2018 BMW 540i: Monthly Update for June 2018
by Carlos Lago, Manager, Feature Content
Where Did We Drive It?
Though nearly everyone on staff loves driving our long-term 2018 BMW 540i, the past nine months haven't been issue-free. Weird electrical gremlins have popped up on occasion. And while none have been catastrophic, they do make you wonder what's going on inside the car.
Since we've had the 540i, Apple CarPlay has frozen a few times, and the entire entertainment screen has refused to boot up. This month? The backup camera stopped working, which required a simple restart. More complicated was the "passenger restraint system malfunction" alert that popped up one morning. That warning required a visit to the dealer, which didn't fix the problem.
What Kind of Fuel Economy Did It Get?
We didn't cover as many miles in June as we'd have liked. With the "passenger restraint system malfunction" alert on, our 540i spent a few days parked both in our garage and at the dealer. But when it was on the road, our BMW traveled 1,371 miles and consumed 56.3 gallons of gas, netting a monthly fuel economy average of 24.4 mpg. Our lifetime average is a bit lower at 23.1 mpg, but that matches the EPA combined rating.
Average lifetime mpg: 23.1
EPA mpg rating: 23 combined (20 city/29 highway)
Best fill mpg: 32.7
Best range: 488.9 miles
Current odometer: 13,879 miles
Maintenance and Upkeep
After the 540i displayed the "passenger restraint system malfunction" alert, we called Santa Monica BMW for service. Even though it was Wednesday, the soonest we could get in was early Monday morning.
The car was ready Tuesday afternoon. According to the invoice, the dealer "connected battery charger to vehicle and performed short test. Found passenger seat mat sensor fault in system. As per test plan, performed recognition and found no problems. As per SIB 65 04 14, cleared fault and test-drove vehicle. Rechecked and found OK."
The repair was performed under warranty, but it didn't appear to accomplish anything. Shortly after getting the car back, the warning reappeared. We've parked the car again for safety reasons and will report on its return to the dealership next month.
"The rearview camera just stopped working on our 540i. I turned the car off and then back on. The camera started working fine again." — Mike Schmidt, senior manager, vehicle testing operations
"Hey, BMW? It's me, an Android user. I'd really like it if my Google Pixel could maintain a constant Bluetooth connection with the 540i like it does with other cars. As things are now, the connection gets severed whenever I receive a notification, requiring me to pull over, disconnect and reconnect my phone to resume listening to whatever I was streaming. And while we're at it, how about adding Android Auto support?" — Carlos Lago, manager, feature content
"Electronic gremlins aside, I really enjoy our 540i and have spent probably too much time thinking about how I'd order one. I'd skip all-wheel drive because there's no weather in Los Angeles. Plus, keeping it rear-drive improves combined fuel economy by 1 mpg and saves you a little more than $2,000 off the sticker price. The wheels and exterior design updates on the M Sport Design are must-haves, and I'd stick with the 19-inch wheels instead of opting for the 20s. The advanced driver aids in the Driving Assistance Plus package and the comfort from the Luxury Seating package make long drives enjoyable, while the performance upgrades in the Dynamic Handling package do the same for freeway on-ramps and winding roads." — Carlos Lago