My name is ***** ***** I have seen this problem many times.
This problem can range from you only seeing the light to not being able to start the vehicle. The way it works is that the steering lock is a small electrical motor that must receive a signal from another computer called the CAS module. This is for theft protection of the vehicle. When the steering lock fails it can disable the starter which can leave you stranded. But I have had customers have this warning active for up to a few years before this has occured. The problem here is that you won't know when it will fail in the way that will prevent you from starting the vehicle. On your BMW the steering column needs to be replaced as a complete unit as the steering lock is part of the steering column and then it will need to be programmed for it to work correctly.
Please let me know if I can clarify anything for you by posting back. I hope this information helps Nigel. Please provide a positive rating once satisfied with my help or simply reply back if I can help further.
Śorry for the delay, can you fit a new lock to column.?
Glad to help further Nigel,
Unfortunately on your BMW the ELV (electronic steering lock) is integrated into the steering column so it must be replaced as a complete unit. Only on the BMW 5 series E60 is the lock replacable separate. It would be smarter if BMW allowed this lock to be replaced separate but unfortunately they did not engineer it that way for your BMW.
If you would like me to look up the part for you on real oem and post a link please send me the last seven digits of the VIN number.