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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Recently a BMW NA rep called to solicit my thoughts and comments on my new 540xi M Sport. So in preparation for returning her call I wrote up some initial impressions/comments/problems that I have thought about and/or have discussed on this and the other BMW forum. Poor girl. She didn't know what she was getting into. Here is what I wrote up and basically read and discussed. The rep was very nice, helpful on some things, and unable to help on others. We talked for a half hour or so. It was a good dialogue, and I post this here only by way of noting my thoughts and if desired by others, some discussions. These are simply my own personal observations and not everyone will agree with them or have experienced them. Some items I will discuss with my friends in the service area of my local dealer and former employer to see if I can improve things. And don't get me wrong--I really like this car. But on a few things I would like some minor tweaks. Your mileage may vary. I will also post this o the other forum. --Bob

New BMW: 2019 540xi M Sport
In Service Date: November 20, 2018

I am experienced with BMWs. I have owned nine BMWs with the latest being a 2010 535xi (E60) that I kept for nine years and my wife's 2014 328xi. The 2019 540xi replaced the 2010 535xi. In my early retirement years I worked for a BMW dealer and sold BMWs and MINIs for seven years. I am active on two BMW forums, Bimmerpost.com and Bimmerfest.com. I have owned the new 540xi for almost two months and have put just under 1,000 miles on it. Initial impressions and issues:

Overall it is a nice looking car, it is three inches longer than my E60 and I don't see that this extra length added any room to the interior, just car length. The rear doors seem longer than the E60 but without a corresponding increase in rear seat leg room. The ride is good in Sport but a bit soft in Comfort. Regardless of the observations below I really think this is a great BMW and plan to keep it for many years.

1. Key fob always in my pocket and allows me to open doors, even from 100 feet or more away, but when I get in the car sometimes will not start and it says it does not recognize a key fob. Says hold fob close to steering column. If I do that or move around a bit, then it starts. This lack of fob recognition happens randomly, about once a week or two. Fob batteries are the ones that came with the fob 2 months ago. [As others have suggested here, she recommended replacing the batteries even though they may seem new; that behavior is normally a sign of a failing battery].

2. When turning off car, one press of the start/stop button shuts off the engine but does not shut off the radio. The radio shuts off and displays go blank when I open the driver's door, but not always. Sometimes radio does not go off. Seems to require a wait of about two seconds before opening the door to shut everything off. [She suggested checking the iDrive settings in the Vehicle section regarding Keys and Doors where one can set how the radio goes off with doors opening. I think I did this initially but have not check again yet]

3. Even when I wait the two seconds after pushing the start/stop button, and everything appears to shut off and the displays go blank, the radio sometimes comes back on a few minutes later. My wife noticed this when she drove into the garage about 10 minutes after me and said my radio was on; it had been off when I left the car. On a different day, I pushed the start/stop button, engine turned off, I waited two seconds, opened the driver door, radio turned off and all the displays went blank. Then a few minutes later I went around to the passenger door, opened it and the radio went on. Has happened randomly a couple of times. [Same suggestion as 2.]

4. Upon starting the car, the first turn click of the iDrive does nothing. Only second turn click. Strange. [no comment on this]

5. I usually leave the display on Presets. When I start the car, the Presets display usually appears, but not always. Sometimes it only shows the main media menu and I have to re-set it to Presets. Why does the display not consistently show the last used display? [My notes are not clear--I think she suggested something in the settings might resolve this but I have not explored this yet]

6. Steering: Compared with 2010 E 60 it seems vague. It does not seem to center automatically as well as the E60, which results I a bit of wandering and sometimes triggers the lane departure warning. This lack of centering feel may be related to wheel alignment settings but I have not checked to see if the alignment is correct. In Sport setting it feels artificially over boosted to feel heavy. It does not have as much road feel as the E60. The steering wheel is slightly off center; that is, when the car is going perfectly straight the steering wheel is slightly turned.[she suggested a trip to the service center which I will do sometime soon]

7. Brakes: I have M Sport brakes. The pedal feel is strange, does not feel natural. It seems that nothing happens in the first half inch or inch of pedal travel; even the cruise control does not kick off immediately which is disconcerting and very different from the E 60 brakes. After the first inch of travel brake pedal feel and braking action feel normal, and the cruise control kicks off when this point is reached. A further push of the pedal results in significant braking action, somewhat in excess of what would normally be expected with the pedal travel and pressure. [I compare the 540xi to how my E60 and Corvette Z06 steel brakes work--she had no comment on this]

8. Transmission: When in Sport and cold, the transmission clunks when downshifting at a stop. When engine is warmer not as noticeable. When in Sport the transmission does not shift as quickly or precisely as the E60 did under moderate acceleration. Seems to lag a bit between shifts. I use sport settings in other cars and they do not exhibit this behavior. [She had no comment on this and I think it just may relate to cold trans fluid]

9. The Start/Stop function is annoying. Restart is more noticeable than on some other cars. I always defeat it by driving in Sport mode.[says she hears occasionally]

10. Homelink: The BMW Homelink transmitter is very weak. True in both our BMWs and have seen complaints on BMW internet forums. Other cars work at a distance of 100-200 feet. With the BMW I often have to pull up right to the garage door. On occasion I have had to get out of the car and used the door keypad because it wouldn't work at all. I now always carry the door opener transmitter. [ she claimed she had not heard this; I mentioned that this had been mentioned several times on the forums and even my 2010 E60 535xi had the problem]

11. Supply the owner's manual as a .pdf file for computers. An exact duplicate copy of the owner's manual. GM does this; why can't BMW? [BMW won't do this, they want you to use their website. But later her colleague sent me a .pdf owner's manual, about which I have posted and made it available in a different thread]

12. Cruise control buttons: I consider this a safety issue. All of the buttons on the steering wheel that operate the cruise control are set in the same plane. As a result, when trying to find the right button, like the important Res/Cancel button or the On button, I have to look away from the road at the steering wheel to find them. If BMW simply raised the height of the Res/Cancel and On buttons 1/16th of an inch over the others it would be apparent by feel rather than requiring a distracting look away from the road. Other manufacturers do this to lessen distracted driving. [Personally I liked the lever approach used on the E60 but that dog no longer hunts]

They said they love hearing from their customers. Perhaps they did not count on me. --Bob
 

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2 - Yes - you just need to wait a second before opening the door. You can also cut the radio off manually by pushing the volume button, or you can lock your car. I have seen that, sometimes, if I lock my car to turn off the radio, unlocking the car (within a few seconds of locking it) turns the radio back on.

6 - 100% agree. Feedback sucks with the electric power steering.

9 - If case you didn't know, you can code your car yourself, or get someone to do it for you, to shut ASS off. We shouldn't have to. It should remember our setting.

10 - I get about 100 yards on mine (straight shot, no obstructions)

12 - Keep pushing on #12. The lever has come/gone/come/gone over the years. Maybe we can make it return.

Thanks for posting this.
 

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In re Homelink; range depends also on the receiver sensitivity and antenna properly tuned and aligned.
 

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Re: Homelink...

One more thing to try, is to check the light bulbs you are using in your garage door opener. I have read that some garage door openers interact with LED light bulb frequencies and reduce the range. If you swapped out your light bulbs for LEDs (many have, including myself), you could try swapping the light bulbs for ones that specifically say they avoid this issue. Genie actually makes some:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B079H1C4TF/ref=oh_aui_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&th=1

IF you swapped to LED bulbs in your garage door opener, swapping again to these might help. Swapping to these bulbs seems to have increased the range with which I can use homelink in our BMW (was an 2016 F15 X5d, now a 2019 X3 M40i, so I dont have a 5 series but this might help anyway).
 

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Auto-dimmed rear-view mirrors are not auto-dimmed.
Yes, autodimming of 90% of the mirror surface - is not enough. It MUST be 100%. Or 0%.

When vehicle behind you turns high beam on and his lights are in the non-autodimmed area - you get blinded. This is safety issue, not the minor nuisance..
 

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Auto-dimmed rear-view mirrors are not auto-dimmed.
Yes, autodimming of 90% of the mirror surface - is not enough. It MUST be 100%. Or 0%.

When vehicle behind you turns high beam on and his lights are in the non-autodimmed area - you get blinded. This is safety issue, not the minor nuisance..
why did bmw not make the entire surface reactive?! this drives me insane

I've been noticing a few things myself.

Lately the lane assistant has had difficulty enabling (grey to green display) where I've had to turn it off and on a couple times with the steering wheel button.

I have also noticed issues with the stereo not turning off when opening the door but does once I locked the doors.

Probably just how it works but I generally don't like to be perfectly centered in my lane on the highway. If I'm passing in the left I like to hug closer to the outside lane or in the right lane closer to the edge to have a bit of a buffer zone in case people can't stay in their lane. Feels like I'm always fighting the steering wheel when nudging to one side or the other.

Cruise control buttons have taken a bit to memorize to avoid looking but the layout isn't the greatest to me.

I'll pay more attention to my transmission but it hits hard when shifting warm in sport manual mode. First high power vehicle so this is probably normal.

Haven't had issues with the key fob other than being a pain to keep from slipping out of my pocket when sitting in the car.


Oh yeah, the windshield washer fill cap is in the most annoying place I've ever had to deal with.
 

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6- Integral Active Steering is must have option. Car steers/feels like a dream! Great review.
 

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Re: Homelink...

One more thing to try, is to check the light bulbs you are using in your garage door opener. I have read that some garage door openers interact with LED light bulb frequencies and reduce the range. If you swapped out your light bulbs for LEDs (many have, including myself), you could try swapping the light bulbs for ones that specifically say they avoid this issue. Genie actually makes some:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B079H1C4TF/ref=oh_aui_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&th=1

IF you swapped to LED bulbs in your garage door opener, swapping again to these might help. Swapping to these bulbs seems to have increased the range with which I can use homelink in our BMW (was an 2016 F15 X5d, now a 2019 X3 M40i, so I dont have a 5 series but this might help anyway).
With due respect, this makes zero sense. The bulbs are not on when you are coming in. I'm guessing one person in the universe changed his light bulb and for unrelated reasons it started working better, and now it has become Internet folklore.

For the record, I have had LEDs for a couple of years and I easily get 100'. We did have this problem a couple of years ago in our Lexus. What fixed it was clearing the setting on the car and then repairing it. It worked, but now could become internet folklore as well. :rofl:
 

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Do you have a copy of the pdf owners manual you could post?
 

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With due respect, this makes zero sense. The bulbs are not on when you are coming in. I'm guessing one person in the universe changed his light bulb and for unrelated reasons it started working better, and now it has become Internet folklore.

For the record, I have had LEDs for a couple of years and I easily get 100'. We did have this problem a couple of years ago in our Lexus. What fixed it was clearing the setting on the car and then repairing it. It worked, but now could become internet folklore as well. :rofl:
Last year I bought a new garage door opener (Overhead Door) and they installed it. It has 2 bulb sockets, and I did put in LED's. I have had no issue, but the tech did mention that LED bulbs could affect the range of the remote. I don't think he would just make that up.
 

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With due respect, this makes zero sense. The bulbs are not on when you are coming in. I'm guessing one person in the universe changed his light bulb and for unrelated reasons it started working better, and now it has become Internet folklore.

For the record, I have had LEDs for a couple of years and I easily get 100'. We did have this problem a couple of years ago in our Lexus. What fixed it was clearing the setting on the car and then repairing it. It worked, but now could become internet folklore as well. :rofl:
/shrug, it made a difference for me, and for others (which is where I found it), and the product I linked to is made by a garage door manufacture to help resolve range issues.

It doesnt say all LED bulbs cause the issue, it says "some" can, and these wont. Of course, having a specific product from a manufacturer doesnt mean it is actually a working product, but does mean its more than "internet folklore". Here is what the manufacturer (genie, who makes garage door openers themselves) says about the product. Obviously dont have to believe it, but for the OP (not you, who dont have the issue) its something to try:

=========================================

Traditional LED light bulbs can cause more problems in your garage door opener than they solve. They can be more delicate and subject to breakage in the rougher environment of the garage, and some LED light bulbs emit noise that can actually interfere with radio frequencies, affecting the responsiveness or range of your opener’s remotes.

That’s where the Genie LED garage door opener bulb comes in. This bulb is specifically designed for garage door openers and creates little or no radio frequency to interfere with openers.

=========================================

Here is another article from a lighting coompany (again, you dont have to believe anything, but that does not make this internet forum folklore):
========================================

https://blog.lightingsupply.com/blog/do-led-bulbs-interfere-with-garage-door-openers

f you use a garage door opener and it's suddenly stopped working with its remote opener after working fine for years, you might need to take a look at your light bulbs. At least if you changed them right before the garage door opener stopped working.

That's because a door opener works with its remote control on radio frequencies, just like remote controlled cars and even household wireless phones. And like any electronic device, a light bulb can produce electromagnetic fields with the potential for interfering with those wireless devices.

This is especially a concern with the rising adoption of LED light bulbs, whose drivers (a part inside the bulb) actively produce a field in a range that can interfere with garage doors. Some bulbs have been known to prevent garage doors from opening, or even to open them on their own!

Rest assured, you can still use LED bulbs for your garage lights, even within the garage door opener. You just need to buy light bulbs that don't cause this problem. How do you do this?

Well the fact is, a little shielding inside the LED can keep most of the Radio Frequency Interference (RFI) from escaping and can allow your garage door to work just fine. Unfortunately, with consumers demanding the lowest price possible on LEDs, plenty of companies have tried to meet that demand by foregoing quality issues like this shielding. We've spoken before about the risks of buying LED bulbs from unknown brands that don't have US reputations to uphold and may not be around to back up their warranties. We can add this to the list of risks.

======================================
 

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Electronics shutdown

For those who haven't had time to RTFM, this has been discussed before. For the electronics to be shutdown without intervention, set iDrive option to turn off after driver's door is opened (or last door, if passenger is present). You need to pause just second after pressing the engine "Stop" button before opening the door. This works 100% of the time for me, to turn off all the electronics. Other option is to press and hold the radio volume button for a couple of seconds (even if the radio is off), to turn off electronics. Everything always turns off completely when you lock the car.

To summarize:
1) Set iDrive menu to turn off after door is opened - pause a second between turning off the engine and opening the door
2) Press and hold the radio volume button to manually shutdown electronics
3) Lock the car
 

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Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
For those who haven't had time to RTFM, this has been discussed before. For the electronics to be shutdown without intervention, set iDrive option to turn off after driver's door is opened (or last door, if passenger is present). You need to pause just second after pressing the engine "Stop" button before opening the door. This works 100% of the time for me, to turn off all the electronics. Other option is to press and hold the radio volume button for a couple of seconds (even if the radio is off), to turn off electronics. Everything always turns off completely when you lock the car.

To summarize:
1) Set iDrive menu to turn off after door is opened - pause a second between turning off the engine and opening the door
2) Press and hold the radio volume button to manually shutdown electronics
3) Lock the car
I will revisit my iDrive setting sometime soon but I think it is set to go off after last door. When I talked with the folks at BMW one of them said that the car is looking to see if there is another passenger in the car based on a weight on a seat. (don't now if this is true). What she said was that if there is something on a seat, like a grocery bag, it will wait for the second door to open. In one case I did in fact have a couple of grocery bags on the front seat (and do so regularly when I go shopping) so that might have something to do the the "randomness" of the events'--Bob
 

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Discussion Starter #15

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Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)
Interesting discussions about the Homelink situation. I think I have fluorescent bulbs in my light (which is, in any case, in the center of the garage ceiling while the opener is near the garage door (a Liftmaster 3800 jack shaft opener). But I would like to reiterate that this is not a new thing with my BMWs. My wife's 2014 328xi and my 2010 535xi had the same range issue and with more than one garage door opener. But the Corvette which had Homelink buttons on the visor does not have this problem nor does the clicker opener that came with the Liftmaster. One thought is to extend the roughly 18" long antenna wire on the opener maybe out side or across the garage ceiling. But other than that I really don't have a solution, other than to carry the clicker with me and use it. Which in the end is no big deal. --Bob
 

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Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
FYI, I felt that the people I talked to and corresponded with were quite helpful and sincere in their interest in hearing from customers on things. Don't know how much, if anything, the engineers and designers will actually hear or, more importantly, whether they will pay attention, but the people I dealt with repeatedly said they would like to here things like this from owners. For those of you who have some observations and issues that you would like to pass on to BMW, The phone number they publish for this is 866-228-7097 and their email address is [email protected]. It helps them if you have the last seven of your VIN available so they can look up your account. -Bob
 

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/shrug, it made a difference for me, and for others (which is where I found it), and the product I linked to is made by a garage door manufacture to help resolve range issues.

It doesnt say all LED bulbs cause the issue, it says "some" can, and these wont. Of course, having a specific product from a manufacturer doesnt mean it is actually a working product, but does mean its more than "internet folklore". Here is what the manufacturer (genie, who makes garage door openers themselves) says about the product. Obviously dont have to believe it, but for the OP (not you, who dont have the issue) its something to try:

=========================================

Traditional LED light bulbs can cause more problems in your garage door opener than they solve. They can be more delicate and subject to breakage in the rougher environment of the garage, and some LED light bulbs emit noise that can actually interfere with radio frequencies, affecting the responsiveness or range of your opener’s remotes.

That’s where the Genie LED garage door opener bulb comes in. This bulb is specifically designed for garage door openers and creates little or no radio frequency to interfere with openers.

=========================================

Here is another article from a lighting coompany (again, you dont have to believe anything, but that does not make this internet forum folklore):
========================================

https://blog.lightingsupply.com/blog/do-led-bulbs-interfere-with-garage-door-openers

f you use a garage door opener and it's suddenly stopped working with its remote opener after working fine for years, you might need to take a look at your light bulbs. At least if you changed them right before the garage door opener stopped working.

That's because a door opener works with its remote control on radio frequencies, just like remote controlled cars and even household wireless phones. And like any electronic device, a light bulb can produce electromagnetic fields with the potential for interfering with those wireless devices.

This is especially a concern with the rising adoption of LED light bulbs, whose drivers (a part inside the bulb) actively produce a field in a range that can interfere with garage doors. Some bulbs have been known to prevent garage doors from opening, or even to open them on their own!

Rest assured, you can still use LED bulbs for your garage lights, even within the garage door opener. You just need to buy light bulbs that don't cause this problem. How do you do this?

Well the fact is, a little shielding inside the LED can keep most of the Radio Frequency Interference (RFI) from escaping and can allow your garage door to work just fine. Unfortunately, with consumers demanding the lowest price possible on LEDs, plenty of companies have tried to meet that demand by foregoing quality issues like this shielding. We've spoken before about the risks of buying LED bulbs from unknown brands that don't have US reputations to uphold and may not be around to back up their warranties. We can add this to the list of risks.

======================================
I read the same report. I ordered some Genie bulbs and they didn't last long. So I tried a regular LED and it has been working just fine.
 

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I was not trying to state that this was the OPs issue with Homelink (sorry if anyone got that impression). Just put forth something OP could try if desired, in the spirit of sharing information. In any case, OP, your homelink issue does not reflect my experience with it on any of the 6 new BMWs we had as leased cars over the past 9 years. Sorry it is not working for you. My only issue was, when I switched to LEDs in my garage door opener I noticed a pretty drastic reduction in range.

Took me a bit to deduce that was the issue, then started googling it. Came across other reports and a link to those lights. Ordered them, and range returned to what I had before with my CFLs in there. Thats just one report but I was able to duplicate the issue by removing and re installing the bulb(s) respectively.

Like I said ... /shrug

(Lol)
 

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I will revisit my iDrive setting sometime soon but I think it is set to go off after last door. When I talked with the folks at BMW one of them said that the car is looking to see if there is another passenger in the car based on a weight on a seat. (don't now if this is true). What she said was that if there is something on a seat, like a grocery bag, it will wait for the second door to open. In one case I did in fact have a couple of grocery bags on the front seat (and do so regularly when I go shopping) so that might have something to do the the "randomness" of the events'--Bob
This is exactly how my 540i behaves with someone still setting in the passenger seat. Not a big deal with me.
 
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