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Finally my M5 is having 1130 miles on it. I am scheduling it in for 1200-mile service. I am writing this to share with the soon-to-be M5 owners, or someone also taking delivery recently, so please pardon me you M5 veterans:

The car:

- Bought at a San Francisco Bay Area BMW dealer on 8/28/00 for MSRP+5k. A brand new one that the original "owner" backed out, so I paid luxury tax and all. I think I got a reasonable price, given that I bought it here in Silicon Valley. Send me email ([email protected]) if you want to get dealer name and info.

- Titanium Silver. All leather Black interior. Club wood trim. grandma parking warning system (PDC) and fold-down rear seats, and (yuck) chrome-line exterior. Dunlop Sport 8080E tires. If I could order to spec, it would be Silverstone exterior, extended black leather aluminum trim, grandma-parking, rear-fold, and sunshade, but oh well.

- Dealer took off M5 badge right at the time of delivery. Took them 15 minutes to get it off and cleaned up the foam tape residue. Seemed like an easy thing to do.

- Build date 07/00. No VANOS noise at idle at all. Very smooth sounding motor in low RPM hot or cold. The sticker on the radiator recommends 5W-30, so I think it has the VANOS noise fix in place.

- Some weird smell coming out from right behind the engine during the first 600-700 miles or so. Now the smell is almost gone. Hypothesis: Cosmoline burning up or some piece of meltable plastic stuck to cat.

- Oil consumption: added 1/3 quart of oil at 1000 miles. Oil level measurements taken in the morning after 7-8 hours of cooling off.

- Acceleration is awesome at high speed. It doesn't seem to run out of power. I kept in strictly below 5500rpm and no full throttle for the first 1000, but after the milage reads 1000+, took it up to 120+mph across Dumbarton bridge late one night.

- Stereo really sucks. Can't believe how bad it is. My '96 Civic EX has cleaner and more neutral frequency balance. Bass is boomy without any real low bass to speak off. I have no plan to go aftermarket, though. I think I'll live with it.

- Already got a speeding ticket. Cited >40 in a 40 zone. Doh! Innocent until proven guilty or trafficschoolonline.com.

- Sport mode is really fun and the throttle is really responsive.

- Best 0-60 that I could do w/o going over 6000rpm or full throttle was around 5.8s w/full tank of gas and 2 people in the car. Need practice. Get some wheel spin during launch with DSC off.

- Cornering is good, but a 996 C2/C4 is probably better. M5 wins for straight line acceleration, though. It just feels much faster than my friend's 996 C2 cab.

- Wind noise: Maybe I am a little used to my dad's 7-series, which has much thicker glass than the M5, but I think wind noise is louder than in a 7. Otherwise, a hush ride. No rear-fold seat squeaks like others have reported. I can hear more wind noise if I open up the moonroof inside cover.

- Experimented a lot with tire pressure. I think I settled for 41/44 (F/R). The car came off the dealer at around 38/41, which is a bit too soft for my taste. Tried 44/48 like the door panel said, but found ride quality compromised.

- Washed it twice already. The wheels are hard to clean, and I was very careful and cleaned them by hand using only water. The result was satisfactory, though. The rest of the car is washed using BMW car shampoo w/less concentration than on the instruction label. Dried with P21s super absorbing towel. Tire treatment is one grand exterior rubber treatment.

- I was psychotic enough that I bought 5 sets of wheel locks and put them all on. Hehehe. Bought a lug wrench and put it together with the rest of the tools in the tool storage compartment, with 5 wheel lock keys.

- Still haven't RTFM on how to set the automatic tire pressure warning thingy. Got "TIRE DEFECT" warning twice already when there's altitude change.

Alrighty, hope you guys waiting of '01 will get to enjoy yours, including the new cool headlights and wider NAV screen.
 

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Having 1700 miles on my 6/00 build my issues so far have been

1. Agree with the stereo and bass. On the DSP I have turned the low frequencies down

2. I had back deck rattle, clutch squeek and gear shifter squueks. Fixed at 1200 mile service

3. The first 1000 I used 1/3 quart. So far with driving the car much harder I have used 0 oil. Go figure?

4. The NAV has crapped out 3 times and reset itself. Worst case was it had me driving 180 degrees from reality. The MB system is soo much better. However, after the first 2 weeks I have not used it.

5. My MPG has improved...16.9MPG this morning since new. The first 1k was 15.5MPG and more careful driving..don't get that either

6. The first time I floored it through the gears, the acceleration in 3rd and 4th was amazing. Took out a 348!

7. I have had no wind noise issues, probably cause I drove a M3 before which now seems like a tin can compared to this luxuary. I guess 7 series drivers say the same about 5 series.

8. No VANOS noise either

9 I have the Michelins and have them set at 42/46. The Tire pressure moniter I have no experiance with except when I set the new pressures. The dealer set them at 34/38, too soft and with the holes in the roads here too dangerous.

10. I have not found a comfortable seat position yet...

Nick
 

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All you searching for audio nirvana- errr, or the closest youll probably get w/ the factory setup, here are my settings- you might need to tweak to your own tastes- but as you can see youve got to do contortions to get the factory speakers under control- the sound is like its from a focus group that said- give us as much bloated bass as possible!

here are the settings:
TONE
Bass: -4 (from middle setting)

Trebble: +1

fader: +2 (it appears that the fader and balance have more steps and +2 on the fader lines up with +1 on trebble)

balance: +1(helps move the sound more to the center of the car but this is still not perfect)

DSP EQ
80: -8
200: -6
500: 0
1K: 0
2K: 0
5k: +2
12k: +3

room: 0
echo: 0

tire pressure with dunlaps I find 39/42 is a great compromise.

wheels- royal PITA to clean.

on break in- I was told that these engines are basically broken in already and once you get to the break in period you dont have to really baby the engine- dont do anything stupid- but its kind of like a pair of leather shoes- as you drive it it breaks in to that way.

any thoughts on sport mode vs. regular?

ME
 

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Discussion Starter #5
MEnthusiast,

No, not searching for audio nirvana. I have something much more delicate to listen to at home w/o the engine noise, but seeking something decent. Like I said in the earlier post, this thing sounds even harsher than the stereo in the Civic EX! Granted, an EX is a high-end Civic model, and came with a decent stereo (head unit also made by Alpine), but M5 sound engineer totally blew it.

I tried all the EQ and tone settings. It's like trying to fix your home hifi via an equalizer when one of your speaker drivers is blown.
 

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youre absolutely right- I am the same way.

I believe the problem comes not from poor selection of amps or headunit but more from poor (cheap) speaker materials and a desire to blow people away with massive amounts of uncontrolled bass. when I first got it and played the radio for friends they loved the bass heavy sound- which to me is bloated and even somewhat distorted. I hope the eq settings could help. I am not really a believer in eq- at least not for the home, but here the eq seems capable of helping even out the speakers freq response with respect to the acoustic space (interior of the car). At first I thought why would you need an eq for this car, now I know!

ME
 

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kuzibimun,
I think you make some good points- I have no formal EE training, and I dont profess to have golden ears- here is what I think I know:

on cables- youre right, I laugh at overpriced cables.

on solid state amps (I have no tube experiene)- youre right also, for most people you dont have to spend an arm and a leg for something very good and clean

on speakers- this is much more tricky. there are design trade offs- for example the type of xovers used and the types of drivers. some will only go with 1st order xovers while others like steeper xovers (like 4th order) b/c it allows better allocation of frequency to individual speaker drivers. personally, I say picking a speaker based on the type of xover used w/o first hearing it in conditions similar to your room is silly- its like choosing a car because it has michelins and you like michelins. most people would say they are looking for flat frequency response but some actually are looking for some kind of push in the 200hz-maybe the 50hz region. the biggest factors, imho in speaker performance is the driver system used and the cabinet. in the car the cabinet is the space where the speaker goes and the drivers are what bmws supplier gives them. my gut feeling is the bass drivers are el chepo and cannot start and stop quickly and thats why the bass bloats out of control. since all I want is adequate sound in the car I found my tweaks good enough (turn off the radio and open the windows under full acceleration and you get a symphony!)

now why would you need eq? you normally need eq to solve some room problems, mostly around 200hz on down. this has to do with standing waves, etc. eq can help.

in my application in the M5, I suspect what im eqing is not really room problems, but problems with the speakers, by reducing the demands of those frequencies, and those around those frequencies, I think Im "correcting" the problems inherent to the speaker driver. IMHO this is the wrong use for eq. but again, for the car it works.

conclusion- unlike their car design where they get it right w/o the need for tweaks, their audio system is wrong from the get-go and sure you can get it closer, but its flawed to begin with.

as to eq for the home- if you have a bad acoustic space to begin with- it aint gonna fix that.

ME
 

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I forgot to say that in general I guess Im disagreeing that the electronics are more critical (preamp and amp) than the speakers. speakers are the most critical thing in an audio system- IMHO. if they are made out of the wrong materials they cant do their transducing well and then the sound wont work- no amount of power will fix that. a comparison can be drawn to cars (again
) : whats faster- m5 with michelin pilot sport tires or a M5 with tires from a honda accord?

you know the answer.

think of the tires as the speakers- thats where you actually move the air. if not properly designed for the task (think of deep bass as high end grip) then fuggagetaboutit! whats happening in the M5 system (I think) is the spekaer is literally rolling over its sidewalls in cornering.

the fact is this- modern day amplifiers and preamplifiers (head unit) are good enough that the real question becomes the speakers- where its easy to cheap out on because people dont think they are interacting with them- they think theyre interacting with the screen and the buttons.

BMW had a price point and they traded off sound quality for bells and whistles. FWIW, I like the bells and whistles, I just wish theyd put in better speakers.

btw- I had a 3 series a while ago and it had a horrible radio- so I replaced it with a nice head unit and amp and good speakers. then I had to take those out b/c the lease was ending, but not the speakers because they were slightly bigger than stock and taking them out wouldnt work. so for the last few months I drove around with the stock head unit and amp + my good sounding speakers. guess what? the sound was great- everyone commented on it.

ME
 

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Discussion Starter #9
MEnthusiast,

Well, can't help but chiming in a little here. I am an EE by training, and my specialty in grad. school was signal processing (both linear and nonlinear). Can't contain myself laughing at audiophiles proclaiming super-duper claims about their latest audio tweak.

Here's my _opinion_ on state of the art, COMPETENTLY DESIGNED, audio equipment, car or home:

- The _competently designed_ electronics (DAC, power amplifier, etc.) is way more advanced than the best electromechanical transducers (Speakers, Crossover networks). The only place that makes sense to spend money on electronics would be to get higher powered amplifier so you have sufficient power to drive the speakers. Make sure you get thick enough power cable to feed those amps high-current, low voltage supply.

- There's still no consensus on what sounds best for speakers. It's still a crap-shoot. One person's darling speakers is another audiophile's nightmare. Seems like we're not there yet in terms of what people _prefer_ their speakers to distort the sound (and even the best speakers out there can easily inject 10x distortion/freq. response aberrations compared to the electronics)

So, I go for 3 things:

- Get speakers that you like the sound
- Make sure the power amplifier can drive them
- Spend the rest of money on CD's

Disclaimer: Statements above contain some gross generalization and my own opinion.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
ME,

I generally agree with you. I have a few things to add, though.

Regarding: Crossover rolloff steepness

There actually is the "best" solution in terms of performance for this, actually. But the trade-off is you pay dearly in terms of price. The fundamental tradeoff that speaker designers made were between steeper crossover frequency rolloff and phase response near the crossover region. Traditional passive crossovers have inherent problems in their design. Steep rolloff = big phase error. Mild rolloff = drivers interaction in the same frequency band.

The solution: do crossover in digital domain before amplification. With an FIR digital filter, you are guaranteed perfectly linear phase response and as steep a rolloff as you are willing to throw computing power at it. You can have extremely steep rolloff w/no phase nonlinearity.

The price: Now every driver needs a power amplifier. Given that about 60-75% of the cost to make a power amplifier lies in the power supply, this makes the cost prohibitive for home use, and impractical for mobile appications.

This really strays from M5 discussion now. If you would like to discuss it further, can we take it off-line? Feel free to write me at [email protected]
 

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kuzibimun,
I agree the topic has shifted. I totally agree with you about "digital" speakers- in theory they are the best. yet I have heard speakers using 4th order xovers that sound better than the finest digial speakers Ive ever heard- the meridian 6000s. It is not unlike good car design. many people think the bmw strut suspension is outdated- yet we all think the cars handle amazingly. the one thing I know is that theory and reality dont always come together.

Dave,
my guess is the new radio wont be much better because in every bimmer Ive had the radio has had a shortcomming of some kind. I think its mostly speaker selection, they are buying the parts from a supplier and I think they arent really worried about audiophile quality- they seem to want a lot of bass, so when you try the car at the showroom you say- my goodness, Ive never heard that much bass. unfortunately what you dont know is that it is distorted and bloated and within 10 minutes of listening this way you will get a headache.

ME
 

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Kuzibimun,

Check out the instructions for checking oil on the sticker at the front of the engine bay ... your method could have you overfilling it.

Originally posted by kuzibimun:
- Oil consumption: added 1/3 quart of oil at 1000 miles. Oil level measurements taken in the morning after 7-8 hours of cooling off.
 

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Actually, Andy, that's how Richard at the Spartanburg experience told us to check our oil. He said it would be optimal to let it sit overnight and then check it, thus avoiding an overfill because all of the oil will have collected in the pan.
 

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I have difficulty believing that BMW contradicts themselves like this. Why would they put that stuff in the manual if that is not how we are supposed to check it. I don't want to start anything but how many teeth did that guy Richard have?????
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Originally posted by AndyP:
Kuzibimun,

Check out the instructions for checking oil on the sticker at the front of the engine bay ... your method could have you overfilling it.

AndyP,

How could my method "overfill?" If it may do anything, it would be underfilling. The longer you let the car sit with engine off, the higher the oil reading will go. If you fill it after measuring the level only after one minute of idling, I agree that you can overfill easily, but waiting more than 8 hours to make the engine absolutely cold should yield the highest amount oil in the whatever the stick measures.

I have always used this method of measuring engine oil in the morning because that's when you absolutely cannot overfill. Besides, a lot of people who attended the M5 driving experience heard from the guru there that this is the right way of measuring oil level.
 

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Lear,
Richard is the head technician for BMW NA.. he gets his hands on cars waaaaaay before they are put into full production he knows the most minute details of every production BMW car (as I posted before, he even started spitting out diameters for valve leaflets and stuff). He acknowledged that he contradicts what is written in the manual, but he says that letting the car sit overnight would allow all the oil to collect in the pan.
When I brought up the diesel sounding problem, he asked.. "does it sound like a 240D or a 300D, because if it's like a 240D, then you definitely have problems. Otherwise, you're fine and it's not hurting the engine." Of course, mine sounds like our old 300SD. But he is definitely the go-to guy on all problems.
 

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kuzibimun,

I agree that logically I can't see why measuring from cold would cause you to overfill, but from the messageboards, we have:

a. those who say it makes no difference measuring from cold or following the manual

b. those who just did it the old fashion way (from cold) like me and then smelt oil burning ... or in one guys case, the oil was spewed all over the engine.
 

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I have not made a decision on hot or cold, but i think that mixing hot and cold(out of the bottle) oil is not a good thing, due to the fact they have different fluid viscosities. This is the same reason that it is not good to warm your car up at idle, but instead drive it very carefully, so that oil doesnt just sit in the oil pan and warm from the top and not the bottom of the oil pan, again causing different viscosities in the oil. Can anybody second that? And would that make a difference on when it should be preferable to change the oil?

fas
 

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The dipstick is not a precision measuring device. Hot vs cold isn't going to matter. Just wait long enough to make sure all the oil is in the pan when you measure.

As for driving vs idling: the M5, like most cars built since the 1920s, has a pressure oiling system. Oil is picked up at the bottom of the pan, circulated through the engine, and dumped back into the pan.

The entire pan's contents will be circulated through the engine continually, will pick up heat from being pumped, from being sheared, and from the surrounding metal as it warms. and will warm, little by little, through driving.

What matters here isn't driving vs idling, it's that cold oil is heavy oil, which doesn't flow as well and is harder for the engine to pump. Doesn't matter whether you idle or drive, just don't rev too much.

Same goes for transmission and diff lube.
 
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