Wednesday 20th Dec 2006 - Great little features

Ramblings and thoughts from Neil
Post Reply
User avatar
neil
Administrator
Administrator
Posts: 7019
Joined: Wed Oct 30, 2002 8:16 pm
Location: Nottingham, UK
Contact:

Wednesday 20th Dec 2006 - Great little features

Post by neil » Wed Dec 20, 2006 10:18 am

This is a topic that I've thought about a few times and then forgotten about when I come to write the blog.

What little features in your cars do you think are great. What I'm taking about here is the little attention to details or just brilliant improvements to the normal workings.

Here are mine:

BMW - mood lighting (not sure if that is what they call it) but the orange downlights above the gear stick - very subtle but a great feature that lets you see the center console at night and is not distracting etc. Lexus is another car that features multiple versions of this lighting.

Renault (and others) - Altering the windscreen nozzles so that rather than a single beam of water, the water is sprayed onto the wind screen - its just so much better. Whenever I get into a car that doesn't have this I can't believe it.

My wife loves the recirculating button in BMWs (the button made up of three arrows in a circle) - As soon as she found this on our first e39 she couldn't live without it - get stuck behind a lorry or any vehicle that is spewing out exhaust gases and press the button and it blocks out the smell immediately. I know this kind of button has existed for years and years - it just seems to work so well on the BM's. You can imagine how please she was that the Mini has one too.


On the flip side what features are in your opinion a waste of time or a marketing gimmick ?

I have to admit the rear reversing camera on a Lexus I drove earlier this year did seem a little over the top - I had the car a week and used the system numerous times and in theory it works well - but there is somethign strangely odd about reversing and looking at your centre console - I couldn't get the hang of it really - maybe with time.

i-Drive - I've not owned a car with it but I've driven numerous ones that have. The whole concept of a windows-esque operating system to control the car is kinda scary. I also don't like the way it depletes the car of buttons - I have friends with medium spec e60s that look like a bottom spec one as they have hardly any buttons and controls on the dash...

How hum - so what do you think ?

Robertb
ALP
ALP
Posts: 225
Joined: Sat Jun 17, 2006 10:16 pm
Location: South Oxfordshire, UK

Post by Robertb » Wed Dec 20, 2006 5:19 pm

Good things-

-Auto wipers
-Heated front windscreen (can't believe that Fords have it, but not BMW)
-Switchable sports exhausts (can't believe only Porsche have cottoned on to this)
-On board tyre pressure monitoring, showing the actual pressure and temp of each tyre.
-'Set and forget' climate control.

I really like the idea of adaptive cruise control, but not had a go in a car with it.

My A8 has an iDrive type thingy, but luckily has more than enough buttons to keep one busy (and crucially lots of buttons which light up at night which are of course really cool), and the layout is very intuitive.

If you like mood lighting, some A8s come with interior lighting packs which you can tweak yourself, to create whatever mood you fancy!

Mu old Jag XKs had water jets on the wipers themselves, which also worked brilliantly.

Bad things

Soft-close motorised latch on the boot of the A8- what is the point??? Plus it went wrong, costing me £220 to fix, to add insult to injury...
Robert

Alpina B3S Cabrio build number 250/288, Titan silver/Imola red. Now with winter hard top!

User avatar
Charles
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 7837
Joined: Mon Jun 23, 2003 2:44 am
Location: Oxford

Post by Charles » Wed Dec 20, 2006 7:08 pm

Fast heated seats - mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm :D
Charles
Teacher of Chemistry and driver of ALPINAs - not necessarily in that order ;)
B3S Touring (49/116) - been to the moon and now on the way back!
Renault Grand Espace - not mine but the wife's!

User avatar
D4
Administrator
Administrator
Posts: 3248
Joined: Tue May 10, 2005 12:55 am
Location: Leicestershire
Contact:

Post by D4 » Thu Dec 21, 2006 1:11 am

the dipping near side mirror when reverse is selected... saves me curbing my alloys (can be switched on and off too if you want to simply see behind you)

I have it on both the B10 and the 330 (comes with electric seats... - which while i'm at it.. another great function to get the seat exactly in the position you want it....)
2011 BMW 520d M Sport Saloon
2008 BMW 120i M Sport 5 Door

Previous ALPINAs
1984 E28 B9 3.5
1989 E32 B11 3.5
2000 E39 B10 V8 Touring
2005 E85 Roadster S #344

Twitter: d4bmw (follow me for all the latest ALPINA updates and other car related guff)

User avatar
Simon Davey
ALPI
ALPI
Posts: 369
Joined: Mon Dec 29, 2003 3:28 pm
Location: Aberdeen, UK
Contact:

Post by Simon Davey » Fri Dec 22, 2006 10:47 am

There's several that spring to mind for me (most of which I first saw on my 850... ah the QUALITY of that car!):

1. i agree on the dipping mirror on reversing (850 job!)
2. electric memory heated seats (850 again!) especially useful when one is 10 inches taller than the missus....
3. electric steering column adjustment (ah, the 850! spotting a trend here?!) - we often drive down from NE Scotland to the south of England - being able to subtly and safely adjust things like seat back position, leg reach, and especially the position of the arms and the steering wheel, all the while doing XX mph on cruise - fabulous and cuts down on muscle fatigue and ache enormously. I could drive from Aberdeen to Birmingham in one go, with one tank of petrol, in supreme comfort and leap out in B'ham for a sparky Costa feeling very perky (cp. my 205GTI - get about two hours down the road and have to stop to allow the vibrations of me and the car to have a rest!).
4. auto-recirculation for the air-con (although the 850 had the manual recirculation mine was peskily missing this nice option; i don't think the 850s ever had the button on the steering wheel though (like my B10) which was great!)
5. one of the best touches on the 850 was the wheel jacking points - they were in the sideskirts inboard of the wheels, and they were hidden behind a circular plastic cover about 2 inches in diameter. The covers just popped out when pressed on one side, and to my amazement EACH ONE had a separate plastic tie-strip which held it nicely in place - no more losing these things in the gutter at night... To me that shows the level of detail and thought that went into the E31 (surely the last BMW where the engineers designed it all, then gave it to the accountants to work out how much it should sell for - which is probably why they don't do that anymore!).
6. my old Alpine stereo allowed you to change the colour of the back-illumination to match the car's own interior lights - made it a lot less garish inside the car...
7. the different settings that the keys hold, how they can be programmed into the car or the key, and then remembered separately for each key (saw this first on my E46 B3 3.3). Great for the electric memory seats, which move to the right position, but also remembers things like the stereo settings (missus loves radio 2 and I HATE it), climate settings, etc. Very very simple but very very clever.

That's enough for Firday morning, surely!

Cheerios and a very merry Christmas to all as I reckon on wrapping presents non stop between now and the 25th...

Simon
AM DBS V8 Red / Tan (1971)
E70 Sapphire Black 4.8i SE / Camel
And some previous ones: see http://homepage.mac.com/sddavey/Cars

User avatar
v8 ego
ALPINA
ALPINA
Posts: 1844
Joined: Sat Nov 20, 2004 10:27 am
Location: Essex, UK
Contact:

Post by v8 ego » Fri Dec 22, 2006 3:08 pm

I've put a reversing camera on my car and as Neil says, it is a bid weird and I haven't got used to it yet.

One trivial thing is the alloy wheel locating pin in the tool kit. Simple, cheap and ingeneous.

BTW, AFAIK, the reason only Ford (and subsiduary groups) have front heated windscreens is that they have the patent.
Regards,

James

2018 BMW M760Li
2017 BMW 530i M-Sport Touring
2012 BMW 520d ED (Gave it back)
2011 BMW 535d GT SE
2008 BMW 730d SE (SOLD)
2007 BMW X5 3.0d SE (SOLD)
2007 D3 Touring 166 (SOLD)
2005 BMW 750i Sport (SOLD)
2005 BMW 730d Sport (SOLD)
2001 B10 V8 Touring 012/1 (SOLD)
2001 B10 V8 saloon 044/1 (SOLD)
1999 BMW 750iL (SOLD)
1997 BMW 750iL (SOLD)

User avatar
Charles
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 7837
Joined: Mon Jun 23, 2003 2:44 am
Location: Oxford

Post by Charles » Fri Dec 22, 2006 4:17 pm

v8 ego wrote:... the alloy wheel locating pin in the tool kit.
What's one of them when they're at home?

Haven't come across this in my toolkit - but then I have a man for such mucky and grimy things :wink:
Charles
Teacher of Chemistry and driver of ALPINAs - not necessarily in that order ;)
B3S Touring (49/116) - been to the moon and now on the way back!
Renault Grand Espace - not mine but the wife's!

User avatar
v8 ego
ALPINA
ALPINA
Posts: 1844
Joined: Sat Nov 20, 2004 10:27 am
Location: Essex, UK
Contact:

Post by v8 ego » Fri Dec 22, 2006 4:24 pm

On the 5 and the 7, there a is metal pin about 5/6 inches long with a grey plastic sleeve on it. You would put it in to one of the bolt holes on the hub before you put a wheel back on so that the wheel holes line up with the bolt holes on the hub so you don't have to struggle getting the wheel lined up.
Regards,

James

2018 BMW M760Li
2017 BMW 530i M-Sport Touring
2012 BMW 520d ED (Gave it back)
2011 BMW 535d GT SE
2008 BMW 730d SE (SOLD)
2007 BMW X5 3.0d SE (SOLD)
2007 D3 Touring 166 (SOLD)
2005 BMW 750i Sport (SOLD)
2005 BMW 730d Sport (SOLD)
2001 B10 V8 Touring 012/1 (SOLD)
2001 B10 V8 saloon 044/1 (SOLD)
1999 BMW 750iL (SOLD)
1997 BMW 750iL (SOLD)

User avatar
neil
Administrator
Administrator
Posts: 7019
Joined: Wed Oct 30, 2002 8:16 pm
Location: Nottingham, UK
Contact:

Post by neil » Fri Dec 22, 2006 6:02 pm

v8 ego wrote: BTW, AFAIK, the reason only Ford (and subsiduary groups) have front heated windscreens is that they have the patent.
My Mini has one ! I'd forgotten about that - it is very good ! Only negative is my Road Angel struggles to get a signal which I put down to the heating elements.

Post Reply