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5-Series (E12,E28, E34, E39, E60) Chat relating to the BMW 5-Series of all generations. Specific models include: BMW 518, BMW 520, BMW 520i, BMW 530i, BMW 528i, BMW 530i, BMW 518i, BMW 524d, BMW 525i, BMW 525e, BMW 528e, BMW 540i, BMW 535i, BMW 520d, BMW 525td, BMW 525d, BMW 530d, BMW 525i/xi, BMW 530i/xi. (BMW 5-Series Forum)

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Old 08-06-2004, 10:55 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Hi guys, just found your forum today and was looking to purchase a bmw, hope I can get some advice. I have a Mercedes SL500 which is absolutely no good in the snow, and I hate SUV's, so needed a halfway reliable snow machine.

My cousin has a 1998 528 which he swears by in the snow, I like the car very much, but would like something with more power to it. How do you guys like the 540 in the snow? Does the traction control work well in the snow, or is it just a novelty? Can I realistically drive this car in the winter in New England?

I am also considering a 740, but looking at them both the 540 seems to be much much more attractive and sporty looking. Anyone care to give me a 540 versus 740 speech? I am quite used to my sports car and would like more of a sports car feel, but with the ability to plow thru snow in the winter.

Thanks much guys. Hopefully I can find a 1996 on up 540/740 below 18k.
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Old 08-06-2004, 02:38 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Well its driveable, but the torque makes it very difficult. I have never really heard anyone that has driven a lot of cars say that ANY rwd car is good in the snow. I think if you want a sporty feel, still somewhat of a lux car and more power than the 528 - you should check out the 330Xi or iX (whichever) because its AWD - good choice for snow.

The traction control does help as long as its not just ASC ... DSC is what really helps.
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Old 08-06-2004, 03:41 PM   #3 (permalink)
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You put 100+ pounds of dead weight in the trunk and you will do just fine.


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Old 08-06-2004, 09:53 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Fit a bag of sand in the trunk.........lower the rear tyre pressure to 30pounds.......and the 540 will be fine in the snow.
I also dont like suv machines.
Only other suggestion is to look at another German brand which is 4wheeldrive,but I'm sure the 540 will do you well.

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Old 08-06-2004, 11:02 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I survived the KY winter on bald tires and no weight in the trunk... I did however manage to get stuck in like 2 inches of snow on my street, moving from a stop sign (like 3 times), and once on my drivers test.
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Old 08-07-2004, 08:57 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Originally posted by sp0rky@Aug 6 2004, 03:18 PM
The traction control does help as long as its not just ASC ... DSC is what really helps.
I'm interested in why you said that. My dad has a 1997 528i (same year as my 540i, so we both have ASC), and while I haven't had my car in the snow yet I have driven his and I thought it did great. I was thoroughly impressed by it's performace in the wet stuff considering it was RWD. I felt safe and in control. I know DSC is supposed to be better, but I don't think ASC is bad. What are your experiences with them?

Like I said, I haven't driven my 540i in the snow, but I know I'm going to have to be careful--my wheels are spinning whenever it rains around here!
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Old 08-07-2004, 01:25 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Get snow tires.
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Old 08-07-2004, 02:50 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Well, the ASC isnt bad, just the way it abruptly cuts your power at any kind of wheel slip is a little wierd.

Also while it may work, it cuts power to the engine, so what happens if your car started to go a little sideways for any reason? The DSC would help you correct a situation like that a lot more by monitoring each individual wheel.

Neither is bad, I'm just one of those people that wouldnt feel comfortable unless I had the safest option while driving in the snow. (also why i mentioned the 330xi)
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Old 08-07-2004, 03:22 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I haven't driven the 540 snow but mine which is a 5 series goes very well. I have winter tyres with nails so the grip is good. The problem as I can see is the powerful engine that makes the rear want to go. Hopefully, the gearbox has a winter program. The long wheelbase makes it perform very well when braking, no tendency for the front or rear to have its own career so it just breaks can goes steadily in it's path. Since the car rear driven the weight is better divided over the car which makes it break very well. Front wheen driven cars are usually heavier in the front and especially minivans. That makes the rear want to go before the front which the BMW doesn't. I've experienced that with other cars and it is quite scary. The only problem with BMW as I can see is the back spin which can be a problem when turning. Other than that it is a good winter car. If the snow is too deep (0.5m), then you should concider a Land Rover or similar.
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Old 08-07-2004, 04:53 PM   #10 (permalink)
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My 330xi is insane in the snow, and definately faster than a 530i, but not as fast as a 540i. Main difference will be in the torque; the 540 will have tons, but that's exactly what will hurt you in the snow. Although the Xi is heavier than the standard 3 I find my acceleration to be more than adequate. I bought the 6 speed of course though.
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Old 08-07-2004, 05:28 PM   #11 (permalink)
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on my 95 540ia, it handles (for me) ok at best, the torque does play a big part. I reccomend putting extra weight in the trunk, made accelerating a lot easier...
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Old 08-07-2004, 06:19 PM   #12 (permalink)
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believe it or not 530i is faster than the 330i,
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Old 08-08-2004, 06:13 PM   #13 (permalink)
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No offense to BMW,but if u want good snow traction,good performance and handling,get an audi.Its much better in snow.It may not have that bmw feel,but its much better for snow.Also i do not suggest getting the turbo engine because it jerks easily when it starts.I have one(other then my 540)but it is faster then the 4.2.And it doesnt affect me because i dont live anywhere near snow.
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Old 08-09-2004, 01:40 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Thanks guys for the responses. In regards to Audi, everyone I have asked or every review I have read has said they are ALWAYS in the shop, and the dealers/service centers have quite a bad rep also. I have also considered mercedes 4matic, but mercedes has gone downhill so much in recent years that I dont think I would go that route. Only other option would be a Lexus, and I dont think they have a AWD V8.

OK so it looks like the 540 will not be good enough in the snow, sigh...
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Old 08-10-2004, 11:43 PM   #15 (permalink)
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I live in canada and drove my 540 in the snow for 2 winter. I bought pirelli icesports for it, and it was great. We got dozens of mornings with 2 to 6 inches of snow, and lots of freezing rain, etc, my '98 540 6 speed felt very safe. ASC is good except if you pull out in front of someone and it kicks in... hehe. But come on, its SNOW, be careful.

And DON'T drive in your summer tires in the cold. Not even once. You'll kill urself. The compound of summer tires makes even dry cold pavement like ice. Winter tires are a different compound, they are really amazing.

Come on.. get the 540!!!
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