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i_love_cars

ILC Back in a BMW Daily

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So after 2.5 years with an S4 pissing me off constantly due to half-baked features, I am back in a BMW. Picked up a 2021 X5 40i fully loaded with the exception of no traffic jam assist package because we have no real daily rush hour commute to deal with. The car had to be ordered to spec because people usually make poor decisions when they order these things, so nationwide dealer search showed literally nothing that matched exactly what I wanted. Crazy fast turnaround time since X5s are being built in North Carolina now and not shipping over on a boat, so it took about 3 weeks from the time of order until pickup at Umansky. 

Initially I went to IA since they were close, just to test drive and figured deals would be competitive regardless of what dealer I talked to because we're talking about a new car which levels the playing field quite a bit compared to the used market. This was just as big of a mistake as any one of you reading this would expect. Total horseshit. The sales guy we talked to was 3 months into the job, younger guy, unfortunately did not know about the bad reputation that IA has. I sent my spec to them, came in to chat, and they basically just offered me the current BMW incentives of $3500 total. So the car was 79k sticker, minus 3500 leaving it at around 75.5 for the raw purchase price. I looked at TrueCar and found most people around me are paying 74k for a similarly spec'd example. I talked to the sales guy and explained several things which I thought were well-reasoned arguments to lower the price. The first being that the going market rate is 74k, not 75.5. Also, they tell me they can't keep X3 or X5 on the lots and most of their sales are order/pickup. I said ok but you have 3 X5s on the lot right now as we speak, plus an X5 50i in the showroom, plus 2 of 2 allocations waiting to go into production this week that are not yet spoken for. That's 6 X5s that you don't have sold. Who is to say that your 2 allocations get built and don't also sit on the lot? You have an opportunity to lock up a sale right now for one of those if you would just be realistic about price. Plus I'm giving the dealership the financing kickback. So the sales kid goes back to the manager and as you would expect, the manager wouldn't budget at all because he's a piece of shit. Refused to even bother to negotiate in good faith.

So I called Umansky and immediately they got me a quote for 73,600 on the same car. I mentioned it to IA just to let the sales guy know that I wasn't wrong or blowing smoke up his ass when I said the car would be had for closer to 74k, and he was asking if he could talk to his manager about this offer from Umansky and try to earn my business. I said no, now you get to the learn why it sucks to be a sales guy with a shitty manager, because I already gave that jagoff a chance to negotiate in good faith and I presented fair reasoning in regards to your volume-based business. There is no more opportunity. I'm just going to buy the car from Umansky because they didn't try to jerk me around. 

So anyways, onto the X5 itself. The G05 generation is an insane jump up from the prior gen, and very much needed for BMW since they were starting to fall behind in the mid-size SUV race. The G05 really steps it up and puts it back on top as the overall best choice. I watched a ton of reviews and cross shopped it a bit and while the XC90 offers more luxury, the performance driving dynamics are not there compared to the X5, and the Mercedes GLE doesn't have the driving dynamics that the X5 has, nor the quality of infotainment. This thing feels really good and offers enough customizability in the transmissions, steering, suspension, and engine that it's fun for me to drive as well as the wife. The tech works way better than my Audi. Gesture controls and voice activation are spot on, the fit and finish and upgraded leather are supple, the massaging seats are way above what I got with the audi, comfort access actually works unlike my S4 which 60% of the time it didn't, the kick-trunk feature actually works here...and the list goes on.

In general a huge reason I went with the X5 is because BMW is still using a lot of obvious tactile response buttons that have satisfying clicks, not everything is behind a touch screen. I have a huge problem with how so many cars these days are trying to behave like a smartphone - I don't want to scroll screens and try to tap shit while I'm driving. BMW is still doing a good job of keeping real buttons in the mix for core functionality inside the cabin. The wireless carplay is really good, doesn't cut out like other cars I have heard of that drop connection. I had to order it with M-sport because obviously I had to order it with M sport... and I am very happy that there isn't any M badging on the exterior of the car. I added the "M" brakes which is separate from the M-sport package, and that's the only place you see any M logo badging on the car. I appreciate it because it's not trying to appear to be something it's not. I did get the 21" wheels which unfortunately come with summer tires only, 275 front, 315 rear, so the last week or so has not been driven at all. But with the air ride option, M sport, extended shadowline and the right wheels, it looks really good with the factory drop on air. 

I do intend to keep this car for a long time so I bought it instead of leased, and I paid $5800 for the extended BMW warranty which is 7 years or 100k miles. I thought that was interesting when you look at the cost of the car, and says a bit about how much they expect to go wrong. If you wait like 2 years into ownership and try to get the warranty, BMW will charge you almost 10k for it, and I did some rough math in my head and if you figure most people driving 10-12k miles a year, at time of purchase the 7 year/100k warranty makes sense to be cheaper, but add 2 years of time and you're still on the 100k mile limit, but now you have 9 years total ownership into the car with warranty coverage instead of 7. They are definitely banking on shit breaking after 7 years or roughly 70-75k miles, and none of it will be cheap to fix.

Overall I'm as happy as I can be I guess for what a modern BMW is these days. I do feel like the X5 is still pretty good in terms of balancing luxury with driving dynamics. Steering is appropro weighted in sport, and the car feels relatively precise even on air suspension. The B58 speaks for itself and the zf8 tuning is as good as it gets in an automatic transmission. Again, much better than my Audi, which thankfully will be leaving the stable in June.

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Lowered in Sport mode:

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Tastefully done! FYI X5's have always been built in Greer, SC. The factory itself is why BMW has been the largest US automotive exporter for a long time running. Glad to hear your sales experience went well at Umanksy at least, talk about missed opportunity at IA. Did you use the BMW CCA discount?

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