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    Tuned 702hp supercharged, meth-injected BMW M5 E60

    Posted in Cars on Saturday, 15 September 2018

    With a supercharger and meth injection on board, this ferocious E60 M5 is on another level when it comes to performance. Words: Elizabeth de Latour. Photos: Matt Richardson.

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    CAR: BMW / E61 530i SE / 2006 E61 530I / #BMW-530i-SE / #BMW-530i-E61 / #BMW-E61 / #BMW-530i-SE / #BMW-530i-SE-E61 / #BMW-530i-Touring / #BMW-530i-Touring-E61 / #BMW-5-Series / #BMW-5-Series-E61 / #BMW-5-Series-Touring / #BMW-5-Series-Touring-E61 / #BMW /
    YEAR: #2006
    TOTAL MILEAGE: 52,390
    MILEAGE THIS MONTH: 336
    MPG THIS MONTH: 22.1
    COST THIS MONTH: nil

    Life with the E61 continues to be a joy at the moment, although there’s some expenditure on the horizon – hopefully it won’t be too painful. So far, the list of items to be attended to is growing, but I’m saving them up to see if I can get them all done at once. The iDrive is showing that the front brakes pads have about 2,000 miles left in them, but my experience with this system is that it’s rather pessimistic, and that that things often last a little longer… here’s hoping!

    I’ve also started to experience a bit of a creaking from the front end when going over speed bumps, and I can occasionally hear this when turning from lock-to-lock, during slow, parking manoeuvres.

    There’s the soft-close on the off side, rear door to be checked, plus the tailgate rust I mentioned last month. Also, despite my best efforts to clean and adjust the windscreen washer jets, they remain pretty pathetic at their job, so there’s a potential issue there, too.

    I’m hoping that the front pads will be the only item I have to pay for, and that the rest will be covered by the warranty. But, as the policy is the version that has the £250 excess, I’m storing the jobs up to get them all done at once!

    I’m tempted to pop in and see the chaps at BM Sport, so they can give the car a thorough once-over before I go to BMW… at least that way I should know what I’m going to be in for, and there won’t be any nasty shocks when I visit a main dealer.

    More on all this next month.

    This expenditure is in the offing; I’m letting a few niggly jobs build up so that they can all be tackled together.
    Life with my ‘new’ 530i Touring continues to be a joy.
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    Bob Harper

    Buying guide: BMW 530i Touring E61

    Posted in Cars on Tuesday, 18 July 2017

    Buying guide: BMW 530i Touring E61. Bag yourself a stylish and oh-so-effective load-lugger, now available at affordable prices. Estate management. The third generation of the 5 Series Touring, the E61, is something of a bargain these days, and Bob Harper reckons the 530i could be the pick of the bunch.

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    M5 E60 at rock bottom / #BMW-M5 / #BMW-M5-E60 / #BMW-E60 / #BMW-5-Series / #BMW-5-Series-E60 / #BMW
    COST NEW £66k
    VALUE NOW £15k

    Bet you didn’t you know you can buy a #V10 #BMW-M5 for less than £20k. BMW’s 2005 to 2010 E60 500bhp super saloon has hit the bottom of its depreciation curve and I think it’s headed for future greatness. Brutally unhinged, the fourth-generation M5 is the fastest and most refined of them all and good for an unlimited 204mph – plus 0-124mph takes 15 seconds and 60mph comes up in just 4.5.

    But the V10’s future stature isn’t just about numbers. Not having electronic power steering or BMW’s horrid hard-riding run-flat tyres means this M5 has incredible handling poise and near-perfect controllability. The torque doesn’t arrive in wild lumps like the previous V8 but comes in a precise and manageable flow. Running on Continental Sport tyres the grip is huge, allowing minute steering corrections with balletic precision. This is one of the best drift cars ever.

    Sports and Prestige in Bath has a 2005 in blue with 61k and FBMWSH for £15,995 while Boss Motors in Birmingham has a 50k 2008 in red, also with full history, for £19,950. And let’s not forget there will never be another V10 M5 – the current legislative climate in Europe will never allow such defiant excess – so the E60 is an end-of-an-era BMW, the pinnacle of every M Series model that came before. It has the world’s most powerful automotive ECU, three-stage electronic damping, seven-speed SMG ‘box, launch control, 11 different transmission settings and even a stainless steel exhaust. And that V10 is simply glorious. Start it up and the ECU limits the engine to 400bhp, but hit the M power button, boot the throttle and the floodgates open, letting an extra 100 horses thunder through the drivetrain.

    The auto-only #SMG gearbox (only the US got a manual option) isn’t as quick-witted as Audi’s DSG but shift by paddles and the changes are fast enough. The encyclopedia of steering, suspension and gearbox toys available gives a level of refinement control that you’ll never experience in any other car. Compared to the £70-100k you’d now need to buy a low-mileage first generation M5 the E60 is incredible value. This is the classic case (if you’ll pardon the pun) that older doesn’t always mean better. The E60 is the M5 to have. It’s the world’s only V10 200mph saloon that’s now available for the price of a new Fiesta 1.0-litre. Just don’t leave it too long before deciding to buy one.
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    CAR: #BMW-E61 / #BMW-530i-SE / #BMW-530i-E61 / BMW-E61 / #BMW-530i-SE / #BMW-530i-SE-E61 / #BMW-530i-Touring / #BMW-530i-Touring-E61 / #BMW-5-Series / #BMW-5-Series-E61 / #BMW-5-Series-Touring / #BMW-5-Series-Touring-E61 / #BMW /

    YEAR: #2006
    MILEAGE THIS MONTH: 1,836
    TOTAL MILEAGE: 52,054
    MPG THIS MONTH: 27.6
    COST THIS MONTH: £27 ( #Tunai-Firey / #Tunai-Creative )

    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.
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    YEAR: #2006
    MILEAGE THIS MONTH: 106
    TOTAL MILEAGE: 50,218
    MPG THIS MONTH: 20.4
    COST THIS MONTH: Not telling!
    CAR: #BMW-E61 / #BMW-530i-SE / #BMW-530i-SE-E61 / #BMW-530i-Touring / #BMW-530i-Touring-E61 / #BMW-5-Series / #BMW-5-Series-E61 / #BMW-5-Series-Touring / #BMW-5-Series-Touring-E61 / #BMW /

    With the M6 gone and the Passat shortly to be returning to the leasing company who own it I was rapidly running out of time to purchase some new wheels. I’d more or less decided on an E9x 330i – Saloon, Coupé or Touring, I wasn’t going to be too fussy, but if the right car came up a Touring was the ideal option as it just gives that added bit of practicality while not losing out dynamically to its two- and four-door relations. Just about the only stipulation was that it would have to have the N52 engine as I didn’t fancy shelling out £1500 when the N53 incarnation would inevitably fry its injectors and that the car would have to have heated seats, and would preferably have an auto ‘box. I went and had a look at a few and in the price range I was looking at the cars really weren’t up to scratch. Of course most things can be fixed, but if you have to shell out on remedial work just after buying a car you might as well buy a better one in the first place. And my budget wasn’t looking too healthy.

    After a few wasted journeys it was always back to the drawing board and then one Saturday morning the car you can see in the pictures popped up on my saved searches from when I’d been considering a 5 Series. Reading the ad had my mouth watering and I was on the phone and arranging a time to go and view the car before you could say, ‘But it’s not a 330i!’

    It was close to me and had a spec to die for – Comfort seats complete with heating, ventilation and massage functions, Professional sat nav, Bluetooth, Style 32 alloys, an electric tailgate as well as Night Vision and best of all a Head- Up-Display. And I love a HUD.

    Mindbogglingly for a 2006 machine it had only covered 50k miles and the icing on the cake was that it’s still under a Comprehensive BMW extended warranty until November this year. The extra layer of icing was that it was cheaper than all the 330is I’d looked at.

    So, it’s a 530i, and the first thing I’m getting used to is its thirst, but that was a conscious decision I took – not to buy a diesel. Living in London and having a non-Euro 6 diesel doesn’t really mix any more (or shortly won’t when the new Ultra Low Emission Zones kick in) and as I couldn’t justify spending Euro 6 diesel money on a car I decided it would have to be a Euro 4 compliant petrol, which thankfully the 530i is.

    I’ve literally just picked it up so have done less than 100 miles so far, but as far as I can work out everything works and it drives very nicely indeed. There are a few body blemishes that need attending to and the biggest decision I’m going to have to make will be whether or not to invest in an M Sport body kit as I do think they look so much better in M Sport guise. I’m currently telling myself that with the money I saved on buying the car I could easily justify the expense of getting the styling upgraded… Watch this space.
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    MARK R’S E61 M5 TOURING / #BMW-E61 / #BMW-M5 / #BMW-M5-Touring / #BMW-M5-Touring-E61 / #BMW-M5-E61 / #V10 / #BMW / #BMW-5-Series / #BMW-5-Series-E61 / #BMW-5-Series-Touring / #BMW-5-Series-Touring-E61 / #BMW-5-Series-M5 / #BMW-5-Series-M5-E61 / #S85B50 / #S85 / #BMW-S85 / #BMW

    Winter is a pretty bleak time for petrolheads in Britain. It’s not like other countries where you’re blessed with actual snow and frozen lakes to drift – you get rain, a bit more rain, and if you’re really lucky some of that extra-cold rain.

    The one saving grace with this is the time it gives you to embark on a proper winter makeover for 2017. But I’m not talking about super-glossy paintwork or stanced wheels for the M5, but instead some good ol’ fashioned track day prep! My E61 M5 Touring is – and always will be – a road car, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be prepped for track use without having a negative effect on its road-going abilities. Unfortunately I’m mechanically inept when it comes to working on a car, so I entrusted the team at Regal Autosport in Southampton to ensure the M5 was ready for a summer of abuse. From supercharging Audi R8s to tuning 750hp Porsche Turbos, Regal Autosport are definitely no strangers when it comes to prepping rare, highly-strung cars for road and track use. Put simply, if a £150,000 supercar is in safe hands here, the M5 Touring definitely hasn’t got anything to worry about.

    After chatting with Ash at Regal we put together a plan for the M5’s track prep, starting with installation of the AP Racing brake kit I picked up earlier in the year. This is probably the most comprehensive kit available for the E60/E61 M5 if you’re intending to hit the track, an absolute must given how disappointing (and short-lived) the OE brakes are the circuit. With the M5 Touring weighing just under two tonnes, the AP Racing kit comprises six-piston calipers matched with 378x36mm two-piece discs up front, and fourpiston calipers with 366x26mm two-piece discs on the rear. Serious brakes for a serious car while remaining totally compliant on the road.

    Next on the list was tyres, and there was only one model I had in mind for the M5 – Michelin Pilot Super Sports. A firm favourite within the M performance world (and fitted as standard to newer models including the M3), I opted for the OE M5 sizes which come in at 255/40 19 and 275/35 19. Pilot Super Sports remain one of the best-handling tyres for road and track use as well as being rated to over 188mph. Looks like that 166mph limiter will need removing next…

    Brakes fitted, rubber mounted and an oil/filter change later, it was ready for one of the most important parts of track prep – proper alignment and setup. Often overlooked, a proper laser alignment and fast road setup will more often than not yield greater performance gains than any fancy bolt-on mod. You can’t just fit performance parts and expect ‘em to transform your car without being setup properly first.

    Camber, toe-in and castor now adjusted, the M5 was aligned for a conservative fast-road setup to provide a good base on the track. With additional camber and toe adjustability available if necessary, the M5 already feels completely transformed prior to being aligned with far less understeer and improved turn-in. Perfect. The real test will come when it hits the track next month – who’s betting we’ll have some rain…?

    THANKS AND CONTACT
    Regal Autosport 02380 558636 www.regalautosport.com
    Michelin Tyres 0845 3661590 www.michelin.co.uk
    Wheel Alignment Centre 02380 332906 www.wheelalignmentcentre.co.uk
    AP Racing 024 7663 9595 www.apracing.com

    Stock M5 brakes not up to the job on track.

    Monster AP Racing brakes now fitted all-round.
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    Daniel Bevis
    Daniel Bevis posted a new blog post, Wide-body BMW M5 E60

    Wide-body BMW M5 E60

    Posted in Cars on Saturday, 06 May 2017

    Modern family. The traditional model of kids crammed into litter-strewn Volvo estates has been comprehensively blown out of the water. Welcome to the 2017 family ride, Vegas-style. Words: Daniel Bevis. Photos: Steve Hall.

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    BMW M5 SMG E60 against an example E60 M5 that’s been converted to a six-speed manual

    Posted in Cars on Sunday, 16 April 2017

    Six Shifter M5s go head-to-head Manual vs. SMG. Six Shooter. We pitch an E60 M5 SMG up against an example that’s been converted to a six-speed manual. The E60 M5 manual was exclusive to the American market but a South African would not be deprived, so created his own. Words: Johann Venter Photography: Mahomed Abdulla.

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