Luxury car

BMW’s iDrive 8 infotainment system is not very good

Beneath regular circumstances, one would anticipate an infotainment system to enhance in each manner because it transitions from one model to the subsequent. Screens change into extra responsive, brighter and clearer. The software program is tweaked to be higher, and also you achieve extra capabilities than earlier than. That’s the best way it’s alleged to work, however BMW’s iDrive 8 doesn’t comply with this line of considering.

It hurts me to say this, too, for I’m simply the largest advocate of iDrive 7 on employees right here at Autoblog. There’s an ideal mix of arduous controls and touchscreen controls for very important car capabilities, and the iDrive knob ties all of it collectively in a contented concord. The software program itself is glitch-free, super-quick to reply, and the menu construction is smart. Most of us on employees would agree that these are all massive pluses for iDrive 7, together with my co-writer for this piece, Senior Editor James Riswick. 

Each Riswick and I (Street Take a look at Editor Zac Palmer) spent separate weeks in new BMW i4s that characteristic iDrive 8, and we got here away with related complaints.

Zac’s take

Sadly, iDrive 8 takes a number of iDrive 7’s finest qualities, then throws them out the window totally for a substitute that’s worse. What the overwhelming majority of my grievances boil all the way down to is added complexity to finish duties. One thing that would’ve been achieved with a single faucet in a iDrive 7-equipped BMW now requires upwards of three or extra faucets. Take, as an illustration, the local weather controls. BMW eliminated all the arduous local weather controls from the middle stack apart from entrance and rear defrost, then tucked them into a brand new “local weather menu.” Temperature management stays docked on the backside of the touchscreen, however if you wish to activate your heated seats, it requires a visit via the local weather menu. The identical goes for fan pace, route of the fan and the rest you’ll be able to consider re: local weather controls. Predictably, it’s extra time-consuming to function and much trickier to fiddle with whereas driving than the good row of buttons BMW employed beforehand.

Then there’s the BMW’s Dynamic Stability Management settings. There’s nonetheless a tough button on the middle console that you could faucet to place it into “Sport Traction” mode (our favourite for enthusiastic motoring), however as an alternative of simply tapping the button, now it’s essential to faucet the button, then faucet twice extra on the touchscreen to totally activate “Sport Traction.” Why!?

@autoblog BMW’s iDrive 8 infotainment system is a step backwards in some ways
♬ authentic sound – Autoblog

In the meantime, the brand new settings “menu” is a maze of icons. Accessible by way of the house display of customizable tiles, the brand new iDrive menu simply appears just like the app drawer of another person’s telephone you simply picked up. The previously-used column fashion menu for car settings was way more becoming for iDrive knob navigation by way of scrolling and rocking. This new scattershot technique appears prefer it was designed to be navigated solely by way of touchscreen – and due to this fact observing one thing aside from the street for an extended time period. Extra time getting accustomed to the brand new construction may enhance issues, and heavy utilization of the voice controls to search out settings may assist, too, however that’s a piece round. The earlier construction made good sense, and this one is deeply missing.

Lastly, and I do know James will concur, the entire system is simply slower! Apps and different objects take noticeably longer to load on the display. There’s occasional lag when touching the display, and it’s usually much less responsive/not as easy as iDrive 7 is. This may very well be a results of the software program being model new with some kinks that also want figuring out, however this isn’t the route we anticipate tech to maneuver. The brand new iDrive 8 must be zippier and simpler to make use of than iDrive 7, but it surely’s removed from that now. — Street Take a look at Editor Zac Palmer

James’ take

After about 5 minutes within the BMW i4, I felt like Charleton Heston on the finish of “Planet of the Apes” staring up on the Statue of Liberty. “You blew it up! Rattling you!” 

Not like Zac, I used to be by no means significantly enamored of iDrive 7, however at the least the factor labored properly and was simple sufficient to determine (properly, as soon as it acquired its Apple CarPlay connectivity ironed out). It was largely simply an evolution of what iDrive had been since round 2010 or so when BMW lastly discovered make it tolerable. That system simply so occurs to be in a automobile I personal, so it’s not like I’m ignorant within the methods of BMW. 

Both manner, I concur with Zac, BMW ruined its infotainment system. It’s convoluted, complicated and most damningly for a brand-new system, gradual! Not solely do I’ve to tap-tap-tap via varied menus, I’ve to attend whereas the pc brings up the subsequent display. 

Like Zac, I had a giant beef with the local weather controls, however he’s already gone into that. What I need to discuss is one other primary perform: the radio. Now, sure, I perceive that many individuals solely hearken to their very own music, streamed ultimately from their telephones or an app, doubtless via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. That’s good. Individuals nonetheless hearken to the radio, and particularly for the needs of this rant, SiriusXM satellite tv for pc radio. I’m one in every of them – I even use the SiriusXM app continually at residence. 

Now, whether or not for satellite tv for pc or old style terrestrial radio, the interfaces in automobiles to regulate them have been reliant on user-selected presets (or favorites) because the Thirties. In any other case, you’d simply be spinning and spinning and spinning that dial backwards and forwards between stations. And but! In some way, BMW thinks that’s precisely how somebody needs to work together with 470 channels of satellite tv for pc radio. 

As a substitute of defaulting again to the preset/favorites display, the rattling factor all the time dumps you again to the grand checklist of 470 channels. You’re continually going backwards and forwards between this default display and the favorites checklist, after which, when you’ve truly chosen one thing …

Really, you understand what? Simply watch this: 

@autoblog RANT: BMW has made its new iDrive tech interface worse, particularly the radio interface
♬ authentic sound – Autoblog

The Volkswagen ID.4/GTI tech interface/nightmare has a equally nonsensical and horrible radio setup. My guess is it was designed by somebody who can’t comprehend that folks nonetheless hearken to the radio (even when the radio in query is principally only a streaming service with songs chosen by folks fairly than an algorithm) and that their newfangled manner was completely higher. It isn’t. Even when that’s the case, why not simply say “OK Elder Millenial” and provides ancients like me the outdated factor they have been used to? Why hassle reinventing the wheel once you’re satisfied the world has moved onto hoverboards?

Additionally, I don’t need to dive right into a touchscreen to activate my heated seat. Particularly if that rattling display takes ceaselessly to load. Identical to the ID.4, for that matter.

You blew it up. Rattling you. – Senior Editor James Riswick


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