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edd_jedi

New job - keep the E61 or upgrade to an F11/other?

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For the last 15 years my cars have been exclusively for social use as I've always either walked, cycled or got the train to work. But I've just got a new job which is going to require me to drive 50 miles per day (mostly motorway.) My E61 530d is 15 years old now, and since owning it I've only been using it at weekends, doing about 5-6000 miles a year. It's been a great car to transport my family around (4 of us) but I am worried that it's not going to cope with daily use, and I need something reliable. It's already at that age where things are going wrong almost weekly, just recently the boot handle has stopped working (wires in hinge) and the PDC module has also become erratic, I have a long list of things I want to fix. I really like this car and have spent a lot of time and money putting it right over the last three years, but am also under no illusion that after 15 years and 140k miles it's no spring chicken any more!

 

I've been having a look at what I could afford with a budget of up to 15k (preferably less.) It needs to be an estate as I have 2 young children and even if we go out for the day, the car is so full it looks like we're moving house! Also I live in central Brighton where there's a 12 month waiting list for parking permits, so getting my own smaller car is not an option.

 

I've been pleasantly surprised looking on Autotrader that my budget would stretch to a 3 year old (2017) F11 520d or 530d sport touring with approx 50-70k miles. This seems like pretty good value to me, a 3 year old car for less than half its original purchase price. Although I like my E61 there are things that appeal to me about a newer car, mainly a more modern entertainment system and up to date interior.

 

The F11 520d should be more economical than my 530d which currently averages about 34MPG (there's a lot of steep hills in Brighton) and with only around 30 fewer horses shouldn't be much less powerful? I could afford a 530d or even 535d but am worried about the potential bills of owning a relatively new, big engined car.

 

Of course the other option is I could plough a few grand in to my E61 in the hope I can buy reliability, but in my experience preventative maintenence is hard to predict, and whenever I fix one thing something else tends to break immediately after (happened with my PDC a few weeks ago, replaced a sensor and now the whole system is playing up.)

 

Any advice from people who have done similar moves? Is the F11 reliable, any major pitfalls to avoid? Is it worth looking at older ones, it seems for about 10k I could get a 2011-2012 model, but I'm worried that's barely much newer than my E61.

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I preferred my E61 535d to the F11 535d. Slightly smaller and better handling.

Sent from my SM-N9600 using Tapatalk

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That's a decent enough budget which will get you a tidy F11.  Get the newest, lowest mileage biggest engined car you can find in your budget, that's my advice. 

 

F11 530d MSport is what you want. Reliable engine, provided it has been looked after as in atleast been serviced in accordance with BMW spec.

 

Look after it by pouring in copious amounts of LL04 every year or 10k, clean out the scuttle drains and yellow grommet plenum and budget for replacing rear air springs and you'll be fine.

 

If you can get a 535d Touring, obviously get that one. ;)

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We ran a F11 520d Luxury for five years and it did everything we asked; good fuel consumption and sufficient power for our needs, quiet and cruised very well at high speed on the motorway. The four will be cheaper to run than the six cylinder versions but obviously doesn't have as much power. If the extra poke is the main requirement then go for the 530d. Main issue we had was the air suspension - both air struts changed and the compressor changed, fortunately we had the extended warranty, but it still sank over an hour or so when standing and the dealer swore that was normal ... solved by changing to a G31 (530). We also had a rear brake light failure which required the whole assembly to be replaced, again under extended warranty. other than that, no problems and those weren't specific to a 520 or 530.

 

Look for BMW service history and if you buy from a dealer you'll get a year's warranty. Choice always comes down to budget vs the overall package deal available (extras etc) so only you can decide what the deal breakers are.

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Thanks for the replies. Youre right it will be a compromise, always is. My ideal would be:

 

M Sport

>2015

<70k miles

Black interior/seats

Widescreen NBT (don't think you can get Evo in the F?)

DAB

Paddle shifters (nice to have)

 

Not too fussed about exterior colour, wheels, or engine size as I rarely get to put my foot down with a family now anyway. I'm not that familiar with the Fs yet, any other nice extras I should look out for?

Edited by edd_jedi

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Paddle shifters is standard on the sports autobox.  Great bit of kit, I use the paddles all the time.

 

I would say over and above what you've already said make sure it has adaptive Xenon headlights, but I think LCi you get Xenons as standard and Pro nav to give the widescreen.

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The nav directions display in the F11 is tiny and in the binnacle, or you sacrifice some of the screen for the arrows - I now see a HUD as essential but it's difficult to find. Xenons are worthwhile, neither of us finds the sports seats comfortable so we opt for comfort seats - try before you buy! I never use the paddles, but that's my choice. What of your list are the deal breakers?

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Yes HUD would be nice, seen that on a few. TBH I could live without any of those things, the most important thing is that it gets me to work, so reliability!

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In which case I would look first at BMW used; the one year warranty is the same as that on a new car and (allegedly) it is serviced - oil change etc - but this is extra to the schedule and thus not recorded on the service schedule. That gives you a year with no worries to iron out any defects. We drove both the M Sport and Luxury at the time and preferred the Lux - again, a personal thing.

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Rear camera can be useful. 

 

Audio upgrade if music is your thing and you have the hearing to enjoy. Harmon is pretty good for an upgrade. But not the best option. 

 

HUD I think is good, but I don't have it, nor would it be a decision maker for me.  I've tried a HUD of the pilots helmet of a Eurofligher.. that's a HUD. 

 

At least get dual temp, even if you don't have separate blowers. 

 

Boot closing button? 

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23 minutes ago, StratTech said:

In which case I would look first at BMW used; the one year warranty is the same as that on a new car and (allegedly) it is serviced - oil change etc - but this is extra to the schedule and thus not recorded on the service schedule. That gives you a year with no worries to iron out any defects. We drove both the M Sport and Luxury at the time and preferred the Lux - again, a personal thing.

 

 

Hmm. Do all auc cars come with an oil change? This makes me feel better if true. 

 

 

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2 hours ago, Skynet5 said:

Rear camera can be useful. 

 

Audio upgrade if music is your thing and you have the hearing to enjoy. Harmon is pretty good for an upgrade. But not the best option. 

 

HUD I think is good, but I don't have it, nor would it be a decision maker for me.  I've tried a HUD of the pilots helmet of a Eurofligher.. that's a HUD. 

 

At least get dual temp, even if you don't have separate blowers. 

 

Boot closing button? 

I spent 7 years on that programme, but only got to fly the simulator. Jaguar HUD not as sophisticated but still works well at low level high speed.

 

Comes down to your own preferences - senior management is quite clear that she won't go along with the purchase if there is no HUD and I (of course) agree with her. It was a deal-breaker on the G31 purchase last year.

I was told about the oil change (plus plugs and some filters) when we bought a 5 year old 3 series convertible; the oil looked brand new to me. It also had the full bodyshop treatment to remove scuffs on the corners and kerbed alloys, new floor mats and overall looked very smart. But you pay, of course, for the BMW AUC treatment. 

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16 minutes ago, StratTech said:

I spent 7 years on that programme, but only got to fly the simulator. Jaguar HUD not as sophisticated but still works well at low level high speed.

I got to sit in the cockpit and see it take off at Warton. Almost 20 years ago? God I feel old. 

 

I was responsible for some coding and testing for the joystick, known as the SSICA.

 

Anyway back on topic. HUDs are cool. I'm sure my electric car that I'll have to buy next will have one :-)

 

Although I'm hoping this F10 takes my kid either to uni, or helps him at least move out of our house... In 11 years time! 

 

Edited by Skynet5

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15 hours ago, edd_jedi said:

, the most important thing is that it gets me to work, so reliability!

 

Well then, why are you looking at a BMW and not a Toyota

 

:D

 

Oh wait, style, comfort, driving dynamics of a near 50-50 weight distribution chassis which can only be got from a rear wheel drive car.  That's why we drive 5 Series.

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I'm now in a 520d MSport plus, LCI. There are benefits to getting the MSport. I believe the Pro Nav and heated seats are standard. Must haves in my book. I had a 2.0d se manual F10 before. The auto transforms the car and is another must.

Paddles are also great to have on the occasions thst you want to enjoy your driving a bit more. Swift progress can be made with careful gear changes without caning it!

The MSport plus also gives you 19" wheels (the ride comfort is perfectly fine by the way) and privacy glass. Another key requirement for me is the power folding mirrors, useful when parking on street.

As others have said, look out for rear air spring failures. Mine have both just been replaced under a non bmw warranty. Cost was £335 per side at an independent.

If you go for a 2.0d try and go for a post 2014 190bhp model (B47 engine) which is slightly more powerful and doesn't suffer from the timing chain issue that earlier 2.0d (N47 engine) models suffered from. It'll also be an Euro 6 model, so more resilient to any future government tax inplications. Mine (N47T engine) might still be prone to the timing chain failure and is a nagging worry, but I'm hoping they sorted the problem by this late spec engine. It is however a rare Euro 6 model which should make it more saleable.

Despite all of this, if I bought again I'd love the 3.0d engine. I had a 3.0d E91 3 series auto touring a few years back, not only was it very quick, it was so smooth, and it didn't even have the 8 speed g/box. The combination of the 6 cylinder engine and the 8 speed box in the F10/11 must be sublime.

Good luck.

Sent from my SM-N950F using Tapatalk

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That's all really helpful, thanks. I'm still a bit confused about what comes as standard, as I have seen plenty of facelift M Sports with only business navigation and without paddleshifts, so it doesn't seem those are standard extras.

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You need to sports autobox option S2TB for paddle shifters.  Its the same physical gearbox but with a slightly different map on its brain to change the shift patterns.  It was an option throughout the range, might have been no cost option on the 535i/d and 550i though but you had to tick the option box if you wanted it.

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Sports auto was a cheap paid option I think, like under £200.

 

Mine doesn't have it. I don't miss the paddles but the gearshifter is nicer.  Also you get sport+ mode which let's the wheels slip more. 

 

 

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Thanks, will keep an eye out for that then!

 

The biggest stumbling block I've found so far is that virtually every car I'm looking at 'only' has business navigation. As these are all 2014+ cars, is the business nav still NBT? And would it just be a case of swapping the screen for the larger one to upgrade? I'm not too familiar with the F series tech, but I know from the E60 that CCC and MASK were completely different.

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@edd_jedi

 

Afraid not. Nbt is only in wide-screen, on the f10/11 at least.

 

You really want nbt. Although in 24 months it's likely you'll only get gprs data which should be fine for rtti. 

Vodafone are shutting off 3g, and I think sooner the better for them.

 

If I keep the car long term I might upgrade the head unit to what ever is available that supports 4g.

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Paddle shifters are easily retrofitted so shouldn't be a deal breaker - I did it to my 525d SE. It's easier if you already have the M Sport wheel, as you can just swap that wheel for one with paddles & reuse your existing airbag. As I had the SE, I had to buy the M Sport wheel & Airbag. It depends on what you have now. 

Then code 2TB to the VO of the car & code the EGS (gearbox) and ICM modules.

I still have the original gear shift lever, not the sport one - there is no added function to the sport shifter, so I didn't bother (it just looks different / has a leather boot).

 

 

 

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