Her and His Reviews

November 2012

2012 BMW-528i Drive Sedan

There are always two sides to everything, right? Well, the truth is there are many more than that! To keep our car reviews innovative and well-rounded, we are providing you with not just one, but two points of view on the same exact vehicle – Her and His perspectives.

Her: Anne Fleming, Car Buying Advocate,women-drivers.com
His: Don Hammonds, Writer, AutomobileJournal.com 

MSRP: $61,125; the base price is $49K MSRP: $35,659
Galloping with speed and power, the 528i is a burst of speed and get up and go. The 2.0 liter, dual overhead cam has a 4 cylinder turbocharged engine - larger than last year's model and more powerful. The 528i's power -and trust us, there's plenty of it-comes from the new 2.0 liter, 240 horsepower four cylinder turbocharged engine. It has direct fuel injection, and has a twin-scroll turbocharger that takes away that momentary hesitation that some 5 series owners complained about with the prior powerplant. You also get more torque-255 pound-feet compared with 225 pound-feet with the old 3.0 liter six. The engine feels extremely powerful, particularly on the highway, and it picks up speed in such a velvet way that you can hit eighty or ninety and never know the difference. The word from us is: Watch it or you'll pay for it with many a ticket.
Fuel Economy
23 city and 32 highway. Gas mileage rating is 23 city and 34 highway-ranking it among the top in its class.
The Car
An excellent choice for a full-sized luxury sedan, BMW is still a top name. The styling, the amenities and the performance combine to make it a winner. Driven on 17? alloy wheels. As Don notes on the HIS review, there are certain drawbacks that give this vehicle some bad press.

However, the 8 speed steptronic automatic transmission with Sport and Manual shift modes, actually is pretty cool and fun. Shifter? Who needs stinking shifters? This allows for the 'real' thing!
It is everything a BMW should be: Awesome performance and acceleration, absolutely flawless design inside and out, and one of the best balanced cars you'll find anywhere, regardless of price. By the way prices for the 5 Series BMWs start at $46,900, but ordering even a few options can send that price exploding upwards, and our test model topped out in the $60,000 range.

But the fly in the ointment is the start/stop system. It's simply awful. Unrefined, jerky, and just plain unpleasant. It uses brake eneregy regeneration and shuts off the engine when you're at a stop light for instance, starting the car up again when you accelerate from the light.

The system on the 528i is jerky, abrupt, and sometimes abrasive, causing your head to, as one Motor Trend writer put it in the magazine's October issue, wobble. As Kim Reynolds wrote, "...we stop for the first red light, I wait...for two seconds. Suddenly, the BMW's Start/Stop system halts the engine-usually with an abrupt, head-wobbling ka-lump-causing my passenger to shoot me a look, "What just happened?" Starting off again is just as unsettling, unrefined, and very unlike what you'd expect from BMW.

As it is, this kind of system has been around for years now, and many much cheaper cars have far smoother start/stop systems. What the heck happened with BMW on this?
This is a highly ranked vehicle in this category with the Insurance Institute for Safety giving it an excellent overall mark. Stability control, AWD (love mine; in 10 years of ownership I have never gotten stuck or had problems in the snow). Brake Drying, Anti-Lock Brakes, Rain-sensing windshield wipers, Tire Monitoring System, Xenon Headlights for superior night visibility. Adaptive brakelights.  There's the usual air bags, anti lock brakes, traction and stability controls, etc. There are more features, too numerous to mention, that separate it from the other brands, however.
Great technology includes BMW Assist with Bluetooth wireless, 10-speaker sound system with a CD player, HD radio, auxiliary audio jack and iPod/USB audio interface. Heated mirrors, a sunroof, cruise control and auto-dimming mirrors. The dual-zone automatic climate control allows for personalized comfort, 8-way power front seats with four-way power lumbar and driver memory functions, power tilt-and-telescoping leather-wrapped steering wheel.  Standard equipment on the 528i includes 17-inch wheels, adjustable driving settings (alters suspension, steering, throttle and automatic transmission response), automatic and adaptive bi-xenon headlights, LED running lights, foglights, automatic wipers, heated mirrors, a sunroof, cruise control and auto-dimming mirrors. Inside you get dual-zone automatic climate control, eight-way power front seats with four-way power lumbar and driver memory functions, leatherette premium vinyl upholstery and a power tilt-and-telescoping leather-wrapped steering wheel. Electronic features include the BMW Assist emergency communications system, Bluetooth, the iDrive electronics interface and a 10-speaker sound system with a CD player, HD radio, an auxiliary audio jack and an iPod/USB audio interface.
Aesthetics & Styling
Simply classic BMW styling. Appointed leather seats, and wrapped steering wheel, everything about this reads regal. Still a lot of dark plastic around dash for a $60,000 vehicle. Cool looking car. The days of the weird BMWs we saw with flame surfacing along the flanks, weird character lines, and terrible proportions are over, thank heaven. Now we have a smooth, sophisticated BMW 5 Series that resembles the bigger 7 Series and that is a good thing.
4 Year/50,000 mile Full Maintenance and limited warranty.
4 Year/unlimited mileage BMW Roadside Assistance.
12 year rust limited warranty.
Four year; 50,000 mile Full Maintenance and limited warranty Four year; unlimited mileage BMW Roadside Assistance; 12 year rust limited warranty.