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Old 10-05-2009, 12:17 AM
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Owners impressions: 4.6is vs. 4.8is.
4.6is vs. 4.8is - test drive impressions - The Unofficial BMW M5 Messageboard (

so, i went ahead and traded in the 02 4.6is for an 04 4.8is.

since i've driven for a while the 4.6is, switching to the 4.8is instantly made me aware of few changes. i might also add that i did not expect the 4.8 to be much of a different experience. more like a facelift. more of the same- something along those lines.

well, i was wrong.

here are my observations on subtle and not-so-subtle differences in no particlar order.

1. engine: the 4.6 is redlined at 6500. the 4.8 is 7000. the new engine is made by alpina and is a different beast in terms of characteristics (albeit only 15 hp more)- the difference is apparent especially below 4000 rpms- the new engine pulls much stronger. the torque seems to be everywhere and response is even more instantenious than on the 4.6is.

2. transmission- the 4.8 shifts a lot. not hunting for gears- just shifts more. partially because it is a 6 speed (the 4.6 is 5 speed), but the shift logic seemed to be optimized also. it takes very little gas to downshift once, if you click the kickdown it will drop two gears instantly. i tried also the manual shifting, and it was unrewarding and slow just like the in the 4.6.. no changes here.

3. suspension- in a word- tighter and sportier. the 4.6 by comparison feels a little disjointed with more free play in the steering. also the front end seemed to be sorted out since the typical trampling and vibrations during simultaneous cornering and braking are not presented- this was a big gripe of mine in the 4.6is. the rear also seems to be planted better. new are also the adjustable 3-setting height control which allows the truck to move 2-3 inches up and down. i was able to move to the top and middle position while driving, but the truck refused to go to the lowest one manually- i have to read the manual i guess. have no impressions of the x-drive- it drivetrain sure did not feel any different, but i dont think i would've been able to feel any differences anyhow.. the brakes were more consistent and lacked the inital "grab" of the 4.6.

4. sound- maybe the most obvious difference - the 4.8 sounds like a muscle car. the exhaust is raspier and can be clearly heard in the cockpit and is fairly loud from the outside. i like it.

5. creature comfort- pretty much the same as in the 4.6 with few exceptions- the dvd nav is much faster and the panoramic moonroof is huge. also, finally there is a tire-monitor system presented- this was not even an option on the 4.6is..

6. exterior- the 4.8is has new shape wheels (i think the 4.6 has better ones though), angel eyes and bi-hids. also the frontend is revamped (like the rest of the x5 lineup) and looks bulkier...

overall, my initial impression is there is more to the 4.8 than it meets the eye and i like what i see/feel so far. the new truck is even closer to the e39 m5 in terms of driving experience.

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