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Punctures, MoTs, more sparkly bits and one of the fleet meets its maker… but in a good way!
The mileage countdown to the next service continues on its merry way, and we’re 3500 miles from someone taking the wheels off and whipping out the rear brake pads for a fresh set. Followed shortly after by an oil change and vehicle check, plus the front pads too I think. I’m still undecided as to whether to go the whole hog and do it all in one go, saving on garage visits. I’m also undecided as to whether to go main dealer or specialist, as there’s a local garage with a good reputation which I could try. I’ll have to give them a call and see if they’re rigged up to accept the F30, but given the number on the roads one assumes this will be the case.
Vodafone gave me a new iPhone about, oh I dunno, twelve months ago, and ever since then I’ve not been able to use the BMW Remote app as I lost the registration details as a consequence. So I’ve been through the process again this month and finally got it working, just as a new iPhone 6S Plus arrived (which I’ll be using to finally upload a 4K video review of KP12 to my YouTube channel – I know, it’s only taken about a year since I mentioned it…).
Naturally enough, I again neglected to take all the details off the old 5S (there’s always something which gets missed with events such as these isn’t there) so I poured myself a drink and pondered whether it was worth the aggro. Onto the ‘phone again to a chap at a BMW call centre, and when we finally resolved the mine field which is its SMS and email-based password reset process, I was able to gain access to the app.
Not sure why I bothered though, to be honest. Does anybody out there actually use these things? The ventilation function merely activates the fan operation, not the airconditioning, hence it makes about as much difference on a hot day as a particularly tired flea furiously flapping its wings on the parcel shelf. The lock/unlock function takes an age to transmit to and from the car (and good luck getting that confidence- inspiring ‘ok’ message if your ‘phone loses the 3G or 4G signal mid-way through the procedure) and besides, who the hell wants to remotely unlock their car anyway? And I can’t really see the point of the remote headlight flash either, because by the time you’ve searched that remote festival or stately home car park where this feature is presumably of any practical benefit and found your car, the time taken to do so roughly correlates to the time taken for the headlight flash signal to actually reach the car. The app’s a good idea, but the tech has some way to go before it works.
At least the front nearside Bridgestone Potenza has finally been replaced, courtesy of those efficient people at www.blackcircles.com, not to mention my preferred local fitment centre, www.hiqonline.co.uk/hiqcentres/ carterton (01993 843987) who welcomed me on a chilly Saturday morning with a wireless code for the aforementioned 6S Plus (why are mobile ‘phones regressing to the size they were in the 80s?) and a comfy sofa whilst the 224/40 R19 was smeared around the alloy in a scant 20 minutes. Excellent service, highly recommend both outfits.
Still on the subject of tyres, the morning after we had the front replaced, the dashboard lit up claiming that one of the tyres had a puncture. It took a few seconds for me to register that the tyre fitment not 24 hours earlier probably had something to do with it, and indeed a message then appeared on the iDrive, stating what should happen next but at the same time, opining that perhaps the pressure sensor needed to be reset. Which we duly did and all has been well since. I had this problem last time too, as I recall. I really must make a note of these things…
Prior to receiving the aforementioned new tyre, KP12 again found itself dumped in North Oxford’s secure parking area this month as I had the use of the new X6 for a weekend, and yet again here is an SUV/SAV which drew a cool response upon first acquaintance, but which I badly wanted by the end of the loan. Tellingly, the length of time it took to talk me around on this occasion was but just a few miles. Heading west down the A40 towards home, left arm again slung out across the transmission tunnel, my mind went back to the E71 version I drove for April 2014’s issue of BMW Car magazine. I said then that the meek may inherit the earth but they won’t be driving X6 BMWs, and I stand by that statement. This is arrogance on wheels, a get-out-of-my-lane device. And I absolutely love it.
The loan car was a 30d M Sport, complete with tasty options such as the driver assistance package, which drove me mad down the M11 with its constant ‘red alert’ warnings from the instrument cluster. Does an engineer somewhere in BMW assume that stop, start traffic continues forward at a regulation 100 feet? So that soon got turned off. But otherwise, a combination of the new interior architecture (which is utterly gorgeous, locating the driver low down with a high waistline and prominent instrument pod) seriously impressive refinement wedded to push-you-back surge and the amusing sight of the tsunami of spray kicked up by the 315/35 20s out back really found favour with me. Funny how your opinion of something can really change when you spend some serious time with it. Twice. We were again bound for Suffolk, and the X6 repeated its shrinking trick around the lanes. Grunty, grippy, and happy to be hustled. Then swing onto the A120 on the way home, warp to 80mph, ease the throttle and relax.
Fields and towns slip by the side windows, the elevated driving position subconsciously lowers your heart rate and the excellent eight-speed auto discreetly sorts the ratios. Then you spy the journey computer and it claims this two tonne, two-storey motor is doing 34mpg. Alchemy achieved. And yes, I know, it’ll be crap off road. But it’s utterly pointless to score the X6’s off-road abilities as it totally misses the point. You may as well assume that porn stars make good lovers. Just because something looks like it may be fit for purpose, doesn’t mean it will be.
BMW doesn’t make a bad car these days (although the hyperactive puppy that is the M135i is probably my least favourite of recent years). They make an awful lot of good cars, and I’ve heaped praise on pretty much all of them. This latest X6 though, crumbs it’s good. Quite what the next one will be like is anybody’s guess but for now, I’ll take an #BMW-X6-40d-M-Sport / #BMW-X6-F16 over them all, including icons such as the M5 and i8.
So much so that I’ve been looking at used ones as yet another potential replacement option for KP12. They don’t depreciate with quite the same venom as something like an F01 7 Series (another seriously tasty option – how does £18k for a 48k mile 2009 750i with the full options list of night vision, radar, blind spot, lane guidance and HUD sound?) but nevertheless, low 30s seems to soon be the going rate for an X6 M50d, and that’s one incredibly grunty motor. In short, lots to go shopping for when 2016 dawns in January.
In contrast to all this, a recent trip to Beaulieu motor museum almost seemed like an anti-climax. I hadn’t been in a few years (er…twenty five, actually) and was expecting a significant difference as a consequence, but that feeling never really materialised. The much-lauded Top Gear exhibition was pretty poor in my view and the food in the main canteen area was awful. The main indoor exhibition area was impressive enough, and the sight and (near silent) sound of a Rolls-Royce Ghost running whilst an engineer talked the crowd through its engine servicing and maintenance schedule was impressive, too. But that was pretty much it and more to the point, it’s all they really had twenty-five years ago, too. And never mind that BMW content seemed very thin on the ground. Worse actually, the enormous model railway they had in those days has apparently been repatriated Stateside at the request of its owners, so that’s not there any more either. It was nice to see the place, but we won’t be back.
F30 320d Sport / #N47D20 / #N47
MILEAGE THIS MONTH: 1560
TOTAL MILEAGE: 47,977
MPG THIS MONTH: 47.7
COST THIS MONTH: £187 (tyre)
A new tyre was required this month and Black Circles and HiQ came up trumps; Mark wishes he’d remembered to reset the TPC though!
THANKS TO: North Oxford #BMW www.oxfordbmw.co.uk 01865 319000
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