BMW has about a dozen acronyms and names for all of the different technologies in its car and crossovers, most of which fall under the ConnectedDrive umbrella. For 2014, BMW is upgrading its software across its range and starting to trickle all of the newfangled it introduced in the 2013 BMW 7 Series across its entire range in the U.S.
Leading the upgrades will be the BMW’s eCall automatic collision assist technology, which will notify authorities automatically if you wind up in an accident, becoming standard on most models and remaining cost-free for the next 10 years. Additionally, iDrive 4.2, which runs faster and looks more modern, will be coming to every model with a built-in screen, which excludes some versions of the BMW 1 Series at this point. Other upgrades come by way of the new real-time navigation system and BMW Online in-car 3G internet coming as standard equipment in the 5, 6, and 7 Series in addition to the 2014 BMW X5 and X6; advanced voice commands that work with Siri and Android sVoice; and an expanded lineup of available BMW Apps, including announcement of the M Power app, which we’ll show you in depth later this week, Pandora, and MOG. By the end of the year, BMW Apps will finally be able to work with an Android phone; some features won’t be available to the Google phone users, though.
Some 2014 highlights include a touchpad on top of the iDrive control knob, route customization via Google POI, wireless music browsing via Bluetooth on iTunes, a concierge service that will now come standard on all V-8- and V-12-powered BMW 6 and 7 Series, better speech recognition, and a new specially tailored interface for BMW i customers. BMW has released plenty of details on it, but we’ve not seen BMW i in action for ourselves yet because neither of BMW’s two forthcoming all-electric cars, the BMW i3 and i8, are out yet. Expect to see at least a production version of the BMW i3 before the end of the year.
Some of BMW’s 2014 models are already starting to trickle into dealerships, and most, if not all of them, will be on sale by the fall of this year. We’ll let you know how the new BMW ConnectedDrive technology holds up to Audi’s MMI, Mercedes-Benz’s COMAND, and Cadillac’s CUE when we get to drive some of the new BMWs later this year.