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    LONGTERMERS #BMW-F10 / #BMW-520d-SE / #BMW-520d / #BMW-520d-F10 / #BMW / #BMW-5-Series / #BMW-5-Series-F10
    CAR: BMW-F10 / BMW-520d SE /
    YEAR: #2016
    TOTAL MILEAGE: 20,149
    MPG THIS MONTH: 39.2
    TOTAL COST: nil

    Fate has played a hand in my story this month. The other day I was ruefully thinking how it was going to be yet another ‘quiet month’ for OU16, and then a rock came sailing over a fence, hit my car, and all that changed. My daughter attends an afterschool club and it was while I was collecting her from there that the trouble started. The car park is next to a sports field, but separated from it buy a high, solid fence.
    Evidently, what had happened was that one of the ‘sportsmen’ on the other side had found the lump of stone in the grass and thought the simplest thing to do was to lob it over the fence.

    The trouble was, of course, that they’d obviously not thought about what or who might be on the other side – or, worse still, didn’t care. I was sitting in the car as my wife and daughter approached, and was about to start the engine when, ’crack!’, the stone landed out of the blue, literally.

    The loudness of the impact certainly gave me a shock; it was like close-proximity gunfire. My first thought was for my wife and daughter so I jumped out of the car to check on them but, thankfully, they were both fi ne. Initially a little confused, I then spotted the rock on the ground and the damaged windscreen.
    Now, as much as I like my car, it is insured and repairable. What a different story it would have been had the rock hit a person. As I write this, Autoglass is booked in to visit and, for a 75 quid excess, will fit a new windscreen.
    Needless to say, ‘nobody saw nuffink, guvna’ when I went round into the sports field to investigate. Even though I could tell by the body language of some of the youths that they knew full well what had happened, nobody was prepared to own up and take responsibility.

    I’ve had no luck taking the matter further, with the authorities responsible for booking the playing field, the police or my local MP. I’m still waiting to hear from the latter but, to be honest, I’m not holding my breath. In many ways, I think I’d rather that it had stayed a quiet month, after all.

    Thrown ‘blind’ from a nearby sports field, this rock could have done some serious damage. ‘Luckily’ it hit my front screen rather than a person. Autoglass is coming to the rescue.
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    THE FIFTH ELEMENT Schmiedmann’s 532hp F10 S5 / #BMW

    With its F10 S5, Schmiedmann has unlocked all the potential hidden within the #BMW-550i-F10 and created a bit of a beast… Words: Elizabeth de Latour. Photos: Schmiedmann.

    F10 S5 Schmiedmann’s 532hp super saloon

    The F10 #BMW-550i is unquestionably a modern muscle car. It’s big, it’s got a 4.4-litre, twin-turbo V8 and it’s fast. Not M5 fast but, with 407hp and 443lb ft of torque on tap, it’s certainly not a slow machine by any standard. There’s a but coming, though, and that’s to do with the N63 engine because, much like its smaller, turbocharged straightsix cousin, it’s an engine with plenty more to give if you’re up to the task of giving it a little bit of attention and Schmiedmann is definitely up to that particular task. The Danish BMW specialist is a multi-talented one-stop shop, able to supply replacement OE parts, offer servicing and repairs and it also carries a huge range of aftermarket parts so it was really spoilt for choice when it came to creating its S5 demo car and the Schmiedmann team really went to town on this build.

    With that twin-turbo V8 at their disposal it’s no surprise that the engine has received plenty of attention but what is a surprise is just how much work has actually gone into it. You might be thinking that a remap would suffice, as that would give you some impressive gains, but that wouldn’t have done for Schmiedmann, the guys there are petrolheads after all, and when you’re building a company demo car you really want to show off your skills. That’s why this car has been fitted with Schmiedmann by Signature Stage 2 turbos, upgraded standard turbos designed to cope with and produce a lot more power. They boast 15T CNC-milled 48/68mm compressor wheels, which are substantially bigger than the standard 42/56mm items, bigger turbine shafts, upgraded wastegate bushes, upgraded bearings and the turbo housings have also been modified. To go along with the uprated turbos, the chargecoolers have been equipped with a 75% larger radiator, and there’s also a set of Schmiedmann by Supersprint downpipes and a Schmiedmann by Supersprint exhaust system made from micro sandblasted stainless steel, with purposeful Schmiedmann-designed black, double-layer tailpipes.

    All these mods needed the right performance software to accompany them, but that proved to be a lot more difficult than you might imagine. “The software was actually the biggest challenge of the build,” explains Schmiedmann’s Martin Thorup.

    “When we had all the hardware ready the only thing we needed in order to get the power out was the ECU tuning – the car has a water-cooled Continental MSD85.0 ECU – but we found out that no tuner we know could get access to this ECU so they could reprogram it to our hardware changes. We tried to contact tuners all over the world but the answer was always the same: “It’s not possible, the ECU is blocked by a code that nobody can crack yet”. There was one famous German tuning company that claimed that they could do it, so we sent them the ECU but they also had to give up.

    We then found out that almost all tuners worldwide got the reading and programming tool from a company in Switzerland. After speaking with a Danish tuner that had a good connection with the company in Switzerland, they sent two staff members over to Denmark to try to crack the code in our F10 S5 but they couldn’t and also had to give up.

    “Now it seemed our only option was to change the hardware back to standard, and install a tuning box; that would bring about 65hp more than standard, but we wanted to hit at least 500hp. Then we got an idea: we called our business friends at Tuningbox in Belgium, and asked them if we could buy an “open” standard Tuningbox for an F10 550i that we would be able to program individually for the hardware changes we’d made on the car. They agreed and also sold us a programming tool for the Tuningbox; the S5 was then placed on the dyno and adjusted by the Danish tuner in co-operation with Tuningbox in Belgium by remote.” The herculean effort that Schmiedmann went to in order to get the software working with the mods on the car was worth it, as the end result of all that work is an amazing 532hp accompanied by a mammoth 563lb ft of torque, huge gains over stock and just huge numbers that push the Schmiedmann S5 into M5 performance territory. “But there is no doubt that the engine and the hardware have potential for much more the day when the ECU code gets cracked,” says Martin, “and we can program a lot more engine parameters,” at which point the S5 will become even more of a beast…

    Power, as they say, is nothing without control, and while the F10 is a decent handling machine out of the box, it’s not exactly a sports car and throwing an additional 125hp at a chassis that was unprepared would leave things in a bit of a mess, so Schmiedmann has ensured that its S5 stops and handles as well as it goes.

    The standard suspension has been replaced with a Bilstein B16 coilover kit, which offers a wide range of height and damping adjustment, resulting in not only much-improved body control but also allowing the Schmiedmann team to deal with the F10’s gappy arches, giving the S5 a serious drop. The brakes, too, have been attended to and the boat has been well and truly pushed out here, with a Schmiedmann six-pot BBK mounted up front with massive Zimmerman 400x36mm floating discs while at the rear a set of Zimmerman sport brake discs have been fitted in the stock size, as they’re still seriously hefty items on the 550i, and the brake calipers have been painted in Phoenix yellow to match the fronts.

    When it comes to styling it’s fair to say that the F10 isn’t a bad-looking car but there’s certainly room for improvement if you want to make it stand out, so the warehouse was duly raided in order to give the S5 a far more menacing look and one more befitting of something so powerful. Up front you’ll find an F10 M5 front bumper with the 550’s foglights removed and coded out, and this is matched with a pair of M5 front wings with Schmiedmann S5 vents.

    Motorsport II sideskirts have been fitted and further enhanced with the addition of Schmiedmann carbon streamers and there’s also a Motorsport II rear diffuser with cutouts for the beefy quad exhaust tips. You’ll also find a BMW M performance carbon boot spoiler and Schmiedmann has retrofitted the High-gloss Shadowline window trim along with adding black gloss double slat kidney grilles for the finishing touch. The wheels, meanwhile, are 20” Z Performance ZP.06s finished in Phantom Black, with polished spokes set against black painted barrels and lips for a striking effect, and while the 20s are needed to clear the massive front brakes, they’re also the perfect size for the big-bodied Five and really help to fill those cavernous arches.

    You might think that, on a modern car such as this, there wouldn’t be much you could or would even want to do to the interior but Schmiedmann has made sure that interior on its S5 stands out from the crowd in just the right way. The most obvious mod is the steering wheel, a suitably exciting-looking Schmiedmann item with heavily-sculpted grips around the rim, beautifully hand-finished in Nappa leather and alcantara. The instrument cluster has been modified and now sports red needles and an S5 logo; there’s a black and grey sport pedal set and even the floor mats have been replaced with plush new ones that are extra thick and boast genuine nubuck leather piping with double red stitching.

    Not only is the Schmiedmann S5 a magnificent mobile display of what the company can offer, it is also a serious piece of machinery, one which boasts M5-rivaling power, performance and presence, with looks that dominate the road. Schmiedmann has left no stone unturned in the creation of its S5 and the extremely impressive results speak for themselves.

    “The end result is an amazing 532hp accompanied by a mammoth 563lb ft of torque, huge gains over stock”

    DATA FILE / #Schmiedmann / #BMW-F10 / #BMW / #Schmiedmann-S5 / #Schmiedmann-S5-F10 / #BMW-Schmiedmann / #BMW-550i-Schmiedmann-F10 / #Z-Performance / #BMW-550i-Schmiedmann-S5-F10 / #BMW-5-Seies / #BMW-5-Series-F10

    ENGINE 4.4-litre twin-turbo #V8 #N63B44 / #BMW-N63 / #BMW-N63-Schmiedmann / #BMW-N63 , Schmiedmann by Supersprint downpipes, Schmiedmann by #Stage-2-Signature turbos, 75% larger chargecooler radiator, Schmiedmann by Supersprint exhaust system in micro sandblasted stainless steel with #Schmiedmann-designed black double layer quad tailpipes. Eight-speed Sport automatic gearbox / #ZF / #ZF8HP

    POWER AND TORQUE 532hp, 563lb ft

    CHASSIS 8.5x20” (front) and 10x20” (rear) #Z-Performance-ZP.06 wheels in Phantom Black with 245/35 (front) and 275/30 (rear) Bridgestone Potenza tyres, #Bilstein B16 coilovers, #Schmiedmann-BBK with six-piston Phoenix yellow calipers and #Zimmerman 400x36mm floating discs (front), stock calipers painted Phoenix yellow and Zimmerman sport brake discs (rear)

    EXTERIOR M5 front bumper, M5 front arches with Schmiedmann S5 vents, Motorsport II side skirts with Schmiedmann carbon sideskirt streamers, Motorsport II rear diffuser, #BMW-M-Performance carbon bootlid spoiler, High-gloss Shadowline trim retrofit, gloss black doubleslat kidney grilles, Schmiedmann emblems
    INTERIOR Schmiedmann sport steering wheel hand-finished in Nappa leather and alcantara, Schmiedmann black and grey sport pedal set, Schmiedmann modifi ed gauge cluster with red needles and Schmiedmann S5 logo, extrathick, nubuck-trimmed Schmiedmann S5 floor mats with double red stitching, M Tech door sills

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    F10 520d SE LONGTERMERS / #Jaguar / #BMW

    How much more fuel do you suppose is consumed through running your heated seats on full blast all the time? The recent colder weather has meant that the Five Series has driven around west Oxfordshire for nearly a month with heated seats and steering wheel on full roast, and I think the resultant 37.6 is the lowest average figure I’ve seen since we bought the car. The only reason the overall economy is actually 39.1mpg is due to a lastminute return day trip to Sudbury the day before I submitted this copy to the editor, which has had the effect of dragging up the average a tad.

    Full anorak-spec this observation may be, but a ten percent difference in terms of inferior economy (or thereabouts) is a marked drop. I doubt there’s another reason for it, and next weekend we’re off to North Wales again for our annual freezing-our-bits-off- because-we-have-children shindig at Betws-y-Coed (there’s a Winter Wonderland there every year), and given that I like to travel in a toasty oven these days, and especially at this time of year, it’ll be mildly interesting to see what kind of economy we get.

    Enough maths though, what else have we been up to? Well I’ve driven a Jaguar, around a year after I said no to the last one. That car was the XE, which turned out to be too small, not special enough inside and despite the 3 Series-esque road manners, not quite what I was looking for. Shock horror of course, because I ended up buying a Five Series. Ergo trying the XE really wasn’t giving Jaguar a fair chance. The XF would have been a far more suitable foe, ignoring for a moment the alluring finance deals which supported XE sales at the time.

    Without boring you with the logistics, I was able to spend some quality time with the XF, the idea being (risky I know) to ascertain whether or not it would indeed have been a better fit. And the short answer? No.

    On castor-spec 17-inch alloys it looks too bloated, the rear deck especially sitting very heavily over the wheels. Square-on from the rear, there’s a distinct muffin effect, too (i.e a narrow track). The F10 runs equal diameter rims of course (at least it does at the moment) but the styling is better resolved, possibly through being a more traditional three-box shape.

    The XF’s frontal aspect is spot on though. It’s as you walk around the car that is starts to unravel.

    So you climb inside, and this is where a Jaguar is supposed to excel, right? No again I’m afraid. The days of the low-slung and snug, highdashboard, hide and wood Jaguar interiors which I used to own back in the day have long gone. No bad thing some would say, but the honest truth in my view is that, compared to the driver-centric and well-finished premium feel to the BMW’s interior, the open-architecture fascia was in stark contrast to the BMW and for the wrong reasons. Firstly because this is the latest iteration of the #Jaguar-XF – not an update of the previous model, but a whole new version. Hence you would expect it to match the F10, at least.

    When the G30 goes on general sale in the UK in February, it’s going to date the Jaguar’s interior something chronic (plus the tech in the Jaguar isn’t too hot either, but we’ll get to that). And secondly because the interior in general, with thin and brittle-feeling paddle-shifters, ditto the electronic parking brake actuator and even more thin, brittle and poor-quality seat height adjustment, plus an impressive looking aluminium rising rotary gear selector which unfortunately then sits in a sea of plastic, felt quite inferior to the #BMW interior. And let’s not forget, this is where you spend most of your car time.

    If this sounds quite harsh then it’s fair to also point out that the car did grow on me a little during the two days we had it, but nowhere near enough to be convinced by it. And I’m also acutely aware that I do like a bit of ‘wood’ trim in my cars. The standard BMW trim is also pretty awful in my view (and the metallic-look plastic in the M-Sport offerings is even worse) but it’s at least underpinned by some better thought-out design. Who, for example, decided to locate the driver assistance buttons in the XF down on the lower right-hand side of the dashboard by the driver’s knee, where they are almost completely out of sight and difficult to spot without considerable determination whilst on the move? And when you do activate the system, the tell-tale icon in the instrument cluster is apologetically small. Driver assistance? Hardly. In terms of overall tech, BMW wins again. Not in the availability of tech, as the Jaguar also offers up lane guidance, radar cruise, cameras and so on, but in how the tech is deployed. The iDrive pro-nav in the Five Series, as I’ve said before, is a fantastic piece of kit. As is the HUD. The Jaguar offerings however, lag behind. The touch-screen interface lacks appeal, the graphics are outmoded and the presence of a memory card for the nav’s maps in the armrest had me mentally winding the clock back ten years.

    Jaguar sold a little over 80k cars in 2015 (contributing around 20 percent to the overall JLR sales figures once the approximately 400k annual Land Rover sales are taken into account). BMW shifted 1.9 million. So naturally there’s a monumental investment hole. One does wonder how the gap will be closed on this evidence. In terms of the drive, bearing in mind I’d already been underwhelmed by the looks and the interior, the abrupt quality to the auto shift (which is the same ZF unit I believe, albeit with Jaguar-specific calibration) no matter the drive mode selected at the time, was the final nail in the coffin.

    The XE did this too and I didn’t like it then, either. Ride quality was excellent though, wind and road noise well-suppressed, and the rotating air vents are amusing pieces of theatre (even if the central vents are now bog-standard items on this latest version). These positives weren’t enough to tip the balance however. So no, I didn’t fancy it, and the F10 is definitely the better car, at least from my perspective. There’s a video review of the XF on my YouTube channel. And I’ll apologise in advance for the hat…

    TECHNICAL #BMW-F10 / #BMW-520d-SE / #BMW-520d-SE-F10 / #BMW-520d-F10 / #BMW-5-Series / #BMW-5-Series-F10
    YEAR: #2016
    TOTAL MILEAGE: 11,878
    MPG THIS MONTH: 39.1
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    Buyer beware... / #BMW-F10 / #BMW-520d / #BMW-520d-F10 / #BMW / #BMW-5-Series / #BMW-5-Series-F10

    I wasn’t very surprised to see that early, high mileage F10s are now down to around £6500 – inevitable I guess. But I would urge caution if you’re thinking of taking the plunge and buying such a car. The F10 is, of course, a decently built motor and it’s one of our favourites because there is little a 520d won’t do very well. But these cheaper examples will have done well over 150,000 miles and it’s at this age, mileage and price point where you can quite easily end up with a £7500 millstone, and cars don’t get more reliable with age. Start with the engine – the N47 is well known for timing chain issues and ignore anyone who says BMW sorted that out by 2010, because it certainly hadn’t. One 2011 car I saw with 180,000 miles (a 520d manual) had been fitted with a brand-new engine just 30k before so that might be a good deal. But then you have 180,000 mile-old injectors, turbo, high pressure pump, dual mass flywheel, manual box, electric steering rack, diff oil seals (a far more involved job due to the driveshafts with two integral CV joints) and so on. #BMW-523i-F10 and #BMW-528i-F10 cars with the N53 can have very persistent and pricey misfire problems – coil packs, injectors, NoX sensors…

    It’s hard to say exactly when cars went from being rugged and fixable to being dynamically amazing but a potential nightmare to repair, but it was long before the F10 was launched. Truth is, cars like this as well as equivalent Vauxhalls, Mercs, Audis and so on are fine for the warranty period, but be prepared for a four-figure financial kicking if something goes wrong. I personally wouldn’t consider a leggy F10 or F30 unless it was stupidly cheap, but when even recorded write-offs are fetching frankly ridiculous prices, that’s unlikely. As ever, we’d take the £7500 you’d spend on a mega mileage time bomb and use it as a down payment on a warrantied Approved Used Car from a main dealer – or even on a deal on a brand-new one.
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    LONGTERMERS #BMW-F10 / #BMW-520d-SE / #BMW-520d / #BMW-520d-F10 / #BMW / #BMW-5-Series / #BMW-5-Series-F10

    The 520d has benefited from a set of mudflaps, but at £200 they weren’t cheap!

    I’ve been ranting and raving against the establishment this month, not in some Spinal Tap-inspired anarchy-rich diatribe up on stage, but in an altogether more modern manner via email. A local estate has been building in a nearby village just to the west of Oxford, and if you live locally you will know to whom I am referring without me having to do anything so grubby as to name it.

    Said estate started its building works in August, and all credit to it, it was mostly finished in time for the bank holiday weekend. I know this because we were in email contact, requesting such things as amended light phasing to reflect the fact that the traffic flow is mostly west to east in the mornings and the reverse in the evening.

    Pedantic in the extreme perhaps, but after several mornings of progressing through the village at a speed which would make a snail scoff, I’d had enough. As the estate was in control of the road works, it duly complied and the situation improved before the works completed at the end of month. Fast forward to October. More lights appear, and some trucks. And the queues start to build. And build. And then a little more. Turns out the regional utilities company is digging up the road again in response to the building works, but it’s not phasing the lights at all and worse, when we drive through the road works we spy one chap on his phone and another stood around, doing nothing. Twice. The hole itself? Remains empty.

    This is not good. Back on to the email, to be told by one of the directors at the estate in question that they have no control over these particular installation works. The utility company is managing them. We worked with ‘Highways’ it said and sir, they approved the works. Oh brilliant, so we all have to suffer being late getting to work in the mornings, do we because you are randomly digging up the road and didn’t have the common courtesy to put up some signs either informing the hapless motorist that the works are imminent, or for how much longer they will last? Or at least monitor the length of the traffic queue which by this point had extended back to the previous village a little over two miles up the road… ‘We have no control’ it says, which is ludicrous considering it is its building ambitions which are causing it in the first place. ‘Sorry’, it says, ‘nothing we can do, goodbye.’ How nice. And this from a prominent landmark which relies on the local populace for its very existence, bombarding it month-on-month with countless emails regarding the next ‘event’, but which also seems to treat said public with disdain and a cavalier attitude to its position in the area when challenged. Basically, if you don’t like it, tough.

    This may all sound very petty and a tad parochial. Let’s face it, people build things. But it’s been a good long while since I had a proper rant and the ‘pah – whatever’ attitude on display really gnawed my peanuts. This isn’t to say the estate office was not polite in its dealings, because it was. But when it became clear that I wasn’t letting this drop, all I got back was a seemingly standard ‘highways have approved this’ response and blank expressions via email… I didn’t expect it to offer up a three-week stay in the west wing by way of compensation, merely a recognition that its approach left a little to be desired. No joy.

    So in response, the majority of the events we visit each year will no longer benefit from our custom, and this also goes for the other two dozen poor buggers with whom I work and whom have also vowed to stick the proverbial two fingers up each time they pass the entrance…

    Anyway, enough whining… on to more jolly matters. The mud flaps have been fitted, well hurrah! We’ve only had the car six months, but no matter. With winter just around the corner, now was the time to get them done. 200 quid for some plastic nailed to the base of the wheel arches is possibly an extreme reaction, but the benefits are already clear to see – less muck on the lower sills, and I really do think they help the lines, too. Pure subjectivity of course, and the 17s could do with going up a size, so we’ll see what funds are available for some bigger rims in the New Year.

    Oh and we’ve had random iDrive issues recently. And this isn’t another of those phantom faults I occasionally refer to. The iDrive ceased to respond one morning, the screen then went blank with the message ‘NO SIGNAL’ written large across the blackness in red letters (the lights were on at the time, with the dials illuminated red, so I suppose if it had been the daytime, the writing would have been white?).

    Naturally assuming an iDrive glitch, and after pressing a few buttons achieved precisely naff all response, I elected to pull over somewhere safe and restart the engine in the hope it would fix it. Ten seconds later though, the system restarted itself automatically and in the same manner as it does every morning, with the ‘BMW Connected Drive’ legend appearing on the screen and a short while later, all was well again, and all whilst still driving. It’s been fine since, too. We’ll definitely raise it with North Oxford when it goes in for a service in the New Year, just in case. An over-the-air update perhaps?

    Talking of ConnectedDrive, I’ve been using it quite a bit this month (for once). Mostly to send sat-nav instructions to the car in order to then open the message and set the location upon starting the engine, which is a handy feature. I’ve not as yet had another go with the GoPro app but I will do at some point, and we’ve also been using the Google Search function in order to find locations on those occasions where we’ve forgotten to send them to the car first. At some point we’ll dream up a good test for the Concierge service, too. We’ve used them once previously but I want to know how effective the service is these days, so more on that in due course.

    Lastly this month, I was talking to my mother who was asking why the outer edges of the seats had blue stains on them. I replied that my (new) cheap jeans were causing it.

    Did you wash them before first wearing them in the car, she asked? I had to confess that I hadn’t. Seems obvious – stick ‘em through the wash and most of the surface dye is removed as a consequence. She wandered off muttering something about the youth of today, which is nice considering I’m 41. But listen to your parents – they know things.

    F10 520d SE
    YEAR: #2016
    TOTAL MILEAGE: 10,559
    MPG THIS MONTH: 40.8
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    Amar Chaudhry F10 #BMW-520d-M-Sport / #BMW-F10 / #BMW-520-SE / #BMW-520d-SE-F10 / #BMW-5-Series / #BMW-5-Series-F10 / #BMW / #BMW-520d-M-Sport-F10 / #BMW

    The F10 5 Series has plenty of modding potential and Amar has certainly been tapping into it, wasting no time when it came to getting his recent purchase to stand out from the crowd. So far he’s added gloss black kidney grilles bearing the M logo, a carbon fibre front splitter and an M Sport boot lip spoiler. A big car like the F10 needs some serious wheels and Amar’s choice is spot-on, with a set of monster MK Motorsport 20s stuffed under the arches, measuring 9” up front and 11” at the rear, with massive dishes all-round and yellow calipers adding the finishing touch.
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    LONGTERMERS #BMW-F10 / #BMW-520d-SE / #BMW-520d-SE-F10 / #BMW-5-Series / #BMW-5-Series-F10 / #BMW

    YEAR: #2016
    MPG THIS MONTH: 41.1

    It’s only taken around six months to get around to it but I’ve finally connected a GoPro camera to the car via the iDrive architecture using an iPhone. I’ve got no idea if it works through Android and given the utter faff in getting it to work on iOS, I’m not sure I want to try, either. One starts simply enough, by selecting the ‘ConnectedDrive’ iDrive menu option on cars thus equipped.

    It’s quite simple at this point, following the menus through until a BMW-branded screen appears on your iPhone’s GoPro app (provided you have the app running, which I hope is fairly obvious). From here, though, I’d love to be able to relay specifically what I did in order to achieve the image on the screen but, alas, only a combination of enabling and disabling, then re-enabling the wireless connection between the iPhone and the camera and trying different combinations of GoPro app running first before the wireless was connected, then vice-versa, seemed eventually to work. In short, it was a bit of a palaver.

    One thing which I think is correct is not to use the connection which gets established as normal between your iPhone and the GoPro as I suspect this ‘hijacks’ the protocol and makes the connection between the car and the iPhone impossible. It’s better to start the app, ensuring the cable is plugged in, do not use the ‘control’ or ‘media’ settings on the app and ensure that the wireless connection is running before starting the app. This, I think, is the way to do it. But if you don’t get positive results you should probably do what I should have done, and read the flaming manual!

    So once you’ve sworn several times, wondered to yourself what the hell you are doing sitting here in the dark trying to display a tiny image on a slightly less tiny portion of the screen, what’s the result like? A bit crap, if I’m honest. I was expecting/hoping the entire iDrive screen would be taken over by the GoPro but in actual fact, as mentioned, only a tiny image is relayed via a portion of the screen, and moving the camera results in an F10 520d SE awful delay before the image is updated. The image quality is rather poor, too (although it’s probably better in daylight). And don’t whatever you do then change focus on the mobile phone in order to take a photograph for a magazine Longtermers report because, when you then return to the app, the image on the screen may well have frozen and you will have to reconnect and start all over…

    …Or do what I did at this point, and unplug, switch off and return indoors, muttering to the bemused wife something along the lines of “what on earth is the point of that?”. I’ll try again next month and document the process properly but at the moment I’m really struggling to see the point.

    It’s been a quiet month otherwise. There’s still no news on the mudflaps. Every time my gaze falls on the lower portions of the bodywork, I make a mental note to get them ordered. Then my daughter blitzes us with another 400 questions and the thought is gone again. My attempts last month at inflating the tyres seems to have been less than 100 percent successful, too, as the TPM claims they are still 3psi short of where they should be. Apparently one has to inflate to the correct pressure first thing in the morning, then reset the monitor, when the tyres are cold. Who knew something so inanimate as a tyre could be so fickle.

    Oh and finally this month, a mention for my friend Geoff Calvert at and his artisan approach to creating pretty much anything you care to mention with nothing more than his bare hands, several leather hides, a few tools, a workshop perched on the shores of the Isle of Harris and a ‘can do’ attitude. If you’re looking for something unique, tailor-made and absolutely not available on the high street, or anywhere else online for that matter, do please get in touch.

    GoPro camera has now finally been paired with 520d’s iDrive – it wasn’t an easy task
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    F10 520d SE

    A fairly quiet month for the 520d, although I did at least manage to put the sat nav to the test on the run back home from the Surrey Hills. We’d been down there for the day on a feature you can read about in a future issue, and the iDrive traffic updates looked rather sombre as we drove through Guildford, the ETA back to the house near Burford first extending to 45 minutes later than anticipated, then to over 90… I’ve learnt through the years to trust this system though, so instead of ignoring the alternative route suggestions I obediently followed the screen’s bidding and left Guildford by heading west, then towards Reading and onwards up to Newbury, as opposed to simply whistling up the A3 then around the M25.
    We succeeded in joining the M4 around Reading with no hold-ups, then exited at Newbury just as the traffic was building beyond the junction (my heart goes out to you if you have to do this run every day of the week). It then became clear that the sat nav was regularly snipping at the route and calculating where we needed to be, because no sooner had we joined the A34 than the re-route option popped up again. Twirl, click and we’re departing the A34, heading west once again, out towards Wantage. The nav was constantly keeping south and west of the M25, then south of Oxford, first from the perspective of approaching from the east and hence the spectre of getting jammed up in the Wolvercote roundabout road works (which are necessary, but infuriating) and then from the west for pretty much the same reason. We eventually popped up in Witney, and arrived home around 30 minutes later than would be expected, but well over an hour earlier than we would have done had we followed my normal route. Impressive stuff.

    Another impressive aspect of that day in Surrey was during the trip down there, OU16 succeeding in returning a scarcely credibly 52.8mpg at a little under an indicted 80mph.

    I’ve opined before on this apparent witchcraft, but quite how a big saloon with all the kit this thing has on it, but which is rowed along by ‘only’ a 2.0-litre four-pot, can then return over 50mpg is mind-boggling.

    I’m thinking of running a book on when the washer bottle will need topping up. Four months in and over 5000 miles covered, and there’s still no warning message appearing on the screen, despite regular squirts… I can only assume that when it does finally request replenishment, I’ll be stood there for an age whilst it feeds. Talking of which, one of the diesel fillups this month was a tank of Super Plus from Esso, and I have to say I didn’t notice any difference to the regular stuff, so I’ve reverted to the cheaper option. Not sure it’s worth paying extra for posh diesel, whereas super unleaded always seemed to bring tangible benefits, whether the car in question was new or old.

    Oh and finally this month, I had been intending to talk about the GoPro camera connectivity which is apparently offered up by the iDrive system, depending of course on the options fitted to your car. I’ve mentioned previously that we should be able to achieve this with OU16, so I thought I would give it a go. Alas I could not for the life of me either remember the wireless password for the camera (to enable it to connect to the iPhone) nor figure out how to reset said password. So I’ll have to work that out, give it another go then confirm in a future report as to whether it actually does as suggested.

    Car: F10 520d SE
    YEAR: #2016
    MPG THIS MONTH: 41.7

    DATA #BMW-F10 / #BMW-520d-SE / #BMW-520d-SE-F10 / #BMW-520d-F10 / #BMW-5-Series / #BMW-5-Series-F10 / #BMW / #N47 /
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    News #BMW-M5-Edition-F10 models announced / #BMW-M5-F10 / #BMW-F10 / #BMW / #2016 / #BMW / #BMW-M5-Competition-Edition / #BMW-M5-Competition-Edition-F10 / #BMW-5-Series / #BMW-5-Series-F10 / #BMW-5-Series-M5 / #BMW-5-Series-M5-F10

    News of the introduction of special edition models generally means one of two things: either the model’s struggling in the market or it’s coming to the end of its life. In the case of the F10 M5 it’s the latter that’s prompted the release of a brace of special edition machines. The Competition Edition and the Pure Metal Silver Limited Edition both feature enhanced powertrains, bespoke detailing and chassis improvements.

    The Competition Edition will be available in all markets bar the USA while the Pure Metal Silver model had been designed purely for the American market and will not be sold elsewhere. If you fancy the look of either model you’ll need to be quick as the Competition Edition is limited to just 200 units while only 50 examples of the Pure Metal model will be produced.

    As you’d expect from its name, the Competition Edition is based on an M5 with the Competition package but for this limited edition it’s seen a power hike to the same level as the 30 Jahre model. Thus power is up to 600hp (a boost of 25hp from the normal comp pack) while torque is raised by 15lb ft to 516lb ft. Unsurprisingly, the Competition Edition is pretty rapid, knocking off the benchmark 0-62mph sprint in just 3.9 seconds, an improvement of 0.3 seconds over the 575hp comp pack model.

    Like the regular comp pack machines, the Competition Edition receives suspension improvements which includes stiffer responses from the springs and electronically-controlled dampers, along with thicker anti-roll bars. The Active M electronically-controlled multi-plate limited-slip differential has also been recalibrated to allow slightly higher slip angles before intervention.

    Externally the new model can be spotted by the 20-inch M Double-spoke 601M light alloy wheels as spec’d on the normal comp pack machinery, but for the celebratory model these are finished in high gloss Jet Black. A smattering of M Performance parts also give the game away as the new machine is endowed with a rear spoiler, rear diffuser and mirror caps, all manufactured from carbon fibre, and a gloss black kidney grille. Just two colours are available – Mineral white and Carbon black – with the ‘M5 Competition’ logo appearing on the side ‘gills’.

    The M5 Competition Edition comes with an extensive range of equipment including Adaptive LED headlights, Reversing Assist camera, powered bootlid operation, Comfort Access and sun protection glass. Inside, occupants benefit from front and rear heated seats, an electric rear sunblind and the Bang & Olufsen Advanced audio system. As standard it also comes with full black Merino leather upholstery with Opal white contrast stitching. Opal white is also used for the ‘M5’ logo that now appears on the head restraints of the M Sport multi-function seats, and for the piping of the anthracite floor mats. To accentuate the exclusivity of the car, the M Performance interior trim in carbon finish features the ‘M5 Competition’ logo along with the unique ‘1/200’ designation. And the price for all this? A cool £100,995 on-the-road.

    The cynical among you may be thinking that’s an awful lot of money to pay for an M5 that’s right at the end of its life, especially when you spend a little time with the on-line configurator. If you spec a normal M5 with everything the Competition Edition is equipped with you end up with a price of about £90,000 which means you’re paying in the region of £10k for a non-standard paint colour, 25hp and some M Performance carbon fibre accoutrements. Of course, it is a limited edition machine but it does seem like a lot to pay.

    The US-only Pure Metal Silver edition follows a similar path to the Competition Edition but features some additional items. It too has the 600hp/516lb ft engine upgrade and the Comp pack suspension changes but features the 20-inch M Double-spokestyle 343M forged alloy wheels rather than the 20-inch cast items that are usually foisted on the Comp pack models. We’ve never understood why the ‘Competition’ models are endowed with the heavier cast wheels – surely they should have the lightest items possible? The US-only machine also benefits from the fitment of an M Performance exhaust with carbon tips. While the Competition Edition receives two relatively run-of-the-mill colours, BMW North America has really pushed the boat out on its special edition as the Pure Metal Silver paintwork is a unique BMW Individual paint that features a special layering process. BMW states: “Due to the unique application process, creating a special light/dark effect, Pure Metal Silver is BMW Individual’s most exclusive paint job available.” The Pure Metal Silver Edition is on sale now and costs $131,895 – roughly the same as the Competition Edition.
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    F10 520d SE

    We’ve been doing the tourist thing around Florida this month, and the rented #Cadillac-Escalade-ESV was an interesting contrast to life with the Five Series. And not necessarily for the right reasons, either. But we’ll get to that. Incidentally, we had the usual polite and efficient Virgin Atlantic crew, whose efforts were partially undone by the brusque and cavalier attitude of the check-in staff at Orlando’s Disney Springs on the way home. You can’t have everything I suppose. The trip itself was good, featuring an hilarious airboat ride (8.0-litre #V8 , walls of noise), lovely, relaxed Disney resorts set against the frenzied Universal parks (I doubt we’ll go back to those as they’ve changed little since our last visit and the people are bleetin’ miserable), and a guided tour around Daytona International Speedway (where the people were lovely, even though when they showed us last season’s winning car, I clearly had no idea what I was looking at). Garnished with some great weather. Although, of course, there was some very disturbing news items during our visit. But let’s talk cars…

    1200 miles in the #Cadillac provided sufficient time to form an opinion. And my opinion is this – consider the context. In the US, this car works. Elsewhere in the world, it’d be akin to Eddie Murphy speaking at the Klan’s AGM. In the US, its over 17-foot length and 7-foot girth blends in with the other road furniture, and the 6.2- litre V8 knocking out 420hp and 460lb ft blends old-school pushrod tech with new-fangled direct injection and cylinder deactivation. Physics won’t be dissuaded though and shifting 2.6 tonnes with even this powerplant results in merely brisk acceleration and just enough of a V8 rumble to confirm you’ve not succumbed to the new twin-blower V6 in the rival Lincoln Navigator.

    Want more mass? Opt for the AWD version (not all SUVs in the US are allwheel drive by default) and bludgeon down the highway with 2.75 tonnes of prime American iron. Want more noise? Fit a ruder exhaust, which some people do. Want more, full stop? Then buy a pick-up truck where 6.7 litres of blown V8 diesel are available from Ford along with stumppulling torque to the tune of 860lb ft.

    But I digress, what was the Cadillac really like? Well, to storm down I-4, east towards Daytona and the coast, it was a pleasure. I’ve never driven anything which exhibited that much kinetic energy once up and running at speed but other than needing frequent and subtle steering tweaks in order to keep this leviathan thundering along in a straight line, driving the 90 miles to the International Speedway was relaxing. Slowing to 60mph when traffic intervened was no hardship, as a meaningful boot on the throttle dropped the transmission a cog or two and the V8 would spin past 4k as speed was regained, along with a roar from upfront. And overall, it returned 17.7 US mpg (or just under 15mpg in imperial), which was amusing.

    Launching from the lights with gusto would result in a chirrup from the rear (two-wheel drive remember) and once up to speed the eight-speed auto was unobtrusive in its operation, although it did suffer from that unfortunate ‘surging’ effect which seems to afflict all American SUVs if they’re run on anything other than premium gasoline. Wind noise was pretty well suppressed, despite the jumbo door mirrors, the brakes demonstrated an amusing effort-to-effect multiplication ratio (Lord only knows how big the servo is) and road noise was also kept to a minimum. The only dynamic flaw (as one could never really expect a vehicle like this to handle) was the steering which could best be described as vague and felt as if it was connected to the wheels via several hundred strands of gluedtogether pasta. The interior was a lovely place to spend time in terms of comfort levels and materials though and overall, one could see why this is the premier American SUV.

    Time was when the best from the European manufactures flaunted its technology in the face of embarrassingly basic American offerings. Not anymore. Equipped with HUD (although I prefer the BMW system), blind-spot monitoring, 360 degree cameras, active cruise (which I still don’t really like) and active lane keeping assist (which drove me mad on the curved interstate exit ramps as it was far too pessimistic), this most modern of Cadillacs offered up all the tech one could possibly want.

    Augmenting this list were other (standard) niceties such as ventilated seats, an electric glass sunroof, LED active headlights, a Bose stereo system of quite astounding quality, a powered tailgate, powered third row seats (in this, the extended version) and more USB ports and memory card reader slots than in your typical desktop support department. Not even the presence of the bizarre manual gearshift control button on the ancient column shifter detracted from the general air of sophistication.

    So why the negative vibes? Well the scuttle shake came as bit of a shock, considering the great expanse of metal above our heads. But sure enough, catch a pot hole and the steering column vibrated like a tuning fork. I’ve genuinely driven convertibles which felt better screwed together.

    And not modern ones, either. My biggest gripe though, concerned the Cadillac User Experience system, or CUE. This refers to the satellite navigation and infotainment system, plus by extension, the HVAC panel below, and combined they conspired to really sour our time together.

    CUE is touch-screen, which I’m already not fond of in cars. But worse than this, there is no controller option à la iDrive in your BMW. So you have to dangle your hands in mid-air in order to control the system. The first problem with this is that with the seat set low for my six foot frame, and combined with the screen’s square-on orientation (i.e, it’s not angled towards the driver) arm fatigue soon sets in.

    Next, you have to suffer fingerprints all over the screen which, when combined with the sun hitting the glass through the side windows (and this is Florida remember) renders the display nigh-on unreadable, especially when also combined with the ‘helpful’ proximity sensor, which changes the lower portion of the screen when it detects your approaching hand and in doing so, completely removes whatever you were seeing previously (such as the sat-nav map). Oh and the front passenger is forced to use the screen too, as there are no buttons for the audio system, other than those offered up by the touchscreen (which also removes the satnav view, but completely this time, which is bloody annoying when you’re confronted with an interstate junction the size of Cirencester).

    Get the idea? There’s more. The HVAC panel consists of another of these haptic feedback panels, but worse than the BMW offerings, the Cadillac approach is to affix slivers of aloominum to the dashboard in an attempt to locate your finger. This fails in its aim as you end up pressing that and not the actual ‘button’. ARGH! In short, as I’ve rambled enough, the whole thing feels like a solution which is two-thirds developed and needs to go back into the lab. Alas though I fear this is the future.

    So how does the Five Series feel upon our return, save for the fact that beyond having four doors, four wheels and a front-engined, rear-drive configuration, the two don’t really compare? Put simply, ignoring the sheer size difference for a moment, the BMW demonstrates a more resolved approach, more thorough thinking and a more cohesive drive as a result. Nowhere is this more visible than in the iDrive, nav, and audio system of course, where the presence of actual buttons make me again question the wisdom of BMW itself moving in the direction of touchsensitive panels on the new Seven.

    Aside from that though, the design of the BMW system is such that various functions can be operated in parallel, without impacting the prime requirement at that time, such as the satellite navigation map. It just seems much more thoroughly engineered overall and the product of a development team who have already done all their thinking.

    Returning to a 2.0-litre four-pot diesel may have felt like a bit of a comedown, but given the weight difference of around 900kg the truth is that the F10 feels almost as sprightly (although the power-to-weight figures are heavily in the Caddy’s favour, 110hp/ton versus around 160), if not quite offering up that unique feeling of a monumental engine deploying Himalayan torque in order to overcome sheer mass. I note with interest that the habit of left-foot braking I started whilst driving the Cadillac (due mostly to the amount of room in which the pedal box sits) has continued in the BMW, something I’ve not done since my rallying days. It now feels quite natural to keep my right foot hovering continually around the throttle, but time will tell whether I slip back into old habits.

    Overall then it was a pleasure to fall back into OU16 after the nine-hour return flight from the US, even if our daughter then asked why our car is so small (and even if I cannot now start our car remotely, which was one of the features the Cadillac had which I really appreciated). There is a level of intimacy to the drive which is missing in the SUV, and it’s further proof that I don’t think such a vehicle would suit our lifestyle and my approach to driving. It was a nice way to whistle around Florida though. There’ll be a video review on my YouTube channel in due course, but given my woeful record in that area it’s probably best I reactively confirm when it’s up, rather than promise it in advance…

    It seems that the B47 is loosening up a little perhaps, judged on fuel economy alone. But in addition, the power appears more readily accessible with the passing miles. And I made mention previously of a half-decent exhaust sound (one couldn’t really call it a ‘note’ for fear of contradiction), something which I have now nailed down to occurring in traffic situations when the car is warm. It sounds almost like a blowing exhaust, which it clearly isn’t. Whilst not an unpleasant sound, it does seem a tad out of place in a 520d, so it’s something else I’ll ask North Oxford to advise on when the car eventually goes in for a service. Anybody else noticed this?

    When we ordered OU16, friends and family smirked at the stabiliserspec alloys, and I have to now admit that the 17s do appear overwhelmed by the bulk of the body sitting atop them. So in addition to those mud flaps I want to get fitted, I think at some point during our tenure, and early enough to get the benefit from them (probably when the tyres approach replacement), a set of 18s will need to be purchased.

    Recommendations for suitable styles gratefully received, although I won’t be turning this into some ghastly M5 clone from the waist down.

    Further Autoglym leather cleaner is needed on the seats I’m afraid. I had intended to get some better quality denim when in the US, but the combined allure of both the Lego shop (see picture on the left – the Mercedes truck is deeply impressive, if fiendishly complex to put together, and they say it’s suitable for 11 year olds!?) and a cigar shop with humidor conspired to divert my attention. Ten minutes, one Technic set and $200 of smokes later, we’d wandered straight past the Levis shop, never to return. I’ll have to bite the bullet and buy some over here, if only to save on Autoglym costs.

    DATA #BMW-F10 / #BMW-520d-SE / #BMW-520d-SE-F10 / #BMW-520d-F10 / #BMW-5-Series / #BMW-5-Series-F10 / #BMW / #N47 /
    YEAR: #2016
    MPG THIS MONTH: 41.7
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