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      08-06-2017, 01:47 PM   #1
AP
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New 540ix Msport (UK). In-depth review plus pics.

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I recently took delivery of a new 540i xdrive msport G30. Here is my in-depth review of it along with pictures.

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Firstly just where I’ve come from recently as regards BMWs.

In 2001 bought a E39 530i Msport and owned this for 10 years. A fantastic car, one I regret selling and wish I still owned. Only issue in all that time was a faulty alternator which gave up just before I sold it. In 2012 I bought a F10 530d Msport. I liked the performance increase this had over the 530i , and the way it seemed to run on air, very economical. However of recent years there were mumblings and then more debate about diesels especially following the VW scandal. The G30 was announced and I figured I would go for that next. I had in my head to most likely go for petrol this time as I figure that diesels in the UK will start to be either taxed more heavily or charged to drive into London.(I’m only 200 yards from the proposed ultra low emission zone). I also figured it would have the potential to depress used car prices for diesels as a result so using “man maths” I figured that I would change my car sooner rather than later. Then out of the blue I had a phone call from the dealer I bought my F10 from to see if I wanted to test drive a G30, well why not?!

I then made the mistake of driving a 540i xdrive msport and was immediately impressed by how quiet and refined it was. I’m sure a lot of that was down to being a petrol engine (and the straight six from BMW has to be one of the best if not best out there?) and the improvements to insulation and general engineering. The car had 20 inch wheels on and VDC along with comfort seats and I was sold!

So ordered one at the end of May and it arrived at the end of July, 2 months give or take a day. The odometer showed 4 miles when I picked it up. Here follows a review of it having owned it for a short amount of time.

I’ll run through all the features including all options I specified.

B58 3 LITER STRAIGHT SIX PETROL ENGINE

340HP and 332Lbft of torque. This really is a very smooth and quiet engine. After having the 530d the extra refinement is really quite a significant jump. With slightly less torque than my F10, it feels only slightly less eager to go but some of that is simply as I’m still running it in and am not pushing the car at all at this stage. It consequently revs a bit more although it is still relaxed as at 70mph it is turning over at just 1600rpm, just 100rpm above what my F10 did. Fuel consumption is not going to be indicative yet as I’ve simply not covered enough miles to get an idea of how it compares to my F10. However just for the record, it is just under 30mpg (imperial gallons). I’d like to think it will return something in the 30s for me and I know it’s never going to match the 530d at all or even come close. (That was averaging 45mpg when I got rid of it).Once it is run in I look forward to “giving it some welly” on the odd occasion.

Something I’ve noticed when the car is started is that the revs settle at about 1200RPM for several seconds and then settle down to normal idle levels. It’s noticeably noisier during these first few seconds. Not sure why it does that? My 530d didn’t do that and I don’t recall by E39 530i doing that either.

XDRIVE

As I’m still running the car in, the car has not been pushed at all so I’ve failed to even notice the fact that it is 4 wheel drive. Not sure if that’s good or not, should I be aware at low power use?

EXTERIOR

Very sad, but had many sleepless nights over the colour. I had black sapphire and sophisto previously so although I generally like darker colours I decided to go for bluestone. This colour really is one you have to see in the metal as pictures of it can be very misleading – especially the BMW catalogues which make it out to be more blue than it is. I’d describe it more as grey silver with a hint of blue but as I say, if you are interested in this colour, go and see it on a real car first to be sure. I did this at BMW park lane in London which had one in and this convinced me I had made a good choice. Obviously personal choice at the end of day. I do wish there were more colours as even with the individual ones added, it still felt limited.


INTERIOR

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I specified LCFI Ivory white Dakota which contrasts nicely with the remainder of the interior which is black. Looks very classy. Just need to keep on top of keeping the leather clean. Heard that jeans can be a problem so will keep an eye for that potential issue.
I didn’t like the silver trim so specified poplar grey fine-wood, which again I had seen on a car in a showroom so knew it would work for me.
The interior has a nice new car smell to it although I wouldn’t categorise any of it as being from leather as such. I guess it’s all the glues that are used.

All the materials have a high quality feel about them, it is certainly a nice place to be. If I was being critical I’d say that he door pockets could do with the soft material on all sides rather than just the one nearest the driver / passenger. Means that objects in there could potentially rattle. Talking of rattles, make sure you stow the front seat belts the right way around otherwise they will knock against the b-pillar and cause some noise. Stowed the right way, there is no noise.

The button beneath the stop start button at least in my seating position is not visible so you have to move to see if ASS is on or off.
The ambient lighting I thought I wouldn’t like but it does look good. I like the fact that there is an option to dim it at night as I thought it might be a bit distracting when driving along pitch dark roads.(you can turn the idrive off as well if you want, I have a button assigned to that function). Quite a few combination of colours to choose from, I’ve settled for blue in my case.

EXTENDED DASHBOARD

Notice that the clock is digital rather than analogue as seen on some press pictures. This is what I wanted , would appear this is the default option. Personal preference, I decided I didn’t want the sport or eco pro modes display when in those modes so in the idrive you can select if you want the standard display (i.e. the one in comfort) instead.

I also chose to not display the magnified rev number as the needle passes over it. Both of these (again my opinion) seem a bit gimmicky and I like the fact you can disable this.

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MSPORT PLUS PACKAGE

HK HIFI

This sounds a little better I think than the HK in my previous F10. I had to turn the bass down a bit as it was a bit “boomy” but after that it seems good. The treble is not piecing and it seems quite well balanced.
M rear spoiler

Nice cosmetic addition. Believe the very early G30 msports in the UK didn’t have this and it was an option. Now standard at least in the UK.

SUNPROTECTION GLASS

This came with the msport plus package and in retrospect not sure I would have specified it myself. Seems a little odd to look out the rear mirror for a darkened view, I’m sure I’ll get used to it though.

STYLE 759 20" WHEELS

These are attractive wheels although they look to be quite difficult to clean. I did want the style 668 ones from the 550i but as this model is not sold in the UK , the wheels have not been through the tests to gather the CO2 / Tax ratings. Therefore they cannot be legally put on a car in the factory, they can be ordered as a spare part but at just under 3000 for the wheels alone, I decided not to persist with this.

VISIBILITY PACKAGE

Adaptive Led headlights

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Not had a chance to test these as of yet. I've driven the car around once at night around town and the lights appear as good if not the same as the Xenons on my previous F10.

Headlight wash
Not used yet.
High beam assistant
Not used yet.

TECHNOLOGY PACKAGE

HEAD UP DISPLAY

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The head up display is an upgrade over the one in the F10. It’s larger as is mentioned in the official blurb but it also shows more. Some of what it shows I know came in later on F10s later than mine but for me I can now see radio stations / usb stick music listed there. As mentioned elsewhere, speed limiter is also displayed. Like the F10 it is visible in all conditions seen so far. I didn’t have to move the display down a bit given my seating position which also made it slightly brighter.

There are no turn indicators in the HUD, something that I had enabled via coding on my F10 but that was more out of necessity as my seating position obscured the indicators in the cluster. Luckily in the G30 this is not the case so not too big a deal this time.

Wifi hotspot preparation

This is not a feature I plan on using and so this has not been used.


DISPLAY KEY

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In retrospect the facility that remote service gives you do what this key can do for you (unless you have remote parking of course). Whilst it can tell you how much fuel and range you have left and a few other things, the remote services app does the same and more.the key itself is not that large , see picture.

ENHANCED BLUETOOTH WITH WIRELESS CHARGING

This has enabled me to pair 2 phones up instead of one. So personal phone and workphone which is useful. This option also gives you I believe the USB socket in the center console arm rest. There is also a USB socket in front of the cup holders. I have a iphone 5s so this doesn’t natively have wireless charging so bought an adapter which is a case for the phone and can verify that this does indeed charge the phone if it is placed in the area in front of the cup holders. A blue light will turn on if it detects that it can wireless charge.
Gesture control

I didn’t really see the point of this personally, seems a bit of a gadget so I’ve simply disabled it in the idrive without even trying it!
Variable Damper control

Very impressed with this. I’m comparing this to my F10 with msport passive suspension on 19 inch wheels so it’s not really an apples with apples comparison. However having said that, despite the larger wheels, the ride is very good indeed. Very refined it masks all but the very worst in the road. The difference really is night and day. I’m leaning more towards luxury this time so this suits me. What it is like when pushing it more to the limit I don’t know as I’m not inclined to do that anyway but it certainly does not have any barge feel about it that I can detect.

I’ve not driven another G30 with another combination of wheels or suspension so can’t comment on how it relates to those. This is one of those items you simply have to experience for yourself to decide if this is for you or not.


COMFORT SEATS

Very nice, although still taking time to find my idea position. With 20 adjustments, it might be a while before I am there! Luckily there are 2 memory settings for both driver and passenger.

I like to sit up high and so for me, they are at their highest setting, which I think may be slightly higher than the msport seats in my F10.

LED FOGLIGHTS

Not used, simply no fog around and it would be a very rare occasion for me to justify using them anyway so can’t comment on these at this stage.

M STEERING WHEEL

Feels like a high quality piece of equipment.

ALCANTARA ANTHRACITE HEADLINER (option 776)

I think the headlining in the G30 lets the interior down a bit (same as in the F10) so opted for this as I had done with my previous F10 to add a touch more quality feel about it. As this option was only available for July 2017 builds onwards, this obviously meant that the order would be delayed until then, despite that, the car arrived 2 months after the order was placed, which seems pretty good compared to some of the times I’ve seen people quoting here on these forums.

MSPORT BRAKING SYSTEM

Not used them in any anger so nothing really to say here other than no compliants.


REMOTE SERVICES

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This is quite good and in I would suggest that this is an option worth specifying instead of the display key. With the exception of remote parking, you can everything that the display can do plus more via an app on your phone. I like the fact you can send an address to the car for subsequent navigation. You can see how much fuel and range you have left and check servicing items as well.

FOLDERING EXTERIOR MIRRORS

Had these on the F10 and vital for where I park so a no brainer. Left side dips down on selecting reverse although I think it dips down a bit too far compared to my F10.

TRIM DESIGNATION DELETION

Thought there were enough “M”s on the car as it was so at lest in the UK, at no cost you can option these to not be present. There are M’s on the kickplates (which are illuminated) , on the brake callipers so I think that’s enough. I have however left the xdrive and 540i badges on the back.

DRIVING ASSISTANCE PLUS

Before I go in these features, I’ve not felt any need to turn off any of the safety systems.

Driving to close to car in front. I noticed that it will alert you if you are too close to the car in front. I was coasting down hill and was catching up a lorry, I got a warning display in the HUD warning me I was too close.

Speed limit display

Had this on my F10 , in that car you would display it on the instrument cluster if you wanted and optionally on the HUD. In the G30 it is always displayed in the instrument cluster as well as the HUD. A nice addition this time are that it displays the next speed limit about to come up via a smaller dark green circle and also if you exceed the speed limit (as read by the camera or presumably in the Satnav database) your speed in the HUD changes colour from white to red. I believe it’s supposed to detect no overtaking signs, however drove past one and nothing was displayed.

Speed Limiter

This is as per the F10 although again an enhancement this time is that this is now displayed in the HUD. Never sure why this wasn’t the case in the F10.

Lane Change assist

This is a new feature introduced in July 2017 builds onwards (at least in the UK) where by if you have lane assist on you can simply indicate left or right and the car will steer for you in that lane.

This was a very odd experience the first time I did this! The move to the other lane was a bit quicker than what I would have done myself but like anything, once you know how it works, you know what to expect. Now would I use for real, I don’t think so. It’s certainly a nod to the direction of where things are going but for now I don’t anticipate using unless it’s for my own entertainment. It might not be as cool as the remote parking if you have that, but clever none the less and a nice party trick to show your friends!

Adaptive cruise control

I had this on my F10 so was well used to this having used it extensively. I’ve not noticed any difference in behaviour with this version as of yet. As with the F10 you can choose the distance you want to be behind the car in front. I choose the one that is the third one away and like I did with my F10 I would change this to the furthest one away if the road is wet. This I consider the minimum safe distance to follow should the car in front stop in an emergency at speed.

Reversing assist camera

Had this on my F10 and this is very useful. Depends on where you park so if you need to park in even the smallest of places, I would suggest this is a good option to go far. The view from the camera is slightly more wide angle than the one in my F10 which takes a little getting used to.


IDRIVE

Drive control

A nice change I’ve noticed compared to my previous F10 is that it remembers the stop start setting you have applied in a mode when you change back to it. So for example you start in comfort and turn off ASS. You then change to eco pro which will always turn on ASS on again. If you change back to comfort, ASS is off again. Nice touch and something the F10 didn’t do so a nice little improvement. ASS however is actually a lot more refined this time round. That may be down to it being petrol possibly, there is not much of a shudder at all.

Note that for the UK (and I assume EU) ASS is on my default (unless you go the coding route of course)
Still running in so haven’t used the sport mode to date. Just eco pro and comfort along with adaptive.

For ecopro , I’ve only disabled the option to turn off a/c in that mode. Everything else including coasting is enabled. I’m sure the car has coasted so far although I’ve not noticed it in particular.

Like expo on the F10, the throttle is dulled so progress from lights is not spritely.

Todate adaptive has not felt any different significantly from eco pro and comfort. Perhaps when pressing on, it might be more noticiable.
Once the car is run in , the difference I’m sure will become more apparent especially with the occasionaly use of sport mode which I should assume will be felt via the suspension.

XDRIVE

Steering

The steering is certainly different from the previous F10 . A parking speeds it feels lighter but does weight up as you speed up. I turned left for a 90 degree turn at low speed and it felt a bit too light .Once you some speed it does feel fine and I am happy with it although in an ideal world I would love the steering from E39 530i in this, that would be perfect! That’s not going to happen though so I will get used to this.

You can customize the steering in eco pro and sport mode to be “sport” but you cannot do that in comfort. (why not BMW?). This does weight it up a bit compared to the normal mode.

Either way, once at speed, it’s actually quite nicely weighted although it does have an artificial feel about it. I’ve tried to think how I can describe it, very difficult. It does seem though that at slow speed where there is more assistance, this is where it can feel odd, at least to me. The weighting changes with speed and I think this might exaplin the feeling when manoeuvring at these speeds.

I’m quickly getting used to it though and I think with some more mile son it, I will be more than happy.

I’m glad to say the car tracks true, something my F10 didn’t do and drifted to the left on motorways. (not much but aware it was there).It feels quite “planted” to me on the motorway.

Air conditioning

This is working fine for me. Only used with temps up to around 22c but it cooled down the car quickly enough.

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SUMMARY

What a car! Is this an upgrade over a F10?, definitely yes. As far as I’m concerned it’s moving more towards luxury than sportiness but that just be the way I’ve specified it. I’ve never pushed my F10 anywhere near the limits but I do like good acceleration when it is appropriate and safe to do so. The car in general just feels like a premium product.

## I think it’s fair to say that I’ve found my new E39!##

It has already had admiring looks, neighbours and suchlike giving it the thumbs up!

The ride is better than my F10 although I’ve not driven a G30 on any other set up than 20 inch wheel on VDC/EDC so not qualified to comment on whether the other set ups they offer are like.

If you were holding back on 20 inch wheels concernd about the ride. VDC / EDC will sort it for sure but other suspensions may obviously be fine depending upon your taste.

If I could improve the car the things I would do are :-
Offer ability to configure the steering in comfort mode to “sport”

The black plastic trim in between the kidneys doesn’t match the paintwork (unless you have a black car) and doesn’t seem to line up with the bonnet.

Integrate the idrive into the dashboard. Just looks like an afterthought and something along the lines of the F10 I think looks better.
Offer a dark tint at the top of the windscreen (even on cars with HUD). I had it on my E39, it was offered on the F10 if no HUD.
ASS to be off by default. (ok that’s never going to happen due to CO2 / Tax ratings but listing it all the same) but I just don’t like ASS.

Last edited by AP; 08-09-2017 at 01:44 PM. Reason: typos
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      08-06-2017, 05:49 PM   #2
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Great review AP, you are a lucky man. I had a 540 for a few days while my 530d was being fixed and mine did the same with the revs on start up, normal I guess....
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      08-06-2017, 06:38 PM   #3
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Great review AP!

Looks great in that colour combo.
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      08-07-2017, 01:34 AM   #4
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That's a very nice in depth review , better than so called car mags that look for faults and exaggerate them once they detect .
Auto Hold is also another great feature as well as something I forgot its official name . Object Detection or similar to this that holds the car from going either direction during park maneuvers .You need to gently press the gas pedal to keep driving if you think there's still enough room for it
Happy Driving
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      08-07-2017, 02:41 AM   #5
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Luv that ivory white interior! Very nice info given here, thanks!
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      08-07-2017, 05:56 AM   #6
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another couple of observations I forgot to mention.

Voice recognition does not seem to work very well for me as regards entering a destination for the satnav. On one accasion I said "cancel" and I was given addresses for various councils.
I only used voice recognition on the f10 and e39 and that worked well when saying numbers.havent tried this yet though on the g30.

Lights
even with the light switch in position "O" the dipped beam will come on if dark so they are are automatic even in this position.
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      08-07-2017, 07:19 AM   #7
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Enjoyed the detailed review.

I also find user reviews give a far better overall picture of how a car works in day to day driving, than most test reviews. Our criteria is often different from the motor mags.

When we spec a car to our likes and needs (we know what we want from a model) I feel we get a much more balanced view from the user. Does it measure up to our expectations, or not? Niggles are also put into a real world context and perspective.

BTW, the high initial idle is likely emissions control. My N55 engine behaves in a similar way from cold.
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      08-07-2017, 10:49 AM   #8
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Thanks AP, that's a very helpful and thorough review.

My local dealer's ex demo car is an MSport on 20s in Moonstone with ivory interior. Looks very smart and I would have bought it if their price had been realistic. Definitely no need to be nervous of 20s on the G30.
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      08-07-2017, 10:52 AM   #9
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ps I find the diamond cut wheels like these are the easiest to clean: a quick wipe on the face of them and don't worry about cleaning the darker painted bits: it's good enough for me
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      08-07-2017, 11:22 AM   #10
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another item to mention.
Tramlining or rather lack of.

there is a particularly bad stretch of road near where I live that in my f10 (19" wheels) would pull left and right quite badly.
The G30 doesn't exhibit this at all. How they have achieved this I do not know especially given the width of the tyres remains the same 245 front and 275 rear. larger wheels and low profile tyres (is the rolling radius the same or larger than the 19s on the f10?).
is there some clever electronics going on in the background via the electric steering motor or purely mechanical differences? or is it tyres?(goodyear eagle f1 ).
anyway very impressive.
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      08-07-2017, 11:53 AM   #11
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Agree on this one, mine is on 19's with Michelins and Msport suspension, the more I drive it on roads I know where you automatically cringe and wait for the suspension to crash and bang ( on any car I've driven not just my old F11 ) the more I am deeply impressed by the refinement the G30 has achieved
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      08-07-2017, 12:05 PM   #12
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Did you go for the Upgraded Leather Dashboard or roof lining option? If not I was wondering whether you could get some closer pictures as I'm coming from a 6-Series and interested in what the quality is like
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      08-07-2017, 01:03 PM   #13
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No didn't go for leather dashboard, just the standard sensatec .(That's standard at least on all msports in the UK anyway)
I did go for option 776 Alcantara headlining, an option that was only available from July 2017 onwards.
A couple of pictures , they are not great which is why I didn't include them first time round but adding them now to show you the headlining, hopefully you get the idea. So as well as the obvious headlining, the material is used on the sun visors, A, B and C pillars and the parcel shelf at the rear.
Personally think it looks so much better than the standard material used.
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      08-07-2017, 01:18 PM   #14
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here's the sensatec dashboard.
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      08-07-2017, 03:37 PM   #15
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Great and detailed review. Haven't seen the poplar grey trim in person yet, but to me it looks better than the other wood finishes together with the light interior.
I assume the alcantara looks and feels like in the f10? I really like it in my car.
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      08-07-2017, 04:22 PM   #16
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Brilliant review, thanks for writing

You won't regret Xdrive. Next time it rains (soon), press the pedal, there will no wheel spin. It will just keep going :-)

I had a F10 530d too upto 2015 and then replaced it with current X5 M50d. I'm looking to get a G30 next ..... the big diesel vs petrol debate is raging here so you're absolutely right to go for petrol.
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      08-07-2017, 04:25 PM   #17
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Thanks for the above. What do you think of the Comfort Seats in Dakota Leather? I've ordered the same seats but everyone is telling me to change to Nappa Leather.

I've come from the standard Seats in a 14 Plate 640d in Dakota, so hoping they can only be better.
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      08-07-2017, 04:25 PM   #18
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Yes the alcantara is exactly the same look and feel as per the f10
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      08-07-2017, 04:26 PM   #19
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Yes the alcantara is exactly the same look and feel as per the f10
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      08-08-2017, 01:27 AM   #20
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re the dakota leather, it is fine as far as I am concerned. the car I test drove had nappa and this was a softer smoother leather and I think I am also right on saying there was nappa leather on the doors as well.

to be honest I prefer the texture of the dakota.
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      08-08-2017, 07:00 AM   #21
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When I spec my 2nd G30 in about a year's time (!) I will definitely go for the alcantara headlining. I love the look of it and it seems a relative bargain at about 800, if it includes pillars and parcel shelf.
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      08-08-2017, 08:02 AM   #22
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yes it is nice. I think previous generations of M5 have it as standard. I think (best check) that it is priced more if you opt for SE rather than Msport.
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