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Had another look at the E90


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One of the dealers here in Dublin was having an "Approved Used BMW" day today so I went out to have a potter around. While I was there I saw they had an E90 in the main showroom and I decided to have a second look. I posted a review here a while ago where I was decidedly disappointed with the interior of the E90 so I was surprised to find myself liking it much better this time around.

The test car was Black Sapphire, with 18"s and the Lemon Dakota leather interior & brushed aluminium trim. If you had said this to me beforehand I would have scoffed since I always believe visually that the trim colour should directly contrast with the upholstery (i.e black leather aluminium/wood with beige etc)....but it really "worked" and made me "get" the new interior design. The light coloured leather substantially brightened the cabin and made me feel far more positive about it. Also the brushed aluminium is so superior to the poverty-spec "Matt Titanium" its not even funny. I know BMW has always been about basic spec cars that force you to spend money on extras but the basic "Titanium" trim is a joke and an insult to the brand. I also had a really good poke around all the trim bits, surfaces and switches and for some reason felt the interior was of a much higher quality than I thought the first time around on the cars I test drove. I think this just goes to show how important an initial impression is.

I would highly recommend to anyone thinking of purchasing an E90 to seriously download the configurator cd and play around with all the options before choosing your interior. It really is critical and I am sure in a couple of years will affect the resale. Having sat in a few of these now, I think the lighter coloured upholstery options are the way to go, but if you absolutely must have Black Leather, DO NOT GET THE WOOD TRIMS. The overall effect is so dark its depressing. Brushed aluminium is your only hope here IMO.

A few of my conclusions about this car are as follows.

1) Sports seats are an absolute essential. Even if you don't like sporty driving, they are just so much more comfortable than standard its a shame BMW charges extra

2) Sports Steering wheel - ditto the above. The standard wheel which is straight off the 5er is pants.

3) Stereo - it was lunch time today so the place was quiet enough giving me a good chance to potter around in the car without interruption. I decided to test the standard hifi and was surprised that it was ok. The E46 standard headunit I always thought was fairly dire and I got the HK unit for it, but by playing around with the bass & biasing the fade towards the rears managed to get a fairly powerful sound out of the E90 unit. First station I got was playing Born in the USA by the Boss which is a fairly rockin tune, and I thought it was pretty decent. Wont satisfy an audiophile because the definition wasn't great and a bit blurred/wooly sounding but it will be fine for most people. People who like like long drives to Classical will want the HiFi or Logic7 Upgrades though.

4) The money you save on the Stereo needs to go towards 18" rims. I can't tell you how much better the car looks with a set of 18"s. Now this has always been the case with BMW's but where many of the 17" options looked great on the E46, (and I dont know whether this is cos the arches are much bigger or more flared on the E90), they look puny on this car. 18" is the new 17" im afraid but the cost to upgrade to them is much greater on base units compared to the 6 cylinders.

5) The other dealer I had gone to, the demo cars had the boot storage package with the laptop tray that all the mags seem for some unfathomable reason to be raving about. This car was just standard and the boot seemed so much better it was untrue. I could really see you stuffing a few golf bags or sets of luggage in there whereas the laptop tray seriously restricts usability. Its worse than the Harmon Kardon subwoofer on the E46. I can't understand why people would pay to restrict their boot space like that.



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