Hands On: BMW 528i Review

The Ultimate Driving Machine. A motto that I firmly believe that BMW has always lived up to. After spending a weekend and change with the BMW 528i xDrive, I can say happily that BMW still lives up to their motto… With some stipulations.

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528i Under the Moonlight
Firstly, this car’s sticker price is $58,865. Yes. That’s for a four cylinder twin turbo engine. Not the notorious BMW straight six that has made them the ultimate engine manufacturer. Secondly, my GTI has only 30 less horsepower and weighs almost one thousand pounds less. However, this car isn’t the sports sedan that BMW is going for. It is clearly marketed towards 30 and 40 something year olds that don’t know cars and want to say they drive an expensive German car. Well you certainly can check that box with this car. You can also check the box that the car will put a smile on your face when you hit an on ramp. But true BMW enthusiasts will laugh at you (and your small Johnson) while you drive by them because you have a car that has an eight speed automatic transmission, all wheel drive, and a little four cyclinder engine and they have a car that breathes fire (BMW M3 review to come babes).

For all the negative stuff I’m going on about, it really is a sensational executive commuter car. I mean BMW has this whole car manufacturing thing down to a T. They know exactly how to set up a center console, unlike their Japanese counterparts like Lexus who just love to overwhelm the cockpit with buttons and controls. The way the your hands hit the iDrive controls when you sit down in the driver seat is just butter babes. Just butter. The speed of the system has greatly increased since the days of the horrific iDrive system that was plagued with user interface issues, incredibly slow speeds, and owners crashing into telephone poles because it took the system so long to pull up their phone book (ok… slight exaggeration).

Let’s really dive into this interior. The 528i that I am happily reviewing about has a black interior, with a grey liner, and your basic wood trim. *Alert* My only, MASSIVE gripe about the car. The wood trim has aluminium accents around it. Like what?? C’mon BMW!! Babes! You German hoonigans! You are SO  much better than this! Wanna use aluminum for the door handles? By all means have it! But do not to two different trims like that. I’m totally ok with a carbon fiber and aluminum trim; however, this wood aluminum combo, just ugly. Not impressed here.

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Note the aluminum under the wood trim… Yuck
However, there is some sweet sweet redemption. The set up of the steering wheel controls is phenominal. Simplistic and intuitive to use, BMW hit a home run with it. I will say, I don’t like the shape of the wheel. Just put the ///M wheel in all of your cars BMW and you are set. Instrument cluster = Sensational. I come in at a very handsome 5′ 10″ while Papa Jeff (who’s driven the car too) comes in at a dashing 6′ 2″. For him, the dashboard comes out too far, which is a complaint I also heard from another 6′ 2″ guy who’s opinion I regard highly. They both felt the need to move their chairs back farther than usual and have the steering wheel come out an excessive amount. But I found my comfortable driving position within minutes of getting behind the wheel.

There are plenty of peripheral hook ups for our forever connected lives we live. A USB port, Aux jack input, and a 12V outlet all in the center armrest, you can rest assured you can charge whatever it is that needs to be charged, and your personal music collection can be listened to. Bluetooth pairing is a breeze. All through the iDrive system, the car will pull down your phone book in seconds. If you set your phone settings to allow it, the car will even read you your unread text messages. Replying is only allowed when parked. One thing I found really exceptional was the ability to access playlists on my phone via the Media setting on the iDrive system. My GTI just says “Bluetooth Connection. Function Unavailable” when I try to access a playlist off my phone. So BMW really surprised me there.

Finally passengers seem to have plenty of room. Tons of trunk space, and you also have your standard 60/40 split rear folding seats.

Now the exterior. Holy gorgeous. I’ve seen plenty of 5’s around town and man I think they’re the best looking full size sedan on the road. The 528i I have has pretty lousy rims on it that are terrifically undersized. Eighteen inch rims should be a standard for a car that has a 58+ thousand dollar sticker price. The Mineral Grey isn’t flattering on the car but it still manages to looks stellar under the moonlight. All around LED lighting keeps the driver seeing far at night and cars behind you know, without a doubt, you’re braking. The hood of the car is probably my favorite part about this car. It has some aggressive lines that really give the car flare and its German beauty that makes me fall in love with the sedan.

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Hello my angel
As for when this 3,800 pound all wheel drive executive sedan hits the road there is a plethora to say. You have four, yes four driving modes to choose from. The slower than molasses EcoPro, Comfort, Sport, and Sport+. Where do we begin. The fact that the car has a Sport+ mode and its a four banger makes me kind of mad. Like uhhh bro you have a FOUR CYCLINDER ENGINE!!!! Apparently BMW wants you take her out on the track or something.

Anywho, the EcoPro is something I’ve tried out. It really is just a  gimmick mode to make you, the young executive that thinks he’s all suave saying the environment by purchasing a car that averages 24 MPG. It drastically reduces throttle response and makes the ride as soft as possible. I will say its useful on highway driving. Paired with cruise control I actually gained 2.8 miles of range at 75 MPH over the course of 60 miles.

Comfort is the default mode that the car starts up in and is your quintessential BMW driving on a cloud mode. This is the mode that I see most of the people that buy this car driving it in. You get decent gas mileage, throttle response is “normal” and the ride is quite comfortable. The steering from the xDrive system isn’t heavy at all. If anything it feels too light. BMW and other auto manufacturers have really figured out how to make it feel like you aren’t driving a car that’s AWD.

Sport and Sport+ are the modes I enjoyed the most. The only difference between the two modes to me, is in Sport+ DSC (Dynamic Stability Control) is turned off. Except driver assistant functions like DSC will never fully turn off in cars these days. Unless you’re driving a true sports car like an M3. I digress. Throttle response is quick and very sharp. The suspension tightens up as does the electronic assisted steering. The car will go exactly where you point it, and gets moving just fine for something that weighs 3,800 pounds. It won’t get the adrenaline pumping, or your balls to drop Mr. Executive, but it’ll get you out of trouble at toll plaza’s or get you ahead of traffic when merging onto the highway.

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The unflattering Grey
All in all the driving experience has been very positive with the 528i. It is the perfect car for someone that is logging serious miles in their commute and want to get there in comfort and also say, “I have a BMW (and my balls haven’t dropped yet).” If your balls have dropped, go ahead and get that 535i, and forgo the xDrive and automatic transmission. Uncle Doogs; out.

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