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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
    BOB HARPER … laments the lost art of the sensible, pre-drive check / #BMW / #2017 / #BMW-520d / #BMW-520d-E61 / #BMW-E61


    When I was younger and we were about to set off on a longer journey – and despite what my children think, this didn’t involve a horse and cart – the trip could never be started without going through the pre-drive ritual.

    This was invariably performed by my father or my uncle (a mechanic by trade), who would busy themselves under the bonnet with a small child (me) in tow, desperate to be allowed to get his hands dirty.

    The oil level was carefully checked and then rechecked if a top-up had been required. Coolant was examined, the brake fluid level was carefully scrutinised and the washer bottle’s contents were inspected. Obviously, all this was done before the car had been moved that day (and on level ground), to ensure the most accurate of results.

    It wasn’t just under the bonnet though, as tyres were also carefully assessed. Their pressures were measured with a hand-held gauge because, apparently, the gauges you found on petrol station forecourts ‘couldn’t be trusted to be accurate’ and, anyway, as the car would have to be driven to the forecourt the tyres would get warm, leading to an increase in pressure. If the car was to be fully laden, then the tyres would be correctly inflated to account for the heavier load.

    Looking back, though, these methodical checks certainly paid off, as I can’t remember once breaking down as a result of something that could have been checked and remedied before the journey started. There was that time the fan belt snapped on the A38… but you can be assured that, following that inconvenience, future pre-trip checks included a careful examination of the offending item, and that a spare was ever-present in the boot.

    Nowadays, though, the art of the pre-journey check appears to have fallen by the wayside. Are modern cars that much more reliable and less likely to use (or leak) oil? Do they succumb less to coolant leaks and do modern tyres miraculously never lose pressure, pick-up damage and self-inflate to account for a heavy load?

    Well, I’ll hold my hands up; I’m as guilty as the next person for neglecting these checks half the time, although I do try to remember to keep a regular eye on the tyres. This followed a scary, near-death experience with my E61 520d, when the inner edges were down to the wire while we attempted a top-speed run on the Autobahn.

    The non-profit organisation, Tyresafe, reckons that at least one in four vehicles on our roads has some sort of tyre defect, and that’s before you even consider over- or under-inflation. Modern tyrepressure monitoring systems are very good and will inform you of a loss of pressure but, how much better to pre-empt trouble by checking the pressures before setting off, and preventing a detail becoming a drama?

    Increasingly, we have warning lights for everything, but surely it’s better to check before you set off and prevent a possible hiccup en route? If you suddenly get a warning light saying you’re low on oil half-way through a journey, good luck with finding the right oil at a service station; they’d rather sell you a Ginster’s pasty or an over-priced sandwich, than a litre of oil these days.

    What’s more, if your coolant warning light flashes on during a trip, you more or less have to stop immediately or risk doing further damage, then wait for ages while the temperatures drop enough to allow you to investigate further. Once again, surely better to have checked this before leaving. And don’t forget, as service intervals climb ever-higher, it’s less likely that your garage will pick up on these problems.

    My son’s just passed his driving test and, apparently, you get taught to check these things these days… So perhaps I’ll make it one of his chores to check my car each week, to ensure the family tradition doesn’t become a thing of the past.

    Good luck with finding the right oil at a service station; they’d rather sell you a Ginster’s pasty.
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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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    MARK RICCIONI’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


    Manufacturers often strive for perfection. From the power delivery right through to the aerodynamics, the modern car is becoming freakishly perfect for the modern driver – a fact helped in part by stricter emissions combined with improved technologies. It’s safe to say BMW wasn’t striving for perfection when it built the M5 Touring. Its fuel tank is too small, the gearbox feels as smooth as root canal surgery and the engine burns oil so fast it’ll need a full oil change every 6000 miles or so. The on-board computer is way too complicated. The brakes give up after a few laps on track and the engine lacks any real grunt below 5000rpm.

    It’s the polar opposite of modern motoring, but you know what? That’s really not a bad thing. Because it’s those imperfections – those quirks, which at times become annoyances – which give a car character and charm. If there’s one thing the M5 Touring doesn’t lack, it’s charm. Who in their right mind thought it’d be a good idea to wedge a 507hp, naturally aspirated #V10 into a car that usually ends up doing the motorway commute? It’s not just the horsepower that makes this a terrible, brilliant idea but it’s the type of engine. High-revving V10s have almost always been exclusive to the world of racing and supercars, but not cars available in a Touring platform. It’s not some cross-platform shared engine, either. The S85 lump is exclusive to the E6x M5/M6 platform – never used before and never used again.

    I made the jump into M5 ownership back in March 2015, and truth be told I had no idea what I was getting myself into... Probably a good thing in hindsight. It’s a car that’s all about its engine, but just jumping in and planting your foot will most likely leave you feeling underwhelmed.

    It takes time to get to grips with. There’s a particular way – a specific set of modes – where the M5 works best. Stray from any of these and it’ll punish you, usually with crippling understeer, kangaroo gear changes or simply lack of low-down power. Truth be told, had I known all of this prior to ownership I probably wouldn’t have bothered. I like a car to be simple, one mode (preferably fast) and that’s it. But I’m glad I didn’t, as it’s undoubtedly my favourite car I’ve ever owned and my first foray into BMW ownership. Two years in and I’m ready to start a new chapter with the M5 Touring. Not selling it – absolutely no chance of that happening – but rather tweaking it with an array of carefully selected modifications that’ll further improve the ownership and experience rather than hinder it. In my mind I’m imagining an almost Clubsport-spec Estate, if that could ever be considered a thing, or should I say CSL edition. Brakes, exhaust, suspension and tyres are pretty high on my list – I don’t want to take it too far into the realm of being too specific or track-focused, after all the ability to actually throw the dog in the back and drive it everyday is what I love about it. But a few modifications wouldn’t hurt... Right? See more pictures of the build over at @mark_scenemedia on Instagram.
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    Federica Monsone 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 /

    Federica, Fred to her friends, is the proud owner of this E61 M5 Touring which she’s also had wrapped in 3M Satin Canyon copper. The end result is stunning. Fred is a hopeless BMW addict, owning an E46 330i Cab, an 840Ci, an E34 540i and an E46 B3S Cab, and she couldn’t resist the lure of a 5.0-litre V10 wrapped up in a Touring body. The car was originally Alpine white, one of only three in the UK, but Fred wanted to make it even more individual so took it down to Elite Wraps. The transformation is incredible. The Canyon copper bodywork is joined by a gloss black roof, matt black tailpipes, matching Canyon copper interior trims and carbon centre console.
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    Keith Rogers #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 /

    As an ex-E46 M3 owner, Keith was on the lookout for something a little bigger but still just as fun to fit his expanding family’s needs – and we think he’s found the perfect solution in this M5 Touring. Since purchasing it, Keith has taken it on its fair share of family holidays, complete with a Thule roof rack to supply even more storage space. As a true petrolhead, he also treats himself to a weekend away at the Nürburging Nordschleife with his friends once a year to stretch that V10’s legs. Performance enhancements are limited to BMC panel air filters and RPI ram air scoops behind the grille, finished in black to retain the car’s original looks. Aside from regular brake pad changes when driven hard, the car’s abilities are proving perfect in this setup.
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    WAGONE

    With its camo wrap, DTM-inspired styling and 360hp, this E61 535d Touring is one hell of a way to get the dogs to the park. With silly styling and equally silly power, this bonkers DTM-inspired Finnish 535d Touring is about as far removed from a sensible family estate as you can imagine. Words: Elizabeth de Latour. Photos: Jape Tiitinen.

    Tourings are cool, of that there can be no doubt, but they’re ultimately pretty sensible beasts, especially in diesel form. Wouldn’t it be great if someone built an absolutely mental wagon with off-the- wall styling and something naughty under the bonnet? Well, someone has and his name is Tommi Väyrynen.

    In his early 30s, Tommi is of the age where many people would likely be considering a Touring because they’ve got at least one child either on the way or already present. In fact, his motives for purchasing a capacious estate were dog-based but the principle is the same. What he’s ended up with, however, is one hell of a dog-to-park-delivery system, and the end result is all the more astonishing because he never actually intended to modify it. However, with a long list of extensively modified cars behind him, that thought was about as futile as attempting to keep a Labrador out of a muddy puddle. Not. Going. To. Happen.

    Hailing from Scandinavia, it is perhaps not surprising to learn that Tommi cut his motoring teeth on a Volvo 340 DL with a mighty Renault 1.4 under the bonnet and while it was fine summer transportation it was not so great in the winter, though likely not for the reasons you’re probably thinking of: “That is a problem of living here in north, the carburettor always froze and jammed!” he exclaims. The modifying began with this sturdy brown Volvo and continued with a Merc 190E and an extremely rare Merc E50 Lorinser before he saw the light and decided to see what Bavarian metal had to offer.

    The need for dog transportation guided his hand towards an E61 and a desire to sample the twin-turbo M57 cemented his engine choice with the 535d. This particular example came very well-spec’d, with the aptly-named Comfort seats and HUD to scratch the surface. Those first summer months were great, Tommi and his E61 enjoying the Finnish countryside together with the dogs, but come the harsh winter the E61 decided it had had enough of being reliable. “The starter stopped working, the auxiliary heating did not work, the glow plugs did not work, the battery was bad, the trunk wiring was also dead. I had to do a lot of repairing…” he says, in what might be the understatement of the year. But where a lesser man might have faltered, Tommi persevered, fixed everything and that’s when the modifying that he had no intention of doing began.


    As modifying was never on the cards, there was no plan and things just sort of happened, like the engine mods: “When I bought the car it had an engine tuning chip and because of that the exhaust manifold broke and that is where all it started,” grins Tommi. “We needed to change the manifold so at same time, when turbos were on the table, I made the wastegates as big as they could be. At the same time we also lost the cats and after that we go rid of the DPF as well.” Well, if you’re halfway to gutting your exhaust system you might as well go all the way!

    “The car then went for tuning, with my friend making the software for it, and after that we installed the biggest intercooler we could behind the front bumper.” That has now been painted red because, really, no part of this car wants to be discreet. “It now makes 380hp and 627lb ft of torque and it sounds like a truck. I love it!” he grins. The benefits of all that power and torque are obvious: it means you can get to the park extra quickly for more doggy playtime, and you can also do massive smokey burnouts, which is always fun.

    However, all of this plays second fiddle to the way the thing looks. There are no two ways about it, it’s absolutely mental and, love it or hate it, it’ll make you look. Tommi took inspiration for the car’s styling from Jon Olsson’s wide-body, 1000hp Audi RS6 which, at its wildest, was even more flat-out bonkers than Tommi’s concoction. This E61 is a faithful recreation on a marginally more sensible scale: “When I saw a picture of Jon’s car I knew straight away what I wanted to do. Me and my friend drew the shapes for the graphics and another friend cut the strips at his workshop. We wrapped the car and installed M5 grilles in the front arches. We made those DTM spoilers from plastic in my own garage and then wrapped then in carbon film; we had no problems with any of the bodywork but the best thing to have when you’re modifying a car is good friends as they can help you.”

    The graphics are definitely the first thing on this 535d that gets your attention, and they’re certainly not shy, but neither are the outlandish aerodynamic addenda. They are headed up by that big front lip that extends out past the bumper and is held up by two bright red supports. This is then joined by a pair of dangerous-looking canards on either side of the bumper. The side blades that extend out from the sills have winglets at their front and rear edges while at the rear there’s a diffuser with some seriously aggressive vertical slats. The whole lot is then topped off with a roof box. In stark contrast to the exterior mayhem, the interior has been kept stock, but then again there’s nothing to complain about when it comes to black leather wrapped around Comfort seats and the aluminium cube interior trim.


    While in the past Tommi has been more than happy to slam his cars into the ground, with the Touring he wanted to keep things marginally more sensible. “I’m getting old!” he laughs. “My Lorinser Merc had just 6cm (just over 2”) of ground clearance but this has 12cm (just under 5”) and not only is it so much more comfortable but you can also drive faster,” and that’s probably the best reason for not absolutely dropping your car that we could possibly think of. “The suspension is actually only the M Sport suspension but with new shocks,” he continues. This isn’t much but it’s enough as this car is hardly riding like it’s on stilts, with what little arch gap there is certainly nothing to be ashamed of, especially with those 20s bolted to the car. The dubs in question are TSW Mirabeaus, measuring 9” wide up front and 10.5” at the rear, and they really look fantastic on the car. “I have had wheels with big lips before but now I wanted something different so the concave design was my choice,” says Tommi. He chose wisely as they are the perfect size and the ideal style, with the twin five-spoke design really working a treat on the Touring.

    It’s a mad concoction, this, though the car that inspired it was completely unhinged so it’s all relative, really, and what’s actually the most likely thing to raise your eyebrows to the edge of your hairline is just how positive a reaction Tommi’s Touring has received upon its unveiling. “I took it to a few shows and with the #DTM look I won the ‘Best Euro Car’ award from the first show. People really like this car, I think. On the Finnish Bimmer enthusiast forum, BTCF.fi, my build thread has been read 16,000 times and no one had anything bad to say. I was quite surprised,” he chuckles, “but happy.”

    He’s really happy with the car too, though there is one thing he’d like to add… “More power!” he grins, and that makes perfect sense because if you’re building a mad car you might as well make sure it’s completely off its rocker…

    TECHNICAL DATA FILE #BMW-E61 / #BMW-535d-DTM / #BMW-535d-E61 / #BMW-535d / #BMW-535d-DTM-E61 / #BMW-5-Series / #BMW-5-Series-E61 / #BMW-5-Series-Touring / #BMW-5-Series-Touring-E61 / #BMW-535d-Touring / / #BMW-535d-Touring-E61 / #M57D30TU / #M57D30 / #M57 / #BMW-M57 / #TSW

    ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 3.0-litre twin-turbo diesel #M57D30TU , bigger wastegates, de-cat, #DPF delete, bigger intercooler, remap, six-speed automatic gearbox / #ZF6HP / 380hp, 627lb ft

    CHASSIS 9x20” (front) and 10.5x20” (rear) #TSW-Mirabeau concave wheels with 245/35 (front) and 275/30 (rear) Aeolus tyres, M Sport suspension

    EXTERIOR Camo wrap, carbon front grilles, custom DTM spoilers, M5 arch grilles with M535d badges, rolled arches, roof box

    INTERIOR Standard Comfort seats, standard aluminium M Sport trim, auxiliary audio jack

    THANKS Backwoods Customs (bwcustoms.com)

    “It now makes 380hp and 627lb ft of torque and it sounds like a truck!”

    “The best thing to have when you’re modifying a car is good friends”
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    A STATE OF RAPTURE #BMW-525d

    There’s a lot to be said for individuality and this bagged, wrapped #BMW-E61 Touring embodies that perfectly. Brown, bagged and not shy with it, this E61 Touring definitely makes a statement.

    Supermodels come in all shapes and sizes; this is established. The last 40 or so years has seen stickthin figures sashaying down the world’s catwalks as best they can, wearing the latest clothes from the most popular designers. With all the world of fashion’s finery hanging off their frames and bottles of fragrances glittering in their eyes, they sell us all the things, including the cars, we lust after.

    Meanwhile, as if in some sort of parallel alternate reality, the cars we drive have increased in size as the supermodels have shrunk. There are many reasons for this, such as safety regulations, but initially it was because car size was a symbol of status. Cars expanded as manufacturers established themselves while beginning to profit rather than simply survive, and the public increasingly paid out for big cars to use as status symbols.

    Once upon a time, before physiology was fully understood in terms of general wellbeing, it was the same with the human form. A large man or woman was telling the world that they were successful, that they could afford the fine foods that most people could not. This is actually still the case in a lot of the developing world. However, as for the car and its safety regulations, increased size is a necessary evil that designers are having to work hard to disguise in exactly the same way as a designer will use the lines of a dress to accentuate the human form. Obviously, people have different preferences to their neighbour in all areas of life and cars are one of the primary ways that people choose to express this aspect of themselves. One person might prefer minimalism and a svelte profile, whereas another (such as yours truly) might prefer a bolder approach featuring curves and larger forms in all the right places.

    In fact, my personal preference is for cars with the larger rear ends, and it would be disingenuous to suggest otherwise. Most people would struggle to deny that, when a Touring comes into view with a wrap job such as this, one gets sprung.

    One such car is Emil Ryding’s #BMW-525d-Touring #E61 Touring as shown here in all its Euro scene glory. Emil is in his early 30s and runs his own truck company located in the outskirts of Sweden’s capital, Stockholm, and this big, bold supermodel is a daily ride for his girlfriend, young child and dog. It is certainly an eye-catching tool for promoting a small local business.

    Emil’s love of BMW was initially inspired by Volvo, in a roundabout way. Let’s be honest, the Swedish car manufacturer was always going to crop up in this feature. “My first car was a #1979 #Volvo-244 , only because it was cheap!” he said. The first car Emil ever tuned was an #1986 744 turbo with an estimated 240hp: “I bought that one to be faster than my brother’s #BMW-325i !” So he hasn’t ever been one for mucking about. Sibling rivalries aren’t fly-by-night deals either, and the competition rumbled on to the point where Emil eventually realized he would have to buy in to Bavaria. “My first BMW was the #M535 from 1986, in Diamond black with yellow leather interior. It was, and is, one of my all-time favourite cars, and has one of the most beautiful bodies.” He’s certainly not shy of an Eighties classic and has no particular brand loyalty as he also runs an Audi ur-quattro, the legs of which he stretches on track and shows off at meets as often as possible. Our admiration for Emil is established as he demonstrates a depth of variation in his preferences, not discriminating by age and also knowing when to modify and when to keep it straight and original.

    The start of his journey into modified modernity began with a relatively specific remit. “I wanted a stanced car with air-ride as a daily driver that both fitted my kid and dog and could tow a car trailer behind,” he explains. “In 2012, my friends Jan Axelsson and Richard Klarby convinced me to go with them to an amazing week at the pre-meet in Wörthersee, a big VW meet in Austria, and after that I knew that I wanted a stanced car.”

    The quest for a car with a quality air-ride system that suited his practical and aesthetic demands began. “It took me a year before I found this one,” Emil said. “I found it about 300km from home. It was really beautiful and though the carbon fibre splitter in the custom front was cracked and one of the rims was scratched it was easy to fix!” He had settled on a #2004 #525d #E61 Touring with the body kit seen here under the wrap. Credit for the fantastic detail on the air install and the addition of the rare Gnosis-1 rims from US-based Work Wheels goes to Henrik Schmidt. Legend has it that these wheels are the only such examples in all of Sweden.

    Like so many fashion designers and auto modification aficionados before him, Emil took the opportunity to take in some shows and have a look at the prevalent mode du jour in the wider scene. “That summer we were invited down to the XS CarNight meet and also as VIP guests at Felgenoutlet BBQ in Dresden, Germany, with my quattro. So we put the Audi onto a trailer behind the BMW, drove 1300km down there, and displayed both cars at the shows. People could not believe their ears when I told them that I drove the whole way from Stockholm, Sweden in the BMW dragging a car and trailer behind it!”

    Having attended those two big shows with the car in its original silver, the call of individuality proved irresistible and the designer cut his cloth. “I wanted to make the car more personal so, in the winter of 2013, I made this version of it because it was to be displayed at the Elmia Custom Motorshow in the spring of 2014. It’s the biggest motorshow in Sweden. So we tore the car into pieces and started wrapping it. With a little help, I picked a matt metallic brown wrap from Avery Supreme and did the trim and some details in gold. We did the job in my everyday parking garage!”

    If you look closely, you’ll notice evidence of Emil letting his creative side fly a little further than the usual wrap job. “We also put stickers under the vinyl, so you can only see the outlines of them if you look really closely. The car has a unique one-off look. You can’t find a similar one anywhere. That was the goal with the car; it looks extreme but you can use it every day. I really do use it as a daily driver; it works perfectly. With the diesel engine, an automatic gearbox, and electric leather seats it’s comfortable, too.” This project was always about form over function, which is why Emil hasn’t altered the interior or the drivetrain, since BMW’s big diesel Touring pedigree is long established as a competent and comfortable breed. The foundations that allow for the functions of form required of it remain, and the form has followed Emil’s inspiration from Europe’s finest scenes. “I wanted it to stand out in a crowd but still be tasteful and, of course, as low and wide as possible.” When pressed on his favourite aspect of this build Emil told us: “It’s the car’s stance. When you park it next to another car and just drop the air out of the system until the arches are touching the aluminium rims… I love that.”

    As with every expression of oneself, the highlights of the experience are usually the initial completion of a project, with the sporadic bursts of attention when you choose to show your work to the crowds that it is designed for. For Emil it was no different. “The best moment was when I drove the finished modified car out of the garage after a long winter, ready for the Custom Motorshow.”

    Nature will mete out the good with the bad, however, and there have been one or two ‘alternative’ moments. “The most frustrating moment so far was on the trip back to Sweden from Dresden,” said Emil. “We got a flat tyre on the BMW about 500km from home in the middle of the night, dragging another car on a trailer behind us! We got towed to a tyre shop in Helsingborg and woke the owner up. He changed the tyre for us, even though it’s not easy to find tyres to fit those rims and at about 2am we continued our journey.”


    After all the hard work he put into this project, it seems Emil’s time with the car is coming to an end. “I think this one is done now,” he said. “I am going to sell this car and probably buy a Marrakesh brown #BMW-X1 so that both my girlfriend and I can drive the car, although I will probably stance that one too!”

    Like any fashion designer, Emil has researched carefully, taken inspiration from the greats, brought his own mind to bear and created something unique and thought provoking. He has then sent it confidently down the catwalk in front of his peers and they have approved. His model hasn’t been the most conventional of choices, being big and, er, practical but the forms in between the lines have taken very well to the colours and highlights his vision had for it. We can’t wait to see what the 2015 season has in store for Emil.

    DATA FILE 2004 #BMW-525d-E61

    ENGINE & TRANSMISSION: 2.5-litre straight-six #M57TUD25 , standard #ZF6HP six-speed auto.

    CHASSIS: 9.5x19” ET10 (front) and 10.5x19” ET15 (rear) Work Gnosis GS-1 wheels with 15mm (front) and 20mm (rear) spacers, with 215/35 (front) and 235/35 (rear) Nankang NS-2 tyres, BC V1 coilovers custom-built with airbags

    EXTERIOR: M Sport front bumper with #E92 #M3 lower section with carbon fibre lip, matt copper brown metallic wrap from Avery Supreme, tinted windows, gold wrapped exterior trim.

    INTERIOR: Accuair e-Level TouchPad, hand-painted five-gallon tank in boot, twin Viair 444c compressors.

    AUDIO: #Hertz speakers and amplifier, ES 200.5 8” subwoofer.

    THANKS: Klarby and Veegeek for the inspiration trip, Stalle for all help and company, Tvedahl Design for tinted windows, Linda ‘Klisterbitchen’ Sandell for wrapping and saving my ass, Anni for wrapping, Kometfoto, TQR. se.
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