BMW 525i Car Review – MotorPoint
BMW 525i Manual trans
Lets face it the 2006 BMW 525i is for a new generation of Bimmer fans that are used to living in a world of electronics and botox. To that end BMW has married its rich lineage of a quality ride superior brakes and solid build to demands for more room and more technology. We call it the Lexification of BMW and it apparently is working quite well as sales are increasing especially with the relaxed fit 5 Series and its more comfortable dimensions.
Checking with both owners and dealers this move to a more slab sided rear styling Bimmer has expanded the Germany companys customer base from its loyal band of performance oriented drivers to one where image is a prime factor in purchasing. With Audi and Mercedes producing vehicles that can perform as well or better than the mainstream BMWs it is obvious that the buying public is not put off knowing that they might not be driving the quickest or sportiest sedan. They are even willing to pay a premium for the pride of BMW ownership. This is as masterful a job of marketing as there is in todays world. And to make sure BMW has a trump card the M hotrods share much of the same look as their more mundan sisters making the general public unaware of the striking performance differences. Whereas some pundits bemoan the fact that the extra thousands paid for a M equipped BMW should provide a significantly different exterior we think it is an exceptional way for the entire Bimmer line to bask in its image.
The profitability at BMW continues so well that they even accept the $42 million in fines by the United States government for not meeting corporate fuel averages as a cost of doing business and the new style has not hindered sales.
So how does it feel to drive the new 525i BMW? Well there is certainly the great braking and responsive steering. The engine loves to rev and the gas mileage is above average at 23 mpg. The six-speed transmission is well geared even though the throws are rather long to fifth and sixth. You cant fault the suspension or ride quality that remains the class standard. What we failed to appreciate was its interior ergonomics and exterior slab sides that seem defenseless in parking lots. Add to this the iDrive system requires you to take your eyes off the road for something as simple as changing your air-conditioning vent settings and we found ourselves sometimes yearning for the good old days.
One thing for sure the competition has seized the moment especially Infiniti and has moved into traditional BMW territory. We think the BMW is still the class standard if you have the money and arent interested in being the fastest. We would go for the far more eager to please and wonderful 330i and save about $10000 (US) or more dollars if you dont need the extra room. For example the 3 Series BMW lacks only about two inches of interior space although the trunk is smaller.
As in most BMWs the pedals are placed ideally for heel-toe driving but with a car with this size and limited horsepower it is of questionable value outside of abandoned mountain roads where the engines 185 ft. pounds of torque are hard pressed when the sedan is fully loaded.
Working womans view: All that technology makes me wonder what is going to happen once that terrific BMW warranty that covers nearly everything including brakes for 4-year/50000 miles expires? Stuffed into the new bodied BMWs are adaptive headlights and taillights optional run-flat tires that are very expensive to replace and have a questionable life-span not to again mention the iDrive BMW’s Valvetronic system electronic throttle active steering tire pressure monitors Dynamic Stability Control rain-sensing wipers and available navigation system a head-up display active cruise control and ultrasonice parking assist.
Standard features are equally impressive especially since the 525i is essentially the price leader for BMW in the full family sedan field. It comes with dual front and side airbags front and rear side head-protection airbags antilock 4-wheel disc brakes brake assist antiskid system cruise control air conditioning w/dual-zone automatic climate controls interior air filter BMW Assist system 10-way power front seats power front headrests wood trim power windows power door locks remote keyless entry power sunroof AM/FM/CD player tachometer outside-temperature display trip computer a theft-deterrent system fog lights and more. Of course those standard options are readily available in the competition and so it isnt what it has but how they work. In the case of the 525i these features work seamlessly except for the iDrive. There simply is no reason for this system to handle so many features. If it just controlled the drivers computer information data and other features such as air pressure that would be fine. Basically what the iDrive does is act as a sort of joystick that controls most of the key functions of the cars stereo climate and communications as well as the information center. It is much better than the previous one but nevertheless it has to be used for many tasks such as changing music tracts and even adjusting the air outlets.
Driving the BMW 525i is effortless and perhaps that is the problem. Nothing seems to upset its kind nature. It takes a while to master the quick steering and the high rear deck causes some rear view hindrances but it is a quiet ride with very little noise intruding.
One area that must be addressed is that the interior just plain does not have enough storage space for most women. Cupholders are meek there is virtually no place to put your purse and the general appearance is one that is dark and bland. Take a while to make sure the standard wood trim matches your paint scheme because it makes a big difference in this model.
I believe that the BMW is a perfect lease car. High residual values and that four year we pay for most everything warranty make it attractive for those who like the idea of driving a Bimmer and want to hold their fixed costs in check.
Young unemployed males view: BMW has done something interesting. They have essentially abandoned one of the most recognizable and successful exterior designs for something almost completely new. Now this has nothing to do with that way it drives but it does tell you that BMW is not afraid to take risks. That also carries over in to the electronics where the overly active Active Steering can make parking a breeze but also supplies less feedback than I would like during low speed cornering. It is an option with the $3000 (US) sports package that might be of interest on a more powerful BMW than this one. Then there is the much discussed iDrive which isnt that difficult to master but really just saves space on the dash. Lexus solved this by simply putting a cover over the extra buttons. Enough said. The new six-cylinder engine is smooth but it isnt a torque monster and so if you order the desirable automatic transmission and travel with a family aboard consider paying the extra few thousand and get the larger six-cylinder engine. Regardless the competition has more power and are priced less.
In the back seat there is good legroom and only the very tall well have a problem with space. The seats are quite comfortable but they dont provide an angle adjustment like the Toyota Avalon. Which brings up an interesting comparison. Although there is no chance these two models would be cross-shopped the Toyota is significantly larger more powerful gets better gas mileage and costs 30 percent less. That my friends is the power of BMWs marketing and why hopefully someday I shall be employed in that field.
Among the other interesting aspect of the 525i were the active brake lights. When you press on the brakes hard the inboard lights illuminate. There is also active roll stabilization that connects the front and rear roll bars to help reduce lean when cornering at speed which is another option. Our test car had17-inch wheels which ran quietly and never complained when pushed. Among the other interesting options were a navigation system front and rear obstacle detentions heated seats for both the front and year and xenon lights. I didnt find the night lighting as good on this model as others so you might want to take a test drive at night and see if the xenons are worth it. BMW is also offering all wheel drive sedans and wagons.
This would not be my choice from BMW. It is too bulky looking and although possessed of excellent highway manners doesnt offer that snap that the 330i offers. Hey check out my music online at http://www.simple-thoughts.net/ and help me get that 330i BMW.
Moms view: I dont like the way it looks at all but what really made me yearn for a 545i was the lack of power an automatic transmission additional interior storage room and more comfortable seats. On the other hand the gas mileage was phenomenal and the stopping power and incredible strong build were truly unmatched. It feels and drives much heavier than the 3500 pounds it weights thanks to BMWs use of aluminum for many parts of the brakes and undercarriage. The steering is nicely weighted to the point of making you a bit overconfident when cornering.
With the cost of fuel escalating there is no question that the extra cost of premium gas for the BMWs very responsive inline six-cylinder engine with 225 horsepower might be a consideration but I was surprised to see 23 mpg easy to achieve in this $45000 (US) sedan.
Despite all the technology for technologies sake I still didnt get any warning when I parked close to curbs. The front air dam is very low making it easy to scrape it on the most modest of inclines. The trunk opens wide but you better be standing back because the lid hurls itself ajar. There is amply room in the trunk and a first for us there were instructions on how to get four golf bags into the trunk provided by a little stick on label.
Interior storage is very minimal. An average sized glove compartment is offered there is very little room in the center console and the door storage is so shallow as to be useless for anything outside of change and a business card. The cupholders still dont look like they should on a car of this expense. Even the way the interior looks is blah to the point of being boring. The stereo control knob is extremely small and difficult to locate the standard sound system is adequate at best the iDrive still too complex and the offset of the clutch brake and gas pedal make it mandatory that you avoid wearing fashionable shoes or else they can get caught. The spare tire does not have an alloy rim like some other cars do and I hesitate to ask how much the optional run flat tires are going to cost at replacement time.
If you get the idea that this BMW was not to my liking you are half right. Unless you factor in its cost and reputation it seems to be lacking. However if you just want to have a BMW and enjoy an engine that is as smooth as they come while still getting exceptional gas mileage and a world class chassis this car must be considered. BMW clearly is a master car builder but the competition hasnt been sleeping.
Dads view: I could not believe it was a BMW! It rode and reacted like most any luxury sedan. Where was that nose down eager to respond hell has no fury like a Bimmer attitude? Clearly this is a family vehicle but I would definitely drive the 530i with the sports package too. The inline six sounds smooth and reacts fairly quickly to accelerator commands and you can extend your trip to over 500 miles if you are frugal with the premium fuel in the 18.5-gallon tank.
I would not recommend the 525i with a six-speed transmission. Get the automatic transmission and enjoy driving just as much but without the hassle even though the smooth engine does not mind being lugged a bit in fifth and fourth gears. Moreover since there is virtually no difference in fuel mileage and the fact that the 525i is not a performance-oriented car anyway the question remains why order a manual transmission especially since you are going to take depreciation hit at resale time? (http://www.nada.com)
The bottom line for me is not the exterior or interior appearance both of which are highly subjectively calls but the way it drives in real life situations. To that end this is an excellent highway tourer capable of an occasional foray into the mountains. Equipped properly it should prove to be more exciting and popular than the model it replaced. If you wish swifter travel for a similar price take a look at the competition that is priced similarily.
Family conference: With a lighter colored interior and an automatic transmission this would be a great vacation or commuter car. The pricing needs to be considered but with good resale that might be a mute point. Despite this we recommend you expand your test drives to all sports sedans above.. After that climb into a 530i or 545i or a 330i. For a list of all vehicle manufacturers go to http://www.reacheverychild.com/business/index.html
Written by Car Family
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