Ok, I got the center console removed.
The first step is to pull the shifter knob. It pull straight up and will take some force. Be carefull to stop pulling as soon as it breaks free to prevent damaging the wires for the light. The leather boot pops out and comes with it.
You also want to remove the iDrive knob at this point. Pull straight up at the 3 and 6 o'clock positions and it will come off.
With the boot gone, you can now pull off the trim piece. This will reveal 2 torx screws that hold down the main trim piece (wood or aluminum). At this point you also want to pop out the ashtray inset. Just push down on it and it will release.
The main trim piece can now be removed. Pull it loose at the front, then use a wedge to carefully pry it straight up at the rear.
Here's a shot of the center console after the trim has been removed. You can see the 2 white retainers behind the iDrive controller. This is where you want to insert a flat wedge. You can also make out 6 torx screws in this shot. The 4 in the front hold down the ashtray bracket. They don't have to be removed, but it makes it easier to get the console out later.
Next we need to reveal the 4 nuts that hold the console in place. Start by sliding back the 2 side trim pieces where the floor carpet meets the console along either side. You want to remove the rear nut on each side. Here's the passenger side one:
Now its time to climb in the back seat and remove the power outlets and A/C vents. The lower panel will pop right out. If you have a snap-in adaptor, you will want to disconnect it at this time. Things should now look like this:
Next you need to remove the 2 clips that hold the vents in place. Here they are shown partially removed:
Pull down and out, and the vents will come out. Disconnect all wires and shove them into the AC tunnel to get them out of the way. You should have a clear view of the remaining 2 bolts that need to be removed.
Now comes the fun part! Pull the parking brake handle forward to loosen it from the metal lever. Now pull it as hard as you can to set the brake. You can now begin to lift the center console as shown here:
You will now want to reach in and undo the connector for the iDrive controller. Continue lifting up and the consoler will clear the parking brake lever and can be removed. Here's a shot with it removed showing the iDrive connectors on the passenger seat:
Backseat shot showing the entire consoler area:
You should now have the following collection of pieces removed from the car:
Here's the backside of the console with the iDrive controller still attached:
Here it is again with the controller removed:
Closeup of old iDrive:
Reconnected in car:
Nelson, does the new iDrive controller have 2 connectors on it that looks like it will accept the wires you see in the shot above?
So that's pretty much it for removing the console. Once the new controller gets here next week, I can begin trimming the for the new iDrive.
Finally, here are a couple of shots of the patient under the knife: