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  #1  
Old 08-18-2004, 07:08 PM
hormazd hormazd is offline
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Mein Auto: 2004 545i 6sp
2000 Miles in a 545i 6 spd

Last month I drove 2000 Miles through 5 countries in Europe. I love my car. I am posting to provide real owner feedback for potential E60 buyers that are swamped with the bad press that this car has received for Ergonomics, I-Drive and exterior styling.

Exterior

Sure it took some getting used to, but like all new models this car is a fresh change. I now look at the older model and find it very dated.

I-Drive and Ergonomics

Yes, I too was concerned as it took two germans at the delivery center in Munich half an hour to figure out how to answer my questions on the Navigation system... BUT they hadnt lived with the car.

We obviously couldn't drive for the two nights that we were in Venice, so I read the manual cover to cover, twice. We were forced to use the I-drive on a regular basis as we relied on it exclusively for Navigation. Folks, this is like learning a new piece of software for the first time. Ofcourse its hard but once you get used to it its very inuitive and you will wonder how you ever lived without it.

Indicator Pod- Read many complaints here. Suffered my self and then just turned off the triple signal function. All is well. I might turn it on again.

Entertainment- Figured it out after 500 miles and was overjoyed at the ability to press one button on the steering wheel and then talk to the car. 'CD4" Changes to the 4th CD in the changer. "Track 5" plays the 5th track on the CD. You can do this at 135MPH and never take your eyes off the road. Whats wrong with that?

Active Steering- Yup, I nicked a curb in Florence. 3rd Day in the car. (Joy - They replaced the wheel and tire at VDC)But ever tried parking in a European city? This thing made it a cinch. Something else that you just get used to within a few days behind the wheel.

Guages- So there is no fuel guage. Who cares when you are being told exactly how many miles you can go on this tank based on your driving style. No temperature guage? In 150,000 miles the temperature guage on my Honda Accord told me the engine was cool, then warm. Big deal. What the driver really needs to know is how high he can rev the engine. The dynamic tach takes care of that. The complaints on these items appear to stem from creatures of habit.

My wife caught on within the first 4 days in the car. She was working the NAV, climate and Entertainment from the passenger seat with no problems. And no, we are not Geeks.

There is nothing needed in the i-drive menu to drive this car. Its engine is as smooth as silk, the car handles like a dream without breaking your back and the braking is astonishing.

BMW is looking to the future. My 4 year old daughter navigates a computer screen intuitively, I am sure my 8 yr old son will be moving around the I-drive with no problems within 8 hours in the car. If you live and function in this millenium in the 1st world, then don't let the i-drive reviews put you off.

Sadly, the press have little time or patience for this and so do most people who are driving the car for just a few miles.

I would love to hear from an owner who has lived with his E60 for atleast a couple of thousand miles (under 40 and who can program a VCR). It's a great car isn't it??

And for the E60 haters out there. I welcome your comments, but be nice please.
__________________
2008 550i 6spd SP |Carbon Black | Natural Brown | NAV | Sat | Ipod |Comfort Access |L7

Retired 545i 6spd ED 7/04. |Titanium Grey | NAV | Premium sound | PDC | Grey Leather | Re-united 9/04

Last edited by hormazd; 10-07-2004 at 11:13 AM.
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  #2  
Old 08-18-2004, 07:15 PM
jpalmer51 jpalmer51 is offline
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Location: Ontario, Canada
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 47
Mein Auto: BMW X3, 545
Had my 545 for just about 6000kms.

Agree with you every way! I get more comments on that car then I can count. When people see it in person they love it. I too now love the style. I love this car, and now that I know how to use Idrive, its hard to drive the X3 since it doesnt have it. I just got my handfree phone hooked up and I love the voice controlling.

The car is silky smooth and drives liek a dream. I have had about 8 people tell me they didnt think the car looked good in magizines, but when they saw it in person it looks amazing....
  #3  
Old 08-18-2004, 07:16 PM
bmw325 bmw325 is offline
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Location: New York, NY
 
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Posts: 8,323
Mein Auto: 528i
Quote:
Originally Posted by hormazd
Last month I drove 2000 Miles through 5 countries in Europe. I love my car. I am posting to provide real owner feedback for potential E60 buyers that are swamped with the bad press that this car has received for Ergonomics, I-Drive and exterior styling.

Exterior

Sure it took some getting used to, but like all new models this car is a fresh change. I now look at the older model and find it very dated.

I-Drive and Ergonomics

Yes, I too was concerned as it took two germans at the delivery center in Munich half an hour to figure out how to answer my questions on the Navigation system... BUT they hadnt lived with the car.

We obviously couldn't drive for the two nights that we were in Venice, so I read the manual cover to cover, twice. We were forced to use the I-drive on a regular basis as we relied on it exclusively for Navigation. Folks, this is like learning a new piece of software for the first time. Ofcourse its hard but once you get used to it its very inuitive and you will wonder how you ever lived without it.

Indicator Pod- Read many complaints here. Suffered my self and then just turned off the triple signal function. All is well. I might turn it on again.

Entertainment- Figured it out after 500 miles and was overjoyed at the ability to press one button on the steering wheel and then talk to the car. 'CD4" Changes to the 4th CD in the changer. "Track 5" plays the 5th track on the CD. You can do this at 135MPH and never take your eyes off the road. Whats wrong with that?

Active Steering- Yup, I nicked a curb in Florence. 3rd Day in the car. But ever tried parking in a European city? This thing made it a cinch. Something else that you just get used to within a few days behind the wheel.

Guages- So there is no fuel guage. Who cares when you are being told exactly how many miles you can go on this tank based on your driving style. No temperature guage? In 150,000 miles the temperature guage on my Honda Accord told me the engine was cool, then warm. Big deal. What the driver really needs to know is how high he can rev the engine. The dynamic tach takes care of that. The complaints on these items appear to stem from creatures of habit.

My wife caught on within the first 4 days in the car. She was working the NAV, climate and Entertainment from the passenger seat with no problems. And no, we are not Geeks.

There is nothing needed in the i-drive menu to drive this car. Its engine is as smooth as silk, the car handles like a dream without breaking your back and the braking is astonishing.

BMW is looking to the future. My 4 year old daughter navigates a computer screen intuitively, I am sure my 8 yr old son will be moving around the I-drive with no problems within 8 hours in the car. If you live and function in this millenium in the 1st world, then don't let the i-drive reviews put you off.

Sadly, the press have little time or patience for this and so do most people who are driving the car for just a few miles.

I would love to hear from an owner who has lived with his E60 for atleast a couple of thousand miles (under 40 and who can program a VCR). It's a great car isn't it??

And for the E60 haters out there. I welcome your comments, but be nice please.
Glad you like the car. Would you prefer it if BMW had atleast left some of the standard "hard buttons" on the radio and climate control. Specifically, air direction, fan speed, presets 1-6, regular/manual seek, etc. It wouldn't detract from all the stuff you can do w/ the i-drive, and would help to greatly reduce the complaints. I don't see a downside to doing this, do you?
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  #4  
Old 08-18-2004, 07:52 PM
hormazd hormazd is offline
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Mein Auto: 2004 545i 6sp
Quote:
Originally Posted by robg
Glad you like the car. Would you prefer it if BMW had atleast left some of the standard "hard buttons" on the radio and climate control. Specifically, air direction, fan speed, presets 1-6, regular/manual seek, etc. It wouldn't detract from all the stuff you can do w/ the i-drive, and would help to greatly reduce the complaints. I don't see a downside to doing this, do you?

Of course not. If they could pull it off BUT....

Radio. There are two hard buttons, one on the dash and one on the steering wheel that let you move through your presets and tracks.

Climate. Fan Velocity is right there. I big Knob that you turn to increase or decrease fan speed.

Air Direction. Maybe, but if you actually drive the car you will find that the auto setting takes over air direction and works exceptionally well allowing driver and passenger to adjust temperature individually through big hard dials. Defrost, Recirculate AC etc are all hard buttons.


Honsestly if I would be the first to point out any I thought were useability flaws.

I did read one posting about the location of the central locking button. Its in the middle of the dash. Stupid and inconvenient place I agree.
__________________
2008 550i 6spd SP |Carbon Black | Natural Brown | NAV | Sat | Ipod |Comfort Access |L7

Retired 545i 6spd ED 7/04. |Titanium Grey | NAV | Premium sound | PDC | Grey Leather | Re-united 9/04
  #5  
Old 08-19-2004, 01:25 AM
heezyo2o heezyo2o is offline
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Glad your enjoying the car. I have about 6200 miles thus far and am more than pleased. I agree that I-drive is a breeze and don't really understand all the complaints. If one lives with the car, then Idrive shouldn't pose a problem.

About the turn signal stalk, I find that the triple signal function to be qutie useful and wouldn't mind to see it in other cars.

I usually fill up anywhere from half tank to 1/4 tank left and the light has gone on a few times, because there is a fuel guage right there. Look again, it's right under the speedometer.
  #6  
Old 08-19-2004, 05:10 AM
mrbelk mrbelk is offline
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Mein Auto: 07 335i/6sp
I'm up to about 4000mls in my ED 545/6sp and it is easily the best vehicle I've ever driven. I too noticed a slight shudder when depressing the clutch from low-speed in first gear, but have found that the shudder goes away if I have just a little pressure on the gas pedal when I put the clutch in.

I've had some very minor electrical gremlins, like the seats and wheel not remembering their key-specific positions, but that was quickly fixed.

From an ergonomic standpoint, I wish that the window switches and central locking switch were still on the center console, like they were in my 330. Even after a couple of months I still find myself going to the center console once in a while to roll down the windows or unlock the doors.

The voice control that you get with the NAV system is incredible, and makes all the iDrive complaints essentially moot. Plus, it seems like noone knows the trick of "shift+hold" to quickly go from one mode to another. (i.e. shift and hold the puck "down" when in the NAV mode and you go straight to the last place you were in in the Entertainment section). The system is really much easier than most people who have limited (or no) experience with it give it credit for.

I really dig the new turn signal actuation, too. It didn't take me any time at all to get acclimated to it, and it's really annoying now to have to hold the stalk to signal a lane change when I drive my wife's VW Passat.

-MrB
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  #7  
Old 08-19-2004, 05:24 AM
Hoya Saxa Hoya Saxa is offline
What rocks!
Location: Washington, DC
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 50
Mein Auto: 04 530 ED
Quote:
Originally Posted by hormazd
Last month I drove 2000 Miles through 5 countries in Europe. I love my car. I am posting to provide real owner feedback for potential E60 buyers that are swamped with the bad press that this car has received for Ergonomics, I-Drive and exterior styling.
Congrats on the new ride!

I've gotta say, I agree with you all the way. I was dreading the i-Drive based on all the grumbling I've seen on the board, but after about 30 minutes in the car, I was in love with it. It took me zero time to get used to ... then again, I'm 31 and have grown up with technology. The voice control system is genius, and makes it so much easier to control the car without taking your eyes off the road. I'll take voice over knobs any day.

My only wish is that bluetooth capability was available now, since it's illegal to drive in Washington, DC without a handsfree device. But that I can live with.

Finally, regarding the styling, I like it. I suppose I'm in the minority here, but I always felt that the old body style was nice, but a bit pedestrian. I'd rather have something more modern and distinctive, and the E60 definitely delivers on this aspect.

Cheers,

Hoya
  #8  
Old 08-19-2004, 08:20 AM
hormazd hormazd is offline
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Mein Auto: 2004 545i 6sp
You must have read my ED thread regarding the clutch. I am stil waiting for the car to get back to the US. I probably just sub-consciously changed my shifting style.
__________________
2008 550i 6spd SP |Carbon Black | Natural Brown | NAV | Sat | Ipod |Comfort Access |L7

Retired 545i 6spd ED 7/04. |Titanium Grey | NAV | Premium sound | PDC | Grey Leather | Re-united 9/04
  #9  
Old 08-19-2004, 09:21 AM
hormazd hormazd is offline
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Mein Auto: 2004 545i 6sp
You are right about the fuel guage! I haven't seen my baby since for three weeks since I left her in Nice, so some details on the dash may be fading. I never really looked at the guage, the big LED showing me my range was always more prominent and informative.
__________________
2008 550i 6spd SP |Carbon Black | Natural Brown | NAV | Sat | Ipod |Comfort Access |L7

Retired 545i 6spd ED 7/04. |Titanium Grey | NAV | Premium sound | PDC | Grey Leather | Re-united 9/04
  #10  
Old 08-20-2004, 10:24 AM
Dave T Dave T is offline
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I just took delivery of my ED 545i/6 speed, after putting over 1000 miles on it in Europe. I agree with everything you say. I absolutely love this car. The I-Drive is great, and easy to use. It handles like a breeze, and is a ~beautiful~ car. I especially love driving it at night, with the Xenon lights and the adaptive headlights, or whatever they call them. But, I can come up with some negatives, just to be even-handed:

1) The window buttons. I still can't get used to these. I'd think that pulling the little lever down would lower the window, and pushing it in (up) would raise it. It's the opposite. I'll get used to it eventually.

2) It could use a little depression in the console as a place to put down a cell phone, spare change, etc, like my E39 had.

3) Is there a change-holder? I don't see one.

4) I wouldn't mind some hard buttons for the radio presets. Cycling through them on the steering wheel isn't that big a deal.

5) When navigating radio stations on the I-Drive, I think that it should wrap around. So, when you reach the end of the dial on the right, another turn clockwise should put you in the stations at the other end of the dial. As it is, you have to turn it counter-clockwise and go back through the stations you just visited.

6) The cupholders are horrible. I very rarely drink in the car anyway, so it's not that big a deal to me. But, yesterday on a long trip, I bought a soda, and tried to put the can in the driver's cupholder (which is in front of the passenger (?). When the soda was less than half full, it wasn't heavy enough for the cupholder to hold it, and the cupholder wanted to forcefully eject it, which wouldn't be a good thing. I held the soda between my legs.

7) What's with the phone holder thing in the console? Kind of hard to get to. What's that for - a BMW phone? I may see about removing it.

8) Not crazy about the sports seats. Wish I had gotten the comfort seats.

That's all I can think of for now. All pretty minor complaints, but a few of the "what were they thinking" variety.

- Dave

Last edited by Dave T; 08-20-2004 at 10:26 AM.
  #11  
Old 08-20-2004, 02:45 PM
CAFleming CAFleming is offline
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Location: Indy
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 91
Mein Auto: BMW, Porsche
Quote:
Originally Posted by hormazd
Last month I drove 2000 Miles through 5 countries in Europe. I love my car. I am posting to provide real owner feedback for potential E60 buyers that are swamped with the bad press that this car has received for Ergonomics, I-Drive and exterior styling.

Guages- So there is no fuel guage. Who cares when you are being told exactly how many miles you can go on this tank based on your driving style. No temperature guage? In 150,000 miles the temperature guage on my Honda Accord told me the engine was cool, then warm. Big deal. What the driver really needs to know is how high he can rev the engine. The dynamic tach takes care of that. The complaints on these items appear to stem from creatures of habit.

.
I like your review--sounds like you've got a great attitude and are enjoying your car. I would disagree with your apparent blessing of BMW's decision to leave out a temperature guage. For a knowledgable driver, more information is always better. Two of my last BMW's had overheating problems (My E39 with the frequently occuring thermostat problem, and my E46 with the famous aux. fan failure). In both cases I was able to drive easy, crank the heat, watch the temp. guage and drive (instead of waiting for overheating to occur followed by the tow truck). Admittedly, in normal driving the temp. guage is seldom an issue, but if a problem is occuring (and overheating has been a COMMON problem with BMW's of late), then a temp. guage is absolutely essential. I would actually be happy if there was simply a virtual guage in I-drive which would pop up if the temperature was moving towards an out of range condition. At least then I could monitor what was going on and intervene if necessary. I predict BMW willl relent on this omission. Heck, even my wife's Volvo XC90 SUV has a temp. guage, as do all of our cars.
  #12  
Old 08-20-2004, 10:36 PM
hormazd hormazd is offline
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Location: Los Angeles
 
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Mein Auto: 2004 545i 6sp
Dave Ts comments bring back memories of our trip.

My wife is left handed, maybe thinks with the other side of her brain. She had no problems with the window buttons. I kept doing exactly the opposite of what I was supposed to. So arriving at the numerous toll booths thoughout our trip was quite at pain. No coin holder. Considering that carrying $20 in coins is normal in Europe, this surprised me. Hmm... no place for my sun glasses..... And the telephone holder, will I need it if I get Bluetooth? I don't know. Cup holder problem, yup, drink half your soda and the cup holder starts wanting to spit it out.

I too wish I had the comfort seats, not that I didn't enjoy the seats. My dealer still maintains they are not an option on the 545 6spd.

Haven't used the radio much, since I haven't driven the car at home yet. I am sure your comment is valid.
__________________
2008 550i 6spd SP |Carbon Black | Natural Brown | NAV | Sat | Ipod |Comfort Access |L7

Retired 545i 6spd ED 7/04. |Titanium Grey | NAV | Premium sound | PDC | Grey Leather | Re-united 9/04
  #13  
Old 08-20-2004, 10:46 PM
hormazd hormazd is offline
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I may be mistaken, but I believe that the car will holla if the engine overheats. Warnings on the dash and also in Idrive. Thats all I care about. If I am wrong, I would have to agree with you. The last car I monitored the temp guage all the time was a 67 MGB. I just cannot imagine my $64K Bimmer overheating.
__________________
2008 550i 6spd SP |Carbon Black | Natural Brown | NAV | Sat | Ipod |Comfort Access |L7

Retired 545i 6spd ED 7/04. |Titanium Grey | NAV | Premium sound | PDC | Grey Leather | Re-united 9/04
  #14  
Old 08-21-2004, 06:23 AM
Dave T Dave T is offline
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Mein Auto: 2011 550i 6MT Space Gray
Quote:
Originally Posted by hormazd
Dave Ts comments bring back memories of our trip.

My wife is left handed, maybe thinks with the other side of her brain. She had no problems with the window buttons. I kept doing exactly the opposite of what I was supposed to. So arriving at the numerous toll booths thoughout our trip was quite at pain. No coin holder. Considering that carrying $20 in coins is normal in Europe, this surprised me. Hmm... no place for my sun glasses..... And the telephone holder, will I need it if I get Bluetooth? I don't know. Cup holder problem, yup, drink half your soda and the cup holder starts wanting to spit it out.

I too wish I had the comfort seats, not that I didn't enjoy the seats. My dealer still maintains they are not an option on the 545 6spd.

Haven't used the radio much, since I haven't driven the car at home yet. I am sure your comment is valid.
Actually, I'm left-handed too! Window buttons still confuse me.

Regarding the seats - the comfort seats are absolutely an option on the 6-speed. After buying this car, I complained to my dealer that he never showed me the seat choices, and wanted to switch. He was pretty cool about it, offering to swap the seats if they could find comfort seats in another car, at another dealer. Unfortunately, they couldn't - I got Auburn, which is fairly unusual. And, it wasn't an option to buy a new car and swap the seats with that, because the 05's are out now, and they're not compatible. Oh well, I'll get used to them I guess. If not, I'll have an excuse to do another ED trip prior to my usual 5 years of owning a car! They sure are a lot stiffer than the sports seats I had in my last two cars, though (94 530 and 99 540).

- Dave
  #15  
Old 08-23-2004, 08:51 AM
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mwagner1 mwagner1 is offline
ICH LIEBE BMW!!!!
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Hello to both hormazd and DaveT.....

I am asking you both (since you both did the Euro Delivery) have a 545i with a 6-speed to opine on what it was like driving the stick in Europe and what it is like (or will be like) driving in your local traffic. DaveT, since you are in Boston (home of some titanic traffic and under construction areas) how do you like the manual in town?? hormazd, how do you think your 6-speed will be in that legendary LA traffic???

I am finally leaning towards a 6-speed manual in my car, despite some of Austin's terrible traffic. My main route home is on a highway that includes one long steep hill. Last year (when going home) there was a wreck over the top of that hill and I was stopped halfway up on the incline. If I had been in a manual, it would have been terrible. In fact, last week I was driving home on that same hill, and a truck had stalled and managed to get into the drainage ditch..though his long trailer was still in the right lane. There was serious lane jockeying as cars got into the left lane. Needless to say, traffic almost stopped again.

Now, I do have two other routes to use. So, if I suspect traffic is bad, I can always go one of the longer ways..hey. more time behind the wheel!!!!

But since everyone seems to dump on the SMG, and after driving my mom's X5 on several local club drives (and not being crazy about it), the 6-speed looks more and more likely as a choice!!!

Finally, I agree with the comments about iDrive. I test drove a 530i with my mom, and I found the iDrive to be pretty easy for a 1st time user..and believe me, I am no computer geek!!!

Cheers, and thanks for the feedback!!!

Mark in Austin

Last edited by mwagner1; 08-23-2004 at 08:55 AM.
  #16  
Old 08-23-2004, 11:37 AM
Dave T Dave T is offline
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Mein Auto: 2011 550i 6MT Space Gray
Mark:

Regarding the stick - yes, it isn't really practical in traffic, etc. But, it's more fun to drive. Where you weigh in on the trade-off is totally personal preference. I've been driving a Bimmer stick for 10 years (530, 540, and 545), and I enjoy the stick, which is why I keep getting one. Putting it in gear on a steep hill is probably the hardest, most annoying thing about a stick. But, when you get the hang of it, it's pretty easy, and is a little challenge conquered that gives you pride in your driving ability every time you do it. And, you can always wimp out and engage the emergency brake before you try to put it in gear.

- Dave
  #17  
Old 08-23-2004, 12:54 PM
hormazd hormazd is offline
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Mark:

Like Dave, I have always driven a stick. I don't enjoy automatic transmissions. I know I am in the minority here.

Driving in Europe was a breeze. Bare in mind, more than 70% of cars in Europe are manual, including Taxis. I have driven a manual in Los Angeles for the last 14 years and spent numerous hours on the notorious 405 parking Lot. I found my car would just bumble along without any help in 1st or second gear depending on whether you want to roll at 10mph or 25mph.

The key seems to be the quality of the transmission. If the clutch is heavy and you need our governor's thighs to depress it you will be uncomfortable in slow traffic. This is not the case with the new 6spd. It really does not require that much effort.

Considering that its mated to a 4.4L V8, this is quite impressive.

The decision is very subjective, The pleasure of controlloing how your car changes gear cannot even be found in SMG even though it will out perform a manual. My decision to buy this car was based on the fact that I had about 3 choices if I wanted a powerful sedan with a manual transmission. Cadillac, Audi and BMW. There is nothing else out there.
__________________
2008 550i 6spd SP |Carbon Black | Natural Brown | NAV | Sat | Ipod |Comfort Access |L7

Retired 545i 6spd ED 7/04. |Titanium Grey | NAV | Premium sound | PDC | Grey Leather | Re-united 9/04
  #18  
Old 10-07-2004, 08:15 AM
es es is offline
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YOU read manual for 2 nights in Venice?????

  #19  
Old 10-07-2004, 11:11 AM
hormazd hormazd is offline
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Mein Auto: 2004 545i 6sp
On the last night there, I couldn't sleep. (Jet Lag had caught up) and I was excited about getting back behind the wheel after two days. Funnily some of it is now useless, as 2 software upgrades later, some Nav features and Entertainment items like RDC are now different. The most useful document in my car now is the extensive Voice command list which I am trying to familiarize my self for almost everything. Yesterday I programmed parked car ventilation in 20 seconds using voice commands.

Here is the document I am talking about.

http://www.e60.net/information/E60_Voice_Commands.pdf
__________________
2008 550i 6spd SP |Carbon Black | Natural Brown | NAV | Sat | Ipod |Comfort Access |L7

Retired 545i 6spd ED 7/04. |Titanium Grey | NAV | Premium sound | PDC | Grey Leather | Re-united 9/04
 

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