I am contemplating the purchase of a 545, but I am unsure if I should get
the Sports Package even though I would like to get it. My concern is the
larger rims and the low profile tires. I live on the east coast, therefore,
will I definitely need to change the tires for the winter? Also, how prone
are the rims to bending because of the low profile tires? Does anybody have
any experience with the Sport Package? Thanks.
With sport package on my '99 328i, wheel size went from 16" to 17". The
Washington DC area potholes are legendary and have done some damage to 3 of
my 4 wheels. And, yes, winter tires are an absolute necessity for any snow
or ice - but you might also wish to use them in place of the standard "all
season" tires on the non-sport model during the winter months.
Here are the two reasons after testing both the Sport and the standard 545,
I did not get the Sport Package
1) By default you have to get Active Steering, I love the car but really
dislike AS. Therefore I passed on Sport package
2) Run-flats. My BMW 's have always had a very compliant yet dynamic ride.
The run-flats ruin that. And, while I don't know this next part personally,
people I have spoken with who have them say they are awful in winter
I have heard that BMW did some more tuning to the suspension to mitigate the
ride reaction from the run-flats, but I'm not certain what they could do to
improve the tires in winter conditions.
I have an '03 540 with the sport package. I have hit a few potholes but, so
far, no damage to the rims. I've also driven in some snow; it's not awful
but winter tires would certainly help. My biggest complaint about the low
profile tires is their performance on uneven roads. On asphalt roads where
the traffic has caused a cupping or identation in the surface, the tires
tend to want to do their own thing inside those indentations. The low
profile tires have stiffer sidewalls and don't conform much to the
imperfections of the road. I often feel like I'm fighting the car on those
roads -- and there are a lot of them where I live. If I had it to do over,
I probably would have passed on the sport package for that reason.
I have an 04 545 with the sport package - it definitely has pros and cons. I
really like the active steering, so that was a plus for me. The more
aggressive tires certainly help with the handling but I'll echo the
statements of others that they are horrible in snow and do tend to make the
car "search" for straightline on carved up roads. You also end up with a
larger tire in the back than the front, which is good for performance but
prevents rotation, thereby reducing tire life as well.
I like the cars looks much better with the sport package, it lowers the car
a bit and the rims are much better looking than the standard ones. The one
thing that is a must have on the car though is the active suspension. Every
person that rides in this car the fist time is blown away by how flat it
stays through curves at high speed, almost 0 body roll no matter how much
you're thrashing it around. If my memory serves this is not standard on the
545 but is part of the sport package, if that's true there is no way you
should buy one without it IMO.
Good luck with your decision, we love the car even though we've had a few
issues (some the fault of BMW and some the fault of others). The idea of
filling it with premium gas at the ever escalating gas prices is less than
pleasant though :-(
Learning where your car's edge is at comes down to a few things, and most of
them are tactile. You feel when the car is at the edge of adhesion because
of the sensations it returns thru the steering, the seat and the body roll.
It doesn't have to be extreme, but unless you are a pro driver it does have
to be there for most of us.....particularly on street tires and really
especially in hard-edged run-flats.
Couple the loss of roll with run-flats which let go without warning, and all
you really get is car that the driver nannies break into more often than
they do a car which is being driven with better understanding. These "0
roll" systems are great for people who are at the top 4 to 5% of drivers,
but otherwise result in cars being driven beyond the driver's capabilities,
only to have the nannies step in and save the occupants.
The steering, chassis and suspension of the standard car are almost perfect
(and better what the E39 provided). There are very few drivers who need more
I'm not convinced. The different camber angles etc at either end of the
car produces slightly different wear patterns. So unless the tyres were
rotated very frquently, you'd have less than optimal grip until they
FWIW my E39 wears out all four tyres near enough at the same time anyway.
*Black holes are where God divided by zero *
Dave Plowman email@example.com London SW
I don't know where the idea that having a bigger (wider) tire in the
back is better for performance came from. It's not necessarily true.
It makes the car under steer (more than it already does) which is
decidedly *not* good for performance. You will get more thrust from the
drive wheels which would be better in a drag race.
As far as tire rotation goes, the only advantage to rotating (Front to
Rear) is in getting all 4 of the tires to wear out at the same time so
they can be replaced as a set. Rotation will not reduce tire wear rate,
and in fact may actually accelerate it as the wear will be faster after
first swapping ends until they "scrub in". as Dave said.
However, most BMWs, especially those with wider profile tires, will wear
the rear tires out about twice as fast as the fronts. The frugal owner
will choose to just let this happen and replace the 2 rear tires twice
as often as the fronts with as close a match as they can.
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