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      08-01-2012, 10:50 AM   #1

Drives: 335i LCI
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Home

iTrader: (1)

BMW Natural Air air freshener

Hello everyone!

I truly hope that I'm the first guy here who's got this - it's nice to be first every once in a while Anyhoo, if this is old news, please disregard...

I've been searching for the perfect scent for a while now. Basically, I'm not a fan of anything too strong in terms of scent, I prefer natural scents. I was always concerned with the product form. There are several types of air freshener:

1) Spray-on type: this is ideal, as you can spray it into your upholstery. There is no obvious source of the scent, which I like. Spray-on air fresheners do not tend to last long though - in hot weather, I've even had them last less than a day. Another problem is the more you mist your upholstery, the more the aircon tries to dehumidify it - sometimes, I get increased amounts of water coming from the aircon after the car is stopped and restarted. Another problem is the fact that these scents can mark your upholstery - my experience with Chemical Guys Green Apple scent, which left visual marks, as well as a sticky feeling to my carpets. Not recommended!

2) Liquid type: Ambi-pur and other manufacturers make these. They tend to smell nice, some even have two reservoirs for different perfumes and you can alternate inbetween. Regulation is possible on good units. However, should the liquid drip out, things can turn VERY, VERY messy, it tends to mark and discolor plastics, etc.
---Therefore, this was a no-go for me.

3) Wunderbaum/other scented items you place in the car (california scents, etc) - not bad, but offers very little regulation in terms of scent intensity, and then - where are you going to put it? You can hide it under the seat, but I didn't really want to come up with a fixing mechanism.

4) Millefiori Milan - impregnated rubber:
This, up to now, is what I considered to be the best. Basically, the air freshener is composed of a aluminum casing into which impregnated rubber inserts are placed. More will be revealed later...

So, now to the BMW product:
My dealer says they've had this in for a week or two, so no-one has really commented about durability.

The air freshener comes packaged in a nice box, hinting at the "natural" line of BMW cosmetics. Even through the packaging, you can smell the scent. What you get in the starter kit is the BMW holder for the scents, and a sample of each one of the scents. Currently, 3 are available: Green Tea, Balancing Amber and Energizing Tonic.

Construction/durability: the holder is made of plastic, in terms of quality I'd give it 5/10 on materials used and 8/10 on sturdiness. Had I seen this in someone's car, I wouldn't automatically think "that's original BMW", I would consider the idea that he bought it in Chinatown. The plastic used is no where near the quality of the plastic used in the E90 interior. However, the unit does have a sturdy feel to it, especially the slider that opens and closes the vents - this has about 5 preset positions and from one position to another you feel a distinctive "click"

One side of the holder can be opened, this is where you insert the scent. The scent is a piece of rubber impregnated with the given fragrance. Overall, the scents are "decent", they're not too strong, nor too weak. BMW sells refills of your preferred scent in a 3-pack.

Installation: This is where I hoped BMW would differ from the others, but obviously, this is not the case. The attachment to the air vent is generic, i.e. rubber feet that you slide into the vent. However, BEWARE: you cannot change the up/down position of the vent once the air freshener is inserted. Every vent only has one position that the freshener can be installed in

So, the best place for me is the rear vent. However, the air freshener does not fit the rear vent exactly. Also, once inserted, you cannot adjust the dials on the rear vent.

So, all in all? I'd give this product 6/10. The price is $24, which is rather steep. To be honest, next time round, I would have gone for the Millefiori Milan air freshener, in Oxygen flavor. As you can see, the BMW air freshener is made in Italy, and the impregnated rubber is patented - this leads me to believe that Millefiori makes the freshener for BMW. While the Millefiori freshener cannot be regulated, I would place it in the rear and regulate it by means of the dial on the rear aircon outlet.

The Millefiori air freshener costs $12, half of the price BMW is charging.

I'll be glad to answer any questions.
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