BMW has long equipped its vehicles somewhat modestly for the luxury class, but offers plenty of opportunities to both make the interior and appearance more lavish and flamboyant, as well as innovative high-tech conveniences. Rain-sensing wipers, power heated mirrors, and a dual-zone climate control system are all included, even on the base 528i, as is poplar wood trim and a synthetic leatherette upholstery. Softer Dakota leather is offered with a Premium Package, while a potentially bewildering list of possible options can bring you anything from upgraded audio, HD radio, heated rear seats, a navigation system, a rear sunshade, or one of many available trims. A Sport Package or M Sport Package provide a sport suspension, upgraded wheels and tires, and other extras. Also, BMW will offer a sonar-based Parking Assistant feature for the first time in the 2011 5-Series, and the backup camera system includes new Top View and Side View functions aimed at spotting driveway or parking-lot obstacles. A new Active Cruise Control with Stop-and-Go—capable of adjusting speed to traffic and bringing the vehicle to a complete stop for up to three seconds before needing driver input—will be optional. Other highlights include a new night-vision system. Later in the model year, the 2011 5-Series will also have an auto-park feature, sonar-based and for parallel parking only. The driver can touch the brake and accelerator during the process, and the system will be offered with manual or automatic transmissions.
Good F&I managers get customers involved during the product presentations, Reahard says. “Don’t tell them when their car will be out of warranty based on the number of miles they drive a year. Hand them the calculator and let them tell you when it will be out of warranty. That’s more powerful.”
There’s finally an Auto-Tune app for Android phones, the latest addition to a meme that won’t go down easy. It’s been used for megahit web series , Saturday Night Live digital shorts, Facebook status updates and Chatroulette pranks . It got even more exposure to the masses when an iPhone app hit the Apple App Store courtesy of music artist T-Pain and master music app developers Smule. MicDroid for Android is a work in progress and it isn’t as snazzy as the iPhone’s I Am T-Pain app, but it’ll get the job done with pre-recorded sound samples.