Cooley On Cars
BMW 5 Series: Get the small engine, ignore cylinder snobs (CNET On Cars, Ep. 108)5 Series plus 4 cylinders is beautiful math, and evidence mounts that people are done with driving. Plus, Cooley's Top 5 electric SUVs.
[SOUND] The new [UNKNOWN] series get some [UNKNOWN] from the seven. Are we over driving? And the top five electric SUV. It's time to check the tank. We see cars differently. Nice. We love among the road and under the hood but also check the tank and [UNKNOWN] Like it is. Ugly is included at no extra cost. The good, the bad, the bottom line. This is CNet On Cars. Welcome to CNet On Cars, the show all about high tech cars and modern driving. I'm Brien Cooley. Well, BMW's 5 Series just came into its 7th generation. This is a very important car for them, because it sits at a sweet spot between large sales volume and large average selling price. It's an important. Important product to be in value. Now inside we're gonna find and take it a big a step forward in a cabin attack up towards the seven series under the hood kind of a step down in engine's side till now a basin a two liter turbo forward and basis to my breath. Overall I can't wait to bring you on the road this five thirty eye of 2017. Let's do so. And check the tech. [MUSIC] Now I'm the odd ball in the room. I think the new 5 series looks pretty notably different and better. Other folks I show it to say I can hardly tell it from the last generation. [SOUND] Were do you stand? Now what you are seeing is a car that's a little over an inch longer. It's not noticable, to be honest. And it's marginally wider. The proportions are the same, it presents the same in person. Although I do think it looks a little less bulky than the last two generations, going all the way back to those tragic Bangle cars that began in '04. With this one I think we have finally washed all of that tubby lardiness out of the look of the five. In terms of interior dimensions, if you're sitting behind me, you better be short or a dog. They supposedly have an inch more leg room in the back, but behind me you won't notice it. [MUSIC] Now the cabin tech in this vehicle of course is a big redo. That is a very different iDrive. You can tell by the six card layout there, and. You can touch that screen. Now here's the odd thing. They kept the screen in the same place as when it was non-touch. Which means it's basically about one hand too far away. So you may not be touching it much, but you've got so many ways to interact with this car, listing them is like walking into the Bamboo Lounge in Goodfellas. There's Johnny voice command. [MUSIC] Anthony touch screen. His two guys, Jimmy home run buttons and Tommy turn wheel. Sammy shortcut strip who sometimes works with Henry hand writing pad. And Johnny jester control, jester control, [UNKNOWN] do everything two times. If I hold my hand here and turn it in circle, you hear the volume works. You've also got this gesture you can use to accept or deny, like a call coming in. and you've got this kind of two-fingered, evil eye thing you can program in the car. That's your Third thing that you can do. Borrowed from the 7 is optional remote parking, the big crowd pleaser, that lets you park your car while outside your car, just hold the button down. Instrument panel is interesting, we've got a combination of physical bezels But virtual needles that are done in video. Now the other big headline on this car aside from refreshed eye drive is that it's the first production vehicle to have wireless car play. I'd love to show you how it works, but we spent over an hour trying to get it to work and it never did. Somewhere between the Bluetooth pairing for CarPlay, the system suggesting we install a BMW app that doesn't seem to exist on the app store, and the car's refusal to accept it's own WiFi password, we just ran out of time. I do believe this is an isolated case, and kudos to BMW for being the first to embrace this important upgrade to CarPlay. Neat trick here on the radio. A little TiVo or D.V.R. style function there which is not new. We've seen that on cars before, but it neatly segments the recorded audio by track. So you jump back a track at a time, not by time signature. Okay, two things to know when you start driving a 530i that made them so clear right off the bat. Number one, this is the engine to get, this 2.0L Turbo 4 is a miracle. Am I about to say the words I've never said in 1200 car videos for CNet, no turbo lag? I think I am about to, it's amazing. Super smooth by the way, I often use Audi as my benchmark for power terrain and running gear smoothness, this is right there with Audi. Now, the other I notice right of the bat, is the fact that if you're in Comfort mode on the suspension settings, it's kind of a both, Then I realized I'm in comfort mode. Let me drop everything into sport mode. And suddenly it just gets firm enough. And one of the things making this car a delight to drive in town or on a nice twisty canyon road like this, is the fact that we've got the adaptive steering package. That means we've got variable ratio on the fly and we've also got rear wheel steering, which we've discussed in a car tech 101. The combination of the two give this vehicle almost a magical ability to turn in place it goes into a corner not just drag the tail by the nose. Behind the engine, only one choice, 8 speed automatic You do have the option of an all wheel drive power train as well, though. Alright, pricing the new 5, and again, I like the 530I, this to me is the smart money car, this 2 litre turbo four, and it's start you just about 50 To deliver. But then the cost of BMW the option list is long to get and see in style. There are one, two, three driver assistance packages you want to get the full both driver assist. And if you don't get at least the first one, you don't get a real camera. You know, the same thing the cheapest Civic includes at no extra cost. The import package of course is very popular. A mild body kit, hot steering wheel, blackout trim and a lower stance. Premium package is chunky but that's where you get wi-fi, wireless charging, satellite radio and Keyless, if you want the LED lights to be adaptive and automatic on high beam that's another grand. Active steering, $1,100. The gesture control is so silly but it's so cheap, why not, for under $200. I really think you want the dynamic dampers. The active suspension might take out some of the slack, I noticed. And car play just might work with you. We're just a little bit over 60,000 CNet style. I like this 5 series. I think it hits to a good. Center spot of having a lot of the BMW hallmarks of feeling light, bright, and tight on its feet, but at the same time really pushing the tech envelope for those of you who can't afford a seven. If you want to find out more about the new 7th generation 530i, check out Antuan Goodwin's deep dive on. You'll find that on the roadshow.com. Now you know the concept of peak oil. Put that aside for a minute and let's talk about peak driving. There are all kinds of indications where cooling are love affair with being behind the wheel. And that's of interest to the smarter and perhaps less frequent driver. [MUSIC] Going back to 1984, the number of cars per person and cars per household in the US grew more or less consistently. Like to a peak around 2006, then the line changes. Since then vehicles per person is down almost 4% vehicles for household down almost 5%. But even more dramatic is how much less were driving those fewer cars, 7% fewer miles per person In over 8% fewer miles per household. Some reasons, Telecommuting, we're going from 19% American workers doing at least some telecommuting in 2004 to 24% at the end of 2015. Unemployment, many of the driving decline years were a recession years. But since the jobs began to comeback, Driving didn't do so in step. E-commerce, less time wasted going to the mall. Enough said. Gas prices. Some of the decline years map to the $5 a gallon years in some places. Fewer young drivers. When you've got Facebook and Snapchat, there's less need to drive anywhere to hang out Urban living. Those same millennials who are less into having a license or a car clearly aren't doing so in tract home suburbia. [MUSIC] And the cost of a car. The average cost of a new car or light truck in the US was over 33 grand at the end of 2015 Up from just 25 grand in 2005. Thousands more, even when you adjust for CPI. For the smarter driver, this all suggests a review of how many cars you have and do they all get used enough? Is your insurance policy up to date on the miles and types of miles you drive and who's doing them? And have you at least tried the major car share and ride share services, if only to know when and if they might be relevant to you and your family. There's been a change in modern driving. And it's called less. Cheap skate alert, your time is starting to run out to get the rest of us to help pay for your electric car. We'll see why when CNET On Cars returns. [MUSIC] [BLANK_AUDIO] [MUSIC] Welcome back to CNET On Cars coming to you from our home here at the Mount Tam Motor Club just north of the Golden Gate Bridge. As you know, when you buy any kind of a car with plug, whether it's a plugin hybrid or a full-battery electric, you're in for some fat tax incentives. From the Feds and very likely from your state adding up to pretty easily 10 thousand dollars in many cases. What if added up to zero dollars? That potential is actually coming sooner than many of us thought. It makes for an interesting car tech 101. When you buy a car with a plug you get more than just that. There's a federal tax credit on the other end of that cord. Up to $7,500 coming your way. They calculate it depending on the size of the car's battery starting with a base amount. That credit is then subtracted from any tax you owe on your next federal return. It can only reduce your payment to 0, it can't create a refund. And your state may have a similar credit. Here in California it's up to $2,500 and there's likely an HOV lane sticker waiting for you where you live. But these credits won't be around forever, the Federal Credit phases out after a given car maker sells its 200,000 plug-in car. In the second calendar quarter after that, the credit is cut in half. For the next two quarters after that, it's cut down to 25%. Then after that, it's gone. And by the way, they count general motors as a car maker, for example, not just Chevrolet. So the cap approaches faster. GM has so far sold a little over 100,000 Volts, about 8,000 Spark EVs, a few thousand Cadillac ELRs, and all in about 125,000 plug-in cars. And that's before the arrival of the red hot Bolt Electric, which GM says it can make up to 90,000 of each year. TESLA has sold about a hundred and ninety thousand cars in its history. Though, not all are those in the US. But they say that we're making 5000 cars a week by the end of 2017 when the red hot model three arrives with its more than 300,000 pre-orders. [MUSIC] As you can see, these two were getting close to the day when no have to sell electrics with less or no tax payer money helping out. At the state level it's rocky as well. The 25 states that used to offer some kind of credit are now down to just 16 according to the New York Times. Georgia offers a credit for full electrics only, no plug in hybrids. Colorado has a bill in progress that would kill their $5000 full EV credit. Illinois led us up to $4,000 state credit expire as did Utah in 2016. Bottom line public [UNKNOWN] for [UNKNOWN] cars were never ment to be permanent. But as of 2017 that's starting to look much sharper and less [UNKNOWN]. Okay email them. First one here is a two fer on the same subject. First one comes in from [UNKNOWN] who says like you I love old cars. Currently I own a Mazda 929, a 78 with a 2 liter four. It's been a great car for years but I've been struggling with parts. It was only sold in Europe and Asia and I can't even find documentation for parts numbers. And this one comes in on the same note from Rafael, I'm in the Dominican Republic. He says, I recently bought an 07 Isuzu D-Max diesel from Thailand and was wondering if there's a site where I can get parts. Getting parts and accessories has been a pain. Yeah, I imagine there might be a problem there, a Japanese truck for the Thai market that ends up in the Dominican Republic. And now years later, you're trying to get parts for it. You are asking for some trouble, but I think I can help you out Rafael. First thing you need is to get a factory parts book. The best way to search for parts. Is by the factory part number. You can use a verbal description and that might lead you somewhere, but the common language between buyers and sellers is gonna be that part number that is the exact reference. So you could look for that as an old paper book that you might find on eBay, an old dealer book, basically. Or you might find this thing on microfiche and then find a cheap microfiche reader on eBay. The next thing you wanna look at is understand interchange. Just because you have a given model of car doesn't mean that it doesn't share a ton of parts with other models of roughly the same year and of course of the same make. There are interchange manuals for some cars. Now for more popular Fords, Mustangs and Thuderbirds, but look around you might find some interchange listings here and there that tell you what parts for your car were common on other cars. Of the same make in around the same era. That can be useful for mechanical stuff, not so likely for sheet metal and trim. Find active forums for your kind of car, at least your make and era of car. That's where you're gonna find a lot of people that are really smart about this and have already done the hard work to say hey so and so sells this kind of part. For our cars and maybe isn't very good at advertising the fact so that's critical and another one is, don't just check Ebay but check all the Ebay. Once you have your part numbers, see step number one, start searching that part number on Ebay but not just the U.S. Ebay. Check eBay in the country where your car was made. Check eBay in a few other countries around the world. For the Fiat here I've often found parts on eBay's Italian site obviously, but even more so on eBay's Netherlands site, because there's a couple of vendors in that market that have a lot of Fiat 850 parts. So you got to look around globally. Not every part filters into the US eBay interface. And that could be gold for you. Okay, our next email comes in this time from Kevin P, his in Malaysia. We're all over the world today. He says, EV, electric cars, don't need a front hood since they don't have a combustion engine up front. But looking at the current design trend of EVs, like Tesla Model S and X, Mercedes Benz EQ Concept, the Lucid Air, Jaguar's I Pace, he says they all continue to have a front hood. Apart from the fact, he goes on, that front hoods in EVs could be used for a small cargo area, is there any other reason why car makers still make electrics? With a front hood? Cars that don't have a frontal structure look weird. They have this flat face, kinda cut off right at the front. And it just isn't a look that most consumers think is remotely attractive. It's, at least, really weird. Now that's because we're in about a century now of viewing cars in what is called the classic three box design. The front section, the rear section, where the trunk or hatchback generally lives, and in the middle, the passenger section. We've gotten used to that for a hundred years and it's hard for the eye to suddenly see a car that's this blunt thing and say, yeah, it looks good. Plus, that front structure makes a car look as though it's Kind of got some forward motion and got some kind of power going toward the front. So this is what the stylist will tell you. Another point is safety. The engineers will say forget the styling, if you take away the whole front compartment I lose a critical crumple zone. Whether there's nothing in it or an engine in it, it's a great thing to take the first hit before your legs ankles and hips. Take the hit in a collision. That's a really big deal in terms of chasing good safety ratings. They work really hard on this stuff, and to lose the entire front of the car means you've got about six inches before the other car is in your lap, and that is a big problem. Now, another one is storage. That kind of storage in the front, even on a Tesla that has no motor up there, is great storage because it's covered It's out of the way, it's secured. It's the kind of thing that people like. And here's another one, packaging. There is nothing in the front of some of these electric cars, and yet there is. You've got the whole front suspension and steering apparatus. You often have cooling equipment, HVAC equipment for the cabin, and possibly some large electronics boxes for handling current flow back and forth. Plus you have to run lights and things out there. So there is some gear there. To move it somewhere else is actually quite a challenge. And if you look at the very first vans back in the 60s, the Ford Econoline and the Doge A100, they had perfectly flat faces, right? But look what they had to do. The engine had to get moved in between the front seats into what they called the doghouse back in those days. And let me tell you, it was the doghouse. It was crappy packaging but it's how they did it back then. Sometimes you gotta be first and foremost, concerned about the passenger compartment and push things out of it. And that's why the nose is gonna exist, I think, for a long time. And we got a follow to an email we did a couple of episodes ago, episode 105 were I told Kevin W in Belgium that there's not really anyway to put car play on his 05 BMW changing that head unit none starter. Well we got a link sent to us by email that shows an aftermarket replacement head unit For your generation of BMW, Kevin. Now it doesn't have Carfly that's the down side. But there is technically a way to change out that head unit to another one that has navigation, BlueTooth, it's got SD card and USB compatibility, apparently some kind of a GPS nav system though it's not shown in the manufacturer's photos. Now, this reminds me of a colleague of mine in the biz, who says one of his favorite hobbies is to sit back and imagine something that he's absolutely certain is not made, and then go to Alibaba and search for it, and see that it actually is. When I come back, electric and SUV are two terms that seldom go together. [MUSIC] But that's changing. Five examples in a moment. [MUSIC] [BLANK_AUDIO] [MUSIC] Now think about it, there's a problem in the auto industry. The number one selling type of vehicle in the US is a crossover or an SUV. But almost all the electric cars that sell in the US are not cross overs and SUV's. What's going on there? A mismatch is about to get solved over the next couple of years. So let me give you a taste of how it's gonna go down with my Top 5 list of pure electric SUVS, one now, most pending. [MUSIC] Number five is the Nissan Terra, [SOUND] God that's ugly. It's as if the Armada and a Dove Bar had a love child. Let's leave the styling aside for a minute. They are on the right page with audacious engineering around the vision for a hydrogen fuel cell. That's smart but it's a long Hail Mary. They also imagined a tablet as the dashboard. That's not going to happen. However, Nissan is smart and savvy about crossovers and SUVs. Don't forget, the number two selling one in the entire US is the Rogue. So they've already set the table for this to be an important effort for them. [SOUND] Number 4 is Ford's promised electric SUV. And that's about all I know, They've said they'll have in showrooms by 2020. It will be all electric, we'll assume battery not fuel cell which isn't really their thing. But I put it in here as a lower rank as a placeholder because Ford is very credible on SUVs and cross overs. Number three is the Jaguar I-Pace. The buzz around this guy, when it debuted at the LA show in November of 16, was unusually high. The crowd senses a winner here. Jaguar has been on kind of a roll generally the last couple of years. This one's going to be a battery electric promising about 220 miles of range. 0 to 60 in about four seconds. And styling that is so good, it almost doesn't look like a crossover or SUV, but it will qualify as one. They'll have this guy on the market in 2018. They've already had a demo vehicle prowling the streets of London. A few miles here and there. Now we're getting up there, my pick for number two is Audi's E-Tron Quattro concept. Concept yes but so close to production it's giving us a real taste of what's coming. Also in 2018 [MUSIC] To do battle with that Jaguar I pay. Now big difference here, these guys are promising at least 310 miles of range. Nearly a hundred more than the Jaguar and a similar 0 to 60 somewhere in the four second range. It'll be hearing some under pinnings with Porsche's much admired Mission E project. So Porsche DNA never hurt you in the market especially when you're charging big bucks. This guy looks like it could be the biggest headache for number one. [MUSIC] Before I get to number one, I've got an interesting spot for the Chevy Bolt EV. You may say, why is that in this list? Chevy will swear up and down, this is a compact crossover. I don't think it's what most people have in mind though when they go to shop for an SUV or crossover. So it's kind of in a interesting grey zone. But one thing is absolutely clear about the Bolt, it's one hell of an electric vehicle. As you might imagine, number one is the Tesla Model X. If for no other reason than the fact that they're on the market while everyone else is making 2018 and 2020 promises. Plus the Model X got that amazing Tesla driving feel. They really do engineer a great driving vehicle. It has not been without its headaches, and I'm not really sure those falcon doors are worth the effort, but they do make it stand out. Interestingly, it is still handily outsold by its more conventional, if you will, Model S. Sedan sibling, but this remains the one to beat when any of the others come to market. Thanks for watching. I hope you enjoyed this episode. You know it's powered by you. Keep those emails coming. It's Cooley@theroadshow.com. I'll see you the next time we check the tach. [MUSIC]