Homepage / Technology / BMW 530i review: The best car I've ever driven
Amazon says this Prime Day was its biggest shopping event ever Kudlow says President Trump is 'so dissatisfied' with China trade talks that he is keeping the pressure on As stocks regain their footing, an ominous warning looms Goldman Sachs downgrades Clorox to sell, says valuation is 'unsustainably high' How Satya Nadella has spurred a tripling of Microsoft's stock price in just over four years Kudlow says economic growth could top 4% for 'a quarter or two,' more tax cuts could be coming The one chart that explains Netflix’s stunning comeback US housing starts plunge 12% in June to a nine-month low Aerospace titans Boeing and Airbus top $110 billion in orders at Farnborough Target uses Prime Day to its advantage, logging its 'biggest online shopping day' so far this year Billionaire Marc Lasry sees bitcoin reaching up to $40,000 as it becomes more mainstream and easier to trade These are the 10 US airports where you're most likely to be hacked Amazon shares slightly higher as investors await Prime Day results Wreck of Russian warship found, believed to hold gold worth $130 billion A bullish ‘phenomenon’ in bond market is weeks away from fading, top credit strategist says Stocks making the biggest moves premarket: MS, GOOGL, TXN, UAL, NFLX & more Twitter shares up 50% since late April means most upside priced in, analyst says in downgrade EU fines Google $5 billion over Android antitrust abuse Mortgage applications fall 2.5% as buyers struggle to find affordable homes America may not have the tools to counter the next financial crisis, warn Bernanke, Geithner and Paulson Investors are getting spooked as the risk of a no-deal Brexit rises EU expected to fine Google $5 billion over Android antitrust abuse Ex-FBI chief James Comey urges Americans to vote for Democrats in midterm elections Elon Musk apologizes to British cave diver following baseless 'pedo guy' claim Disney, Comcast and Fox: All you need to know about one of the biggest media battles ever Xiaomi shares notch new high after Hong Kong, mainland China stock exchanges reach agreement The trade war is complicating China's efforts to fix its economy European markets set for a strong open amid earnings; Google in focus Hedge fund billionaire Einhorn places sixth in major poker tournament The biggest spender of political ads on Facebook? President Trump Asian stocks poised to gain after Fed's Powell gives upbeat comments; dollar firmer Stocks are setting up to break to new highs Not all FAANG stocks are created equal EU ruling may be too little, too late to stop Google's mobile dominance Cramer explains how Netflix's stock managed to taper its drop after disappointing on earnings Airbnb condemns New York City's 'bellhop politics,' threatens legal retaliation Amazon sellers say they were unfairly suspended right before Prime Day, and now have two bad choices Investor explains why 'duller' tech stocks can have better returns than 'high-flying' tech names Elon Musk is 'thin-skinned and short-tempered,' says tech VC Texas Instruments CEO Brian Crutcher resigns for violating code of conduct Google Cloud Platform fixes issues that took down Spotify, Snapchat and other popular sites Uber exec: We want to become the 'one stop' transportation app 'What a dumb hearing,' says Democrat as Congress grills tech companies on conservative bias Amazon shares rebound, report says Prime Day sales jumped 89 percent in first 12 hours of the event How to put your medical history on your iPhone in less than 5 minutes Investment chief: Watch these two big events in 2018 Even with Netflix slowing, the market rally is likely not over Cramer: Netflix subscriber weakness debunks the 'sky's the limit' theory on the stock Netflix is looking at watch time as a new area of growth, but the competition is stiff Why Nobel laureate Richard Thaler follows Warren Buffett's advice to avoid bitcoin Rolls-Royce is developing tiny 'cockroach' robots to crawl in and fix airplane engines After Netflix plunge, Wall Street analysts forecast just tame returns ahead for the once high-flying FANG group Roku shares rise after analyst raises streaming video company's price target due to customer growth China is investing 9 times more into Europe than into North America, report reveals Amazon says US Prime Day sales 'so far bigger than ever' as glitch is resolved Netflix is on pace for its worst day in two years US lumber producers see huge opportunity, rush to expand San Francisco to consider tax on companies to help homeless Homebuilder sentiment, still high, stalls as tariffs, labor and land drive up costs Powell backs more rate hikes as economy growing 'considerably stronger' Netflix history is filled with big stock declines – like today – followed by bigger rebounds Intel shares get downgraded by Evercore ISI due to rising competition from Nvidia, AMD Petco aims to reinvent the pet store with something you can't buy online Genetic testing is coming of age, but for consumers it's buyer beware Tech 'FAANG' was the most-crowded trade in the world heading into the Netflix implosion, survey shows Netflix weak subscriber growth may indicate a 'maturity wall' that could whack the stock even more: Analyst This chart may be predicting the bull market's demise Wall Street says Netflix's stock plunge is a ‘compelling’ buying opportunity because the streaming giant ‘never misses twice’ Tesla sinks after Musk tweets, again Boeing announces new division devoted to flying taxis Stocks making the biggest move premarket: NFLX, UNH, GS, AMZN, WMT & more Deutsche Bank downgrades Netflix, but says big subscriber miss is not 'thesis changing' IBM is experimenting with a cryptocurrency that’s pegged to the US dollar North Korea and Zimbabwe: A friendship explained Virgin Galactic spinoff Orbit to launch rockets from the UK with space deal Artificial intelligence will create more jobs than it destroys? That’s what PwC says ‘Treasonous’ Trump and ‘Putin’s poodle:' Scathing headlines follow the Trump-Putin summit China’s fintech companies offer ‘enormous’ opportunity, investment manager says Trump's performance at summit with Putin was 'unprecedented,' experts say Walmart and Microsoft link up on cloud technology as they both battle Amazon European stocks seen mixed amid earnings; Fed’s Powell to address Congress How I knew I should quit my day job and run my start-up full-time: Viral website founder China's stocks have been trounced, but the trade war may ultimately be good news for those shares Billionaire tech investor Peter Thiel bets on crypto start-up Block.one Asian shares subdued open after mixed close on Wall Street; energy stocks under pressure Amazon cloud hits snags after Amazon Prime Day downtime Netflix isn't doomed by one quarter unless people start questioning the long-term investor thesis Tech stocks set to sink on Tuesday after rough evening for ‘FANG’ Netflix plummets after missing big on subscriber growth This wristband lets humans control machines with their minds The U.S. has a rocky history convincing Russia to extradite computer criminals Amazon suffers glitches at the start of Prime Day Jeff Bezos is now the richest man in modern history 'The United States has been foolish': Read Trump and Putin's full exchange Goldman Sachs recommends these 5 highly profitable companies — including Nvidia — to combat rising inflation Goldman Sachs releases 'tactical' stock picks for this earnings season Three red flags for Netflix ahead of its earnings report The bond market may be raising recession fears, but don't expect one anytime soon Cramer: Banks are 'making fortunes' but are still as hated as they were during the financial crisis Putin told Trump at summit: Russia never meddled in US election

Technology

BMW 530i review: The best car I've ever driven

I have driven at least 50 cars in my life and so far this is the best one I’ve ever had. Period.

Let’s chat about why.

Modern cars are profoundly annoying. Sure, they’re as safe as a fallout shelters, accelerate like dropped pianos and have enough tech to embarrass the Starship Enterprise. But between the fussy infotainment systems, cryptic control layouts and the finicky gearboxes, there’s enough going on to drive you mad.

Really, on the scale of most annoying things, modern cars fall somewhere between wet socks and stepping on Legos.

So forgive me for getting in the tech-laden, cutting-edge BMW 530i and expecting to leave in a huff. It typically comes with the territory. But after a week with the midsize Beemer, I wasn’t bothered.

I was infatuated.

The last-generation 5-series was a handsome car, well-proportioned and conservative. The new one advances the model, if only just. It’s donned the hockey-stick shaped side blades that debuted on the 7-series, and they work well here.

BMW isn’t suffering from the grille inflation we’re seeing over at Audi and Lexus, so that’s another good mark.

If you get a base model with no appearance options, it’s a pretty drab affair. My tester, loaded up to $74,160 with the M Sport package, was a lovely Alpine White example with black trim around the edges and beautiful 19-inch alloy wheels. The blue M Sport brakes polished off the look.

None of this is revolutionary, but nobody said it had to be. BMW had a great design in the last 5-series, and it’s only made this one better.

This is where I really fell for the 530i.

When a new test car arrives each week, I sit down and I run through the same couple of tasks. Pair my phone with the car and import contacts. Add the presets to the satellite radio, plug in my home address. Change the lighting, locking and system settings to my liking. I try to simulate what an owner would experience when they first purchase the car.

Usually, the conclusion is that the owner would drive straight back to the dealer and demand a refund, because every car I’ve had so far has managed to make one of these tasks monumentally irritating. Some have no tuning knob, so changing the radio station is an exercise in frustration. Inputting an address usually requires so many clicks and menus that you might as well be playing a piano. And vehicle settings are always buried far from the light of day.

It really is a marvel to make the 10 million functions a car is expected to do easy to access, but BMW’s done it. Everything in the 530i worked exactly as I would expect, with menus that were easy to navigate and software that was designed for drivers, not IT professionals. It’s the result of BMW perfecting iDrive over these past 16 years.

The next front, BMW insists, is gesture control. When you want the music to get louder, you can twirl your finger in the air to turn it up rather than reaching for the volume knob. This saves you .000009 of a second, and is less precise, but you do feel like a wizard. You can also use gesture control to move a camera around a virtual 360-degree view of the car. No, not a top down 360-degree view that you’ve seen before, but a simulation of what it would look like if you were standing next to the car. It’s mind-boggling, and I truly have no idea how it works.

Gesture control isn’t all that useful yet. It does things that you can easily do with iDrive. When iDrive debuted, we all said you’d be better off with a touch screen. Then, when cars gained an extra thousand or so features, we realized BMW had it right. Maybe gesture control will be the same.

The point is, there are few cabins on the market that feel as space age. When you first sit down the 530i doesn’t have the wow factor of the Mercedes E-Class or Volvo S90. But use it for a week, and you’ll realize you don’t care how it looks. It works perfectly, and I don’t use that word lightly.

If you’re buying this expecting it to be a four-door sports car, you need to lower your expectations. While an M3 or an Alfa Romeo Giulia can be called that, everything in this segment is far too big for that to apply.

Happy to report, though, that the 530i is still a joy in the twisties. It doesn’t lean into corners too much, and steering — though lacking in feel — is sniper-rifle precise. BMW also fitted this model with Integral Active Steering for $1,150, which steers all four of the wheels. At low speeds, it turns the back wheels in the opposite direction of the fronts, making the turning circle hilariously small. At speed, it moves the rear in the same direction which is said to improve stability, but you probably won’t notice that.

Because of the M-sport package, this 530i had adaptive dampers. Despite the confidence in the corners, it still was a soft and comfortable highway cruiser. The engine, too, was never at a loss for power despite packing only 2.0 liters and four cylinders. Mated to the almost-telepathic eight-speed automatic, it delivered all 320 horsepower smoothly. Plus, I averaged 31 mpg, which is fantastic for a car of this size.

BMW’s semi-autonomous tech, “Active Driving Assistance Plus,” was also on board. Like most of its competitors, the 530i can maintain course on the highway and moderate its own speed, but will expect you to keep your hands on the wheel at all times. Even if they are, it may still yell at you if you aren’t using any force. It works mostly as advertised, but is a bit more cautious to engage that similar systems I’ve used.

High-end luxury cars are always hard to pinpoint on value, because they tend to have equipment that you can’t get elsewhere.

Head on down to the Mercedes dealer and pay all you want, but you’re not getting gesture control, four-wheel steering or the trick 360-degree camera. The opposite is also true, as Mercedes and Audi will sell you some tech that BMW won’t.

Factor that stuff out, though, and you’ll find that a similarly equipped Benz will sticker for just about $74,495. The BMW’s sticker price, in case you forgot, is $74,160. Again, there is some equipment that doesn’t transfer between brands and some differences in coverages and service plans.

Mostly, though, the BMW is exactly where it needs to be in terms of value.

I wasn’t expecting anything too special from the BMW when it was dropped off. I figured I’d like it, but that wasn’t right.

I love it.

For a week, it was comfortable, fun, quiet and quick. Everything worked flawlessly and everything was where I wanted it to be. The fact that it looks as good as it does, especially the lovely interior, only helped confirm what I already felt: This is truly, at its core, a special car.

That’s why it’s the best car I’ve ever driven, and that’s why it’s our first-ever 5-star car.

Rating

Exterior: 4.5 stars
Interior: 5 stars
Driving Experience: 5 stars
Value: 4 stars
Overall: 5 stars

Price as configured: $74,160

Source: Tech CNBC
BMW 530i review: The best car I've ever driven

Comments are closed.