Interior Carbon Modernization
"This single entry is part of my Interior Program for The Papi Express. I seek to imagine what BMW M would have done if M Performance parts were a thing for the E60.
In this entry, it's pull the door cards to realize the pre-LCI E60 is a half jump between generations, and end up installing the complete carbon interior trims."
Some 1990s design solutions were hidden under the skin.
I understood how BMW perceived luxury design as I pulled the door panels off. They thought having actual trims of the door handles was a good design feature.
In 2003, BMW hadn't yet mastered and implemented the use of high quality clips to trim an entire interior.
Bolts, yes - bolts hold the door panel trims that is sandwiched between two sections of the door panel.
You wanted soft closing doors with a soft, heavy clunk?
This is how BMW conceived it back then, and in previous generations.
Removing and installing E60 Interior Trims
Trim tools will be your friend, and keep a Philips screwdriver around along with a T25 & a ratchet.
Plan and expect to fail, and you'll have a good time.
The Main Dash Trim
That part is relatively easy. I went in knowing how the large dash trim was removed.
Use trim tools and start by the passenger door to pull out the trim. Work your way to the ignition button.
You'll need to unplug the Hazard / Door Lock button. It can first be unclipped from the air vents to give you more play.
When installing new trims, make sure to fit the top part of the main dash trim under the seam.
I suggest you hold both end of the trim to fit it tightly underneath the seam by the door and ignition button.
The picture below shows how not to do it.
The Driver Side Dash Trim
This how isn't tricky per say - but if you think it's just a case of pulling, you're in for broken clips and vents.
You need to first pull on the lights panel to reveal 2x Philips head bolts. Remove those, and then you can pull the trim out.
The Center Console
Once the dash trims are out, remove the face plate that is held with 2x small screws at the top, and some clips.
Now you can gain access to the lower face plate panel. You don't actually need to unclip it as the accessories button panel is clipped into it.
You can pull that out with it, and unplug the connectors. Pull the knob out, pull the iDrive selector out too.
Pull! C'me on!
The SMG surround can be pulled out easily, however don't pull too hard as you need to unplug connectors for the EDC, Power, ESC and DriveLogic.
Removing the surround reveals 2x bolts.
That's it - once those are off, use a trim tool to pull near the iDrive buttons and voila.
The Door Panels
Get ready to fail a few times.
I suggest you begin with the rear doors: they're the most challenging, yet those you'll rarely look at.
The front doors are easier: they only have 1x leather covered screw and you have direct access to the bolts to remove the OE trims and install the new ones.
The Connectors Dilemma
The E60 had optional air bags in the rear door panels. It's a great security feature, and secured to the panel it is with a connector that will give you nightmares.
You have a choice: unplug it all and make your life easier to install the trims - or don't and support the panel from below and let it hang a bit.
I chose the later.
The Rear Doors
There are 2x small leather covered screws to remove with a Phillips head screwdriver.
Pop the airbag plastic cover and it will reveal a T25 bolt.
Start popping the pop in clips using trim tools starting from the bottom.
There are also metal clips by the window, do those at the end.
My E60 has rear windows manual sunshades. This needs to be removed to gain access to the top bolt of the trim. You'll need a few different Torx heads.
Fitting the door trims is a b*tch.
Welcome to bolts and sliders: BMW's idea of luxury in the 90s that made its way to the pre-LCI E60.
Slide n' bolt.
The bottom of the trim has several slider type plastic fittings. There's also 2x in the middle of it that are critical to firmly positioning the trims
You need to slide the trims first, and hope the screws with a square end fitted to plastic trims will hold as you firmly press and push on the trims to get them to slide.
Once you get it in firmly and the fitment is like OEM, this means the sliders are in the right spot.
You can then bolt down the bolts to firmly press the top of the trim against the curvature of the panel.
Don't torque them too hard. You will otherwise break the plastic clips holding the screw's square end. Then you need to live with subpar fitment.
Expect to have to come back to these a few times as you figure it out. You'll become a master of pulling door panels in a few minutes.
The end result is well worth it.
My E60 came equipped with the Maderia wood interior trims: BMW's 1990s idea of luxury.
I rant on about OEM+ quite often, but I truly believe this is something BMW should have done, and would have done.
That's the essence.
With the carbon trims fitted, I'm happy with how my early generation E60 M5 interior is coming together.
From what was arguably the worst interior of all time, it's now something purposeful while remaining sober.
I've curated the carbon trims for all M5 and M6 variants here.
Up next, I'll chat new alcantara steering wheel, CIC retrofit and a few other OEM replacements.