road. The car can just zip with a moments notice, get past the slow moving bus or car and get back on the left side of the road in a matter of seconds. Most times, the other car ahead is not even realizing what is happening! Also with the rear wheel drive set-up and precise steering it is a joy to be going uphill in this car. The route which would normally take 1 hour and 45 minutes to cover the 52 kilometers. was polished off in 1 hour and 10 minutes. It was possible to hold a 50-60 KPH speed uphill through the twists and turns in sport mode, which is very uncommon since most cars are going up at around 40 KPH. The engine never had to go over 3000 rpm most of the time in sport mode, the car making light work of the uphill climbl. Just don't forget to use the seat side bolster adjustments to make them hug your sides and hold you in place as the car spits and snarls and twists and turns as it lunges uphill!
The tiptronic mode can be activated by nudging the gear lever to the left. The car shows the current gear it is on and from then on, one can control the precise gear the car is in using the paddle shifters. The Paddle shifters are exactly where you want them to be and the right size. The gear change is almost instantaneous as you use the shifters and the vehicle allows you to play with them accommodates a wide range of
There was very limited body roll even going fast through the corners. The car felt absolutely planted and the improvements in structural rigidity was apparent. The steering is not too hard and neither too soft at any speed. It is precise, linear and highy predictable. Coming from the Ecosport, which has the fairly good Ford Fiesta DNA in the steering department, the BMW felt an order of magnitude better on feedback, precision and predictability. Having mostly driven Front Wheel Drive or All Wheel Drive cars all my life, it was amazing to me how much better rear wheel drive is in the twisties. Steering and power delivery do not interfere with each other and act in tandem to carry out your every command to the tee.
The ride of the car is supple and it is able to take small undulations on city roads in its stride - these hardly soak through into the cabin, the adaptive dampers at work to ensure the suspension characteristics are altered to accommodate the surface. The large craters so transmit some noise and jerks but in a predictable and mature way, although in polite protest! When you come off a long highway drive immediately into a patch of broken road, it does feel like the dampers have been caught out a bit and the suspension transmits more sharp movements into the cabin. On the smooth highway, the ride is simply outstanding and the car feels as though it is on a plush carpet.
I had quite a bit of apprehension about the combination of long wheelbase and the ground clearance resulting in the possibility of the car scraping speed breakers. So far, this has not been a problem at all. I have negotiated some pretty large speed breakers in the city with absolutely no scraping. When leaving a cottage at the hill station, the road is unpaved, full of rocks and slopes down at a steep angle. At this point, I had mild amount of noise as though the bottom of the car touched or brushed past one of the rocks. The previous generation 5 series had a rough road suspension package and I hope the current one also has this, although I am not sure since the specification sheet does not call this out.
Last edited by 84.monsoon : 10th September 2017 at 20:47.
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|10th September 2017, 16:52||#8|
Join Date: May 2010
Thanked: 840 Times
The Display Key
The new 5-series comes with the BMW Display Key. In the Sportline trim, it allows one to carry out the following functions, in addition to normal opening and closing of the vehicle doors etc.
1. Check if the vehicle is locked and whether the doors, sunroof and the boot are closed.
2. Check vehicle information such as maintenance requirements base don the condition based maintenance system, whether engine oil, brake fluid etc are OK.
3. Check vehicle range, how far it will go with the current level of fuel
4. Set a time for departure. At the appointed time, the vehicle uses its independent ventilation and auxiliary heating system to prepare the car for departure automatically. The temperature of the interior can be set and the interior is heated or cooled depending on the set temperature and ambient temperature. The system uses any available residual heat from the engine or the vehicle's fuel for generating heat. The diplay key allows you to set the time of departure (one time or a repeating daily time) and also allows you to activate the feature. This seems pretty cool although I am yet to try this as to how far it will work to cool down the car on a hot day in Chennai!
The display key can be charged via a standard USB charger or via wireless charging - although the wireless charging feature is missing on the Sportline! Once charged, I find it lasts about 2-3 weeks.
In the Luxury Line and M-Sport variants, the display key also has the additional feature of moving the car in a straight line back and forth to allow parking in tight spaces. Although this is quite a gimmicky and nice to show-off feature, I find few practical uses for it, since I doubt how many times one would want to park the car in such a narrow space, that with too no one inside, remotely and in a straight line motion only! I think parking in such a narrow space in this way would be too risky to attempt for fear of scratching or denting the car. So this is one feature I do not miss!
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|10th September 2017, 20:35||#9|
Join Date: May 2010
Thanked: 840 Times
1. I have not yet accessorized the car, but the following are items that seem interesting from the catalogue:
2. I have to do my research on BSI and Repair Inclusive Packages for maintenance and extended warranty. Ideally I would want only the extended warranty (Repair Inclusive), but I believe it cannot be purchased without some form of BSI package being bought. I will update the thread as I go on this topic. Any advise is welcome.
3. One of the drive modes I missed covering is the "Adaptive Drive Mode" This seems to change the drive mode between Comfort and Sport and the suspension characteristic as well, based on the driver input. So while driving sedately it goes to Comfort Mode and when driving with gusto, it takes up the Sport Mode. Suspension setting also seem to get altered accordingly. I have had more fun switching between the drive modes manually so far, but I guess on a long drive across different types f terrain/roads this setting will be very useful.
Last edited by 84.monsoon : 10th September 2017 at 20:45.
|11th September 2017, 16:51||#10|
Join Date: Feb 2004
Thanked: 94,515 Times
Re: My BMW 530i (G30)!
Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to the Initial Ownership Section. Thanks for sharing!
Heartiest congratulations man. Wish you years of driving pleasure with the G30 .
|11th September 2017, 18:05||#11|
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Delhi NCR
Thanked: 52 Times
Re: My BMW 530i (G30)!
Congratulations! I was waiting for your write-up and here it is. Extensive and informative write-up. Nice car and wishing you for happy several thousands of miles.
|11th September 2017, 18:35||#12|
Senior - BHPian
Join Date: May 2007
Thanked: 1,881 Times
Re: My BMW 530i (G30)!
More than buying 530i, you should really congratulate yourself for not buying 520d Jokes apart, great choice and thanks for sharing such a detailed review. The really nice thing about this petrol engine is that you will enjoy it both in slow city traffic and on highways.
Some unsolicited advice
Take full warranty and insurance coverage and skip service package if it's an option.
Don't put mud flaps, spoils the look. Drive gently on bad patches to avoid developing rattles.
|11th September 2017, 18:36||#13|
Distinguished - BHPian
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Bangalore / TVM
Thanked: 17,824 Times
Re: My BMW 530i (G30)!
An upgrade from a humble Ecosport to the mighty 530i. Now that's something rare! You've skipped not one or two - but almost half a dozen small segments in the upgrade!
The colour choice is brilliant as well, and the car surely deserves better pictures. Waiting for more.
Last edited by CrAzY dRiVeR : 11th September 2017 at 18:38.
|11th September 2017, 20:26||#14|
Senior - BHPian
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: New Delhi
Thanked: 1,324 Times
Re: My BMW 530i (G30)!
BSI is no cost service, the warranty can be had separately. Won't recommend BSI unless you will be covering a high mileage (I'd say 20-30k kms plus in a year).
Also in EcoPro and Comfort mode the car coasts to improve mileage. Looks like the new 5 coast is so great it feels like it isn't there at all. I've only experienced coasting in a BMW over longer distances and not happening in city driving.
Congratulations on what seems like soon to be legendary 5 series generation. I was checking one out at a showroom recently and I have to say the interior is looking real good. Even though I am not too happy with the direction current generation BMW's are heading to. Also, run-flats are absolutely horrid when it comes to ride quality. So it's all the suspension in your car I'm sure. If you ever decide to switch to tubeless tires you'll be amazed!
P.S. Totally agree on Petrol BMW part, even in a city like Delhi. Put a sticker there ASAP, a mishap could be really painful. Especially when there was such a simple fix.
Last edited by quickdraw : 11th September 2017 at 20:27.
|11th September 2017, 20:51||#15|
Join Date: Jul 2015
Thanked: 5 Times
Re: My BMW 530i (G30)!
Congratulations. The car and especially the interiors looks awesome. I am surprised that it looks small. Almost like a 3?!! I think it must be bigger in flesh.
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