Sunday, June 24, 2012

The Ultimate Driving Machine

Last week I had a 2011 BMW 535i from eCarOne.  I'm not sure where to start because I'm trying to be objective but it's difficult because I currently own a BMW and have owned seven others in the past.  So, as you can see, I am a little biased towards the brand.

This particular 535i from eCarOne hits home with me because it shares the same twin turbo V6 engine with one of the best cars that I have ever owned; a 2007 335i Coupe that I happen to have purchased from eCarOne... go figure!  I sold that car a few years ago as my family grew and now I wish the 535i was around when I sold the 3 because that would have been the perfect sedan to own.

I think BMW got it right when they said "ultimate driving machine" because this 535i certainly is that and more.  Why is this car so perfect and what makes it that way?

I wish I could point out one thing or talk about it like I talked about the Ferrari F430 or the Maserati Coupe GT, but I can't.  My feeling is that the car as a whole just works.  It's a sedan that does not feel like a sedan once you start driving it.  The driving position is perfect, the steering wheel is thick, the engine is ultra-responsive, the brakes are phenomenal, and the cabin is whisper quiet.  As an added bonus, this car in particular had the night vision, so that was a cool experience.  I live in a suburban area, so it was fun to go out at night and see if I can spot squirrels and rabbits on the back roads using the night vision.  Yes, it's childish but fun nonetheless.

How did BMW do it?  How is it that driving this car makes you feel like you're driving a perfect machine and not sacrificing anything?

What are the negatives?  I've heard media complaints about the i-dirve system and its complications, the thought that this 5-series is disconnected from the driver, the idea that it's heavy and sluggish.  Well, none of those complaints even crossed my mind in the time I drove it... and I drove it daily more than several times a day.  In fact, I loved this car so much that I was looking for reasons to drive.  My wife loved that I was running errands I was supposed to run weeks ago, so earning brownie points was another positive of having this machine in the garage!

Prior to having this 535i, I had a 2010 Mercedes E350 which was a beautiful car.  I could compare the two but I'm not going it.  I'm only referring to the Benz in order to tell you that getting out of the Benz and into the Bimmer was a seamless transition and in fact, I would have to say the Bimmer was a bit quieter than the Benz and that was a big surprise for me.  Conversley, I got out of the Bimmer and into a 2011 Audi A6.  This definitely felt like a step down... until I drove the A6... more on that in another post.

I currently own a 7-series that my wife absolutely hates.  And before you make any assumptions, she drives a Honda CR-V.  She hates the 7 because in her opinion it's not worth the money... her opinion.  In fact, she has hated every BMW I've owned.  Why, because in her mind no car is worth that much money.  She has never had anything good to say about any Bimmer I've owned... yes, even my beautiful Space Gray Metallic 335i Coupe with Coral Red leather and black walnut wood trim.... even that car did not impress her.  Her blanket statement is always about how the interior lacks refinement and the car rides too harsh.  Why am I talking about this?  Because for the first time in her life, my wife paid a compliment to BMW... two compliments.

When she first saw the interior of this 535i, her first words were... "this car is much nicer than any other BMW I've seen... I like the wood trim."

Then, during the time I had it, she was "forced" to drive it home because we were at a water park with the kids and our little boy needed to get to bed.  I waited with the older kids and rather than have them ride in their wet swim suits in the Bimmer, I asked my wife to drive it home and leave the CR-V for me.  She drove it for a short 15 minute ride from the park to our house.  The next morning over breakfast, she initiated the following comment....

"You know what?  I only drove that BMW for a short distance but I gotta tell ya... it's really nice to drive."  Knowing my wife and her hatred for German cars in general, that statement says a lot about this car.

If you're in the market for a mid-size sports sedan, then I strongly urge you to take a look at this car.

As always, happy driving.

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