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      10-31-2011, 04:24 AM   #1
andrewjgreen1
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520d touring - is this good value?

Hi all, I'm new to this forum and I sort of have two questions but the first one is key.

I'm in the armed forces and can benefit from a discounted rate of private purchase from BMW but am unsure if it's worth it. My wife and I set an initial budget of approximatey 30k to buy a 1 year old 520d touring, replacing my 320i touring as the family grows. The car I've put together (listed below for advice and criticism - my second question) comes in at approximately 39k list; BMW will sell it to me for about 35k (well above my budget I know, but mission creep always occurs). A 12 month old second hand version of the same vehicle, give or take the odd extras, is in the region of 31-32k. Does the discount BMW offer me make it worthwhile breaking the bank or should I stick with my initial gut feeling of never buying a 'new' car?

I suppose a lot of the answer to this depends on how much I value being able to specify the car I want and having a car which is entirely new. Other factors are the extra year's warranty I'd be getting and that a new car is that little further from new tyres/brakes/first service etc. Anyway, for all the information I've thrown at the board I'd like people's opinions on the deal I'm being offered and what factors you would be considering that I may have missed.

Secondly (wow, this is a big post), below is the car I'm thinking of going for, does this seem reasonable/sensible? Any additions to the spec would have to involve a sacrifice of something else as I'm already at the point of about a 20% overspend on the original budget.

520d touring
Black dakota leather interior
Space Grey
18 inch 328 V-spoke alloy wheels
Media package - BMW professional
Automatic gearbox
Exterior mirrors, folding auto dimming
Fine brushed aluminium
Ambient lighting
Internet
DAB digital radio
Telephone USB audio interface
Sun protection glass

The black leather is pretty much essential as I have a 1 year old and we're planning on expanding (does the leather need treatment to stand up well to children?), the same goes for the sun protection glass. I'm still very tempted by lumbar supports as even though the normal seats felt good on a short test drive, as a helicopter pilot lower back pain is, well, a constant pain.

Thank you to anyone who has made it this far into the post and I welcome your thoughts.

Andrew
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      10-31-2011, 04:33 AM   #2
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Nice car spec. I personally love the feeling of a brand-new car, built to my specifications, with seats that no-one else has farted in but I also understand the financial logic against it. However, if you can get a good deal then go for it.

I'd also suggest the visibility pack is essential - the adaptive xenon lights are amazing.
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      10-31-2011, 11:18 AM   #3
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I have a 520d Touring. I bought it new in February (or rather December, then waited on delivery) Similar spec to yours, though I see you didn't pick the sports auto - I strongly suggest you add that, it's superb.

I have the oyster leather which I combine with a 3 year old, a 6 year old and an 11 year old. It's not a problem. I keep a pack of wet wipes in the boot which sorts everything out quickly. I'd recommend the light interior. It looks awesome and makes the car seem v spacious.

I didn't get ambient lighting and always regretted it.
I didn't get folding mirrors and that's never bothered me.
I didn't get 18 inch wheels and that's never bothered me. 17" looks just fine. Not as good as 18" when you have them side by side, but does that actually happen in the real world???
I didn't get DAB because I'm not a big music nut. I like to listen to podcasts which I do via the usb link in the armrest.
USB and heated seats I did buy and these are great. Use them all the time.

The seats are amazingly comfortable. I've done 18,000 miles and the Touring just soaks them up. I've never felt less fatigue that with this car in my 20 years driving. I doubt you'll need to spend more on them.

When I bought my car in December, I immediately joined this forum and was here daily for several months. I recall that there was around that time lots of chatter around recent changes to the standard spec; certainly the prof media hardware (or firmware) was updated.

I'm sorry that I cannot remember the detail but I would suggest you read back and try to find out. There was a group of the early model owners a bit pissed off that they didn't have stuff some of the other ppl did.

Now this is a pretty regular thing with this model. Almost every month seems to have a slightly evolving build. Understanding the changes build to build will be good for you to know if you are getting a used model.
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      10-31-2011, 11:25 AM   #4
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Heated seats are standard now, USB integration is standard with Pro Media, full black-panel instruments are also standard. Rumours abound that Business Nav will soon be standard (as the A6 has nav as standard) but the Business Nav is a bit pants.
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      10-31-2011, 11:38 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shake n Bake View Post
sports auto - I strongly suggest you add that, it's superb.
ab-so-lute-ly agree
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      10-31-2011, 02:54 PM   #6
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Thanks all for your input so far...so my thoughts arising:

Xenon - the visibility package sounds good but I really am at the higher if not highest end of my budget, what would you sacrifice in order to include it?

Shake & Bake - thanks for the info re: the leather, my wife will be most pleased as she was leaning towards the Oyster/Black or even Oyster/Oyster combo. I'm glad to hear the standard seats are well regarded and take the point about the wheels - I just can't get away from the thought that the 17 in wheels look like they're too small for the car, though I suppose you'd do well to notice a 1in increase in diameter. I did read every post on the forum before posting so as to ensure I was well briefed and I noted the comments about slightly older cars struggling with, amongst other things, 7 digit postcodes; little niggles like that can wear over time.

Folding & dimming mirrors...I live on an air force base so traffic is very light and I'm not too worried about the folding function but I have an auto dimming rear-view mirror on my current 3 series and find myself annoyed that whilst it does it's job I'm still dazzled by badly adjusted headlights in the wing mirrors. I feel like to have one as standard I have to have the other or there's no point in either...does this seem reasonable or am I walking into an obvious trap?

Further questions (sorry)...my wife and I both use iPhones, I've read the options booklet and am still a little unclear what I need in order to have them work with the car. I get the impression that the standard USB integraton will play music but can I control that music from the steering wheel controls or for that kind of functionality do I need the telephone USB audio interface I specified?

As someone who simply uses the car to cruise in comfort, what are the advantages of the sport auto box? I can see that the idea is a nice one but, of those who have the sport box, how often do you actually use it (especially the paddles)?

Finally, I read something about it elsewhere but I feel I should ask...has anybody deselected the smoker's package? I presume doing do will have relatively little influence on ease of resale and means there'll be more of those little cubby-holes and small storage spaces knocking around the vehicle?

Thanks in anticipation...I know I'm full of questions but want to make sure I get this right, I'm hoping to buy a car for the family for (perhaps) the next five years.
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      11-01-2011, 02:58 AM   #7
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I'd sacrifice the folding mirror do-dah, ambient lighting and the Internet (I never use it personally) if I could then get the visibility pack.

In order to play and control music from your iPhone you do not need the telephone USB.
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      11-01-2011, 03:21 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by andrewjgreen1 View Post
Xenon - the visibility package sounds good it is

Folding & dimming mirrors...also if you hold the lock button on the remote then the mirrors fold - so you can tell from afar that you have locked your car

.....what are the advantages of the sport auto box? ..... how often do you actually use it (especially the paddles)?i use the sports suspension setting all of the time, the sportier ratios some of the time as you don't get top gear in that mode, and paddles a few times a week. Having said tht my lad prefers comfort setting and doesn't care for the sports option.

......deselected the smoker's package?the 'extra storage' where the ashtray would go is useless - i think there are differences around the cupholder region but again it's a disappointing use of space
what car do you drive currently?
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      11-01-2011, 03:34 AM   #9
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I should also say that when looking for stuff to bin in order to get the visibility pack I personally would drop the auto, sports or otherwise, like a shot because I hate autos. That's my personal opinon though and I'm not posting to open one of those never-ending debates that happens on every motoring forum. - Each to their own!
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      11-01-2011, 04:02 AM   #10
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Thanks again everyone for you thoughts. I'm going to keep playing with the ideas people have given me, building and rebuilding a car until I find a balance I like and that I think gives good value for money.

It sounds like the deselection of the smokers' pack is pretty pointless (I found another thread saying something similar) and am glad to hear my iphone will work without paying extra.

Now, as for Xenon's point about automatic gearboxes. I've never had one before and am not desperate to have one but 90% of cars available second hand have an auto box, whichever one. I know it sounds silly buying an option for the sake of future retail but...well...that's sort of what I'm planning on doing. In fairness the test drive I took had an automatic box and very impressive it was too, plus lots of people here and elsewhere extol the virtues of this 8 speed box; both things help make the decision feel easier and less like it's being taken for a future unknown buyer.


Blaz - my current car is a 57 reg 320i touring SE - the only options I recall it having are ambient lighting (which is an unnecessary but pleasing touch) and extended interior lights. It was built in Feb 08 and bought by us Feb 09 for about 16k, which we thought was a reasonable deal and presented a blueprint for future car purchases from which we've still not fully divorced ourselves.
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      11-01-2011, 04:33 AM   #11
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I certainly wouldn't pick on a brand-new car an option that you think may be worthwhile at resale. One of the best things about a new car is that it's as the way you want it.

I agree that the 8-speed auto is a fabulous piece of engineering but I would still go manual and plenty of others would too. I know a guy who's been looking for a 530d F10 and he desparately wanted a manual but struggled to find one and ended up paying a premium. Don't worry about resale 3 years down the road - things like professional media and other option packs wow the second-hand buyer, I reckon.
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      11-01-2011, 05:01 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by andrewjgreen1 View Post

Further questions (sorry)...my wife and I both use iPhones, I've read the options booklet and am still a little unclear what I need in order to have them work with the car. I get the impression that the standard USB integraton will play music but can I control that music from the steering wheel controls or for that kind of functionality do I need the telephone USB audio interface I specified?

As someone who simply uses the car to cruise in comfort, what are the advantages of the sport auto box? I can see that the idea is a nice one but, of those who have the sport box, how often do you actually use it (especially the paddles)?

Finally, I read something about it elsewhere but I feel I should ask...has anybody deselected the smoker's package? I presume doing do will have relatively little influence on ease of resale and means there'll be more of those little cubby-holes and small storage spaces knocking around the vehicle?

Thanks in anticipation...I know I'm full of questions but want to make sure I get this right, I'm hoping to buy a car for the family for (perhaps) the next five years.
It really is down to personal preference. Xenon wouldn't go without his visibility package; for him it adds to the experience greatly. I personally cannot see the cost-benefit and don't in any way feel that I am missing anything. Similarly I wouldn't dream of going manual. The auto box is superb and hugely enhances my driving experience. I would never buy another car without it.

Your point on the 18" wheels is true. I do at times look at the car and think they look a bit small, but I can't really say it bothers me and so I spent the money on other things.

Oyster black looks very nice and is wearing well for me.

The Touring is a really good car. My friends joke that it's a hearse, but I like being able to fold down the seat, throw my mountain bike in the back and head off, all in about 2 mins.

I agree that the little niggles can wear over time and detract from your experience. You'll want to be v careful which month build you get I expect.

I think folding mirrors are nice. I don't have them and once it a while I do have to manually fold them up in a multi-storey but again I wanted other stuff more......

Your question about the iPhone again depends on the build date I believe. My January build works with my iphone and I control it all from the iDrive. I *think* I can control it from the steering wheel but as I sit here at my desk I cannot be sure. As for it's use, I tend to plug it into a 3 retractable USB cable whenever I get into the car and stick it in the glove box. I've done bluetooth streaming and it works fine, but you know those iphones have a crappy battery so I tend to leave it plugged in.

The sports auto has 2 benefits over standard auto for me (and I don't mean the prettier shift stick):
1) on the occasions I want to pull away from the lights quicker than the next guy and when I'm enjoying a drive on quiet country lanes it really changes the performance characteristics and is very enjoyable.
2) when in a busy built up area, sometimes you need the greater responsiveness that you get from being in a lower gear than would be the case in normal mode. I don't mean I tear around housing estates or anything, but when there is a fair bit of traffic and you need to get somewhere you want to be able to pull out quickly into the gaps that appear etc.....
The paddles only cost 100 extra as I recall so I had them. they look nice. I use them rarely as the sports auto is very very good. They are good for dropping down 2 or 3 gears when cruising in the middle lane at 65mph when you want to accellerate into a gap in the fast lane. Similarly if you want a fast exit from a corner on a country road. Really though, for me it's just a pretty ornament.

I REALLY wish I had deselected the smokers package. I have the ash tray jammed now for the third time with a 2p coin that fell down the back. Bloody irritating.
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      11-01-2011, 05:11 AM   #13
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I agree with that and the major advantage of a new car is (hopefully) not having to compromise on spec. by having to abide by the decisions of the initial purchaser. Go for what you want and don't worry about resale!
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      11-01-2011, 05:17 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by andrewjgreen1 View Post
Thanks all for your input so far...so my thoughts arising:

Xenon - the visibility package sounds good but I really am at the higher if not highest end of my budget, what would you sacrifice in order to include it?

Shake & Bake - thanks for the info re: the leather, my wife will be most pleased as she was leaning towards the Oyster/Black or even Oyster/Oyster combo. I'm glad to hear the standard seats are well regarded and take the point about the wheels - I just can't get away from the thought that the 17 in wheels look like they're too small for the car, though I suppose you'd do well to notice a 1in increase in diameter. I did read every post on the forum before posting so as to ensure I was well briefed and I noted the comments about slightly older cars struggling with, amongst other things, 7 digit postcodes; little niggles like that can wear over time.

Folding & dimming mirrors...I live on an air force base so traffic is very light and I'm not too worried about the folding function but I have an auto dimming rear-view mirror on my current 3 series and find myself annoyed that whilst it does it's job I'm still dazzled by badly adjusted headlights in the wing mirrors. I feel like to have one as standard I have to have the other or there's no point in either...does this seem reasonable or am I walking into an obvious trap?

Further questions (sorry)...my wife and I both use iPhones, I've read the options booklet and am still a little unclear what I need in order to have them work with the car. I get the impression that the standard USB integraton will play music but can I control that music from the steering wheel controls or for that kind of functionality do I need the telephone USB audio interface I specified?

As someone who simply uses the car to cruise in comfort, what are the advantages of the sport auto box? I can see that the idea is a nice one but, of those who have the sport box, how often do you actually use it (especially the paddles)?

Finally, I read something about it elsewhere but I feel I should ask...has anybody deselected the smoker's package? I presume doing do will have relatively little influence on ease of resale and means there'll be more of those little cubby-holes and small storage spaces knocking around the vehicle?

Thanks in anticipation...I know I'm full of questions but want to make sure I get this right, I'm hoping to buy a car for the family for (perhaps) the next five years.
Like Xenon, I also consider the adaptive bi-xenon lights to be essential, but that's because I do a good deal of night driving on unlit Scottish country roads. Not only are they significantly brighter and whiter, but they turn with the steering wheel, thereby lighting your way around corners. If, however, you hardly ever venture away from well lit roads at night, you probably wouldn't realise the full benefit. As to where to find the extra money, I would delete 1. ambient lighting (nice but far from essential), 2. USB phone connection (any bluetooth phone will fully interface - check model compatibility and operational functions here: http://www.bmw.com/com/en/owners/nav...=EU&country=UK), 3. Sun protection glass (I think it looks odd with just the rear side windows and screen tinted), 4. Sport auto (it's very good, but based on your stated driving style, you probably wouldn't notice much difference).
I find the folding/dimming mirrors all but indispensable - they dim very effectively, but the main benefit for me is for is in negotiating tight spaces such as passing oncoming traffic on very narrow country lanes and getting in and out of my garage.
I had the smokers package deleted, but I don't think you get much extra storage space - either way you get the same number of power outlets.
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      11-01-2011, 07:45 AM   #15
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My 2012 Model Year F10 520d SE is now just over 2 weeks old and I'm loving it. (Pics and spec in the Gallery section: http://f10.5post.com/forums/showthread.php?t=598432)

The new model year build adds a few extras at no cost, which may help to swing the new/second-hand argument. The new "Eco-Drive Pro" gives new settings for economical driving (when/if you want it!), via an extra switch position on the dynamic drive control. Autos now get engine stop/start (the manuals had it already), which can be switched off whenever you don't want it. (CO2 emissions drop to 123 g because of these extras and I think the mpg goes up (can't remember what it was before...)).

But, as you are going for the media pro navigation, the best new addition is the new GSM-based Real Time Traffic Information, which gives significantly more info on hold-ups than the previous TMC radio-based system, offers sensible re-routing and even colours roads according to traffic flow. The resolution of traffic problems in busy areas is something like 50m!

I will add my support to the adaptive xenon calls... they transform the car at night (and look pretty cool in the daytime too!). Colleagues who did not order them are deeply regretting it now.

I'll also add my support to the sports-auto camp. It's said to be the best value option that BMW offer and (once I've completed the running in) I reckon I'll use the paddles as much as I did on my previous E60 530i. (It's not just about the paddles though, it just offers more flexibility... and the changer looks better!)

The internet function is a waste of time and money in my opinion, especially when you have iPhones in the car anyway. It's dreadfully slow and has a useless interface. It's my only (slight) regret in my long list of toys - but at least it didn't cost much.

iPhone connectivity using a snap-in cradle and the full iPhone interface allows video playback and supports apps from the iPhone (inc internet radio (which I use a lot, despite also having DAB) and social media sites). It also allows things like remote locking of the car from anywhere, remote flashing of headlights and sounding of horn, (to help find the car in a big car park etc) and also remote sending of google map positions to the nav system (I find that very useful). This latter feature also tracks the whereabouts of your car (and you) on the phone navigation screen - i.e. showing the quickest route back to your car (or presumably, where it is if stolen - although BMW can do that for you, afaik). To be honest, I'm not quite sure what you get of the above list if you don't include all the iPhone connection options and dealer-fit media cradle. As you mention, it's a bit of a nightmare sorting out just what you need, so I put it all in the hands of the dealer, who did his homework correctly and came up with the right spec!

I have the same 18s as you - I like the look and the ride, but I do also have VDC, so I don't know what they are like without the variable control...

If you are after any savings - I am really impressed with the standard black interior trim (and it goes beautifully with oyster/black dakota). It's a kind-of speckly finish, as though it has small mica or metallic flecks in it - and was a real pleasant surprise to me, as I had chosen it (or rather, left it by default!) to save some expense against my toy list. No regrets whatsoever!

I do have the smokers pack deletion. I think it was the right thing to do, but the extra space is not well designed. I just didn't want a "smoker's pack" either.

Can't think of any other points in particular... it's still a very new toy for me too! As with others here, feel free to ask any questions.
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      11-01-2011, 09:41 AM   #16
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Just thought I would add my two-penny-worth...
I have had my (saloon) car for a couple of months now and have got to grips with the options:
1. I wish I had gone for the Sport Auto Box - it is a good and cheap option.
2. The standard lights are excellent and for general use just fine. I don't have to drive on country roads at night very often though...
3. It is true that the privacy glass looks slightly odd on the rear windows only. However, the cooling properties make it well worth having.
4. The folding mirrors are great. I do have to park in narrow streets occasionally and the reduction in risk of someone knocking them off is worth the price. If you had to replace a standard mirror, it would still cost a fortune.
5. 17" wheels provide a great, comfortable ride. You really can't see much difference when compared to only 18". Tyres might be a bit cheaper too (?).
6. DAB is fantastic for me - I like "Planet Rock" !
7. The light interior colours DOES add to the spacious feel.

That's it. It is ALL down to personal taste and what you actually value.
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      11-01-2011, 09:50 AM   #17
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Clearly SpikeUK is a very smart guy with his head on right.....he pretty much thinks the same way I do
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