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We never fail to be amused by automobile magazines and websites that struggle to maintain a critical edge without offending current or potential advertisers. This time out, AutoWeek's Bob Gritzinger is charged with the delicate task of telling the world that the 545i sucks, without telling them it sucks. In "weDrive the 5", Bob starts by saying you have to helm the 5 first and complain about it later. Hmmm. I think he means the Bimmer is a great steer but crap in every other way. Here's a classic quote:

But that s not to say the quarter passed without the usual round of kvetching about iDrive, complaining about the Bangle-esque styling, quibbling over lack of storage and inadequate cupholders, and growing concern over some odd creaking noises coming from the passenger-side seat or door panel. It s just that the passing of time seems to have helped put some of the negatives into perspective.

Far be it for us to suggest some of that perspective has to do with AW's relations with BMW down in the "This Is Where We Get The Money to Pay Your Salary" Department. Anyway, what's AW's take on the dreaded iDrive mouse controller? Gritzinger goes for the "pay no attention to that man behind that curtain" defense.

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As one editor noted, he may not fully appreciate all the car has to offer, but he doesn t drive the 545i to wallow in luxury or to learn more about the much-maligned, multifaceted iDrive interface. I just ignore the big screen, turn off all the distractions, and I drive the 5, he said.

I suppose "not fully appreciating" is a terrific euphemism for "hate", and switching off the iDrive is a civilized way of saying BMW's multi-million dollar iDrive investment wasn't entirely successful (which is a nice way of saying it's, um, crap). But the final paragraph is easily the best example of just how craven these things can get. Gritzinger falls on his sword, casting doubt upon his own objections even as he makes some more.

We love driving the 5 as long as we don t have to deal with too many of its luxury features. But maybe we ll even develop an appreciation for those touches as we drive on for another six months.

Good luck with that.

2005 BMW 545i: Second-quarter update [AutoWeek]

Jalopnik Reviews: 2006 BMW 750i, Part 1; Jalopnik Reviews: 2006 BMW 325i, Part 1 [internal]