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Messages - gileso

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General X5 Forum (E70) / Pre & Post LCI Comparison
« on: Today at 07:41:42 PM »
After just completing our first continental journey in our (new to us) 2011 40d SE, I thought it may be of interest to compare with our previous 2009 35d M-sport. I know that there are specific differences between the M-Sport and the SE, but I think there are enough similarities to provide a decent comparison.

By June 2018, after 3 years of ownership, we had taken our well-loved 2009 35d M-sport to 93k miles, and would break 100k with the year. As we had cautiously maintained the BMW extended warranty after the original AUC cover ran out (with good cause – new glowplugs/control unit/panoramic roof/small turbo etc etc all replaced at some point under our ownership) we were worried that the 100k cut-off on the warranty may cost us dear in the future.

The M-sport was highly specc’d – heated rear seats, reversing camera etc, so we went looking for an AUC car that was younger, had fewer miles and a similar high spec (and within our £20k budget). Surprisingly, one appeared at the Park Lane dealership – quite old for an AUC car (2011 40d) but with less than 30k miles. We were reticent at first - it is an SE, not an M-Sport; it’s in a standard silver (the M-Sport was in Individual Pearl Silver – a fantastic colour), but it was low miles and had lots of toys. A deal was done, selling the M-Sport locally for £2k more than the PX value.

Driving home a new car on a Friday at 5pm from Park Lane is quite an adventure! A thorough check at pickup had revealed a number of missing items (handbook, adaptive luggage rack, sunroof key etc) but Park Lane were brilliant, sourcing and sending the new parts to us.

So – what do we think?

M-sport v SE

I hate the SE steering wheel – thinner than the chunky M-Sport and without the finger rests at 10 and 2 o’clock. However, the steering is lighter but with a similar level of feedback. The M-Sport was always slightly too heavily weighted for us.

Comparing steering and suspension is difficult. Both cars have 7-seats, so have the automatic ride height system at the back. The M-sport was originally on 20” RFTs, but we moved to 19” non-RFTs quite soon as the ride was crashy, hard and the steering wandered at the first sniff of a damp white line (probably due to tyre wear rather than an inherent fault). The SE is on new 18” RFTs, but the 19” ones will be going on soon (we sold the 20” wheels with the M-Sport). We have found that the new car is slightly softer than the M-Sport, but still well-damped and with good body roll control.

The SE has the marmite (love/hate) side steps. Great for standing on to load a roofbox, awful to keep clean and not a great help in entering the car – they have the effect of making the sill wider unless you do a double ‘step up/step in’ move.

Both cars are twin-turbo, so no shortage of power. If anything the 35d felt smoother at lower revs, with quicker pickup. However, that may be due to the gearbox (see below).

Verdict: The kids prefer the SE ride as it jars less and I’ll change the steering wheel soon. Call it a draw.

Pre vs Post LCI

As you all know, the two major changes between pre- and post-LCI E70s (apart from brighter angel eyes, LED lights etc) were the gearbox (6-spd to 8-spd) and the upgrading of the CCC to CIC (DVD to hard disk nav system).

All articles I’ve read have been complimentary about both changes. It may be me needing to adapt, but I disagree. The 8-spd unit is smooth, and certainly contributes to an improved MPG (from circa 31 to over 35 on long runs and from 19 to 24 in town) but to my mind is a little too frenetic for its own good. The engines are powerful with loads of torque and doesn’t need lots of gear changes. In the M-sport (6-spd), an application of throttle resulted in a rising tide of power without needing to kickdown (except when pushed). The 8-spd seems to delight in changing down at the earliest opportunity and then holding a gear too long before changing back up. It may require a resetting of the transmission learning system to sort it out, but it doesn’t contribute to relaxed motoring.

The CIC is rubbish. Yes it does everything vey cleverly, and the higher-definition screen is brilliant (we did upgrade the M-Sport to one of the 10.8” android screens, which is on a par with the CIC one), but it is overly complicated and not intuitive. The old CIC controller was simple – four directions, rotation push, and a single menu button. It did bluetooth, sat nav, radio and integrated with our ipod. The CIC does pretty much the same but in a counter-intuitive way that tries to be too clever. Spending 10 minutes on google to find out why the ETA display has disappeared (it isn’t documented in the handbook) doesn’t strike me as customer-friendly (and I have a Masters in IT that should help but doesn’t…)

Verdict: Post-LCI is too clever by half. Pre-LCI is simpler and more relaxing. Maybe I’m just too old.


Both cars are highly specified, so it has been fun playing with different things and picking favourites. Some of the highlights are:

Seats: M-Sport had heated sports seats with electric adjustment that we loved. SE has comfort seats that are heated and cooled (S453A/S456A) that we love even more. If you buy an X5 you must get comfort seats.

Rear Hatch: M-sport was a manual lift, the SE is electric (S316A). A great toy, but difficult to open ‘just a bit’ to catch things that are going to fall out of a jam-packed boot before everything comes tumbling out.
Rear cabin: Both cars have rear heated seats, but the SE has 4-way aircon (S4NBA) which is brilliant, and goes a long way toward compensating for the lack of rear blinds that were on the M-Sport (and were great at keeping the heat out).

HUD (S610A): missing from the M-Sport, a toy on the SE, apart from the route directions for complicated French junctions (can anyone tell me how to get the main map display on the CIC screen to auto-zoom to show close-up detail when approaching 7-way roundabouts (not the RH direction screen)?).

Adaptive Cruise Control (S5DFA): new to us on the SE. Incredibly clever and effective on long motorway stretches but a bit too sensitive and harsh. Set it to say 70 mph (and no faster, obviously) on a clear road and it is fine. Approach a slower vehicle in your lane and it decelerates much harder than a human driver would – passengers slide forwards on seats and loose items move around. Move out to overtake and it accelerates just as hard back up to speed, inevitably kicking down a gear (see gearbox notes, above).  This happens regardless of the car distance you set. The most dangerous bit is when you approach a slower vehicle with a line of faster traffic in the outside lane. As a human, you judge the distances, signal, and blend into the faster moving traffic. With ACC running, you can signal and move as the deceleration start to happen but as you move lanes to fit behind a car in the outside lane, the ACC sees the gap between the faster and slower cars and starts to accelerate hard again before decelerating as you slide in behind the car in front. This surge of speed can be disconcerting when you are negotiating your way into a line of faster French traffic. On balance, it’s a great tool (and surprisingly effective in stop/start conditions), but you need to be alert when changing lanes.

Panoramic Roof (S402A): On both cars. Great when they work. Expensive when they don’t. If you have one, get a warranty.

Individual Audio (S752A): The 35d had Professional HiFI, the SE has Individual Audio (silver speaker surrounds, speakers everywhere). The Pro HiFi was fine, the Individual Audio is a pain to setup. At low volumes, the treble all but disappears and all you can hear is bass. I’ve fiddled with the equaliser (very 1970’s!) but it still only clears up at higher volumes (and it can go loud!).

Rear camera: The SE didn't have a camera (but which we had on the M-sport). OEM retrofit is ridiculously expensive, so I contacted an Ebay seller who offered to fit a rear camera for around £275 fitted, but it only has static lines. An upgraded version with dynamic lines is available, but is nearly £400 fitted. The guy sounded knowledgeable, but you do have to go to Birmingham for installation. After much research, I went for the Emtronica kit with dynamic lines (also on Ebay) to self-install. Purchase was £220, and installation took about an hour - the hardest part is routing the wire to the rear camera. It works perfectly, with a clear, bright image.

There’s other gadgets on the SE (e.g. comfort access, adaptive luggage system etc) but they are not major additions that make it stand out from the 35d.

Verdict: Always go for lots of toys, but some are more effective (and useful) than others. Comfort seats / rear camera / heated seats are (now) top of our list.

We are very pleased with the SE, effortlessly crossing France last week. We still miss the M-Sport (for its colour and presence especially), but the new car is equally as quick comfortable and has better economy. We will learn to love the gearbox and the CIC. Finding such a car with less than 30k miles and being absolutely spotless (even the suspension is clean!) with an AUC makes us happy. They are both great cars...

General X5 Forum (E70) / Re: Reversing Camera Retrofit
« on: July 05, 2018, 07:34:17 AM »
Apparently that kit is an aftermarket camera, and they don’t do supply only.

Our new (to us) 40d didn't have a camera (which we had on our previous 35d), so I contacted the Ebay seller mentioned above (OEM retrofit being way too expensive). Apparently, for an LCI with PDC, the price is around £275 fitted, but it only has static lines. An upgraded version with dynamic lines is available, but is nearly £400 fitted. The guy sounded knowledgeable, but you do have to go to Birmingham for installation.

After much research, I went for the Emtronica kit with dynamic lines (https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/BMW-Reversing-backup-camera-retrofit-3AG-E88-E90-E84-E70-CIC-MID-1-3-5-X1-x5/262689576513?hash=item3d2984d641:g:XIYAAOSwmSdaYLN~) to self-install. Purchase was £220, and installation took about an hour - the hardest part is routing the wire to the rear camera. It works perfectly, with a clear, bright image.

I'll post a short how-to when I get the time.

Buy and sell / Re: E70 M-sport Roof Bars
« on: July 02, 2018, 11:35:50 AM »
Now cleaned up and packed ready for delivery.

Comes with torque tool and spare end caps. Pre-spaced for E70 M-sport (requires allen key to adjust for other cars with flush roof rails).

Delivery circa £10 to mainland UK via UPS or similar.

Buy and sell / Re: E70 M-sport Roof Bars
« on: June 30, 2018, 11:16:19 PM »
Hopefully photos below

Not sure on postage - probably £15 or so via courier (due to length). I'll measure tomorrow and get a clearer price.

Buy and sell / E70 M-sport Roof Bars
« on: June 30, 2018, 06:48:26 PM »
'Farad' brand roof bars for M-Sport E70 (flush roof rails).
Have been on our now-departed car over the past 3 summer holidays without fault.
Aero aluminium style.
Tape marks and scratches but fully functional. Complete with tightening tool and spare end caps.
Retails for over £80 on Ebay (search Farad E70 closed).

They won't fit on our new SE!

£40 plus delivery or collection from Oxford.

**Now on Ebay**

General X5 Forum (E70) / Re: BMW warranty question...
« on: June 28, 2018, 08:21:42 PM »
Well, I'm certainly one Giles, but probably not the Giles  :))

General X5 Forum (E70) / Re: BMW warranty question...
« on: June 27, 2018, 12:47:52 PM »

The warranty is a good option if available to you (on a precautionary principle - I've had lots of things fixed on our 2009 - turbo, rear heating, sunroof, air suspension, water pump etc etc, but others haven't had any problems).

I've never had to produce service invoices for warranty work, as they've used the BMW online records. As most service items are not mileage-linked, as long as there's not a huge gap between the last 'official BMW' service and the warranty work - and no service check messages are showing, you could be OK.

However, if they ask for the book with the specialist stamps in, you may have a problem - it has happened to me once, but that was only to confirm the first pages in the book had been completed properly (a bit late to ask given its nine years old!).

The actual warranty requirements are:

Failure to comply with the service schedule recommended by BMW Group UK may invalidate the warranty. An Authorised BMW Centre or BMW Service Authorised Workshop using only genuine BMW Parts must carry out all service and warranty work. The BMW Service Booklet should also be stamped, dated and detailed with the correct mileage at the time of service by the servicing BMW Centre.

I wonder if that applies to all work undertaken before the warranty is started (which it implies but doesn't explicitly state). The only way to find out properly would be to give them a call.


Buy and sell / Re: Avin 10.25" android screen for E70 CCC
« on: June 22, 2018, 11:52:30 PM »
Thanks - title corrected

Buy and sell / **SOLD** Avin 10.25" android screen for E70 CCC
« on: June 22, 2018, 08:03:21 PM »

After deciding to part with our cherished M-sport 35d (mileage getting a little high for us), and an abortive Ebay sale, I am contemplating putting the car back to standard, which means removing the rather brilliant 10.25" Avin android screen and offering it to Xdrivers.

I bought this new direct from Avin in September 2017 for our pre-LCI CCC equipped car.

There are umpteen threads on the web about these units not working properly, but if you manage your expectations (android 4.4, minimal ram etc) it works rather well.

The best benefits we had were:
- Fantastic large screen that vastly improved the OEM rear camera picture.
- Great online maps (Waze is favourite) - but you need to link it to a wifi hotspot for this to work.
- Bluetooth music streaming
- Easy switching between OEM and 'NBT-like' screen - we used both interchangeably
- Bluetooth music
- Video playing (Plex online was particularly good)

It's really simple to fit - instructions are here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B5csZBhSUqg2Z0pvc1V6WjNVQUE/view?usp=sharing

I paid $549 (about £420) for it shipped, and will only remove it if I get reasonable offers here.
Its in great condition (I removed the rear hidden SD card cover as it was a pain to open each time I wanted to add something), and all the parts are there to connect it up.

Let me know your offers...

General X5 Forum (E70) / Comprehensive Warranty - 100k miles
« on: June 10, 2018, 09:37:58 PM »

Had the car 4 years as an AUC, and have taken the full BMW insured warranty every year sine AUC cover stopped. It's been a good investment - sunroof, small turbo, sat nav, water pump, suspension airbag all replaced.

Renewal due end of this week. Car has 93k miles - so still eligible for comprehensive cover, but will clock 100k this year (in about 8 months, I reckon).

Question: If bought now, does it provide comprehensive cover for 12 months, or until 100k is reached and then revert to driveline cover only?

If the latter then its an expensive option for only part-year comprehensive cover.

Wording of policy:

Comprehensive cover provides our highest level of Insured Warranty protection and covers the majority of mechanical and electrical components in your vehicle.
Failure of covered components for wear and tear is also included up to 100,000 miles from registration.
Comprehensive Insured Warranty is not available for vehicles with over 100,000 mileage (at the time of purchasing the warranty)

Any thoughts / experiences welcome.

UPDATE: Spoken to Allianz this morning. Basically whole car is covered for whole year, but at 100k 'wear and tear' items no longer covered. They couldn't specify what 'wear and tear' meant on something like the transfer box - if it went at 102k, is that beyond the expected lifespan of the unit and therefore not covered? It's down to the dealer diagnosis apparently.

UPDATE 2: Car is now sold, as we decided full warranty cover was essential. Now picked up a 2011 SE AUC with just about every toy on it. Nicer ride than M-Sport, and steering is much lighter (not sure if that's a good thing or not yet...)

General X5 Forum (E70) / Re: Can I borrow some Snow Chains?
« on: March 15, 2018, 05:39:05 PM »

RAC page refers only to winter tyres and snow chains, not socks as per post 2
This page http://www.autosock.co.uk/faqs/#q12 indicates that sock are not approved in Switzerland...

General X5 Forum (E70) / Re: Can I borrow some Snow Chains?
« on: March 15, 2018, 04:40:33 PM »

Because its not clear if snow socks are legally compliant in France and Switzerland. Apparently you can point a Gendarme to some obscure piece of legislation that implies that they may be legal substitute for chains, but I don't fancy that argument. And definitely not accepted in Switzerland...

General X5 Forum (E70) / Can I borrow some Snow Chains?
« on: March 15, 2018, 02:01:54 PM »
Hi All

Travelling to Alps over Easter. Winter tyres fitted on 19" rims (on 2009 35d M-sport). I'm hoping not to need chains but would like a set in the boot to satisfy local Gendarmes if required.

Problem is finding snow chains to fit the 255/50/19(F) or 285/45/19(R) size. I understand BMW recommend fitting to rear only.

As I'll only need them for a week, I wondered if someone had a set I can borrow or point me at a reasonably-priced set that would fit?


How-To / Re: Rear Entertainment retro fit
« on: January 30, 2018, 10:30:42 PM »
I looked into this and then found a simpler solution...

2x ipads (cheap mk1s, android tablet will work just as well) with soft cases with velcro straps (go around the headrest poles). Bought a 1TB HDD with wifi facility, loaded 300+ films/tv on it. Ipads connect to local wifi network created by HDD, browse to required film (VLC is a good app for this) and can watch whatever they want. As they operate separately, they can watch different things at the same time. £200 for ipads, £100 for wifi hdd.

Totally removable, and transportable. Probably cheaper than a full retrofit...plus you've got 2 ipads for other uses when needed...

General X5 Forum (E70) / Re: Towbar keys
« on: January 06, 2018, 01:28:59 PM »
A couple of things to note from when I got an E70 with a towbar but no key:

1. There should be a code stamped next to the keyhole lock
2. I wrote directly to Westfalia (in Germany, not the UK lot) with the code - they sent me a key back for about 5 euros, I think
3. You will need all the relevant electrical control boxes that are hooked into the car - mine has quite a rats nest of these

Finally, I've actually never dismounted the towbar since having the key - its too much hassle and a red tow cap deters others from getting too close...

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