Akebono are ceramic pads. They create less dust and it is more white or neutral, so less visible. However they are not as grabby as oems, so everyone need to decide what is more important to them. Highy efficient pads tend to be dirtier, so it's a trade off.
I tried ceramics and they came off after a week. I hated them. Brakes feel greasy and slippery and you have to press the pedal much harder to get a response. I almost rear ended a truck on the highway with them, that's when i phoned in an order for oems!
I heard good things about Hawk HPS and will give them a try at some point. (Either Textar or Jurid make BMW pads, so look for those as well.)
I have both a 535 sedan and wagon. The sedan has much better brakes and I discovered it is because the rotors are about an inch larger! Now I am researching how to get larger rotors on the wagon, at least in front where it matters. That should make a huge difference.
Audio: Jehnert Flatline speakers, Mobridge M1000 DA2 prepro, Helix P-DSP, Zapco Z-150.6 amp, CIC iDrive upgrade
Performance: Cobb Pro Tune, AR Downpipes, ER FMIC/CP, DCI, RB turbos and inlets, KW V2 coilovers, Fuel-It Stage 2 pump w Ported fuel rail, Mfactory LSD