/ BMW-E61 / #BMW-530i-SE
MILEAGE THIS MONTH: 1,836
TOTAL MILEAGE: 52,054
MPG THIS MONTH: 27.6
COST THIS MONTH: £27 ( #Tunai-Firey
BOB HARPER 2006 E61 530I
One of the few defects I’ve found on the car so far is a small amount of rusting at the bottom corners of the rear window. My new 530i Touring has been a pleasure to own and drive so far.
It’s been a busy month for the 530i and, judging by the miles I’ve covered, I may well have to get on to my insurance company with the bombshell that I’ve woefully underestimated my annual mileage. I had this idea that if I wasn’t commuting to the office every day, I’d cover far fewer miles – perhaps this month will be the exception to prove that rule.
So far I’m one month into 530i ownership and, to say I’m happy with my purchase would be a bit of an understatement. The first big trip was a Bank Holiday weekend dash to the West Country and back, for a friend’s 50th birthday bash. The E61 shrugged off the 500-mile trip with disdain. Comfortable, quiet, refined – everything you could wish for on a long journey – and perhaps most importantly, it got a big thumb’s-up from Mrs H, who proclaimed at the end of the weekend that the seats were the best she’d ever sat in – they don’t call them ‘Comfort’ seats for nothing!
The trip did highlight a couple of points of note. I don’t think I mentioned last month that part of the car’s comprehensive spec were adaptive xenon lights and at night in the Devon lanes, these really were very impressive. Perhaps not hugely powerful on their dipped setting, but once flicked to high beam, it was as if someone had strapped a couple of searchlights to the bonnet – they really do light up the road for some distance ahead.
At the same time, I was able to check out the operation of the night vision camera, but have to admit that this was a major disappointment, or as my son Archie commented: “That wasn’t worth staying awake for!” When it’s switched on you more or less just get a cloudy grey screen and you have to be so close to a heat source for the camera to pick it up, that you’d have hit the object before actually spotting it.
Despite having run an E61 several years ago, I’d forgotten the various rattles and creaks that can emanate from the rear load cover area and, as I’m a little OCD about these sorts of noises, I’m going to have to try and get to the bottom of them as they are driving me a bit mad. But I might have my work cut out, as the load cover goes up and down (most of the time) as the electric tailgate opens, so any fi x mustn’t get in the way of that.
While we’re on the subject of the tailgate, I was having a quick look at the load cover mechanism the other day and noticed two small patches of rust, where the split folding glass section meets the rest of the tailgate. They’re at the outer edges of the hatch and I’m hoping they can be attended to under the anti-corrosion warranty. It’s not something I’ve really heard of before on the E61; has anyone else been affected by this problem?
Another item that’ll need attention under the Extended Warranty is the off side rear door, because the soft-close mechanism no longer works. I’ve never really been a fan of this system, as it just adds weight and complexity but, if the car has it fitted and I can get it repaired without having to pay for it, then it seems worthwhile.
Just room for two more points before I sign off. Firstly, despite only being a smidgen over 10 years old, it’s easy to forget how far automotive connectivity has come on in that time. The E61 doesn’t have an USB input, which means that controlling music via the iDrive from external devices such as an iPhone or iPod, isn’t currently an option. There’s an Aux input but, quite why BMW decided to locate this at the back of the centre console where it’s only really useful for rear seat passengers, is beyond me.
While my VW Passat was terminally dull to drive, I did get very used to being able to stream music via Bluetooth, so I’ve purchased a little gadget called a Tunai Firefly, which allows me to stream audio in the E61. It’s basically a tiny Bluetooth gadget no larger than a USB drive, that plugs into the Aux input. It needs power, but this isn’t a problem as the car is fitted with two, 12V power outputs, right next to the Aux input. Once you’ve paired your phone with it you can stream music via the Aux input section of the Entertainment menu on the iDrive. Sadly, you can’t go to the next track or anything like that without touching the phone, which is obviously a no-no these days but, as I quite often just listen to audiobooks on longer journeys, this isn’t a problem for me. I’ll find a more long-term solution for this with one of the various aftermarket systems but, as a quick-fix measure, I’m very pleased with it.
Finally, a word about the sat nav. Perhaps I’ve been spoiled by driving so many modern cars whose iDrive set-ups are akin to superfast broadband, but the system in the E61 is more like going back to using a dial-up modem! It’s so slooooow and clunky to use, I find it hard to believe we used to think it was pretty good. It is possible to retrofit the later, CIC navigation system (which would also sort any connectivity issues), but this is likely to cost about £1,000, To put that in perspective, it’s.
This neat little device enables me to stream audio from my iPhone; a connectivity feature not available in the E61.