Autoblog Kenya | AFTER ALL, IT IS A BMW
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Yes, we love spending time at the garage!

Not as an excuse to get away from your significant other and your offspring, it is simply time off, from your mental daily schedule to take part in one of the few joys, FullSizeRenderthat you don’t have to fully comprehend, because your Mech, (in my case a soft spoken gentleman called Simon) has the answers for everything as far as your MotoGari is concerned……. It would have to be a BMW

The E60 Mid sized sedan, most of us know as the 5 series, was a break from traditional BMW styling, Designed by Chris Bangle and Adrian Hooydonk.

To say that the reviews were mixed on its debut is an understatement, it was butchered by auto mags and ……. Top Gear on its release over the exterior design\ interior electronics but guess who had the last laugh.

Yes, turns out the E60 became the best selling 5 series of all time.

I did have the option between the status symbol E-class Shinde but something about a BMW, once you have driven one and gone through the pains and joys of ownership you are become part of it.

After all, it is a BMW

which gets me thinking, do we complain about going to the garage because of the type of vehicle you own?

My 10 year old 520i is up for service, well 400 clicks to go but who is counting.
They are sensitive cars these, but treat it well it will look after you and provide some of the greatest pleasures life has to offer………After all it is a BMW
Like teaching a 4 litre VX around the Sanchagwan hills that perfection is more than just raw power (the driver was gracious enough to flash his lights in acknowledgment and thumbs up, as I let him by at Timboroa.)

A trip to the garage is like a visit to your parents, you make the most of it because you are not sure when you will be back next….as it should be.

It is also a chance to catch-up with other BMW owners though the conversation always revolves around, What’s wrong with yours and eventually shifts to power, performance and handling model, age etc

After all it is a BMW.

however this particular day falls on a Wednesday when most BIMA owners are hard at work……… they say many of you are in the financial sector, a few doctors here and there, well I am neither.

Oil filter, oil change, plugs, air filter no fuel filter on the E60, (someone had the bright idea to have it inside the tank) and an unexpected oil leak leads to extra cost but is quickly sorted out

as is this case i like to be involved, hoovering around the engine bay area, asking multiple questions about certain functions of different engine components, ensuring no new scratches suddenly pop up.

Unfortunately, most garages will confine you to the reception area…… certainly not!

Now, I am part of this auto forum, ‘beyond tarmac’ like minded people with a an unhealthy appreciation for BMW’s

A mini tour in the form few quick pics to the forum on what I find at the garage including this white E30, someone definitely has a restoration project in mind, and he has chosen the right car

Then it is down to our usual routine with Simon…………which goes like this:

Simon,; “that’s done, anything else;
Me: “yes, there is a certain noise coming from the front, I think the suspension is weak.”

Now if you know the E60s well that suspension is a bitch! Apart from your Bilstein shocks, you have your upper arms, lower arms links etc the list goes on.

The idea of course, is dealers would have had to make money from after sales.

In that regard Simon is damn good, he knows where to sniff out genuine parts you couldn’t find anywhere at prices that will allow you to still afford a Cigar at the end of the week.

Changing suspension parts is labour intensive, most garages would not accept you as a drive in but rather book you in

With Simon its different, he has serviced my previous BMW history so it’s a love hate money relationship
Then Simon will take the 5 out for a road test come back looking perplexed…… he is actually shocked that a 10 year old 5 series on Kenyan roads is this silent.

Simon: when do you use this car?

A silent satisfaction engulfs me, if only BMW had any clue.

Me: sure nothing? Have them remove the tyres and check for any noises underneath.

It is a process we always go through, 5 minutes later the all clear.

Simon: ‘Use it a few more months and lets see how it behaves” by now his irritation is beginning to show,
a lady owner of a 1 series with a gear box problem is coming to pick up her vehicle.

The point is, I did not expect them to find any major trauma underneath, I am a bloody good driver especially where my 5 is concerned. But every now and then, its not a bad thing to be told ‘you are in good nic”

Instills the confidence in your driving, but make no mistake, I will be seeing Simon in under three months, it is never a good idea to wait until the suspension is so weak it is affecting other components, the cost will be no laughing matter.

After the computer is re-set, (the safety belt tensioners warning light keeps coming on, BIMA owners will be familiar with this) I leave Kim’s Bima garage and get onto Bunyala rd, sunroof tilted, Otis Reading reaching beyond his vocal cords with .. “I have got dreams to remember” (yes i am a 70s Man) from the Harman Kardon logic 7 stereo system and a certain calmness settles in………

A certain look, one associated with Bmw drivers develops on my face, you know the one I am talking about, you have it in seen in traffic with BIMA drivers, one of satisfaction

After all, it is a BMW.


Article by Robert Nagila

  • James Muriithi
    Posted at 17:13h, 27 July

    This is quite a good read, i saw the white E60 and thought this is yet another international advert, Then i saw the other 1 series and the so obvious Nairobi look garages. I did not expect you to talk about the E60 so you can imagine my surprise when i realized you’ve owned one for the past 10 years. Now before i get carried away, i love the styling of this car its timeless and truly its a joke and Chris Bangle haters if i owned a car company I’d give this guy a job pronto.. he can see the future. Two great rivals of their time E60 and W211 at the moment you tell me who won. I love W211 but lets face it looks dated now. Even through been thinking about upgrading to the E class and i can see the E60 just staring at me with these perfect lines and these body wrapping head\tail lights. I know the W211 is quite reliable am not sure i can say the same for the E60 that electric water pump scares the hell out of me something made worse by the fact the i cant easily read out my water temperature/engine to figure out whats happening in realtime. Another issue is the fuel i have had that it performs better with V-Power my current benz does not show that much difference when i switch from kawa fuel to v-power (this used to show vry well in the GDI i had).

    I love the looks of the E60 I cant imagine myself not getting it and playing about with I-Drive in traffic… a white one with dark presidential tint. Enough about my dreams let me ask a few question kindly be honest please:

    What is the fuel consumption of the 520i… in my 2litre i do about 4K ksh in 7 days and daily i do about 25km?
    What is the cost of a normal service you mentioned above?
    How much is front suspension arms, shock, etc
    Have you changed the water pump, fuel pump or anything close to the fuel and engine?
    What should i check for when looking for an E60?
    I have also had the earlier N47 engines did not snap the timing chains like the later ones, what can you say about this have you heard anything like this at the garage?

    Have too many questions let me stop here for now. Thanks for the nice read, you need to do i good review of the car video included!

  • David
    Posted at 20:03h, 29 July

    Hi James,
    Sorry for the late reply and thanks for your comment and for stopping by,
    likely my editor will now consider putting me on the payroll.
    I will try and answer all your questions based on my experience and research:

    Here goes:

    Fuel Consumption:
    BMW claims fuel consumption is 13.0/6.8/9.0 l/100km urban/extra-urban/combined, however it is also largely dependent on your driving style and other factors, driving with the windows down, AC etc.

    But technology nowadays means a huge improvement on fuel efficiency so this should not be a cause for worry

    Service Costs:
    Normal service cost, oil filter, oil (synthetic oil, should take you about 12,000KMs but I would advice every 5000KMS because of our conditions)
    Air filters, spark plugs of course labour. budget about ksh 40,000

    (Touchwood, i have not had any issues with the water pump, fuel pump) its a nasty piece of business

    Buying an E60:

    Few cars are as complete as the 5 Series,
    As one writer described it ” possibly the car that’s come closest to being all things to all people.”

    I would point you to the facelift (post-2007)
    these have more power without any fuel consumption penalties
    Go for one with leather. While autos are superb, the manuals are brilliant however with mad traffic on our roads i would take the auto

    (Cars with Sport or M Sport trim have firmer suspension than standard models)


    Body wear and tear:
    The injectors of post-January 2005 six-cylinder petrol cars sometimes fail.
    Automatic transmissions are supposedly sealed for life, so the fluid is never scheduled to be changed – but it can (and should) be renewed every 60,000 miles…..( .not touched mine yet)
    Clunking between P and R or N on a 530d auto suggests the transmission is worn…..would advice Petrol engine
    The front screen uses thinner glass than normal, so it cracks easily; look for stress fractures.
    Make sure the power steering fluid is up to the mark, as the seals can fail, leading to leaks into the gaiters.
    All 5 Series have lots of electronics, and they can be temperamental, so check everything works and the scree

    Suspension costs/original Vs Dealer costs

    lower arms Ksh 19,000 each /BMW dealer Ksh 28000 each
    Support arms (upper) Kshs 21,000 each /BMW dealer 32000 each
    Stabilizer links 6000
    Shocks front Ksh 22,000 each /BMW dealer 50,000
    Rear shocks Kshs 19,000 each
    Always remember to budget for labour

    You may find cheaper parts, but doubtful they are original
    And you will end up spending more in a short space of time
    Original parts last longer of course, also depends on your driving style
    On certain surfaces.

  • James Muriithi
    Posted at 12:17h, 31 July

    Hi David,

    Thank you very much you have no idea how useful this is i have been wondering to the point of almost stopping the next person driving an e60 just to ask him above questions. Now that its clear i can make well my decision for my next ride. Thanks a lot and keep up the good work, i expect some more good reads so will be checking the site now and then.

    Best regards
    James M.

  • David
    Posted at 12:36h, 31 July

    You are welcome Sir,
    Thanks for stopping by and for your support. Please come back again and again