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E65 - First Impressions from a new owner....

BMW forum 7 Series car: E23, E32, E38, E65, E66, F01

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E65 - First Impressions from a new owner....

Postby GarfyUK » Sun, 19 Feb 2012 12:34:58 UTC

I have just completed the first few weeks ownership of my 2003 E65, and thought it might be interesting to note my impressions, and which options/features are not-so-relevant-to-me in normal usage....

In no particular order....
(1) Fuel consumption of my E65 745 is maybe 10% better than my E38 745. On two recent 300mile motorway trips I managed approx 31mpg using cruise control at a constant 70mph, and an overall average of 23.5mpg if I include all the town driving.
(From memory it was 28mpg and 20mpg on the E38 745) (The fuel consumption is impressive, as the performance of the E65 does feel maybe 5-10% better than E38)
(2) AutoP is useful - I wish it could be programmed to come on automatically (I do have it programmed on the steering wheel button, but WHY do i have to press it each time I start the car?)
(3) Heated seats are not particularly useful or valuable or relevant, even during the cold spell. The well-performing climate control is far more relevant to daily usage.
(4) iDrive remains an unnecessarily awfully clunky and clumsy user-interface, even after getting used to it. (This was expected, but I gave it the benefit of the doubt while I got used to it)
The iDrive screen colours and layouts dont feel like they were designed by a human. (for example.... why not green/red to show if a function is on/off?)
(5) When the E65 was first released i felt it looked ugly/odd, now it just looks neutral, not particularly good or bad. I still prefer the "look" of the E38.
(6) The Boot is enormous!
(7) **** It is an absolute pleasure to drive. ***** The drive feels smooth but sporty, it doesnt feel like a barge like the large mercs often do.
(8) I will probably never use SPORT or MANUAL gearbox modes - nor the Steptronic buttons
(9) I still cant work out all the positions of the cruise control lever
(10) I still keep flashing the headlights sometimes when adjusting the cruise control...
(11) Boot release is useful but feels too slow
(12) I have almost got used to using the voice control for the audio - (but I still have no clue how to use it for Nav or Phone or Radio Stations etc)
(13) How do I program names into the BMW phone? (I avoid the manuals, I believe stuff like this **should** be intuitive, if I have to refer to the manual then the design isnt so good)
(13) The standard headlights (non HID) are excellent - I dont see a need to upgrade to HID as I had originally planned to do. (it was the one feature I wanted that was missing on my car)
(14) TV is pointless, even though Analog TV is still available in my area I will never use it, and never upgrade to digital etc. (This was expected)
(15) I do wish I had an ipod and/or iphone interface, and bluetooth. However, I feel its not worth adding this if my 2003 iDrive will always be non-text on the iDrive screen.
(16) I am glad I made sure I waited to find a model with cream leather. (I much prefer this to the grey or black leather)
(17) Auto Wipers work well once they are turned on. Why dont the auto wipers default to ON?
(18) Auto lights are useful, and work well, but a indicator in dash to show lights are ON would be useful (in my mind). (like the front/rear fog indicators)
(19) Puddle lights on the door handles are cool and useful in the dark.
(20) Remote opening from keyfob button as you walk towards the vehicle is more useful and quicker than comfort access pressing the door handle.
(21) Shocked at the £160 cost of a new key - only available from BMW dealers. After many poor experiences in the past I always try and avoid the dealers.
(22) The auto-dip passenger side rear view mirror on reverse is a nuisance if you are close to adjacent vehicles/obstacles. I am more interested in seeing (avoiding) the vehicle/obstacle than the kerb.
(23) An 8-10 year old 7series is incredible value for money, better VFM than any 3/5 series at the same price point.

In summary, here are the options/features I value highly;
AUTO-P, AUTO-wipers, Auto-lights, Puddle lights, smooth 6speed auto box, Cream Leather, Sunroof, slightly better fuel consumption than expected
(all standard features ?)

..and here are features that are less relevant for me;
Heated Seats, TV, Steptronic,

.. and features that would be nice;
..iPod audio, Bluetooth phone interface, auto-distance cruise control, (and keyless start maybe?)
(These would require a newer model and maybe add £8-10k to purchase price, but are not worth that much to me)
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Re: E65 - First Impressions from a new owner....

Postby uk 750i sport » Sun, 19 Feb 2012 14:33:54 UTC

Interesting update and welcome to E65 ownership!

Many of the issues you flag are personal choice, so there's no right or wrong. For example, I dislike the look of the pre facelift E65 so much that I wouldn't buy one, but I have no problem at all with the 2005 on model!

The handling on your car will be great because it has Dynamic Drive which, for some odd reason, was deleted as standard equipment with the 2005 facelift, remaining just on Sport models.

iDrive on the early E65's is poor I agree. It was improved significantly with the facelift model in 2005 but is still woefully short of the current generation version.

I agree that Auto Hold is very useful but I find it a pain that the parking brake activates when you change from drive into reverse. The latest generation cars don't do this.

I haven't had heated seats before and would have thought them to be a waste of money, but I am very impressed with them in this cold weather as the heat, even from a cold start, is almost instantaneous. My car has them on all 4 seats and all passengers have really appreciated them. My car also has ventilated seats front and rear. I will reserve judgement until a hot summer, but suspect these are a gimmick.

Your cream leather must be in very good nick as all cars over 5 years old I have seen with it look quite shabby. I would always choose a light colour when buying new (as it looks great) but black when buying an older car. The black perforated leather on my 2005 750i Sport looks like new. Pale colours (cream, beige, grey) on cars of this age usually look shiny and aged whereas black stays looking newer longer.

You will get used to Cruise. I don't have the problem you have, but do seem to wash my windscreen when I don't want to!

I agree that Steptronic and Sport modes are pointless. Why change gear manually with an auto, especially when the buttons spin around with the steering wheel! Sport mode holds gears longer than necessary, adding to cabin noise, reducing refinement and wasting fuel.

Analogue TV is infuriating. In reality, how often would you park and watch TV in your car, but it's frustrating knowing that you have a TV that you can't use. The cost to upgrade to a Hybrid (digital) box just isn't worth it IMO.

I have Xenons (as do all facelift models) but they are poor compared to current generation models.

I find Voice Control to be a waste of time, other than saying 'Navigation' followed by 'To Home' as a really quick way to set your return route home.

For info, you can turn your reversing mirror tilt off really easily by leaving your door mirror switch set to the passenger side.

Finally, when you say you would have to pay 8-10k more to get some of the features you would like, I think you over estimate how much the facelift models are now. Extremelly well equipped facelift models with average miles can now be bought for under £10k.
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Re: E65 - First Impressions from a new owner....

Postby GarfyUK » Sun, 19 Feb 2012 15:06:56 UTC

Thanks for the tip re disabling the reverse-passenger-mirror-dip.

Yes, it is all a personal choice. I understand re the never-touch-it-with-a-barge-pole styling. I always told myself I would NEVER buy a E65 as it was just plain ugly, but somehow it just seems neutral now. I havent really tuned in well enough to recognise the detail of external-style differences in the facelift or F01/F02 models, just a little rounder at the edges. I do note that the climate controls on the later models look like they were taken out of the old E38 dash....

Re the cruise the half/full forward/back flick seems to do everything I use. I cant work out what they were thinking with the up/down on the cruise control. Guess I will have to admit defeat and go read the manual again....
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Re: E65 - First Impressions from a new owner....

Postby crombster » Sun, 19 Feb 2012 18:40:02 UTC

UK 750i Sport wrote:Interesting update and welcome to E65 ownership!

I agree that Steptronic and Sport modes are pointless. Why change gear manually with an auto, especially when the buttons spin around with the steering wheel! Sport mode holds gears longer than necessary, adding to cabin noise, reducing refinement and wasting fuel.



I do agree that Sports mode seems fundamentally flawed on the E65 compared to the E39 (albeit both were Alpina Switchtronic). The E65 is very reluctant to change up annoyingly.

That said, half my driving relies on the paddles and I wouldn't be without them. A must have when hoofing the thing about!
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Re: E65 - First Impressions from a new owner....

Postby Harry » Sun, 19 Feb 2012 22:13:40 UTC

The fuel consumption is very good for the performance on offer. My old E38 735 was better than I expected, but the E66 is very efficient – for what it is.

I use Auto-P in traffic but the rest of the time I prefer creep. I also have it programmed to the steering wheel and I expect many people do. Personally I’m glad it needs switching on every drive (like the rain sensor) because I only deploy it is specific conditions. The auto wipers don’t come on by default to stop accidental damage. Like when they are stuck to a frozen windscreen or (god forbid) you take it through a car wash.

Like the E39, the E38 was a styling high water mark which they were never going to better. Rather than churn out more sausages like Jaguar, they put it out there. I don’t think it was a successful design language but it works better on large surface areas. Which is why the E65 can pull it off, particularly when in motion, but the E60 just looks plain wrong. I prefer the face lift but I know the original big scary is favoured by many.

Like you I find the auto dip N/S mirror not too useful. I have overcome this by keeping the mirror switch to the driver’s side. I’ve also set memory 2 on the driver’s seat to just dip the N/S mirror half way – a tip someone gave me on here.

Twists, turns and minor niggles aside, as you have quickly discovered, the E65 is a terrific dynamic package. So comfortable and easy to drive yet so nimble and sure footed. People refuse to believe that so much bulk can have so much poise and change direction so crisply, with lovely steering feel. I didn’t believe it myself – until I drove one.

I wish you big fun.
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Re: E65 - First Impressions from a new owner....

Postby uk 750i sport » Sun, 19 Feb 2012 22:46:23 UTC

Harry wrote: Like you I find the auto dip N/S mirror not too useful. I have overcome this by keeping the mirror switch to the driver’s side. I’ve also set memory 2 on the driver’s seat to just dip the N/S mirror half way – a tip someone gave me on here.


Harry,
How do you set the mirror to only dip half way?
I thought it was just 'all or nothing', but I would find the 'half dip' very useful when reversing into my garage.
2005 750i Sport, Black Sapphire, Privacy Glass, 20" alloys, Sunroof, Rear & Side blinds, Xenons, Comfort Seats x4, Heated & Ventilated Seats x4, Pro Logic 7, Sat Nav, TV, 6xCD, Comfort Access, Soft Close Doors, Powered Boot lid.
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Re: E65 - First Impressions from a new owner....

Postby GarfyUK » Mon, 20 Feb 2012 00:41:14 UTC

>>>>How do you set the mirror to only dip half way?
..Chewing gum behind the mirror maybe?
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Re: E65 - First Impressions from a new owner....

Postby Harry » Mon, 20 Feb 2012 07:19:11 UTC

I have memorised the N/S mirror position I want as memory 2 on the driver#s seat. When reversing, if I want a half dip I press memory button 2. If I need a full dip I flick the mirror adjustment switch to the passenger side.
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Re: E65 - First Impressions from a new owner....

Postby uk 750i sport » Mon, 20 Feb 2012 08:40:39 UTC

Got it.....thanks!
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Re: E65 - First Impressions from a new owner....

Postby Harry » Mon, 20 Feb 2012 17:45:02 UTC

Good huh? And whoever came up with the idea - thanks. I think it was in the Five section a couple of months back.
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Re: E65 - First Impressions from a new owner....

Postby dtyride » Mon, 20 Feb 2012 20:52:49 UTC

Hi Garfyuk. Sport mode is just there if want to have a hoot it holds the revs longer plus on the 730d it helps the turbo spool up faster, though it eats diesel like a petrol does at full whack. The e65/66 are quite nimble for a big car but in the end you cant beat the laws off physics when the back end does go you can certainly feel the weight. Mine benefits from suspension upgrades, i can alter from inside the cabin.I think dynamic setting on my car gives the car great road holding and smooth ride. Heated seats are a must for winter and the auto p in stop start traffic is ace. I got tv but i cant watch it, i have a fridge in the back arm rest that i never use, and manual mode on the gearbox is totally pointless and a power boot that takes ages but in the end i am glad they are there if i ever need them well apart from the t.v which is digital now. I think your right about value for money i think in this sector with this type off money you would be hard struck to find something better. Hope you treat each other well. Happy motoring. :)
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Re: E65 - First Impressions from a new owner....

Postby uk 750i sport » Wed, 29 Feb 2012 22:22:50 UTC

Harry wrote:I have memorised the N/S mirror position I want as memory 2 on the driver#s seat. When reversing, if I want a half dip I press memory button 2. If I need a full dip I flick the mirror adjustment switch to the passenger side.


Not wishing to be pedantic, but on mine the mirror dips when the switch is left on the drivers side and doesn't tilt when switched to the passenger side.
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Re: E65 - First Impressions from a new owner....

Postby Harry » Thu, 01 Mar 2012 20:48:53 UTC

I wouldn't be surprised. I have a habit of not memorising things which aren't important to me - which is my cover story for old age. Whatever position the mirror switch goes to for dip in reverse - it's the other switch position you can manually adjust them punch it into memory 2.
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