BMW Connected Drive – (Analysis and Reviews)
BMW Connected Drive – Rarely has the pleasure of testing a gadget for anything less than 300 horses, riding up, riding down power. We’re not talking just a tablet, but the technology platform BMW Connected Drive carrying the new BMW Series 3.
Those of you interested in the motor part of this stunning new range you can find all the details on the Series 3 test our fellow Autoblog made some days ago. For the technological part, keep reading.
BMW Connected Drive. The connected car
Under the name of BMW Connected Drive is grouped a good range of technologies that not only includes the internet. The onboard computer of the Series 3 includes services such as navigation, parking assist, telephony, music and video playback, Head Up Display, e-mail alerts … Each car has a total of 160 settings can be different stored in the wireless controller that starts the car or even a USB.
Except for the GPS, which works with your own link, all features that imply a connection to the Internet require a flat rate mobile phone to connect to. The Series 3 has two ports USB for this purpose that are hidden in a compartment between the seats.
If you do not want to use cable or do not have a cell phone can also connect via Bluetooth . The only difference is that, due to the lower bandwidth of Bluetooth, will function as the images of the album art will not show.
In a matter of months, the Series 3 will have its own 3G connection. At BMW we have only been able to say in this regard that are reaching agreements with different operators.
Two screens and a half
After adjusting the seat and steering wheel motorized our physical dimensions, we review so we have around. The main screen of BMW Connected Drive depends on the version you choose. The base is 6.5 inches. In this case the car came with the version called Proffesional, whose screen is 8.8 inches in a much more landscape (16:9), with resolution 1,280 × 480 pixels and anti-reflective matte finish. In both cases, right in the center of the dashboard.
Sencible information for driving, such as alerts, fuel remaining, or speed counters are shown behind the wheel. To this we must add the ‘screen’ Head Up Display. Actually it is a projector on the dashboard on the windshield that reflects some basic data regarding speed, road signage and navigation. Although small, some drivers are a bit disconcerting to see numbers in front of them floating on the hood.
BMW Series 3. IDrive
The commands that control the music and the phone are groups of buttons on the wheel itself. For other applications, which are numerous, it uses a command called iDrive. This is a dial with a large button and several buttons for direct access to main functions.
iDrive is not bad to navigate between menus, but not recommended to use moving and at times, like when we have to type text, it is not comfortable. To enter an address, for example, that you turn the dial and selecting one letter at a predictive options. Although it is possible to enter data by voice, we have seen other more comfortable settings, such as the touch screen keyboard developed by Nvidia for Tesla.
In terms of screens and controls, the Series 3 is fine, although the drivers probably expected more geek most spectacular settings or touch options.
Before connecting the iPhone to the car, you must download the free BMW Connected to iTunes , which gives access to key functions. As the astute reader will already be fearing, if we talk about iPhone is that the BMW Series 3, so far, only one hundred percent compatible with the Apple phone, the iPod Touch or the iPhone.
If you have an Android Bluetooth connection can be established but the integration is not anywhere near as good. Hopefully the application for Android and Blackberry will come soon because it seems so acceptable that in a luxury vehicle as the Series 3 does not give all possible options, especially in software, which is a cheap and perfectly updatable component.
Once paired car and telephone (can be paired with several different profiles iPhone), it opens up a whole range of possibilities that we can control from the remote iDrive screen in the vehicle or from the iPhone itself.
BMW Connected Drive and music
Even without the speaker system optional Harman Kardon, the audio of the BMW Series 3 sounds great. In the case of iPod and iPhone, the vehicle integrates its functions perfectly so that even the car interface back to the music player. Apart from music you can play videos from your smartphone or iPod.
The cross of the coin is that the system is not compatible with other audio platforms like Spotify or Grooveshark. Apart from iTunes, the drive supports other data sources connected via USB, but reproduction here is completely manual.
Apart from music we have, BMW Connected Drive has a long list of internet radio stations. The application also works as a music player pocket if we are out of the car.
Navigation and parking
Navigation on the Series 3 is extremely neat and efficient. The system has a 12GB storage memory in which to save regular destinations and routes.
The guide is made by complete directions in the central display, guides the diagrammatic head up display or voice guidance. If we have connected a phone using BMW Connected, navigation has a feature called Last Mile that leads us to walk from where we parked the car to our destination. Also leads us back where we stand as far as we parked the vehicle. Very useful for clueless drivers.
At the park , the BMW Series 3 activates a function that guides us through a rear camera, sensors that are lighting up a different color on the screen and beeps intensify as we approach. It is a very useful aid but remember that there are already models of Audi or Ford are parked alone, literally.
The internet world
Esrei close look at Connected Drive with purely online functions, which are numerous. The BMW Series 3 can, by applying Connected Drive, synchronized with Facebook, Twitter, e-mail or RSS of each of their drivers.
Obviously, this does not allow us while we update our status at the wheel. Rather it is a way to keep track of your contacts online in the screen itself. The system can also read us the new messages with more or less success.
When connecting the phone with a data rate, the-Browsing is enriched with data from Wikipedia and local information as geolocation. It is also possible to navigate freely. In the latter case it is better to use the phone as a method of entry because the iDrive is very long and uncomfortable.
BMW Connected Drive. The opinion of Engadget
Needless to say that, at the motor, we can not say much for the Series 3 is a big car except that impressive. With respect to their platform connected, is efficient and works perfectly with two buts that are not operating, but philosophy.
The first but Connected Drive is an ecosystem that is too tight around the Apple world. The fact that the Series 3 is a luxury car does not justify depend on both the iPhone. If it is a matter of pijerío there are other much more luxurious mobile on Android and other platforms, and I see full compatibility with, for example, a Vertu. If we buy a gadget that is worth 30,000 euros, the minimum is that its connectivity is as wide as possible, specific software support and full for all platforms, not to leave certain models only half connected.
Moreover, the system iDrive interface is not the world’s most versatile when it comes to handle multimedia functions of the vehicle. In this sense, the BMW Series 3 is well equipped technologically, but their platform Connected Drive, as adelentábamos the beginning of this analysis, it is not futuristic, but rather cutting conservative.
Ignoring these two buts, we must also recognize that we could not find even a single failure in its operation. The Germans have their style but also quality assurance.