Flotsam, there are a number of reasons why a generic OBDII reader is not the way to go with a BMW - firstly, OBD is a US initiative only and Euro-spec cars such as are in widespread use elsewhere in the world (Europe, UK, Japan and Australia) did not have to be OBD compliant until much later than 1996 - in fact in some countries, not until 2007. Secondly OBD relates only to emissions-related matters, so provides very limited access to the diagnostic modules of BMWs (typically only the DME and EGS). The P**** codes generated by OBD tools also represent a compromise and do not always reflect the more comprehensive list of BMW diagnostic trouble codes which are available from the BMW diagnostic system with 100% accuracy. Thirdly the bulk of pre-MY2000 BMW's require an ADS-compliant interface to gain full access to the diagnostic system, which the ELM327 cannot do.
If you just want to play with your car, fine go the WiFi and smartphone option, but if you expect to do any real diagnostic work, requiring access to ABS, ZKE (Central Body Electronics), DSC, DME, EWS and EGS etc., a generic OBD2 code reader is definitely not the way to go. I actually own Peake tools, a couple of generic OBD SCAN tools in addition to a number of ADS, DCAN and KCAN interfaces and can tell you are lucky to get $26 value from the OBD tools.
Last edited by David Mc; 09-12-2013 at 04:08 AM.