BMW Launches iDrive 4.0
According to The New York Times editors who had the chance to test the new iDrive, the control knob is now surrounded by no less than seven buttons that provide direct access to most used functions. Besides that, the German manufacturer upgraded the voice recognition system with a faster processor and 80 GB HDD meant to provide faster response and function browsing time.
iDrive now features an 8.8-inch display but still without touch support. “The company doesn't want drivers leaning forward to change settings,” The New York Times explained.
In addition, the knob is now multifunction, meaning that it comes with a pre-defined action for every single move: spinning it down pops out the menu list while pushing it lets you select an item. “The result is that you can skip to functions you want more quickly. And a large round on-screen icon changes depending on the area you have highlighted,” the NYT editor wrote.
iDrive also includes an iPod connector that let's you connect the iPod, with the system displaying the track and the album on the 8.8-inch display. Obviously, the 80GB HDD can be used for storing multimedia content such as music or movies.
However, it seems like iDrive is still buggy, according to the aforementioned source. “The system may be easier to use, but has BMW finally eliminated the problem of driver distraction? Absolutely not. The voice-recognition software — like all such programs on the market — is far from perfect.”
The fourth version iDrive will be available as standard on BMW 7 Series starting spring 2009 but it's already installed on MY 2009 3 Series and 1 Series as a $2,000 option.