The longer I have my 06 5 series BMW the more I regret the purchase.
I have owned Lexi, Infiniti, Corvettes, Cadillacs, Volvos, Saabs and I have
never regretted a purchase as much as I do this one.
It is fun to drive and admittedly handles better than any other sedan I can
think of but the ergonomics, to put it simply, leave too much to be desired
for a car in this price class. BMW has some of the best drive
train/suspension engineers in the world, maybe the absolute best.
Unfortunately BMW has absolute idiots, basically morons, designing the
interiors and controls of the vehicle.
One really need not go further than the cup holders, but it gets worse.
At my height, 5' 11", it is impossible not to constantly bang my left leg
against the rock hard faux wood hand rail on the door. This aggravates me
more than anything. I feel like I get bitten every time I drive the car.
Many necessary functions, including cruise control, are difficult to operate
in their left of steering wheel location (it is a right handed world after
all). The steering wheel heater button is utterly incaccesible unless you
lean over the steering wheel and look for it hidden in the recesses of the
left side of the steering wheel. Or is that the steering wheel up and down
button? In and out?
Setting the air conditioning requires navigating through the BMW version of
the worst of Windows as well as using a traditional switch on the dashboard.
There is no way to rapidly adjust fan flow without having to go through a
complex ordeal that requires you to divert your attention from the road to
use the computer screen. Unless you simply want maximum blasting of the air,
which is available by a button on the dash.
Switching radio stations is a major ordeal and an act of faith: it works
blindly or you have to navigate through multiple computer screens using the
Teutonic Wheel of Death. If not set on preprogrammed stations, which has an
unrealistically limited number of settings, then if you are temporarily in
an area where the signal is weak that particular station will not be
recognized on the "all stations" settings.
Did I mention that the "all stations" settings arranges all receivable
signals in a non sequential order? Therefore pushing the up or down button
on the steering wheel does not necessarily take you to the next station in
order of frequency.
The voice command system works about as well as any computer voice
transcription system, which is to say not at all. Not even slightly. Not
even a hiccup. Its sad when even the service technician shrugs his shoulder
and says it is just another non-perfected gimmick.
I do like the blue tooth. However if you have a Verizon but not a Cingular
treo, the same frigging phone, only some but not all of your preprogrammed
numbers will be available. Back to the computer screen and the Teutonic
Wheel of Death.
Once a destination programmed into navigation has been reached major
reprogramming is required to stop getting directions. Also the directions
are inaccurate: when the freeway veers left the voice tells you to exit the
freeway to the left although there is really no frigging exit involved. It
will tell you to exit the freeway to the right, if the freeway veers right,
and if there happens to be an exit there you can guess the rest.
My wife likes the car, at least.
I own a 2000 E38 which is great to drive and the switches are well
thought out and easy to use. However, on a 48-hr test drive in the new
7 series with the i-drive, I found much the same issues; having to
navigate through loads of screens to do the simplest tasks. It seems
that BMW removed all the switches to make a simple 'cleaner'
one-control interface; but while I loved the way the car drives and the
comfort and features, it was a relief to get back into my car with its
Just my opinion...
La Tercia Real
In a recent UK TV program, Top Gear, they did a 0-60 test on the new
M6, they timed it at a 14 minutes... They included all the time it
took to set the engine to maximum power, sort out the suspension and
traction control settings using the i-Drive... LOL!
It did look a bit crazy. Not sure why you would need 3 engine power
settings: 400BH, 500BH and (I think) 500BH Sport. What's all that about? Do
you save a tiny bit of fuel on 400BH mode?
I'm sure some M6 user will enlighten us.
Well, I don't have the M6, but do have an '06 M5 that has the same engine,
transmission and overall setup as the M6.
Here's my impressions so far:
At first, the i-Drive system drove me crazy, but in time it became second
nature. I am not sure it's really necessary for it to control and access
everything, but some unique features of the M5 and M6 are a natural for
i-Drive. You don't have to use it, BTW to control basic functions of the
Why two horsepower settings? Why three suspension settings? Why six
throttle response settings and six shift speed settings? Again, at first
it seems ridiculous .... I think there's a matrix of over 200 different
combinations of programmable setups for the car.
But, after a while getting used to it, I began to understand the philosophy
of the design. BMWs are supposed to be fun to drive. The wide range of
performance programs in the M5 make it even more so. You basically have
several different cars, with different performance characteristics all in
one vehicle. In the 400 hp, comfort suspension mode and level S2 selected,
the car performs and handles like a fast family sedan. The SMG transmission
can even shift itself like an automatic. But, using the i-Drive, you can
pre-program a whole set of selectable performance options that can be
instantly engaged by simply pushing the "M" button on the steering wheel.
In an instant, the sedate, 5 passenger family sedan changes into another
vehicle altogether, know to us that own them as the "Beast".
Depending on what you programmed, the engine suddenly develops 100 more
horsepower, the suspension changes to that of a race car and the throttle
response becomes instant. Shifts in the manual shift mode are lightening
fast, especially up around 7000 rpm. (redline for the engine is 8,250 RPM).
You can change the Dynamic Stability Control from standard (limits wheel
spin and engine throttle if you start to lose traction) to an intermediate
mode called "MSC" (or something like that) that allows a bit of drift,
wheel spin and higher lateral G forces without backing off the engine or
applying braking to stop wheel spin, but will save your ass if things get
out of control.
Then, you can select S6 mode --- the highest level of raw performance. I've
only tried it once, and will not likely do it again unless I am on an empty
track and with a bit more experience. In this mode, the M5 is very fast,
the shifts are almost violent and it is easy to get into a powered drift,
even in 3rd or 4th gear. I tried a full bore acceleration once and was at
130 mph as I shifted from 4th to 5th gear then backed off ... with two more
gears to go.
So, that's how I've adapted to the M5. It took some time. Usually I adapt
to a new car (as do most people, I suspect) within a day or two of driving.
It took me about 3 weeks just to feel comfortable with the 7 speed SMG
transmission. Now, after four months of ownership, I still am still
enjoying trying all the different driving personalities of this car. They
may be ugly, but man, they are a blast to drive!
Yes. I saw that. It was funny, but I wonder if a dollop of Clarkson
exaggeration was applied... After all, you may not have to go through all
the settings the next time.
For direct contact replace nospam with schmetterling
"dizzy" < email@example.com> wrote in message
Giving an alternative viewpoint I own a Roadster S (which has the Z4
interior) and really, really like the whole package. Perhaps it is just a 5
I'm 6" 1" and find the cabin very comfortable to get into and out of - I am
surprised that the 5 is so awkward.
I'm right handed and find that controls for cruise on the left are more
sensible as I prefer to keep my right hand on the wheel. But that's just a
That sounds posh. Us poor Roadster S users can't have heated steering
wheels. Would be useful in a softtop too.
I can't comment on that as the Z4 doesn't have iDrive. Instead we just have
an old-fashioned dial as well as the cold blast button.
I can imagine that to be very annoying - again we don't have iDrive just a
normal radio system. Even with the pro sat nav computer stuff it works just
as well as a 'normal' car radio.
That surprises me. Voice activation in the Roadster is excellent - even
though it is a soft-top and you would expect the extra engine noise to
interfere. I find it necessary when dialing numbers as otherwise you have to
look at the sat nav screen and dial the radio to select numbers - very
I agree the Blue Tooth integration is superb.
Just two clicks required on the pro sat nav without iDrive. Guess iDrive
doesn't have much going for it?
Now this is something I can sympathise with. It does it here in the UK too -
even on b roads. You come up to a sharp left turn and it tells you it's a
junction. Doesn't do it all the time but it is annoying when it does.
So does mine. Not necessarily a good thing when she won't give you it back.
Actually you've got that round the wrong way.
We want lots of sensible buttons, in sensible places that do just one
Not a twisty pressy i-Drive button that does 27 things and requires
you to take your eyes of the road to check that you're turning the
radio up and not disengaging traction control and engaging the nitrous
In that case, order voice control, it is easy to use and accurate (only
occasionally misunderstanding commands). Regretably it doen't understand
irony, sarcasm or profanity - but other than that its excellent!
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