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Discussion Starter #1
Hello from Switzerland to all of you who run an M5, and thanks for a bit of advice and convincing... Over the years I have owned an '85 BMW 528i (excellent power to weight ratio and a super drive, then an '87 Porsche 911 (lovely), a 1995 325i coupé which was super as long as I had no kids. When it got stolen in 1997, I replaced it in a rush with Audi A6 fwd, which has been a disappointment ever since. I am considering a car suitable for a family with 2 small kids, but which provides in addition a super drive and is understated. The M5 seems to meet those requirements perfectly on paper and I have arranged for a test drive. I am sure I will be immediately intoxicated, so before I commit myself, can any of you answer a couple of simple questions:

Does anyone have experience driving an M5 in heavy snow, which we can have up to 2 months a year in our mountainous areas? I recall the 528 skidding all over the place, although the 911 was quite good with the right tires thanks to the heavy weight on the rear axle. Do appropiate winter wheels and tires make it a reasonable possibility?

More generally speaking, for those of you who upgraded from a "ordinary" car to a wolf in sheeps clothings, how did it change your life, any regrets or reasons why I should'nt get the M5 but something else? I have to alas exclude options such as the great new 911 Turbo because it is unsuitable for family transport...

Thanks for sharing your experiences and thoughts.

Andrew
 

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Originally posted by Andrew:
Hello from Switzerland to all of you who run an M5, and thanks for a bit of advice and convincing... Over the years I have owned an '85 BMW 528i (excellent power to weight ratio and a super drive, then an '87 Porsche 911 (lovely), a 1995 325i coupé which was super as long as I had no kids. When it got stolen in 1997, I replaced it in a rush with Audi A6 fwd, which has been a disappointment ever since. I am considering a car suitable for a family with 2 small kids, but which provides in addition a super drive and is understated. The M5 seems to meet those requirements perfectly on paper and I have arranged for a test drive. I am sure I will be immediately intoxicated, so before I commit myself, can any of you answer a couple of simple questions:

Does anyone have experience driving an M5 in heavy snow, which we can have up to 2 months a year in our mountainous areas? I recall the 528 skidding all over the place, although the 911 was quite good with the right tires thanks to the heavy weight on the rear axle. Do appropiate winter wheels and tires make it a reasonable possibility?

More generally speaking, for those of you who upgraded from a "ordinary" car to a wolf in sheeps clothings, how did it change your life, any regrets or reasons why I should'nt get the M5 but something else? I have to alas exclude options such as the great new 911 Turbo because it is unsuitable for family transport...

Thanks for sharing your experiences and thoughts.

Andrew
I can't comment on the snow issue. Here in Georgia we don't get 2 inches of snow per year. But, the M5 makes a GREAT family car with the fun of a sports car. I have three young children ages 6,4 and 2. They all three fit comfortably in the back seat with the 2 year old in a car seat in the middle. Even though my wife has a minivan with a TV, the kids still all want to ride in "daddy's car" any time we all go some where. I highly recommend the car for anyone who needs the room for a family but doesn't want to give up the feelind and performance of a sports car. Go buy one !!



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I bought my M5 instead of a new 911 Turbo precisely because it is a family car, and a fine one at that. My 3 year old has commented, frequently, that dads new car is too fast. The previous family car was a Volvo T5R, a 140 mph station wagon that drove well but had way too many problems.

My guess is that the M5 will be awful in the snow. I'll be driving the Suburban in on the few days it snows here in Virginia.

Steve

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'00 M5
'99 R1100S
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I think you will really enjoy the M5. it is truly the "wolf in sheeps clothing" or "the iron fist in a velvet glove" that said, I have no snow experience but I would agree- as it comes from the factory it will be difficult in the snow due to the tires. I would think with proper snow tires and wheels (Id try to get something a little less wide) I think you will be quite comfortable. The traction control and other safety systems really do work.

ME
 
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IVE GOT A YELLOW M3 I BARELY TAKE IT OUT BUT WHEN I DO I GET A TICKET. IN MY M5 I DRIVE ALOT FASTER AND NEVER GOT A TICKET.I CANT THINK OF ANY OTEHR CAR YOU CAN DO THIS,CAN ANYONE ELSE.
 

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At the M5 School in Spartanburg, one of the gifts they give you is a beautiful book called "BMW M". In it are several pictures of the winter testing of the M5 in Lapland.

I also had the pleasure of driving the M5 on the skidpad there - the DSC is simply amazing. The skidpad felt almost as slick as ICE, definitely more slick than rough snow.

There is no question that with all that weight and those big old tires you won't be able to go as FAST in the snow as, say, a Quattro - but you WILL be able to drive safely. Winter tires would certainly help.
 

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Switzerland has more M5's per person than any other country in the world! Obviously they must be good in the snow, otherwise so many Swiss wouldn't buy them. I would suggest you ask your dealer to carefully explain the DSC (dynamic stability control) system as well as ASC+T (traction control) and then take the car for an extended test drive (to get a real feel). The M5 is NOT a four wheel drive car and will never be able to haul you out of the mud and snow like a 4wd. If you're not happy with the M5, have you considered the X5 (Alpina are bringing out a performance version). Good luck.



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we already knew this- but this reaffirms it: the swiss are very smart!

ME
 

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We have had our M5 for a year by now and experienced a lot of problems in the beginning, because the main engine CPU once completely failed, leaving the car without a power in a middle of an overtaking maneuver on the oncomig lane. It was a couple of weeks old at that time and it resulted in the replacement of engine electronics under warranty (the chip was something like $2500 or even more). Since then different functions played on us, like memory seats or electrically adjustable steering wheel and at one moment I was really fed up with it and I regretted that we hadnt bought Jaguar XJR (which quality wouldnt be better anyway).
However it must be just this particular car, because at dealership they never had to replace engine CPU on any BMW, so I guess it was an exception to the rule.
Apart from quality problems we havent had any disappointments and an engine is so powerful that an automatic would be obsolete, as you can leave it in the 3rd or 4th gear and never change throughout your whole journey.
Interestingly, our M Roadster has the best quality of all the cars we had owned, nothing ever squeaked or malfunctioned in it, it works like a clock, without missing a beat.
SL


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SL
 

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Hi Andrew,
i own a M3 for 3 years now and i make about 1000km (650mi) a week. I drive the car all the year without DSC nor ASC+T and a had never a problem in snow (maybe good driver?
). With the right pair of snowtyres you won't get a problem on 'normal' swiss roads. I switch to a M5 in november (may already be wintertime) and a have no concerns about snow.
 

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i chose the m5 because it was a sedan i could fit the family into. having owned small two-seaters before (eg: 93 rx7 iii), i wanted something i could fit the kids into.

no regrets.

as for snow, i think logic would suggest that it's a suboptimal vehicle. i drove mine last winter in boston (a VERY mild winter), and when there was real snow or ice on the road i left the m5 at home and took the a4 quattro to work. my wife is driving that car now, so i'm looking for a beater awd to take me through the next bunch of winters.

yes, you can get great snow tires and whatnot, but the odds are against you, and you just don't want to wrap the thing around a telephone pole 'cuz you skidded out in the snow. not worth the financial risk IMO. that's a lot of torque no matter what type of shoes you put on the beast.

as an aside, while the swiss may have the highest per capita m5 ownership, i'll bet good money that those owners also have winter cars.

the m5 is a great car. not sure what i'd buy in its stead. i grin daily :)

sab
 

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Andrew,

What were you disappointed about with your fwd A6? I think the modern Audi's are reliable cars and with quattro equipped would be a wonderful winter car to own. Have you ever considered getting a S6 or S8? Of course they would not match the performance of a M5 on dry pavement, but they would definitely give you better control during the snow seasons. just a thought...
 

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We have an '00 A6 4.2 AWD. The quality is fine, it looks great, it has a huge trunk and a few features I wish the M5 had (like solar cells in the sunroof that power an exhaust fan to keep the car cool while it is parked.)My wife loves it.

But as a driver's car IT SUCKS. I'd take the 540's 282 hp over its 300Hp any day. There is no road feel. It floats at 100MPH. The auto-tranny is total slush. The tiptronic mode offers NO advantage - you cannot hold first gear, period - unless floored it shifts into 2nd after about 10' of roll. Even in Tip mode shifts take way too long.

Which means if you like BMWs for what they do best, you'll probably NOT like the Audi. (The S6 might be a whole different story - I can't say.) If you were comparing it to a Lexus, a Mercedes or other Luxo-barely-sports sedan, it would compare favorably.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I wonder what the source of your statistic is but I am sure it is correct, the Swiss tend to buy top of the range cars, due to that notoriously high purchasing power combined with relatively competitive pricing (the base price for a M5 is £48.000)
I am also considering an X5, in fact the 4.4i which I am also due to test drive. But is the X5 really an alternative to an M5 in terms of pure driving pleasure? I have a 4x4 Legacy for my wife, which is a great and safe tool in winter.
I am confident that the DSC system is outstanding, but at some point raw physics override all electronic systems. My run to the office takes me up and down through stunning winding country lanes (great Elise territory) and at times I have to weave my way between a tractor and a school bus. Doing that with 5 ft walls of snow either side just sounds a bit a scarry....

Originally posted by Ashok Arora:
Switzerland has more M5's per person than any other country in the world! Obviously they must be good in the snow, otherwise so many Swiss wouldn't buy them. I would suggest you ask your dealer to carefully explain the DSC (dynamic stability control) system as well as ASC+T (traction control) and then take the car for an extended test drive (to get a real feel). The M5 is NOT a four wheel drive car and will never be able to haul you out of the mud and snow like a 4wd. If you're not happy with the M5, have you considered the X5 (Alpina are bringing out a performance version). Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Well Dany, I look forward to hearing about YOUR experiences this winter since we seem to have the same sort of driver profile. Please let me know what sort of winter tires you plan to fit and whether you plan to have narrow wheels to improve the grip.

Originally posted by Dany:
Hi Andrew,
i own a M3 for 3 years now and i make about 1000km (650mi) a week. I drive the car all the year without DSC nor ASC+T and a had never a problem in snow (maybe good driver?
). With the right pair of snowtyres you won't get a problem on 'normal' swiss roads. I switch to a M5 in november (may already be wintertime) and a have no concerns about snow.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
You want to know why I fell out of love with my A6? I also thought that modern Audis were top notch quality... Well, just to mention a few details, since I acquired the car 3 years ago and 75.000 km, which I still own, there was unexplained coolant leaks in the first few months, a leaky windscreen, I had to change the front suspension arms because they squeaked and creaked, and a few other electrical glitches. Nothing that got me stuck out in the middle of nowhere but surprising for that sort of car. I owned a 911 Carrera for 3 years and all I had to do was oil, tires (and brake pad...) changes.
Now, in terms of handling, the A6 fwd is just terrible once you "get going". Torque understeer, slushy suspension, traction control intervening in every bend taken slightly fast, but OK, the A6 is not an S6... On the positive side, I must admit that the cabin is super comfortable, although the seats don't really hold you well in fast turns, and the A6 makes a great long distance family cruiser for my frequent family trips to the South of France. But it is just not a true sports saloon, unlike a simple 528i. If I want to spend A8 or S8 money, I'd rather get an M5 (I'm sure quite a few of you out there would agree
)

Originally posted by KRM5:
Andrew,

What were you disappointed about with your fwd A6? I think the modern Audi's are reliable cars and with quattro equipped would be a wonderful winter car to own. Have you ever considered getting a S6 or S8? Of course they would not match the performance of a M5 on dry pavement, but they would definitely give you better control during the snow seasons. just a thought...
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Greg, we're speaking the same language. I'm glad (but sad for Audi and A6 4.2 owners) that you feel just the same way about the 4.2 as I feel about the 2.8. Audi's are simply not drivers' cars. Even my antique '82 528i was a more involving drive, and handled nippily for such a big car. It was 25% lighter than an A6 and you could feel it in every aspect. To me, your comments just demonstrate that throwing a big engine and 4wd to a poor chassis will simply not make a great car, it has to be designed bottom up as a driving instrument...

Originally posted by greg:
We have an '00 A6 4.2 AWD. The quality is fine, it looks great, it has a huge trunk and a few features I wish the M5 had (like solar cells in the sunroof that power an exhaust fan to keep the car cool while it is parked.)My wife loves it.

But as a driver's car IT SUCKS. I'd take the 540's 282 hp over its 300Hp any day. There is no road feel. It floats at 100MPH. The auto-tranny is total slush. The tiptronic mode offers NO advantage - you cannot hold first gear, period - unless floored it shifts into 2nd after about 10' of roll. Even in Tip mode shifts take way too long.

Which means if you like BMWs for what they do best, you'll probably NOT like the Audi. (The S6 might be a whole different story - I can't say.) If you were comparing it to a Lexus, a Mercedes or other Luxo-barely-sports sedan, it would compare favorably.
 

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Originally posted by Andrew:
Please let me know what sort of winter tires you plan to fit and whether you plan to have narrow wheels to improve the grip.
Well, i had to ask my dealer because i ordered a pair of 'Original-BMW' wheels and forgot the code and dimension...

So i've got the info:
the rim called 'M Parallelspeiche (Styling 66M)' and the tyres are Dunlop SP WS M2 (235/45R 17V).

So, i look forward to the delivery in week 45...


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Dany

'01 M5 - lemans blue (in november i hope!)
'97 M3 - cosmos black
 
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