Several weeks ago I wrote a post about my experience with eCarOne’s 2011 535i Sedan and I called it the Ultimate Driving Machine. I have owned three BMW 5-seires in the past and the 535i was truly the best one I have ever driven. This car was magnificent in every way, but it also has a $52,000 price tag so as magnificent as it is, it is unattainable for many. So, last week I asked eCarOne for a newer model 5-series at a more affordable price point. They gave me a 2010 528i xdrive (that is code for all wheel drive). This car is priced at $34,000 and is still under factory warranty so I thought this would be a good alternative and thus I set out on my week -long ownership experience.
This particular 5-series was not fitted with the Sport Package but it did have almost every other option, so needless to say I did not miss any of the luxury of the more expensive newer 535i. This 528i was black with natural brown leather and this is one of my favorite combinations. It just felt luxurious and although I would have liked to have the sports seats, I had no complaints. I know my little boy appreciated having the rear side sunshades in the 100+ degree weather we had.
So, now you’re asking…. How did it compare to the significantly higher priced 535i? Well, it compared very favorably. What made the 535i the Ultimate Driving Machine was the near perfect combination of driving dynamics, luxury, and practicality. This same combination is also present in the 528i but in a different feel. It would not be fair to compare the two cars simply because the price point is dramatically different. However, I can honestly say that the 528i is a very good alternative to the 535i. It has less power but more than sufficient for everyday spirited driving and highway speeds well beyond the legal speed limit. It has excellent braking and a very well controlled suspension (even without the Sport Package). It has a great sound system, it’s roomy, gets excellent gas mileage and has plenty of other creature comforts. It’s also a BMW, so in my opinion, it’s still one of the best cars on the road.
There is not much to dislike, even the i-drive that some of the media complain about is intuitive and easy to operate. If you cannot figure out the i-drive, then you’re going to have many problems owning a car in the future because this is where most vehicles are headed anyway. Another minor complaint is the trunk release. It is not fitted with shocks so when you release the trunk, it pops open very fast and if you’re not careful you could get hit in the face! So, pay attention when you pop the trunk! Other than that, I really enjoyed this car and although it is not a 300 HP twin turbo monster, it is still a wonderful car to drive and it awards you with a great ownership experience.
If you want the ultimate driving machine, you need to get a 5-series. I suggest you take a trip to eCarOne and test drive one of several that they always carry.
Good luck and happy driving.