Wednesday, March 07, 2007

features of BMW 5 and 7 series

I was reading the brochure about the BMW 530i Touring (which seems to be the BMW name for what is known as a "Station Wagon" in Australia or an "Estate" in Europe). I looked at the brochure on the "Touring" because I am interested in a Station-Wagon - the Sedan version of the 5 series is almost the same in every way other than size and shape.

Here are some of the interesting features:
Adaptive headlights, they turn in to a corner when the car is cornering (showing where you are about to go instead of showing you the scenery off the road) and the high-beam switches off when an oncoming vehicle is detected.

Head-up display for speed, navigation, and other driver-relevant information.

Park distance control (PDC). Gives audio and visual alerts when you are about to hit something at low speed.

Eight air-bags of which only the necessary ones will inflate in a collision, and the inflation power will be determined by the severity of the collision.

Dynamic stability control (DSC), traction control, corner brake control, and more. Described as "all of the known features of DSC".

Seat-belt pre-tensioners in the rear and pyro-technic tensioners for front seat belts.

Rain sensor that turns on headlights, and optional head-light washers.

According to it's brochure the 7 series has bumpers that regenerate their original shape in collisions of speeds up to 6Km/h and a tire defect indicator. Apart from that there doesn't appear to be much benefit over the 5 series apart from more luxury features.

To get the PDF files from BMW Australia (without following my links which BMW will probably break soon) you have to fill in a form with "contact details". To enter that form you need a browser that works with their javascript (which means not Konqueror) so that you can enter your postcode and be prompted with a list of suburbs that match the post-code. The second-last page of that process allows you to download PDF files and it seems to indicate that your data will not be stored if you don't continue past the stage where you download the PDF files. It would be good if BMW could get smart and make their PDF files as easy to download as Mercedes does.

In terms of safety features it seems that the 7 series offers little over the 5 series. By comparing the brochures it seems to me that the Mercedes S series (as described in my previous blog post) has many more safety features than any BMW. Assuming that the BMW documents are accurate they don't seem to compare well with the Mercedes S class. From a quick search on (the best web site for buying used cars in Australia) it seems that the Mercedes keeps it's value better than the BMW - other people apparently share my opinion of the relative merits of the cars.

In future posts I'll summarise the features of some other cars that I consider interesting.


Lamont R. Peterson said...

As you've been looking at Mercedes and BMW, it seems to me that safety is one of (if not the) biggest metrics on your list. I would highly recommend also taking a look at Saab. They are considered by insurance companies to be the safest make.

My wife and I were rear-ended on the Freeway (in Utah) in December 2004 by a vehicle that weighed twice what our Saab 9000 did. Not only were we completely safe and uninjured, but the car was safe to drive off in and all the rear lights still worked.

I've also appreciated that fact that my Saabs have been much less expensive to buy, own and maintain. Parts cost as little as 30% of what the same part would cost for a domestic car, and the labor is usually half what it would be for the domestic models as well.

They are extremely well engineered, very, very well built and an absolute dream to drive. BMW has made their reputation on being a driver's dream to drive, but I like to drive the Saab just as much (and for 1/2 the cost of a BMW).

Insurance costs are lower and fuel economy is better with my Saabs than with Mercedes, BMW, Audi or Volvo. I routinely get 30+ MPG out of the 200+HP, 4-cylinder, turbo-charged engines. They have the get-up-and-go to keep you safe.

Anyway, I wish you well in your quest. I hope this has given you another interesting option to think about. Trust me; if you buy a Saab, you won't regret it (plus, you'll save a metric-butt-load of money over either Mercedes or BMW for a great luxury vehicle).

The Saab 9-5 wagon is very nice.

etbe said...

Thanks for the suggestion, I will investigate what SAAB has to offer.

Also your point about the insurance companies is interesting, I will investigate which cars insurance companies consider to be the safest.