New 5-series "only" the 10th ugliest

The CarTalk guys: http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/wheels/221878_talk29.html
Tom: Well, the people have spoken. And what they've said is, "Yecch!"
Ray: We held a contest to name the ugliest new cars for sale today. Readers of the column and listeners of our radio show made nominations, and folks voted on our Web site. And the results are in.
Tom: We'll work our way up (or should I say down?) to the ugliest car, starting with the runners-up. Remember, we don't necessarily agree with all of these choices, although we wholeheartedly agree with some of them. But this is what you guys think.
Ray: Runner-up No. 10 is the BMW 5 Series, which was uglified a few years ago in an unfortunate redesign. Said one voter: "It looks like a Pontiac on acid."
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fbloogyudsr wrote:

I'm no big fan of the new 5, but the previous two versions were as dull as dishwater.
Matt O.
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I thought the E34 in the right colour one of the most handsome cars ever. Looked stunning in unfashionable white. The E39 is a bit bland. When I first saw one I thought it a 3-Series variant. But it doesn't offend. The current one - especially head on - just looks plain wrong. The windscreen looks too high. Difficult to sort. The headlamps have that Dame Edna look which could be sorted.
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Dave Plowman snipped-for-privacy@davenoise.co.uk London SW
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are you mad??? the E34 is one of the sweetest most elegant cars around!, still after 15 years it is one of BMWs finest ever. http://www.cardomain.com/id/skullfracturebmw

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Opinions vary. I think the E39 has staying power. But I do wish they had placed a potent six in it ala the 3.8 liter E34 M5.
The new E90 appears to reflect a return to the bimmer esthetic. Perhaps I'm just hopeful after the Z4, 7, 5, 6 designs. The E60 was the prime motivation for me to purchase an E39.
R / John
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When the wife decided to buy the new 545 I was no fan of the looks at all, now that I get to drive it often I believe it is much better looking! The performance skews one's opinion. I can't for the life of me understand why it continues to get such poor response from the car rags, and if those fools can't figure out the IDrive (especially when accompanied by the voice recognition system with the NAV) in a few minutes then they are either tecnophobs or total morons. It may not be the best system in the world but it is FAR from being as bad as they make it out to be.
Couple the all-rpm power of the V8, the super smooth shifts of the transmission and the unbelievable active suspension with the niceties of the interior and I suddenly find it very attractive indeed. :-)

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They insist on testing cars with Active Steering and run flats. Some of the mags even go so far as to say you can't get the car without Active Steering. It's just time for BMW to be shit on a bit, and what's fair is what's fair because the cars that have been glorified over the past 10 years were never as good as the mags claimed. What is happening now is just an adjustment to looking at Bimmers in the scope of all cars, rather than testing one with the pre-conceived notion that nothing else could possibly equal it.
BMW's have always been curious eccentric automobiles...and it seems that the magazine writers are only now recognizing it.
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True, for years they couldn't find a bad thing to say about them and would overlook certain deficiencies in comparison tests. Now, it's the other way around - there was a C/D article comparing the 545 to the Caddy STS and the 5 whipped the hell out of the Caddy in both 0-60 and 1/4 mile times and lap times but they still barely had the 5 rated above the Caddy overall, pretty contradictory for guys who are supposed to be serious gear heads. I guess what comes around goes around with car rags just like everything else in life.

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When I bought my current E39, I tested all the UK opposition myself. So no US cars were included.
And I agreed with the UK mags, it was simply the best in class - and by some margin. A few years later the S-Type Jag was vastly improved and had I been buying then things might well have been different.
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wrote:

I too was an E39 owner, twice. And the cars were great, but never, ever as good as claimed. If iDrive is a ergonomic nightmare and a safety problem....what the hell is the mess of buttons and rockers the e39 had down low on the center dash where changing anything meant taking your eyes far of the road.
The bottom line is that the new car has a better chassis, better dynamics, better suspension, R&P steering for all models, better powerplants, better times..I mean in driving terms just better. But now, because the exterior is changed, suddenly driving doesn't matter and ergonomics (despite BMW's long history of eccentricity on this point) do.
I think it is fine, and I think BMW as a company needed to get criticized rather than suckled. They've got the best sedans on the road right now in terms of driving, and maybe now they will start to take a look at some of the things they took for granted (ergonomics, interior design, finish, materials) because no mag ever took them to task on them.
The interiors of the current cars don't bother me, those things are never much important to me...hell I enjoy driving a pickup, but if BMW ever wants the kind of love-licks they got for the last 10 years again, they will have to match the competition in the frilly department. Let's just hope they don't forget the reason their cars are the cars everyone else sets as a benchmark though.
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How often do you need to change climate control settings? The only awkward controls I find are the cruse on/off and the DSC disable. But I can't say this spoils the car for me. At least the radio is in a sensible place. The ashtray is stupid, though. Too small and in the wrong place.

UK mags have been complimentary about them in general - but not the variable steering and run flat tyres. However, the look of a car *is* important.
And while the E39 was the leader of the pack at launch, not so the E60. Other makes have moved on too.

You've not read Autocar?

Yes. I like my E39 because it's a pleasure to drive - and I'm still not tired of it. I like the combination of adequate performance, comfort and handling. Others will have different priorities.
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Dave Plowman snipped-for-privacy@davenoise.co.uk London SW
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I think that is very true and, at least for Amercian writers, those other priorities have become more important. Had the E39 been judged by the same priorites it would have suffered similar comments to it's ergononomics and interior finish quality. A fine car by any standards, but it was never as good as the mags claimed. It was just better than all of the cars out there early in life and many of the cars out there in it's last few years.
Personally I think the E39 and E60 are fine automobiles, nothing drives like them (caveat: though I have never even *sat* in the new Infiniti M). And for many of us..that is enough. But it isn't enough for BMW to grab bigger market share.
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Daniel Arrepas wrote:

Consider this: If this is the way you (or anyone else for that matter) feels about these new BMWs then it is really a win/win. You like the car, it gets bad reviews.
I fail to understand why it is so important to anyone that the car magazines rate a particular car (one that they already like) highly? If anything, I would like them to pan it so that model will be in less demand and I would then be able to buy them less expensively.
When the mags all moon over a particular model, the dealer actual selling prices go higher and higher (up to and over MSRP) as everyone rushes to buy it. Supply and demand, and all that...
-Fred W
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But Fred, from the viewpoint of the person who has already bought the model, a favorable review is important for two reasons. First, we all need to have our car-owing egos stroked by "official" confirmation that we made the "right" purchase decision. And (more importantly) positive reviews should boost the resale value of our prized possession!
Tom
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Tom Korth wrote:

Yes, I'm sure you are right on the money there, Tom. I guess I don't really need the ego boost that much... heck I like my Z3 a lot and folks like to call those "girly" cars. Also, I do not really care that much what happens to the resale as I would prefer to keep my well-cared for cars as long as possible. I suppose if I followed the model of buying and selling new cars as often as many others do it would make more difference. ;-)
-Fred W
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Well, it's a traditional driving BMW with superb powerplants, but I'm not sold on the exterior design. It doesn't offend, but it also isn't a *plus*. Maybe I'm goofy though, because I don't get to upset over looks. It is certainly a valid concern for anyone spending money, but cars come and go, and with but a few exceptions I don't keep them long, and after getting a bit on in years I realize that for me it isn't a matter of great consideration....or at least greater than other considerations.

Well, I don't think it does across the board....otherwise BMW would have had a hard time setting sales records with the 5 and 7, in every major market they supply. One has to admit that is a pretty impressive feat considering the lambasting the cars have received in the press. Even with discounts, which I don't know are as prevelant as suggested, it would be pretty hard to set sales records the like of which they have recently.
It's a strange dichotomy when you think about it. Overwhelming success on the block, yet a massive failure in the press. I don't know that I have ever witnessed such a situation in my life-time. Maybe someone could suggest another model or make with a similar experience, because othet than econo-boxes I can't think of one right at the moment.

Most people don't keep cars long though and if initial cost won't hold the resale is going to fall off even more dramatically. For a car that has for years held up well in the marketplace....that would be tough money to lose.

No doubt.
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Daniel Arrepas wrote:

This is a good point. BMW used to be head and shoulders above the rest, but other brands have caught up in the last 10 years. BMWs are different because of RWD, and some people (myself included) prefer that. But they're not so much better anymore.
Also, consider how auto magazines pander to their major advertisers, who may or may not be BMW.
Finally, BMWs have always been relatively gimmick-free, while the latest models seem to be the opposite. This is bound to put some people off. Furthermore, BMW has not done a particularly good job with things like iDrive. Perhaps it's not as bad as some of its critics make it out to be, but it's not stellar either, as such things go.
Matt O.
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I have never heard the E34 called dull looking before.
-Fred W
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Absolutely. One of the best looking BMWs ever. It just looks so right from any angle.
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Dave Plowman snipped-for-privacy@davenoise.co.uk London SW
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