2009 BMW M3: The case for nav...and dipsticks
March 29, 2010
About a week ago I posted my annoyance at the GMC Terrain for not allowing navigation inputs while driving (there is voice control for it, but that's another blog. Hint: it's not great.). 1487 hit the nail on the head, "apparently GM is taking notes from Toyota with regards to using nav while moving. Thats a shame." While others went a different direction, wondering why I'd ever bother with built-in nav in the first place. Something about maps and motor clubs and other things I don't understand.
Here's why I like navigation: I took a spur-of-the-moment trip to Vegas (really, I was forced into it, "Surprise, Magrath, get to Vegas. Your assistance is needed.") and in Henderson I checked the oil via the little computer which said, roughly, "Hey, you're low on oil. Still OK, not great, though." To which I replied, "Hey, iDrive, can you point me to the closest BMW dealership? Yes? Great." I didn't have a map. I don't think I'll ever own a map.
Sure, I could've used my blackberry to similar results, but this map is bigger and faster and has better resolution. It's a cool, handy toy that, in the M3 at least is in a very attractive $3,250 bundle that comes with comfort access -- along with not owning a map, I hope never to own another key to a car-- M-drive button (!), and the electronic dampers. All of those things are awesome on this car and I figure if you're buying an M3, get this package instead of the $2,900 waste-of-a-great-car automatic.
As for that dipstick thing in the title...well, jump for some raning.
So I check the oil via the stalk-mounted button and the level is below the indicator in the middle. I'm about to do a lot more...enthusiastic....driving in the near future and I'd be happy if the level was right in between the two marks.
So my brain says at this point half a quart should do it. I pop the top and add half a quart.
Exciting, I know. So after that's done I drive to my hotel and then to my destination. That's about 20 miles. The computerey-thing tells me that, after re-evaluating itself -- I knew this because it looked like a clock for about five minutes-- that the oil level was STILL below the center mark! Fine. Another quarter of a quart. (Sorry, no pictures of that.)
Drive another 30 miles. Computer computes. At least one power on-off cycle. Tells me that there is STILL no change in oil level.
Final fourth of that quart goes in.
Some 90(!) miles later it stops being a clock and starts being an oil meter again....
SONOFA.... Seriously? This would not happen with a dipstick and a rag.
Technology. She's a double-edge sword.
Mike Magrath, Vehicle Testing Assistant @ 19,357 miles