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My 2004 330i is in the shop for SW upgrade and maintenance. Dealer gave me a 2006 530i automatic loaner. Nice!

I have it all week (dealer had to send my DME to NJ for reprogramming), and did backroad and highway driving. Pushed it a good deal. BTW, car has 13500 miles.

Pros:
Engine is nice (255 hp six). Torque is nice and the acceleration is really nice on the highway. (My 330i is a 6-speed, so I could just imagine how a stick with this engine would be, especially in the new 330i.)

Handling is softer than my 330 (no big surprise), but still sharp enough to throw around.

Interior space is nice. I'm 6', so I appreciated the legroom and shoulder room. Nice trunk size and back seat headroom.

I like the styling of the front end, and the headlights look mean (which is good.)

Leather seems pretty good (My 330i has 'ette, so no real comparison to the e46 leather.)

Xenon headlights are sharp and bright. (My 330i has halogens, and my night vision sucks.)

Cons:

Overall styling looks slabby and heavy. Mostly the back end. Damn wrap-around tail lights are HUGE. Just my opinion, though.

iDrive sucks big time. For me, it's the software. I'm a gadget freak, so I don't mind the joystick. The interface is just REALLY unintuitive. The car data section is a joke. How about a triple set of virtual gagues on the screen -- oil press, oil temp, etc. I almost rear-ended another car while fiddling with the system.

Non-toggling turn signal stalk is no good. Half the time I'm driving around with my turn signal on. (Might just have to get used to it, though.)

No dipstick. (I know there's a virtual dipstick in iDrive.) I like seeing real oil on a stick (don't totally trust technology.)

Standard seats are flat. Not enough bolster support.

Cupholders are an afterthought. They are good if you want to cover your passenger in coffee.

I miss the cockpit feeling of the driver-centric interior of my e46.


So, overall a real pleasure to drive. Pros outweigh the cons. Maybe they'll fix the exterior styling like they did on the new 7 (Changing some things back to the pre-bangle days.)

Peace.
 

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Good, and very typical pre bangle review! Good read for me.
 

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Yea, good Read. I also ran into the same thing with the turn signal staying on during my test drive, but got used to it after 2 turns :D

Greeney said:
Good, and very typical pre bangle review! Good read for me.
 

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Yea, good Read. I also ran into the same thing with the turn signal staying on during my test drive, but got used to it after 2 turns :D

Greeney said:
Good, and very typical pre bangle review! Good read for me.
:lmao: :rofl:
 

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ROFL! hahaha.
 

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I-Drive just takes some getting used to as do the new turn-signals. Once you do, they are pretty nice. I absolutely LOVE the quick flash feature on the turn signals.

I still have a hard time believing that after all the complaining, BMW still short-changed cupholders in the new E60 and even provided LESS storage room than in the E39: unbelievable! :rolleyes:
 

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yes, i-drive sucks. most reputable car mags agree... these are the same ones that laud the 3-series in 10 best lists, so there is not anti-BMW bias. I drive has almost driven me away from BMW.
Ergnonomics of idrive suck, but i guess anyone can get used to anything... but BMW has made some errors lately (SMG, idrive, bangled 7 series, 525i engine, active steering)... thank goodness they have hit some home runs (M3, M5, 550i, logic7 stereo)
 

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Stuart in Houston
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I have no problem with iDrive. I have a 3 week old 550, and have never even used iDrive before this car. It took a couple days to learn the ins & outs of it, but once I did, it's now second nature. I can get to most any feature in a second or two. Often blindfolded :D

iDrive has two benefits the way I see it. The dash is much much cleaner. And one has far more control over the car and its features than you would get without iDrive.

BTW, almost everything you can do with iDrive can also be done with voice control. And while I will use voice on occasion, I actually find it quicker to use the controller most of the time. I find using voice handy when you want to jump to an area way off the usual beaten path, like STOPWATCH.

Mebbe it's not for everyone, but put me in the +++ column. :thumbup:

PS: One of the best iDrive tips is the "hold the controller in the direction you wanna go" for a couple seconds, and it will jump to the most recently used screen of that quadrant. VERY handy if you want to jump B&F between say, NAV & music.
 

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astrohip said:
PS: One of the best iDrive tips is the "hold the controller in the direction you wanna go" for a couple seconds, and it will jump to the most recently used screen of that quadrant. VERY handy if you want to jump B&F between say, NAV & music.
ya My CA Adrian at Nalley's showed me this trick :)
 

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Beemin' in my Bimmer ;-)
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Shamrock said:
Cons:

Overall styling looks slabby and heavy. Mostly the back end. Damn wrap-around tail lights are HUGE. Just my opinion, though.
I love the way it looks.

Shamrock said:
iDrive sucks big time. For me, it's the software. I'm a gadget freak, so I don't mind the joystick. The interface is just REALLY unintuitive. The car data section is a joke. How about a triple set of virtual gagues on the screen -- oil press, oil temp, etc. I almost rear-ended another car while fiddling with the system.
Sure, improvements can be made, and I'm sure they will. With the tip above about holding the stick in the quadrant you want for two seconds really helps. Also you have voice activation for many features. Overall, I love the I-drive too.

Shamrock said:
Non-toggling turn signal stalk is no good. Half the time I'm driving around with my turn signal on. (Might just have to get used to it, though.)
Frustrated the heck out of me as well when I first drove the car in the Susan B. Kohlman drive. After an explanation and some short time using it, I wish my other car had it too.

Shamrock said:
Standard seats are flat. Not enough bolster support.
The Comfort Seats (now called multi-contour seats) are awesome

Shamrock said:
Cupholders are an afterthought. They are good if you want to cover your passenger in coffee.
They've been OK for us so far. When have cup holders not been an issue for BMW?

Shamrock said:
I miss the cockpit feeling of the driver-centric interior of my e46.
I think the comfort seats help bring in that cockpit feel.

Shamrock said:
So, overall a real pleasure to drive. Pros outweigh the cons. Maybe they'll fix the exterior styling like they did on the new 7 (Changing some things back to the pre-bangle days.)

Peace.
 

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Shamrock said:
Non-toggling turn signal stalk is no good. Half the time I'm driving around with my turn signal on. (Might just have to get used to it, though.)

No dipstick. (I know there's a virtual dipstick in iDrive.) I like seeing real oil on a stick (don't totally trust technology.)
I think there is something wrong with turn signal stalk on the car you are driving... The turn signal stalk and the 3-blink option are both brilliant.

I miss the dipstick too and wished they had left it in while we get used to the electronic version. Let's hope this electronic version fails BEFORE the warranty expire - if it is going to fail.

Lack of virtual gauges for water and oil temp + oil pressure are silly oversights. Surely that information is available on some computer somewhere in the car, so why not display it?

Finally, I want a large stylish analog clock to look at instead of the main iDrive menu.

Pretty clever of your dealer giving you an upgraded loaner. You are being set up for a "must have an E60 or perhaps F10" mentality. You have been warned :rofl:
 

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Stuart in Houston
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In the interest of fair & balanced reporting (and since I was so pro-iDrive above), here are my wants & dislikes:

* Takes too long to load. 20-30 seconds is just BS for a car to react to anything. I'm out of the driveway before the PDC/screen comes alive.

* Lose the lawyer/nag screen. Do you really think you're gonna win or lose a lawsuit because of a nag screen (or lack of one)?

* Once you pass the nag screen, you are at the main menu. It should default to the last active screen. Since this is often the music display, just open it up. Why do I have to select it?

* If one has NAV, both drives should be DVD. What can it cost, $5 extra? Gee, it's an $1800 option :yikes: . Why? Because I love having an MP3 DVD. Gazillions of songs at all times. But I have to give up NAV to play a DVD. (Yes, I have mastered a DL 8.+GB DVD, thanks to the advice from this forum.)

* Yes, the oft mentioned virtual guage display. Seems so obvious you wonder when we will get it. Also, love the clock idea (analog).

[I'm starting to get really picky here, which shows how much we've come to expect from our toys...]

* Bigger "details" display for MP3s. The Title often gets cut off, the folder names (above the tracks) are truncated, etc. They could use more of the screen, or simply offer more lines.

* Why are we limited on what features can be tied to the two shortcut buttons? Why not tie just about any iDrive function to the buttons?

* There are REW/FF/skip buttons on the CD player, but not the DVD. So my wife has to reach across and use the buttons on the wheel to show me how much she dislikes most of my music. :bigpimp:

Finally... I am so hooked on all the settings & tweaks, I just wish there was more I could fine tune with iDrive. I can come up with hundreds of adjustments that I don't really need to make, but wish I could.
 

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CVT Benhogan
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Fair assessment.

But, wait till your car comes back. It might feel ancient, e46 interior is getting pretty dated now.

I sat in a grey interior E39 awhile back, and started laughing. Loooked like grandpa's car.

I Drive is okay for me, but I see your points.

IMHO, once you get the Bangle, you'll like it.
 

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thanks for the review :)

Handling is softer than my 330 (no big surprise), but still sharp enough to throw around.
is it sport package or regular?

Shamrock said:
No dipstick. (I know there's a virtual dipstick in iDrive.) I like seeing real oil on a stick (don't totally trust technology.)
Ditto. Needlessly overcomplicating things.
 

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speed up the I-drive???

I agree that the Idrive is learnable. I also agree that it takes way too long to boot up. Then you have the stupid lawyer screen.

Has anyone discovered a way to speed up the computer/Idrive? To eliminate the lawyer screen? Mine takes 15 seconds for music to start. Absurd.

Come on BMW... you should be the leader in onboard technology, not the snail...

Maybe it is because of the awesome cup holder/spillers.

2007 530xi, loaded.
 

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BMW didn't even need to new menu buttons they added to the new iDrive. They were already there, hidden. Like a previous poster said, just hold the controller in the direction you want to go, and you are at that screen. The point of iDrive was to get rid of clutter on the center console, and with the new iDrive and all the buttons, they just added more clutter. I prefer mine. And anyone with 1/2 a brain can figure it out and not have any issues with it. I have never had an issue with mine. I actually enjoy it. But someone reviewing a car doesn't have enough time to learn the ins & outs of it, so they just write it off as difficult to use.
 

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Nice review - thanks. All good points. Like the others, I agree that the iDrive and turn signals become a non-issue very quickly. I recall driving around with my turn signal on for a while too. Now that I am used to it, I find myself nudging the turn signal in rental cars expecting it to flash three times.

As for the looks of the rear - I still haven't quite warmed up to the proportions when the car is viewed from a direct 90 degree angle - from the side. Any perspective where you can see the side and the tail at once looks very good to me. In fact, with my summer wheels on that have the big sport package rear wheels, I think the rear 3/4 view, or maybe 7/8 view, looking forward, is one of the best ways to look at the car.
 

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I agree that the Idrive is learnable. I also agree that it takes way too long to boot up. Then you have the stupid lawyer screen.

Has anyone discovered a way to speed up the computer/Idrive? To eliminate the lawyer screen? Mine takes 15 seconds for music to start. Absurd.

Come on BMW... you should be the leader in onboard technology, not the snail...

Maybe it is because of the awesome cup holder/spillers.

2007 530xi, loaded.
Funny how these old threads come alive again (look at dates of previous posts).

Anyway, the lawyer screen goes away automatically now. If yours does not, you have not had your Progman upgraded. Find an excuse (acknowledged bug) and get that taken care of. I used the lack of direction arrows in the small window excuse way back... Search is your friend.

To start music earlier, hit the "unlock" botton as soon as you decide to drive - even if the car is sitting unlocked in your garage.
 

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I disagree with the characterization of the swept back headlamp assemblies on the E60. They are not necessarily "mean" or "aggressive".

They are sleek and sexy. Provocative in a good way, mysterious even. What BMW sedans are supposed to be.

If you like "mean" or "aggresssive" take a look at the face of your Ford F-150 or Chrysler 300C. The industrial look.
 

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yes, i-drive sucks. most reputable car mags agree... these are the same ones that laud the 3-series in 10 best lists, so there is not anti-BMW bias. I drive has almost driven me away from BMW.
Ergnonomics of idrive suck, but i guess anyone can get used to anything... but BMW has made some errors lately (SMG, idrive, bangled 7 series, 525i engine, active steering)... thank goodness they have hit some home runs (M3, M5, 550i, logic7 stereo)
I love the active steering in my car. It's great and makes the car so easy to drive. I also have no issue with idrive, it's easier to change radio stations with the idrive than searching for a button on the dash. But if you want to talk about BMW misses lets talk Run Flat tires... HATE those tires. Mine are in the garage attic for when I trade the car in someday. I drove on them for about a week before I decided either I get new tires or sell the car.
 
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