Your expert opinion


So my wife and I have decided to buy the car we have dreamed about. It is more money than we have spent on anything other than a house. We have it configured just the way we want EXCEPT one critical design detail that transforms the cabin. We finally decided to turn to some experts that deal with these sorts of details so I found this site. We are hoping some of you will take a moment to give us an opinion about the two trims. The leather is a light grey. Thanks!

What exterior color is it going to be???

Also note that these are not pictures of the actual interior materials, but very nice CAD
renderings. Those tend to misrepresent the wood, especially. Your dealer will have little
samples and gladly guide you through the process.


Modern Man concurs with mo-i on the question of exterior color as a starting point.

Modern Man prefers high gloss back or carbon fiber black interior trim over the wood option. (Is that even real wood?)

BTW, as an aside, Modern Man is personally most fond of the BMW’s Sakhir Orange full Merino leather w/Anthracite Alcantara headliner.

Nix the wood option.

Knowing the exterior colour would indeed help. That would turn this into a question of coherence in stead of preference.

But even then, I don’t know whether anyone can really give ‘expert advice’ on a choice this. Those trim-options were put together by what I’d assume to be experienced designers over at BMW; at a certain point, questions of design turn into matters op taste.

There’s a wonderful definition of taste I read somewhere: “an arbitrary, but consistent preference”. You can pretty much count on designers to dislike the (faux) wood option, but that doesn’t necessarily make that preference any less arbitrary…

Thanks for your comments. You’re right, the cad renderings are close but not perfect. I went through the samples and took my best shot but small samples are useless when it comes to getting the “feel” of the interior. The dealer refuses to hazard an opinion because he doesn’t want a customer to look at him sideways when the car he recommends isn’t to their liking. I can’t say I blame him.
The wood is indeed real and beautifully handmade. The black is exactly like the finish on a piano.
The exterior is something called Moonstone. It is a very light grey. All these colors are from a selection called Individual which means you pay a bit extra to get unique combinations. Consequently there isn’t a car I can go sit in.
Good points bobvanvliet. It is indeed all about coherence. The wood is beautiful and adds richness but in the end it may come off as jaring or out of place.

Well, not necessarily.

I googled for “BMW moonstone” and found this pic:

The grey seems to be quite a ‘cool’ hue, which can actually make a nice contrast with the warm colour of the wood (kind of like the brown wood in the background of that pic).

If the grey is more a ‘warm’ hue (already a bit brownish itself), than its closeness to the character of the wood could make the whole thing kind of bland or even seeming to not quite fit.

The glossy black piano finish is also perfectly coherent with a cool grey. It just gives the whole thing a bit more of a modern, what I would call ‘clean’ feel.

Personally, I’d probably prefer the latter (were I to be barred from going for loud accent colours :wink:), but again: there is nothing inherently wrong about the wood option. Especially if a touch of ‘warm’ is more to your taste than ‘clean’ and minimal.

p.s. sorry for the huge image, I couldn’t get bbcode to resize it…

Gloss black looks good until you touch it and it gets all scratched up and fingerprinted, then it looks like an old iPod Nano. But wood in a modern car looks kind of ridiculous to me.

Piano black. Just keep a microfiber towel in your console. They really rape you on the individual package though…$6k for a slightly different shade of their 8 shades of silver and some plastic trim? If you like the gray on black I’d do the “Cheap” Everest or Oyster package and the anthracite wood which has the rich/darkness of the piano black but a little more life to it. Then subsequently blow that $6k on a bigger engine, dynamic handling, or M sport kit.

But it’s what makes you happy. :wink:

Jealousy aside, I’d suggest the piano black. Depending upon your age, wood is OK but it’s slowly being pushed out by more advanced and modern materials. And who are we trying to kid here? I mean, very few cars have real wood inlays anyhow.

Cyberdemon is spot-on about having a microfiber towel to polish up the black trim.

I mean, very few cars have real wood inlays anyhow.

Ahhh, but the ones that do… . .

I was as nervous about my decision the first time I got to choose a new car, which slso was a BMW.
Moonstone is not for everyone as it shows a cascade of hue depending on lighting and background. What I did was chasing down cars in the right exterior color and the right interior to make my decision solid. You might not find one car with the exact combo but at least one with that wood option.

That said I’d also recommend the anthracite wood option as a middle way.
Personaly I do have piano black in a grey car and despite only cleaning it with micro fiber it is already slightly scratched, but I’d still order that interior again.


I think it depends on how and where you’d drive the car as well as what mood you want that environment to set.

My M3’s interior is all black with splashes of carbon fiber and brushed aluminum but I don’t even notice it because all you do in that car is watch & feel the road while keeping the throttle as far down as possible (that equates to the size of the smile during the experience) - but when I bought my X5 it was not the color or interior scheme I liked, but it was everything else so I had to go with it. It’s a silver exterior with 75% black, 20% hickory (and Lew - it’s real!) and 5% brushed aluminum on the interior and I have to say that after 2 years of driving it I’ve realized that being in that car calms me down and relaxes me almost instantly. The polished wood feels good, looks classy and makes you feel more luxurious. I’m 43 so maybe I’m old now - I dunno. :stuck_out_tongue:

I’d only go with the piano black if you want that car to make you feel more sporty than coddled - and if you want to clean the interior more often as well.

Is there a tone on tone color option instead of the two tone that you might like? I think two tone interior looks great on paper, but I can’t personally get comfortable inside such designs, as I feel there are too much going on in such a small space.

Wait! It is hickory on the outside? Either I got that wrong or we need a pic proof.


This should be the Anthracite and oyster…very similar combo but the anthracite has the texture to it.

Technically the wood trim is “real” in the sense it’s the thinnest piece of veneer possible inside of plastic.

They’ve started to use some more natural raw finishes for the wood, but it doesn’t do much for me. I did the hex pattern aluminum + gloss black + coral red leather. But I’ve got the tastes of a prepubescent teenager not an adult. More Powar!!!

The hickory is on the inside, silly! :stuck_out_tongue: It might be a burled walnut now that I think of it…hmmm

If the wood is strain grain and not burled, I might go for it. Have to see in person. It’s a win-win.

Thanks for all the responses! We appreciate the time you folks have taken to help us with this dilemma. :smiley:

The exterior is problematic because as moi mentioned it will take on various hues depending on the light:

This is inside:


I could swear there is some light copper showing through on a couple of these but I haven’t seen anyone make that comment.

The concern about the black and scratches is a good one. However our kids are grown up and I am one of those guys that puts a ton of TLC into my car. Beyond that, someone told me that light scratches can be taken out on this wood using the same method used to repair the clear coat on the exterior.

With respect to my personal outlook, I’m less sporty, more sedate. I chose the 535d without the sport package for the more comfortable ride driving hundreds of miles on straight highways. I chose a BMW because one has to have fun now and then and I didn’t want a boat.

I like the two tone, mattdesign. Despite my more sedate nature.

I could approach this from a different direction and put moonstone together with platinum leather and wood. That replaces the silk grey leather with a more earthy slightly yellow color. Hmmm

It still seems crazy to go individual for such a subtle difference over the silverstone II or cashmere silver. Individual makes sense to me when you want a neon orange M3 but the 5 series colors are so subtle it seems like nobody would ever notice the subtleties between the two. Personally I’m less fond of the warm silver.

FWIW even if you want the more comfortable ride, I would get the dynamic handling/adaptive drive. Adaptive drive lets the dampers be more comfortable when you want comfort, and more sporty when you want sporty. Really transforms the characteristics of the car for the couple of times you may accidentally encounter a twisty road.