7 new features in BMW 5 series that you need to know

I had the opportunity to step into the BMW 520d touring. I know, you would say “what are you doing in a station wagon”, Yes I am saying that too. But I had the car packed with all the features worth bragging about. So where do I start?

1. Instrument panel

The redesigned instrument panel look more slick and expensive. The speedometer is completely digital, so it is packed with features, and customisable as well on what you want to display, whether you want to have everything, or more simplistic.


2. Console with gesture control

The Console is a touch panel, and also supports gesture control. For example you point your finger towards the console and rotate it to the left to turn down the volume, and rotate the the right to turn the volume up. Pointing with 2 fingers toward the console will play next (next radio station or next song), it is a pity you can’t go previous. You can also swipe to the left to cancel an action (this one is a bit clunky).

3. Dynamic cruise control with lane keeping assistant

This is probably the feature I like the most. At the flick of a button on the steering wheel, the one that have a picture of a steering wheel will activate the lane keeping assistant, basically you can take off your hand and the car will take over turning left or right as long as there is a guiding lines on the road. This combine with the active cruise control, make you want to take your eyes off the road. You can practically takes your hands off the steering wheel, the car will steer itself, and with active cruise control you can take your legs off the gas and brake as well. So it is almost an auto pilot. But the car will complain if you didn’t touch the steering wheel for a long time. Just make sure you pay attention as this feature can disengage when the car can’t detect any line marking any longer or crossing the intersection. It automatically disengage when you activate the turning indicator as well, so use with care.

4. Remote controlled Parking assistant

The Parking assistant feature is now had added function which allows you to steer the car remotely via a remote control. You need to have this remote to be able to move the car into a tight parking spot. I haven’t play around with this feature much, as it is quite daunting to move the car using the touch screen while holding one button on the right of the remote. Response is also a bit lag, so no James Bond style remote driving yet. I am also not sure what happen if it detect object or you park slightly slanting whether the car self corrected or not. I will have to play more with this feature when I had the chance.

5.Wireless charging

Finally, wireless charging is included, and you can not only charge your phone, but also the remote control. However I find that the wireless charging resulting very hot phone, and I have an iPhone. This will need to be addressed in future release. It almost burn the RFID card that I attached to the back of the phone (not good).

6. Apple Car play

This is the first time I use the Apple Car play feature, it is good and bad at the same time. Good means that it allows you to use the phone apps (limited number of them), calling become a pain as you need to now fiddle around the Apple Car play or touching the console screen.But this can be turned off so that you refer back to the usual way of calling using the button on the steering wheel, but you also lost the car play. The good things with the car play, you can get it to read your messages and reply to it by talking, listening to podcast, and switching form one app to the others, like Spotify and Music.

7. Remote 3D view

Given that the car have 5 cameras, it is able to capture it surrounding when parked. You have to activate this via the Connected drive app, the default view is the BMW Welt in Munich, and once you capture the image, it will get stitch together to form a 3D image of the surrounding. The second photos shows how it looks.

You can rotate the car to see the surrounding view, presumably if you know there is someone trying to steal your car you can take a photos of them too, assuming your car can alert you and give you a chance to snap their photos.

Despite all the goodness that comes with the car, there is always room for improvement.  Some of them are:

  • The programmable buttons looks cheap and not very responsive, there are times that I press the button and it doesn’t register
  • the 3D image capture is quite slow, and sometimes it might fail taking snapshot
  • The remote control is lag to be able to drive a car like a toy (probably intended)
  • Wireless charger gets the phone really hot even for a 30 minutes drive

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Zongzi: Chinese sticky rice dumpling (粽子)

One of the food that will brings back your memory when you taste it is Zongzi (Bak Cang). I grew up in Medan, never appreciating how lucky I am being able to have this. Only when I moved to Australia, I missed this traditional Chinese sticky rice wrapped in bamboo leaves. The process, as I remember took ages, as it needs to be boiled 6 hours in a pot filled with boiling water. But this is the guarantee of the taste.

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Xiamen to finished off

We arrived at the Xiamen airport, the ride sharing is already there waiting, so we hop on and get to the apartment. There is a bit of confusion on where the apartment was. The owner promised to wait for us, but she is out buying some amenities. So we stuck waiting at the front of what seems to be a hotel. Finally she arrived and took us to the apartment from the back door.

The apartment was quite spacious, A Lu Koko is already there waiting with us in front of the apartment, she is a bit worried whether the apartment is for real or not. The host explained that this is for real.

We went out for a walk around the apartment and we settled for the salty ginger duck. It was delicious, we also ordered a 2 more other vegetable dishes.

After dinner we walk around while chatting and after a while we call it the night and went back to the apartment.

Yu Yuan garden and The Bund

We started with having breakfast at another Lantau noodle shop near the airbnb apartment we stayed. I had the spicy beef noodle with a beef fried burger. It taste as delicious as the one in Changsha. Then we catch the metro line 11 and change at Oriental sports centre to line 8 then change again at Laoximen station to line 10 and finally stopping at Yuyuan garden stop.

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Shanghai Nanjing rd

We arrived at our airbnb accommodation via Taxi. Some taxi driver refuse to take us for whatever reason, it shows that big city dwellers are less friendly. Shanghainese seems to be the worst, the way they talk is also very rude.

Once we settled in, we walk around in the surrounding, stopping by for the local dumpling. Then heading to the train station at Xiuyan rd. The we catch line 11, change to line 16, followed by line 2 and exit at Nanjing rd east.

When we exit, it is a buzzing metropolitan city, packed with people, tourist and the like. We walk for a bit and then decided to take the tourist train in the mall. It took us from one end to the others. Then after hopping of we took tons of photos and walking back, stopping along the way of the souvenier shops. There is one spot where you can take a photo shot of the Shanghai Bund scene compete with the Car and rickshaw.

From there we head to the restaurant for dinner, we ordered a few dishes, Siao long pao, vegetables dishes. One we finished our dinner we head back to the station to head home. The subway is packed with people at that time around 9 o’clock at night.

Orange Island

We start late, having breakfast at the halal restaurant closer to our apartment. On the way back, one of the guy outside the restaurant teach us how to use wechat to call a taxi. We need a China mobile phone to be able to do so.

So we try to use it for the first time. But we get mixed up between the east gate and the south gate, the taxi is waiting at the south gate, but we are in East gate, everything turn out ok in the end he grumpily came to pick us up at the east gate. We took taxi to the metro station. Then catch the metro train to Juzizhou station. It took us directly to the island.

We bought the sight seeing ticket for 80 Yuan, which include the ferry ride around the island and the bus within. The bus took us to the ferry. We boarded and catch a seat. I went up on the upper deck to be able to catch a good scenery photos. The young Chairman Mao, statue is located in the South tip of the island. When the ferry circle around they ask us to went on for about of entertainment. Started with a lady singing a song and followed by a scholars write a beautiful Chinese calligraphy, which cost from 100 tp 200 Yuan. It is quite cheap for the quality of the writing and paper. One of the writing cost 600 Yuan which consist of poem by chairman Mao.

From the we walk around visiting a few scenic spots, such as former resident of Tang Shengzhi. Then we catch the sight seeing bus to the statue of young Chairman Mao. After taking some photos. We head south to the Wang Jiang Pavillion, and the point where Chairman Mao pointing to the country.

From there we head back north end of the island to check to Jiangshen temple. After offering some prayers and some donation, we stop by the local tourist shop to buy some souvenirs. From here we head further south to the Gongji building, which is opposite to the Juzhou island beach park. The park seems to be under some renovation, most of the animals lantern is under repair. So we decided to head back to the metro station via the tourist bus again.

From metro station we head to the Wuyi square to check out the downtown buzz. It was pretty crowded with youngsters dressing up hip hop and attending make up and hair salon. We stop by for some local snack and settle in to have dinner in one of the local restaurant having spicy fish and three other vegetable dishes.

After dinner we had back the Wuyi square station, which is also the Metro interchange under a big shopping mall. We catch our metro line 2 back to Shawan Park which cost 3 Yuan.