FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

 

General Questions

What does E60 stand for?
When was the E60 first produced?
Where is the E60 built? At what factory?
What is the touring model?
What is European Delivery?
What are the safety features?
What is the BMW Car Club of America (BMW CCA)?

 

Specific Option Questions

What is iDrive?
What is BMW Assist?
What is the CPT9000?
What is Bluetooth?
What is Active Steering?
What is Head Up Display?
What is Active Roll Stabilization/Dynamic Drive?
What is SMG?
What are Adaptive Headlights?
What is Logic7?
What is Sirius?
What is PDC?
What is FTM?
What is ACC?

 

Pre-Ownership Questions

How do I negotiate a good price when buying my new car?
How long will it take to build my car and have it delivered?
How can I check the status of my car’s production?
My dealer gave me a production status code, what does it mean?
When taking delivery of my new car, is there a list of things to check on?
What is the difference between the standard warranty and included maintenance?
What are the break-in rules on new BMW’s?

 

Owners Questions & Common Problems

How do I tell what software version I have?
Why didn’t my car come with red rear reflectors?
Everything slides around in my trunk, is there anything I can do about it?
How come the HUD display disappears if I’m wearing my sunglasses?
Can I have NAV installed after my car is delivered?
How come there is so much static on my radio?
My voice control doesn’t work, why?
Where can I find a list of voice commands?
Can the car’s options be set in iDrive, or do any require the dealer to set like they used to?
How come my adaptive xenon headlights don’t turn when I turn the steering wheel?
How do I listen to my iPod, or other MP3 player, through my cars stereo system?

General Questions


What does E60 stand for?
E60 is BMW’s internal designation for the new 5 series, 2004 – Current. Every BMW model has its own internal designation. For example the touring model of the new 5 series is called the E61 and the old 5 series is called the E39. In more detailed terms, E60 stands for Entwicklung 60 (development 60) which can be translated into Evolution 60. The 60 means that this is BMW’s 60th model design since the beginning of the company. Not all designs are put into production, such as concept cars, which also receive an E designation.
Top  -  Forums: Click for more info!


When was the E60 first produced?
The E60 first appeared in the North American market in early September 2003. In Europe and various other countries the car was available as early as July 2003.
Top  -  Forums: Click for more info!


Where is the E60 built? At what factory?
The new BMW 5 Series is built exclusively at BMW’s largest production plant, the BMW Dingolfing Plant, approximately 100 kilometres away from Munich, Germany.
Top  -  Forums: Click for more info!


What is the touring model?
The touring model, labeled as the E61 internally by BMW, is the wagon version of the new 5 series.
Top  -  Forums: Click for more info!


What is European Delivery?
European Delivery is a program BMW established which allows customers to take delivery of their new BMW in Munich, Germany. Not only does it include a signifigant cost savings but you get to drive your new BMW on twisty German roads and the Autobahn! Many new buyers fear this program however there is nothing to fear. Insurance and shipping costs are included in the cars purchase price. If you damage your new BMW during European Delivery it will be repaired before you receive it back in the United States. We would highly recommend that every BMW buyer atleast consider this program. It makes for an excellent family vacation too!
Top  -  Forums: Click for more info!


What are the safety features?

The new 5 Series features significant advances in active and passive safety features. The optional head-up display makes a significant contribution to active safety by presenting important driving information directly in the driver’s line of vision. Active Front Steering, Active Roll Stabilization and run-flat tires complete an outstanding safety package.
Top  -  Forums: Click for more info!


What is the BMW Car Club of America (BMW CCA)?

The BMW Car Club of America is an organization that all BMW owners should be members of! Members get discounts on parts and supplies, a subscription to Roundel magazine, an excellent rebate program if you purchase a new or used BMW, local meetings with other BMW enthusiasts and many other things! A $1000 rebate is offered to members who purchase a new E60 5 series. It’s well worth becoming a member for the Roundel subscription alone and best of all membership is only $40 per year! See www.bmwcca.org for more details.
Top  -  Forums: Click for more info!

Specific Option Questions


What is iDrive?

iDrive is that little silver knob you see behind the gear shift and it’s the brain of this car. iDrive allows access to a variety of comfort functions displayed on the monitor. The turn/press button enables front-seat occupants to access the menu system and fine-tune settings for climate control, audio system, navigation system and communication with BMW Assist. Dedicated buttons for radio, climate, and other more often used functions do exist to keep things simple.
Top  -  Forums: Click for more info!


What is BMW Assist?
BMW Assist links to the outside world integrating the wireless communication system and the Global Positioning System receiver available 24 hours a day, providing Automatic Collision Notification, Emergency Requests, and enhanced Roadside Assistance.
Top  -  Forums: Click for more info!


What is the CPT9000?
The CPT9000 is BMW’s version of the Motorola V60 cellular phone. It is the only phone which integrates fully into iDrive and has all of it’s functions available via the cars systems completely hands-free aside from Bluetooth enabled phones if you have that option.
Top  -  Forums: Click for more info!


What is Bluetooth?
Bluetooth is a wireless protocol that is used to communicate from the car to a bluetooth enabled cellular phone in a small area usually less than 10 meters. The bluetooth protocol allows you to use your bluetooth enabled cellular phone completely hands-free through iDrive and the cars voice activation system just like the CPT9000 built-in phones allows you to do.
Top


What is Active Steering?
Active steering electronically varies the degree to which the front wheels turn in relation to steering input from the driver. Under normal driving conditions at low and medium speeds, the steering ratio becomes more direct, reducing the amount the steering wheel must be turned. This enhances the car’s performance in city traffic, when parking or in curves. At high speeds, the steering ratio becomes more indirect, thus providing superior directional stability and very good, stable steering response.
Top  -  Forums: Click for more info!


What is Head Up Display?
Head Up Display, or HUD for short, presents important driving information such as speed, NAV instructions, warning messages, directly in the drivers line of vision. It appears as if the text is floating in mid-air near the end of the cars hood.
Top  -  Forums: Click for more info!


What is Active Roll Stabilization/Dynamic Drive?
Active Roll Stabilization is an “active” suspension control system design to reduce body roll in cornering, resulting in improved handling. Whenever entering a corner, “lateral acceleration” is generated. Sensors read the level of body roll and communicate with the ECU or central “brain” which then processes this signal and coordinates various systems to respond. As a result, ARS actively generates resistance to body roll by twisting the front and rear anti-roll bars appropriate to the situation.
Top  -  Forums: Click for more info!


What is SMG?
The Sequential Manual Gearbox enables sporty, rapid gear changes through all six gears via the steering wheel paddles or selector lever, without the use of a clutch. Select Dynamic Driving Control (Sport button) for faster engine response and even more spontaneous driving enjoyment.
Top  -  Forums: Click for more info!


What are Adaptive Headlights?
Adaptive Headlights automatically swivel in the direction of the road ahead, even up hills and around curves. Sensors measure the vehicle’s velocity, direction and yaw. This information, combined with the movements of the steering wheel, is fed into an on-board computer. Based on this data, the system calculates the direction in which the vehicle is heading, and automatically points the headlights in that direction.

Top  -  Forums: Click for more info!


What is Logic7?
Logic7 is BMW’s optional professional HiFi stereo system which is an enormous upgrade to the standard stereo. Logic7 is a special digital audio signal processing mode for two-channel stereo signals and multi-channel multimedia signals. The objective of Logic7 is to create an experience in sound as true to the original as possible for all listeners within the car. The Logic7 system is comprised of four tweeters in the mirror triangles and in the parcel shelf, one 100 mm conical subwoofer serving as the central loudspeaker in the middle of the instrument cluster, four 100 mm conical subwoofers in the doors, two 100 mm conical subwooders in the parcel shelf, and two 210 mm central base loudspeakers beneath the front seats. A total of 13 speakers.
Top  -  Forums: Click for more info!


What is Sirius?
Sirius is the company BMW has partnered with to offer sattelite radio in it’s cars. Sirius offers over 100 channels of radio all commercial free. Since it is sattelite radio the stations work anywhere in North America not like your local radio stations which only work in your local area.
Top  -  Forums: Click for more info!


What is PDC?
Park Distance Control uses ultrasonic sensors in the front and rear bumpers to help you judge the distance to other cars and unseen objects when parking. The beeping becomes faster as your bumper approaches the object, turning into a constant tone when the distance is less than 12 inches.
Top  -  Forums: Click for more info!


What is FTM?
FTM stands for the Flat Tire Monitor. As air leaks, tire pressure decreases, and the tire rotates faster. ABS sensors on the wheels detect a change in wheel rotation speeds, which signifies a change in the roll radius, or pressure level, of the tires. A warning light in the instrument panel notifies the driver of the pressure loss. In case of significant pressure loss, a warning buzzer sounds.
Top  -  Forums: Click for more info!


What is ACC?
Active Cruise Control is an advanced version of conventional cruise control systems. After setting the chosen speed and pre-set distance, radar measurements allow you to maintain a pre-set distance between your vehicle and the vehicle ahead in highway driving. As soon as sensors determine you are closing in on a vehicle ahead, the system automatically slows down to retain your pre-set distance. Once the distance has increased back to the chosen limit the system automatically accelerates to return your vehicle to its pre-set speed.

Top  -  Forums: Click for more info!

Pre-Ownership Questions


How do I negotiate a good price when buying my new car?
Much has been written about this subject, especially for the U.S. buyer. The car dealership profession has many secrets and many of them are known and free for the asking. Three helpful hints to follow before posting other sources:
1) Never start your negotiating until you know the invoice prices the dealer is paying and also current incentives and/or rebates. This information is free and available at edmunds.com. If you know that the dealer is receiving a 2% hold-back (or ‘award’) from the manufacturer, even though this isn’t an award to you, this information should and will affect your negotiating tactics.
2) Always negotiate from invoice price up, NEVER from MSRP (retail) down. As soon as you ask for a certain amount off MSRP, your salesman will have a big grin on his face.
3) Go for your test drives in the middle of the month but go to negotiate/purchase close to the end of the month when the salesmen are desperate to fill their quotas.

Sources for negotiating information:
1) Border’s or Barnes & Nobel bookstores
2) Edmunds.com and many other internet sites. ‘Search’ is your friend.
Top  -  Forums: Click for more info!


How long will it take to build my car and have it delivered?
It will take from 5 to 7 days for BMW to build your new E60. However, delivery takes a bit longer, especially for U.S. buyers. Here’s the basic flow, with time estimates. Please remember, however, that some steps have more variability than others. We’ve tried to point these out.

1) You officially order your new E60.
2) Your new E60 receives its production number. This can be accomplished anywhere from immediately to several weeks, or more, later. It depends on how soon your dealer can get a production slot. In some cases, your dealer may already has a slot (an ordered but unsold car). In these cases, they can update that production number to match your selected options and colors. When you order your car, always ask the dealer when you can get a production number. This number is critical to your ability to track your car through the build and delivery process. It also means that BMW North America knows about your car. It’s official!! You can now register with BMW Owners Circle and should (http://oc.bmwusa.com). We’ll say this step will take one week, for example, but this can be highly variable. Hound your dealer until you get this production number.
3) Your car enters production and receives a VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) usually within a week or so of getting a production number. This is where your car starts it’s trip through the factory in Germany. In about 5 to 7 days, your shiny new E60 will pop out the other end of the factory, completed! There are several steps through the factory. For example, Body Shop, Paint Shop, etc. Your dealer gets daily updates so he or she can tell you what part of the factory your car is in. Write down the VIN number you receive from your dealer or Owner’s Circle. So far, we’ve got 1 week to get your production number, 1 week to enter production, and 10 days to build your car. Total so far: 24 days (3+ weeks)!
4) Your car goes from the factory to a shipping dock and waits in a parking spot for a large boat (they rarely sink but it has happened). Although it only requires a day or two to get from the factory to the boat docks, waiting for the next ship can take up to a week and occasionally longer. The name of this step is “Awaiting Transport” in Owners Circle and it is highly variable in how long it will take. Keep calling your dealer to see if your on a boat yet. Total so far: about 31 days.
5) The boat sails! This step is called En Route. It takes about 12 days for your new E60 to sail from Germany to the east coast of the U.S. and about 25 days to get from Germany to the U.S. west coast. We’ll use the east coast for our running time estimate. Total so far: 43 days.
6) U.S. Arrival and preparation at one of the VDCs (Vehicle Distribution Centers). Normally, only 2 or 3 days is needed at the VDC. Sometimes the car can stay there longer if there was any damage during shipment or your car needs a software update that hasn’t quite been released but is about to be. We’ll say 3 days, but the VPC doesn’t work on the weekends. Total so far: 46 days. It’s getting close; start cleaning your garage!!!
7) Released for transport. Now your new E60 is done at the distribution center and is on a truck headed for your dealer. It’s hard to predict the time needed for this step as that completely depends on how far your dealer is from one of the three US prep centers (New Jersey, South Carolina, and California). We’ll say 2 days. Total so far: 48 days.
8) Dealer preperation. The dealer only requires about 1/2 a day to a full day to prep your car for you. Seat covers will be removed, gas tank filled, etc.

Total time to get your new E60: about 49-50 days but they’re not quite elapsed days as some steps stop on the weekends (e.g. VDC, dealer prep) and some don’t stop on the weekends (the boat still sails on Sat./Sun. All in all it’ll take about 8 to 10 weeks to receive your new car!
Top  -  Forums: Click for more info!


How can I check the status of my car’s production?
There are three ways to track your car through the build and delivery process. They are:

1) Your dealer. Tthey have the most up-to-date information. Others sources can be at least a few days to 1 week behind.
2) BMW Owner’s Circle (http://oc.bmwusa.com). Again, not completely up to date. Some have reported that Owner’s Circle said their car was still on the boat when the dealer called the customer saying their new E60 was ready for pickup.
3) BMW North America at 800-831-1117. There is an IVR system where you punch in your car’s production number VIN number and you get a recorded status announcement. Again, not as up-to-date as your dealer but usually more up-to-date than Owners Circle

One really cool tracking aid is the shipping company’s web site. In many cases, you key in your new car’s VIN number and the site will tell you what boat it’s on and their current location and schedule information. Once it’s reasonably close to the US, a Coast Guard website can show you a picture of exactly where your boat is and give the latest weather/sea report that your car’s boat made over its radio! Search for “tracking” in our forums search utility. The following web site is also really cool for tracking the ship once you know what ship your car is on. Just enter the ship name into the search box and it should find it. SailWX Ship Tracking.
Top  -  Forums: Click for more info!


My dealer gave me a production status code, what does it mean?
Below is a list of BMW’s production status codes:
037 – Order is at BMW NA
087 – Production week assigned
097 – Order sent to BMW AG
111 – Order accepted at BMW AG
112 – Order scheduled for production (last opportunity to make changes)
150 – Production started
151 – Body shop started
152 – Paint shop started
153 – Assembly started
155 – Production completed
160 – Released to distribution
180 – Waiting for export dispatch
193 – Arrived at port of exit
194 – Selected for shipment
195 – Shipped from port of exit
196 – Shipment arrival – ETA
Top  -  Forums: Click for more info!


When taking delivery of my new car, is there a list of things to check on?

Yes! This is the time to find any problems with the new car, should any exist, and get them repaired. Before signing any paperwork, the dealer should show you the car so you can do a visual exterior and interior inspection to make sure everything is in order, e.g. no scratches or anything like that. After the visual inspection, you should take your new car on a short test drive to make sure there’s no electronic faults with the car. This also allows you to get a feel for your new car and perhaps formulate some questions for later. After the test drive you can sign on the dotted line and cross all the t’s to become legal owner of the car assuming everything is in order. After the car is legally yours the dealer should explain all of the functions to you so that you can operate the car. Make sure to ask any questions and get them answered because once you drive off you’re on your own. Once everything is complete you’re the proud owner of a new BMW! Make sure to follow the break-in procedures and enjoy!
Top  -  Forums: Click for more info!


What is the difference between the standard warranty and included maintenance?
The standard warranty covers anything that breaks or doesn’t work right during the warranty period which is normally 4 years or 50,000 miles, whichever occurs first.
Maintenance which is actually called “scheduled maintenance” covers service needs that your car actually asks for. For example, the E60 has the built-in capability of knowing when it’s ready for an oil change, brake fluid, etc. If you want an oil change sooner than the car asks for, this is not covered under this plan so you will need to pay for it on your own.
Top  -  Forums: Click for more info!


What are the break-in rules on new BMW’s?

This information is clearly laid out in your Owner’s Manual, but the basic restrictions, for the first 1200 miles are:

1) Do not exceed 4500 RPM
2) Do not exceed 100 mph
3) Change speed often
4) Avoid hard braking

Varying your engine speed and avoiding hard braking are especially important during the break-in period.
Top  -  Forums: Click for more info!

Owners Questions & Common Problems


How do I tell what software version I have?
Although some users have reported getting to a secret iDrive menu or some secret On-board-computer codes, it turns out the only reliable way of determing your software version is to ask your dealer for a computer printout when your car is in for service. If you are especially curious about these hidden menus, please search our forum for posts or subjects containing the words ‘secret’ or ‘hidden’. So far, nothing useful can be changed using these hidden menus.
Top  -  Forums: Click for more info!


Why didn’t my car come with red rear reflectors?
In the U.S., our government decided that for some reason the red reflectors seen on European cars are dangerous to the U.S. population. They forced BMW to replace them with plain black inserts for U.S. deliveries. Many users report that they’ve happily replaced their black inserts with the red reflectors ordered from www.bekkers.com. To replace them, use strong fishing line going in from the outside side and then pull firmly. The new ones snap right in. Make sure to thread the line from the outside side, not the side by the license plate.
Top  -  Forums: Click for more info!


Everything slides around in my trunk, is there anything I can do about it?
It turns out that the trunk liner above the spare tire is reversible. The other side is made of rubber and when reversed it keeps things from sliding around inside the trunk.
Top  -  Forums: Click for more info!


How come the HUD display disappears if I’m wearing my sunglasses?
Some users report that the HUD display disappears when wearing polarized sunglasses. Reports indicate that the display appears fine with non-polarized sunglasses.
Top  -  Forums: Click for more info!


Can I have NAV installed after my car is delivered?
BMW North America has made the parts available for a NAV retrofit kit. The NAV retrofit can usually be installed but sometimes it depends on other options and/or your cars build date. You should contact your dealer or BMWNA and tell them your VIN and they should be able to tell you if the kit is supported or not. The retrofit kit part number is:

CCC Retrofit/Conversion Kit US: 65 90 0 390 844

If you have any additions or comments please post them below for other forum members and web site visitors to read.
Top  -  Forums: Click for more info!


How come there is so much static on my radio?
Some users have reported significant static on AM, FM and sometimes on CD. There is a BMW Service Bulletin on this. Please contact your dealer who should have more details along with a fix for this issue. Not everyone experiences this problem.
Top  -  Forums: Click for more info!


My voice control doesn’t work, why?
Although BMW phone owners (CPT9000) can enjoy voice control over their phone, only owners of the NAV option (Nav Professional in Europe) can enjoy voice control over entertainment, climate, car settings, and navigation. Voice command adds tremendously to the efficiency of using iDrive. Again, in the U.S., voice command of anything other than phone requires the NAV option.
Initially cars built with NAV did not have the voice control system activated however as of February 2004 it is activated by the factory. If your car was built prior to February 2004 your dealer should be able to activate the voice command system for you.
Top  -  Forums: Click for more info!


Where can I find a list of voice commands?
Please visit our Information Section where we have a PDF file listing all the available voice commands.
Top  -  Forums: Click for more info!


Can the car’s options be set in iDrive, or do any require the dealer to set like they used to?
So far, the only two settings that can not be set in iDrive are (1) Daytime Running Lights off or on, and, (2) Sensitivity of automatic headlights: normal, sensitive, or very sensitive. The meanings of these sensitivity settings are the opposite of what you would expect. For example, if you want to wait longer for your lights to come on automatically at night or turn off earlier as it gets lighter out, then you would use the ‘very sensitive’ setting. All other settings can be set in iDrive.
Top  -  Forums: Click for more info!


How come my adaptive xenon headlights don’t turn when I turn the steering wheel?
The auto-turning feature does not function in the normal ‘on’ switch position two clicks to the right. Please make sure your headlight switch is set one click to the left, in the Automatic position. A green LED near the switch will indicate when your headlights are turned on in automatic mode.
Top  -  Forums: Click for more info!


How do I listen to my iPod, or other MP3 player, through my cars stereo system?
BMW offers an Auxilary Audio Input option which your dealer can install for you. Once this is installed you’ll have a new screen in iDrive and be able to plug in any mp3 player, cd player, etc.. and play it through the cars stereo system.
Top  -  Forums: Click for more info!