Go ask your grandma, she will tell you she lived in the last time the world was right. Then go and ask your mom, she will say the same about the time she was young, and so on. I am sure that those of you who are old enough to be reading this will probably confirm that the time they were young was just the same. You know – kids these days – the music they are listening to is pure decadence and will surely bring us to the downfall of civilization itself. As if your parents didn’t think the same about your 2Pac, Metallica or Bom funk MCs and their parents didn’t think the same about Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin… Their parents thought the same about The Beatles and Elvis Presley but somehow it is now Taylor Swift and Migos who will bring the end of times… What this describes is called nostalgia. BMW is a company which reinvents itself, just like pop music but there are those of us who will tell you that their era of BMW was the greatest. I am also guilty of the same. Apart from automotive diagnostics I am very closely involved with automotive history and design, I love all of that.

So, let’s say that my 73-year-old friend will say that Paul Bracq was the epitome of BMW design, he is the moving force behind the E12 and contrary to popular belief the E26 M1, rather than Giugiaro and Dallara. Paul Bracq created the E25 BMW Turbo Concept which spawned BMW’s insane Group 5 story that the M1 was. The M1 gave birth to the BMW ///M division so historically he created the biggest stone in BMW’s foundation.

My 59-year-old dad will say – Claus Luthe was God because he created masterpieces, arguably the most important BMW of all time – the E30 was created by Claus, together with other timeless classics like the E34, E36, E31, E32…

So now objectively he is the Lord savior of BMW. Me, a grumpy 35-year-old will tell you that the best cars in BMW’s history were the E46, E53 and E38, all created by Frank Stephenson and (Voldemort himself) Chris Bangle… I can even make the case that the E46 is the one car humanity needs. Hear me out, ok… It is a sedan, a touring and coupe. This is standard, but there is also a convertible, based on a coupe, there is also the Z4 (E85), based on the coupe, which has a coupe, based on the convertible Z4 Coupe (E86). If that is not enough for you there is an E46 Compact (ti) which is based on the coupe… AND there is an SUV in the shape of the X3 (E83) based on the E46 chassis. All the sedans and Touring came also in Xdrive All- Wheel Drive too. They all came with 4- and 6-cylinder gasoline and diesel engines, automatic (granted a poor GM job) and a manual… If we count the E52 Z8 (and we should because it is a Z4 with a body kit) we also have V8. All in all, the E46 was all things to all men and women of all ages. There is no car need where E46 is not the obvious answer (please refer your complaints to

Prices vary between 200 Euro for a rusted 316 ti and 800,000 for the best Z8. Basically, Chris Bangle created a masterpiece (sure, most of his other work sucked, but hey – there must be 1000+ bad symphonies by Mozart. He just didn’t put them on YouTube for us to laugh at. In 2000 a Dutchman was in charge of the two Americans at the BMW design team – Adrian van Hooydonk, the man loved change and created (with the help of the two gentlemen above) something unheard of – they turned BMW’s direction completely – a successful company was turned upside down. For no obvious reason. Incredible!

After the moderate success of the final  F01, a new seven series. A new generation of vehicles was introduced. The F01 had to fill the biggest 7 series shoes to fill in the shape of the E38, the E65 was a disappointment but a financial success. The main reason for that were the technical advancements in this car, after its enormous success mostly due to the i- Drive system and its introduction when the F- series came along there was a completely new playing field to roam on. On top of that the F01 was a handsome beast and the technology within it was out of this world. We saw the introduction of the CIC generation of navigation. Not just for comfort – the F01 and its “children” – the F02, F07, F10, F11, etc… were technically groundbreaking in Safety, Comfort and security – the cars were reliable and of course van Hooydonk’s gamble paid off. BMW were selling more F10 5 series than Mercedes’s E- Class and Audi A6 combined – München started a fight in Bavaria and they won. Technology is another insane leap forward for BMW and it is always. Always driven by design there. Imagine this – until the revolutionary shift of 1999 when Hooydonk became chief of design BMWs were basically spartan when we talk about technology – nothing innovative - they had a simple radio, they had an analog check control system which (let’s face it) was nothing more that a gimmick. The E36 and E31 had primitive (even for their time) immobilizer systems even, barely any airbags and DMEs which were rudimentary to say the least – but all of a sudden we see the EWS3, we see the MK3 navigation system, we see high end audio companies partnering more and more with BMW to create a signature sound system, B&O, Harman Kardon, Clarion, Kenwood and Alpine to name a few were expanding with more and more technologies together with BMW, better cooling, better heating, better creature comforts, a more complex, yet far more efficient sets of electronics were implemented.

Now, lets leave nostalgia behind and move on with what made F series better.
The F- series were introduced with completely new architectures of the chassis, modularity on steroids but it also came with a whole plethora of new engines, never integrated into E-series, the N55, N57, are the brightest but they are merely a drop in the sea in comparison. BMW re-discovered efficiency, they rediscovered turbo charging for petrol, and thusly made super efficient powerful three liter engines. N55 is rated to 300hp but pushes closer to 350 stock, the M40i version of it with S55 pistons, rods and crankshaft was rated to 360hp but regularly displayed 400. So these, including the S- series engines were not as saliva enticing as the outgoing S85 V10and S65 V8. So what, they also didn’t require engine out servicing every 4 weeks. BMW were going in the right direction and in fact they were true to their ethos. Even more so now but more about that later.  In fact, the S50, S52 and S54 engines are close relatives of the S55 powering the F80. So it was more a return to roots for BMW, only much better.

The S63 even in name is a direct successor of the iconic S62 engine powering the E39 M5. The F10 M5 was far more a successor to the E39 than the E60 will ever be. Not to discount the E60 but it gets all the praise just because it has an F1 derived V10 strapped to a mediocre 5 series.

In terms of the DMEs installed in the F series BMW they once again spearheaded innovation. Bosch, Siemens, Continental and others now integrated their latest technology. BMW created a new generation of engines – those which start with the letter “N”. The peak of those was the N57S in response to Audi’s bi-turbo diesel. BMW created the N57S together with Bosch and the ///M GMBH – it differs from the standard N57 by a plethora of components but the largest difference is the direct injection diesel system which Bosch developed as a peak engineering feat. It is a 3 liter diesel engines with 3 or 4 turbochargers which behaves like a large N/A V8 such as the S62 and produces at least 400hp and 740Nm of torque, all this is managed by a Bosch EDC17CP74 DDE of the 8th generation. This is the extent BMW went to in order to deliver incredible technology. The engine has cascading turbochargers by Mitsubishi and the torque curve is a straight line from as low as 1200RPM. This is what BMW were technologically capable of.


Pairing the new engines to transmissions far beyond what people thought imaginable came in 2009 with the first of the F10s, they smashed a new transmission by ZF – the 8HP. BMW had a long standing relationship with ZF but until the late e53s they never installed a ZF automatic unit and as good and reliable the 6HP was it was no match to its child with 8 forward gears. Although ZF do not always get it right (9 speed in Jeeps and FIATs) they certainly created a masterpiece with the 8HP. But that was not all. The M cars of the E series were equipped with SMG units from Getrag and they were constantly being improved. With the transition to the G series a new philosophy was undertaken once again. BMW M started using torque converter ZF 8HP gearboxes. Heresy! Yes… Bold…Certainly. But development of the 8HP continued and now it is undistinguishable from a double clutch in terms of upshifts and extremely comfortable when cruising unlike the single and double clutch predecessors.

Van Hooydonk’s design team came under a lot of heat for the beaver nosed G80 but the technology behind it was so good we soon forgave them. The B58 and its sporty brother the S58 are nothing less than technological marvels and the results of the G80s prove it.
In terms of the security of the vehicles we saw exponential growth too – from the EWS3 of the early 2000s to today we saw the Car Access Systems of generation 1, 2, 3 and 4. They were outstandingly better and controlled almost every aspect of the passenger comfort and the anti-theft of the vehicle. The CAS system was outdated by 2014 (it only occupied 4 cars on 2 platforms by then) and it was naturally replaced by the Front Electric Module (FEM) which was greatly improved when compared to the CAS and provided a new security level to overcome theft. Not just that though, it managed all the systems in the car’s interior. The Body Domain Controller came next (BDC) and it was even more. The BDC2 installed in modern G series is the one we are currently working on.

BMW went crazy with the infotainment system and the fully integrated display clusters – I would go so far as to say that they currently have the best infotainment system on the market.
From an Abrites perspective I want to stress the powers of the AVDI and Abrites Diagnostics for BMW online. I truly believe that we provide the best tool on the market for BMW, Mini and Rolls- Royce vehicles. Bold statement but hear me out – we have the most advanced standard diagnostic system for E, F and G series- we have descriptive DTCs, live data like no other, actuator testing and simultaneous testing with live data monitoring. Take ANY tool and compare it (ISTA included) and you will see that nothing comes close. You can reset modules, you can put them in a million different positions to assist your diagnostic process, but this is nothing compared to our module replacement features and key programming. ISN reading from all DME and DDEs for all E and F series, programming of the ISN, renewal of used modules, abilities to replace modules in groups or just part of a group, renewal of 6 and 8HP transmissions, calibration of modules and transferring of coding, creating a totally new coding for a vehicle is there as well. You can modify vehicle orders and do retrofits. We have everything you need in one tool.  Fast coding is another one of those things you will find use for – single click changes wanted by thousands of BMW owners all over the globe.

-    Read and Write ISN
-    Read and Write Coding
-    Renew used modules
-    Modify modules to behave as per your customer’s desire
-    Creating new configurations
-    Coding for E, F and G series
-    Service history
-    Resetting modules

-    Calibrating modules
Basically if you can think of it we have it.

In terms of keys we have to make a few points so that you know. The supported versions are as follows:
-    EWS3 cars – by programmer
-    CAS1 – by OBD
-    CAS2 – by OBD
-    CAS3 – by OBD
-    CAS3+ – by OBD
-    CAS4 – by OBD!
-    FEM – by programmer and OBD together – the easiest procedure on the market!
-    BDC all versions (85 and higher included) – BY OBD!
-    Ability to read DME/DDE ISN allowing us

As I mentioned above, the thing the whole world is waiting for us to complete is BDC2 key programming. We will not be able to give you the good news in this article but this will happen and G series key programming will become available as soon as our current progress becomes a living, breathing software solution which works every time we try it.

I am just as guilty for nostalgia as the next person. I mean what kind of an idiot would buy an old BMW as a project car?... Here’s mine:

It all looks like nostalgia for old BMWs is unjust. They are practically getting a lot better and very much more technological, much more comfortable, faster and much more a status symbol. Yet there is still something missing from the monstrous XMs and the i7. What could that possibly be? – Oh, that’s right they have no soul.

Until next time, take care and try to have at least a bit of fun at work.