2015 BMW 528: an Oppo quick review

So my new-to-me 09 535's high-pressure fuel pump (which had been replaced under the voluntary recall a couple years ago, they say) shat the bed. Thankfully, the car still has 2 months left on the CPO warranty. The dealer was kind enough to lend me a 2015 528 while they discover more oil leaks and failing hoses.

Potato photos ahoy!


The looks:
I've always liked the looks of the F10, when it's got the right wheels and sport suspension.

This one doesn't. 18" wheels make it look like it's wearing ballet slippers. It's got a properly mean-looking face, headlights that look like they're ready to blow up armored cars and then slice the leftovers with lasers, and a hood that looks way more deeply creased than pictures belie. And, yeah, man. That hood shutline. What a bummer.

The worst part, though? That little chromed plastic trinket on the quarter panel. Why. What is that. It's nothing. Not a vent. Not a signal repeater. It's just a tacked-on piece of plastic.

It also has ///M badging fucking everywhere. The door sills. The steering wheel. On a 528. This is what people talk about when they talk about brand dilution.


The interior:


(photo: Edmunds.com)

Somehow, it's a much bigger car than the E60, yet it feels much tighter in the driver's seat. The cowl is much higher, so the dash feels crazy tall. The center console is taller, wider, and deeper. Probably partly due to moving the cupholders there, and putting them side-by-side. It's comfortable, but enveloping. Visibility is great, though, at 6'1", I still have to like crane forward when I'm parking, because the thing is just so damn big.


The control stalks feel cheap and springy, with very little resistance and almost no detente feel. The iDrive controls are great, though, and menus are more direct and quicker to get to than older versions. The big screen is full of colors and animation and all sorts of blingy crap. The gauges are very, very bright, and all sorts of colorful. It feels more Japanese or American than BMW, somehow inappropriate.

The seats aren't as comfortable as the E60s I've had, I'm not sure whether there are better options, or if this is it on the F10. They're still miles ahead of pretty much everything out there, but the E60s' sport seats are an absolute benchmark.


What's it like to drive?


It's not great. I'd read plenty of reviews about the F10 that said pretty much what I'm about to say: BMW dropped the ball. And not just dropped like on the 75-yard line, I'm talking this level of failure:


(THANK YOU JON BOIS FOR BREAKING MADDEN. If you haven't seen Breaking Madden— where the hell have you been? Go there now. I'll wait.)

I didn't really think the F10 would suck like it does. I thought maybe reviewers were just all so jaded after years of awesomeness, that something that was just great was somehow not great enough. I was wrong.


The 5 series has always been like the bar for a great-driving big sedan, right? Well, it sure isn't now. This thing feels like a Buick. There's no road feel whatsoever. No weight at all to the wheel. No matter how many pluses you stick on the "sport" mode. So this is why everyone's bitched about electric steering.

The suspension is floaty and boaty. It's just no fun at all.

Possibly the most disappointing car I've ever driven, because my expectations were that it'd at least be better than the E60 in some ways. It just... wasn't. The 8-speed ZF is pretty good, I'll give it that. I don't know what the higher-power 5ers feel like with it, but on the "little" 528, it feel like it's always in the right gear, and it changes instantly, and hits the right place every time. So I guess it's got that going for it.



When my E60 run ends, I won't be looking for an F10 to replace it. Surely by then I won't need four doors anymore, and there will be something better.


In other news:

The dealer was prepping this i8! HOLY SHIT.


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