iDrive, the company’s famously frustrating multi-function rotary controller now has an upgrade. The iDrive was meant to ease the option of bringing a wealth of navigation, phone, entertainment, and vehicle functionality into the cockpit without making it look like the flight deck of a 747. The previous iDrive made controlling all this equipment worse because the system was very uncooperative. The new iDrive gives new BMW owners ability to dig deeper into iDrive. For example, they can change programs that previously only dealers could adjust, like the automatic door-lock settings, as well as check information like the tire pressure. The version that will appear in the new 7 Series will also offer an on-screen owner’s manual with instructional videos (which can be watched only when the car is stopped).
The system may be easier to use, but BMW has yet to eliminate the problem of driver distraction. The voice-recognition software is far from perfect. The iDrive will come standard with the 7 Series and a $2,000 option for the 3 Series and 1 Series.