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BMW 5-Series (G30) Forum 2017+ BMW 5 Series (G30) General Discussions Initial thoughts on 540i xDrive, my sixth BMW, and my first that isnít a 3-series

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      01-29-2020, 02:30 PM   #1
tron1043
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Initial thoughts on 540i xDrive, my sixth BMW, and my first that isnít a 3-series

Initial thoughts on 540i xDrive, my sixth BMW, and my first that isnít a 3-series,

Itís a 2017 540i xDrive that I got as a CPO with under 19,000 miles. Itís Bluestone Metallic with Ivory White Nappa. It has M-Sport, M-Sport Brakes, Luxury Seating Package, ACC Stop & Go, Harman Kardon, Parking Assistant. Then more common options like wireless charging, HUD, gesture control, etc.

I posted an intro in the photos/build threads, but so far:
  • Removed ///M badges on fenders
  • Installed IND Distribution painted front reflectors
  • Installed BMW gloss black kidney grilles
  • Installed floating BMW wheel center caps
  • Retrofitted the touch screen HVAC control unit with ceramic knobs
  • Removed air bag stickers from fabric sun visors (posted a short DIY on this here: DIY link)

This is my sixth BMW. Going back to 2003, I had the following, all sedans with rear wheel drive, 2000 323i, 2006 330i, 2009 335i, 2012 335i, 2013 328i.

I love this car. Havenít really driven it much other than at low speeds around the suburbs. But certainly love it.

The BMW nerd in me wrote the long-winded explanation below of how I bought my first non-3.

I figured based on previous experience, Iíd love the G20, then Iíd lease a G20 330i or M340i. Well, then I drove a G20 330i. The first thing I noticed pulling out of my dealerís parking lot onto a main road was turbo lag or the transmission had a hitch in the giddy up. I was driving normally; I donít drive like Iím Vin Diesel living my life a quarter mile at a time. Couldnít believe it.

During the drive I kept noticing the door panel pocket/water bottle holder brushing against leg. The salesperson told me that I wasnít the first person to mention that to him after a test drive. The seats didnít leave enough of an impression for me to call them better or equivalent to the F30 seats. The new Vernasca leather grade didnít impress me much over my F30. Nothing stuck out to me as an improvement or indicative of a brand-new platform except for the much larger sunroof.

I still remember test driving a 2006 330i in 2005 coming from my 2000 323i, and it felt like it could take a corner twice as fast as my 323i, plus had technology advancements that made it felt like a spaceship. Going from my E90 335i to F30 335i it was faster and noticeably more comfortable. The HUD was a revelation once I properly adjusted

So, then I waited for the M340i cars to hit the dealerships, thinking itíd be overkill, but had to be better than the 330i.

When I went to test drive the M340i, they had a demo X3 M40i that was a pretty decent deal, so I drove that first. The X3 M40i was great, and it was genuinely fun during a measured test drive. Then I drove the M340i. After a mile, I realized I would take the X3 M40i over the M340i any day. Finished the test drive, and still wouldíve picked the X3 over the M340i.

So, for the first time since Iíve been driving cars, I didnít want a 3-series. Then it came down to an X3 M40i or a 5-series, since I didnít want an SUV. Test drove a 540i xDrive. It was easy. Within a mile I knew it was a great car. It felt absolutely huge compared to a 3-series, but very BMW and very good. The 540i felt like it had the same generational leap in terms of performance and technology that I noticed during the transition between the E46 to E90 and E90 to F30.

Obviously, a 540i is substantially more expensive than a G20 330i, but not so much over a M340i.

I decided to buy instead of lease, and had been checking nationwide until I found this car locally with under 19,000 miles and CPO. I was surprised my local dealer had a car that was so heavy on options.

THE GOOD:
  • The M-Sport brakes are fantastic, especially considering the tires are all seasons. Brakes better than my lighter F30 with staggered summer performance tires.
  • It is sneaky fast.
  • The car feels nimble and eager despite its size.
  • Multi-contour seats are probably my favorite feature.
  • Love the wireless CarPlay.
  • Love the Bluestone Metallic. Looks great and does a great job hiding dirt as well as the road filth and salt that comes with winter roads in my area.
  • Interior fit, finish, and feel is fantastic.

THE BAD:

The Harman Kardon is good, but it sounds better in the F30, which obviously has a much smaller cabin and less glass. Hopefully, adding a pair of aftermarket replacement subwoofers will warm up the sound without having to raise the volume as high.

THE UGLY:

Very surprised how weak the HVAC air flow is from the center vents above the volume control/preset buttons. The best I can tell is that when setting the airflow distribution to the middle, a substantial amount of the HVAC airflow comes from the vents behind the iDrive screen/Control Display. Would like to see if this can be addressed by coding, but Iím pessimistic it can be addressed by that method since I havenít read any mention of coding airflow distribution for G30.
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      01-29-2020, 02:43 PM   #2
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Congrats, welcome (to the G30 fam)!
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      01-29-2020, 03:34 PM   #3
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Thanks for the writeups, and congrats.

In return, I offer this tidbit that might relate to your airflow:
https://g30.bimmerpost.com/forums/sh...&postcount=179
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      01-29-2020, 08:12 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by runbuh View Post
Thanks for the writeups, and congrats.

In return, I offer this tidbit that might relate to your airflow:
https://g30.bimmerpost.com/forums/sh...&postcount=179
Thanks for that link.

After the dealer completed the service, was the airflow coming from the vents behind the iDrive screen/Control Display reduced?
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      01-29-2020, 09:39 PM   #5
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It's a huge thread about AC problems with the G30 line. I think this post explains things pretty well, though:

https://g30.bimmerpost.com/forums/sh...1395349&page=9

"I decided that I'd try and get a jump on the inevitable Vegas heat. I reached out to my Service writer and Service manager in hopes of them having received word from Munich with a solution. My primary complaint was extremely low flow from the entire right side of the center stack and the need to endlessly experiment with the HVAC settings.
I'm pleased to report that after a software update and removal of some "excessive foam" from the right supply plenum the A/C is flowing like my 2017 X5 and the 15 previous 7 series I've owned. Very happy to hit summer head on with greater than 50% of cabin airflow restored."

That SIB (from my earlier post) can be found on this page:
https://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sh...t=HVAC&page=56

But you KNOW that BMW is going to blame your "new" HVAC controls.
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      01-30-2020, 01:55 AM   #6
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Congrats on the new car, and thanks for the excellent write-up.

I also had a E90 335i (2007), and the G30 540i is just better in every regard. You mentioned it's nimbleness, and I have to agree. It is surprisingly good, but not a surprise to be honest. If you go on licensing mass, the 540i, not x, is surprisingly light, just under 1600kg to be exact. Even though I bought it mainly for it's unmatched ride quality, I do enjoy it on twisty roads.

My lease will be up next year August, and currently there is no other car I would rather replace it with. I am still to test drive a M340i, but after reading your impressions of it, I reckon it will be a pointless exercise.
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      01-30-2020, 05:46 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by runbuh View Post
It's a huge thread about AC problems with the G30 line. I think this post explains things pretty well, though:

https://g30.bimmerpost.com/forums/sh...1395349&page=9

"I decided that I'd try and get a jump on the inevitable Vegas heat. I reached out to my Service writer and Service manager in hopes of them having received word from Munich with a solution. My primary complaint was extremely low flow from the entire right side of the center stack and the need to endlessly experiment with the HVAC settings.
I'm pleased to report that after a software update and removal of some "excessive foam" from the right supply plenum the A/C is flowing like my 2017 X5 and the 15 previous 7 series I've owned. Very happy to hit summer head on with greater than 50% of cabin airflow restored."

That SIB (from my earlier post) can be found on this page:
https://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sh...t=HVAC&page=56

But you KNOW that BMW is going to blame your "new" HVAC controls.
Thanks for this.

I hope they wonít hassle me. Iíve had the same service advisor for like 15 or so years, and heís been cool with my modifications and light coding in the past. He also went to bat for me with with BMW NA when my sunroof exploded for absolutely no reason on my F30 335i and got it covered. Iíll probably contact him and feel it out with him first. Definitely donít want to go through the hassle of putting the non-touch screen HVAC controller back if theyíre going to service the system.

Still blows my mind the airflow couldíve been deliberately designed to be that weak or that ďdiffusedĒ in BMW-speak. Is it that strange that someone wants to be blasted with heated or cooled air. When Iím wearing a wool suit in August and want to cool off fast before I start sweating, diffused air isnít what Iím looking for. I test drove an A5 sportback after my initial disappointment with the G20, its airflow and HVAC system as a whole was excellent. Heat came out like a blow dryer. But Iím most concerned with HVAC performance for January and February to warm my cold lizard-like blood, so I can live with it if need be.
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      01-30-2020, 04:20 PM   #8
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welcome to the club, how tall are you, if I can live with smaller trunk space and had G20 M340i been around back in 2018 I probably would have gone for that (personally always prefer the smaller car).

540 is surprisingly nimble given the size, but still a BIG car (like E38 short wheel base 7 series big), sometimes parking can be a bit challenging (or I'm just paranoid about other people smashing my door...)
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      01-30-2020, 09:00 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by clee1982 View Post
welcome to the club, how tall are you, if I can live with smaller trunk space and had G20 M340i been around back in 2018 I probably would have gone for that (personally always prefer the smaller car).

540 is surprisingly nimble given the size, but still a BIG car (like E38 short wheel base 7 series big), sometimes parking can be a bit challenging (or I'm just paranoid about other people smashing my door...)
6 foot. Never felt cramped in any of my previous 3-series cars. My wife was has a large SUV so trunk space didnít really factor in for me.

Structure parking wonít be as easy. Getting used to the bigger size more and more every day.
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      01-31-2020, 01:25 PM   #10
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Congrats tron1043 , great purchase. You pretty got every spec I'm looking for but in a different color pallet. Thanks for skipping me the step of the test drive

I'm looking at a '17/'18s right now as well within the 10-20k mile range, CPO if I can get it.

If you wouldn't mind could you DM to go over costs. I've been scouting prices but haven't actually reached out to any dealers. Obviously with used there's rarely much wiggle room but I wanted to see ballpark what I would be looking at.

Congrats again!
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      02-08-2020, 12:46 PM   #11
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Congrats. Love the color! I too, have run the gamut of e46 and e92 3 series, as well as a few Ms, and also had an e60 5 series (which I thought was great). Our 540 might be my favorite BMW yet. Too many things I like about it to list. And the weight difference between my RWD 540 and the M340 is slight. I also decided to buy and there is zero question in my mind that we will keep this car for many years.

BTW - agree HVAC is weak point.
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      02-09-2020, 10:33 AM   #12
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Congraatulations. I love the color combination. I wanted the Ivory Nappa but chickened out and got the mocha nappa instead. I will probably always have buyer's remorse on that although I do like my mocha nappa and I love the Nappa leather itself.

My favorite feature, I think, on the multi-contour seats is that after I close the clasp on the seat belt, the wings of the seat close in on me to hug me tight.
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      02-09-2020, 02:22 PM   #13
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I currently own a 09 750LI, my fifth one and am selling it in April. My wife has a 11 BMW 335I convertible in the body shop now because my sister backed into it on Christmas eve. Enterprise let me have a 2020 330I while her car is in the shop. Initially I was impressed with the car and I had all intentions of purchasing a M340I later in the year but after a couple of weeks of driving it I started to notice the seats were not as comfortable and I felt cramped. Also you can't get upgraded leather, window shades,soft close doors, leather dash, and telescopic steering.
I say this knowing it's a different car and more sport vs. luxury. I did not want another Seven because I owned 5 and of course in the US, no short wheelbase. I will wait for the 2021 release and spec out a nice 540I later in the year when the incentives hit.
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      02-20-2020, 10:26 AM   #14
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I went from F11N 535d Tourer to G31 540i Tourer. I didn't want to go below 300BHP when changing, so I had no choice of buying 540i if I wanted to stick with BMW.

I love the more direct and balance handling and upgrade in gadgets. I'm not so fond of the change in fuel consumption. I went from 32 UK MPG to 26 average. I bought the car to occasionally kick down; when doing so I have gone from mid 20s UK MPG on F11N to mid teens in G31.

It might come across as slightly negative or second thoughts, but I have no regrets. I would gladly pay the price for a high BHP BMW engine. It's funny because I don't own a seat in my house as comfortable as the electrical memory comfort driver's seat in the car.
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