The car continues to impress me and is averaging 45.5mpg, which is very good considering that I don't drive it that economically. I don't think that the handling is as good as it was, although I may have just got used to it, but it seems to lurch a little into corners. Maybe the suspension rubbers, dampers etc have worn, or possibly I have just got used to it. Anyway, it's still a great car.
The blanking ducts in the front air dam fall out if you scrap the front bumper on kerb or grass bank, which is quite easy to do when you consider how low the front is. BMW like to charge £20 each for these fairly roughly molded and thin pieces of plastic, which is a rip off. I have lost two of these now, and they charge another £8 to knock them in with the palm of their hand, which takes about 3 seconds. My solution has been to drill some holes in them and attach them with TyRaps, which you can't really see. I am not sure what these duct blanks are for.
Another thing that is starting to annoy me is the sprayed-on rubber covering on the interior steering wheel, seat bases etc. It feels very tactile and lovely when new, but is prone to being scratched of by finger nail to reveal shiny plastic underneath. I thought car manufacturers has largely mastered textured plastic in the 1980s, so why they are using this cheap finish is beyond me.
BMW must be the only manufacturer that has mastered the art of making leather steering wheels feel and look like plastic, so that you splurge out mightily for an upgraded sports or even M wheel option.
Yes, BMW are expert at making you buy the options. My BMW 520d has rotary controls for the heating, which is fine, but the digital readout ones with passenger and driver temperature controls are another £500 or so. I suspect that it actually costs them more to make the controls in mine due to the knobs, rotary encoders etc, but they accept this hoping you won't be able to resist upgrading to the panel that is fitted to every other 5 series.
I once looked at the X5 and was interested in the 3rd row of seats in the boot, which I think cost around £1500, which I thought I could stand, but then I found out that you had to buy the leather interior option as well. So the total bill was £3500, as I remember, which is a lot for two small seats. Having said this, I still love the cars, and they're in the game to make money.
The car has now done 80k miles and continues to impress, although the rubber coating on the steering wheel is continuing to wear off.
One thing that has started to annoy me is the luggage cover, which opens when you open the tailgate, but the problem is that it doesn't re-close. So the typical scenario is that you put something in the boot, the cover opens, you drive off, and notice the cover is still open, so you can't see much out the rear window. If you are you going to make it auto-open, then make it auto-close, or just don't bother at all.
The car came to an untimely end at 87k miles when I drove through a flooded section of road, which would have been fine, if a bus hadn't come the other way, and the bow wave from it went over the bonnet. The engine struggled on for a while, and then hydraulically locked, and that was it. BMW didn't want to actually get their spanners out, and decided it need a new engine for £10k, which meant the car was written off. I appreciate that there were probably broken con-rods, crankshaft, block damage etc, but there must have been some salvageable parts.
Very sad, and overall I loved the car. It's a company car, and my company had a Ford S-max going spare, so I am driving that now, and it's very, very nice. I will put a review on soon.
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