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'BMW' Reviews

Review: BMW's CarPlay and Qi Charging Support Offer a Convenient All-Wireless Setup, but Subscription Plan Remains Questionable

While CarPlay has become very common in cars over the past several years, most manufacturers are still relying on a wired implementation that requires the user to plug his or her iPhone in using a Lightning cable connected to one of the vehicle's USB ports. The first and only car manufacturer to adopt wireless CarPlay so far is BMW (including its MINI brand), although Mercedes recently announced wireless CarPlay coming later this year. On the aftermarket front, Alpine is offering one solution that supports the feature, while Pioneer has just announced a few models of its own. One common justification for the slow adoption of wireless CarPlay has been that the car is an easy place to charge your phone, so it pays to plug it into your car to top off the battery while you're driving. But with Apple's latest iPhones supporting Qi wireless charging and more car manufacturers starting to include Qi charging pads as options on their vehicles, we thought it would be worth taking a look at how such a setup works in the real world. BMW's Plant Spartanburg BMW recently invited me down for a tour of Plant Spartanburg in South Carolina, which is BMW's largest plant in the world and produces 1,400 vehicles per day from the X3, X4, X5, and X6 lines. I also got to take part in the Performance Center Delivery program at the BMW Performance Center, a program that is typically available to anyone who purchases a new BMW and elects to pick it up at the factory. Off-road course at BMW Performance Center During the program, an instructor introduced me to the capabilities of some

'BMW' Articles

BMW Plans to Turn CarPlay Into Subscription-Based Service Next Year

BMW plans to offer CarPlay as a subscription-based service beginning next year, rather than charge a one-time fee, reports The Verge. The automaker will charge $80 per year for access to CarPlay starting next year, with no fee during the first year of ownership of a new BMW, according to Don Smith, technology product manager for BMW North America. BMW currently charges a $300 upgrade fee to drivers who want CarPlay, available in its 2017 model year and newer vehicles. Smith believes switching to a subscription-based pricing system will provide BMW owners with more flexibility. "This allows the customer to switch devices," he said, while mentioning Android as a specific example. BMW doesn't currently support Android Auto, although Smith said Google Assistant is coming to new BMW models later in 2018. Smith also argued that the annual fee could actually work out to be cheaper for somebody with an average length lease, as the total cost after four years after the free first year of access would be $240, cheaper than the one-time $300 charge. Of course, those who don't trade in their BMW once every four years can expect the CarPlay subscription fees to add up significantly over the long term. All the while, many other automakers now offer CarPlay as a standard feature. BMW may ultimately decide against this idea if it receives enough negative feedback from customers, but we'll have to wait and

BMW Z8 Owned by Steve Jobs Estimated to Fetch Up to $400,000 at Auction Next Month

A luxurious, 400 horsepower BMW Z8 owned by late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs is headed to auction next month at Sotheby's in New York. The winning bid is estimated to reach between $300,000 and $400,000. Jobs' ownership is documented through several service invoices accompanying the car, as well as a copy of a California registration or so-called "pink slip" in his name and at his personal residence, according to the listing. "According to legend, Jobs was convinced to buy the Z8 by Larry Ellison the iconoclastic CEO of Oracle, who enthused to Jobs that the car was a paragon of modern automotive engineering and ergonomics," the listing says. The roadster has a production date of April 1, 2000, and it was delivered to him in October of that year, according to Sotheby's. Jobs reportedly sold the car in 2003 to its current owner in Los Angeles. Over the course of the last 17 years, the car has been driven just 15,200 miles from new, averaging less than 1,000 miles a year, the listing states. It is said to remain in "exemplary condition." The silver-over-black car is equipped with several accessories, including its original BMW-branded Motorola flip phone that Jobs supposedly hated. The JOBS Z8 license plate was registered by the current owner. BMW built just over 5,700 Z8s between 1999 and 2003. The car had a suggested price of $128,000 before options in the United States, and used models typically sell for anywhere between $165,000 and over $200,000. The auction begins December 6 at Sotheby's "Icons" event, featuring supercars from Lamborghini,

Aircharge Announces Wireless iPhone Charging Case for BMW iDrive Ecosystem

Aircharge and BMW have teamed up to offer a customized wireless charging case for iPhones to take advantage of the new in-car wireless system that debuted in the BMW 5 Series Sedan earlier this year. The BMW 5 Series Sedan was one of the first cars to include wireless CarPlay support, allowing iPhones to integrate with the BMW iDrive ecosystem over Bluetooth instead of a Lightning cable. In-car phone wireless charging is also standard in the 6 and 7 series and available as an option on the rest of the range. Integrating the smartphone into the vehicle's system allows the iPhone to be operated directly via the screen in the car, the iDrive Touch Controller, voice commands or gestures, avoiding potential distractions whilst at the wheel. Given that heavy usage of apps, navigation and music can drain a battery at the end of a drive, the addition of wireless charging solves this issue by keeping the device fully powered while in operation. With Apple yet to launch a smartphone with the wireless charging function integrated into its hardware, the German carmaker worked with Aircharge to design the case to add on the capabilities and bring the convenience of wireless charging to BMW owners. The case features a hard shell to protect the phone and a tactile finish, along with a total black look, and has engraved the BMW Group’s branding on the front and back. All Aircharge case models carry the official 'Made for iPhone' MFi certification by Apple and are also certified to the global wireless charging standard Qi. The Aircharge case is currently available

2017 BMW 5 Series Sedan Will Feature Wireless CarPlay Support

BMW today unveiled its 2017 BMW 5 Series Sedan, which will be one of the first cars to include wireless CarPlay support. According to press materials released today, iPhones will be able to wirelessly integrate with the BMW iDrive system, connecting to the car over Bluetooth instead of through a Lightning cable. CarPlay is available in the BMW 5 Series Sedan too. Integrating the smartphone into the vehicle's system environment allows the phone, together with any apps that are on it, to be operated via the screen in the car by means of the iDrive Controller or touch control. BMW is the first carmaker to integrate Apple CarPlay without any cables at all.Wireless CarPlay functionality was first introduced by Apple in 2015 alongside iOS 9, but thus far, no in-car infotainment system has been released that fully supports the feature. It is not clear why wireless CarPlay support has been slow to roll out, but Apple has prevented at least one company from demoing the feature. Volkswagen attempted to demo wireless CarPlay functionality in January of 2016, but Apple said no. It is not clear when Volkswagen will be releasing a vehicle with wireless CarPlay or when it will see a wider rollout to additional vehicles. The current CarPlay setup requires users to connect an iPhone to a vehicle using a Lightning cable that plugs into a standard USB port. The 5 Series Sedan will be available around the world starting in February of

iPhone 7 and BMW Owners Experiencing Bluetooth Audio Issues

Over the past two weeks, an increasing number of iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus users have experienced Bluetooth audio issues in vehicles. The majority of users experiencing problems appear to be BMW owners, regardless of model, but other vehicle brands such as Hyundai and Kia appear to be involved in limited cases. The issues range from audio cutting out to connectivity issues with infotainment systems. BMW users in particular report being able to stream music for about 5-10 seconds, at which point the ConnectedDrive system freezes. Fixing the system requires restarting the iPhone, but the issue reemerges once the connection is reestablished. MacRumors reader YachtMac posted in our discussion forums:My iPhone 7 Plus with iOS 10.0.2 will not stream audio for more than a few seconds in a BMW 4 series with the latest multimedia software. I have researched the issue and others with BMWs and other makes seem to be experiencing the same or similar streaming issues. Moreover, once the fault occurs the mobile telephone connection then becomes flakey as well. The only thing I can do is to disable the audio streaming option in order to have a phone that works in the car as a phone.Apple Support Communities member Chandy911 echoed the same problem:I just upgraded to an iPhone 7 Plus running iOS 10.0.1 and I am having issues playing music through Bluetooth on BMW ConnectedDrive. I've upgraded the BMW software on my car to the latest version from BMW's website, but I still get disconnected on Bluetooth after about 5-10 seconds after playing music. I've tried to restore the phone

BMW's First CarPlay Vehicles Now Available

BMW this week became the latest CarPlay partner, introducing the iPhone-based software system as a $300 upgrade option in its 2 Series vehicles. 230i Coupe 230i Convertible 230i xDrive Coupe 230i xDrive Convertible M240i Coupe M240i Convertible M240i xDrive Coupe M240i xDrive Convertible Leaked price listings in June confirmed BMW's plans to offer CarPlay in select vehicles in North America and Europe this year, with 2017 M3, M4, X5 M, and X6 M models expected to follow later this month. BMW joins a long list of automakers that offer CarPlay, including Acura, Audi, Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Citroën, DS Automobiles, Ferrari, Ford, GMC, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Lamborghini, Lincoln, Mercedes-Benz, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Opel, Porsche, Peugeot, Seat, Škoda, Subaru, Suzuki, Volkswagen, Volvo, and

BMW and Nissan Announce First CarPlay Models

Nissan recently announced that the all-new 2017 Maxima, available now at dealerships worldwide, is its first vehicle with CarPlay support. Apple's dashboard software is included with the Maxima Platinum trim package, which is available for a suggested price of $39,990 in the United States. CarPlay is included as part of NissanConnect, a proprietary system with a wide range of features: automatic collision notification, remote start via smartphone, emergency calling, a stolen vehicle locator, satellite radio, a hands-free text messaging assistant, and more. The 2017 Maxima has an 8-inch touchscreen display. Meanwhile, leaked price listings shared on discussion forum Bimmerpost reveal that BMW's first CarPlay vehicles will also be launching in North America and Europe this year, including 2017 M3, M4, X5 M, and X6 M models (via 9to5Mac). The documents show that CarPlay will be a $300 feature for U.S. models. BMW and Nissan join a long list of automakers that offer CarPlay, including Acura, Audi, Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Citroën, DS Automobiles, Ferrari, Ford, GMC, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Mercedes-Benz, Mitsubishi, Lamborghini, Lincoln, Opel, Porsche, Peugeot, Seat, Škoda, Subaru, Suzuki, Volkswagen, Volvo, and others. Meanwhile, two of the largest CarPlay holdouts remaining include Mazda and

Apple, BMW Could Resume Talks Over Possible Apple Car Partnership 'At a Later Stage'

Earlier this month, rumors suggested Apple had been in talks with BMW about potentially using the body of the electric BMW i3 as the basis for its Apple Car, but those talks did not progress into a deal. Reuters has now spoken with some inside sources at BMW, giving us more insight into what the two companies discussed and where their relationship might lead in the future. Apple CEO Tim Cook and other senior executives visited the BMW factory in Leipzig, Germany in 2014 to look into how the i3 is manufactured. According to Reuters' source, Apple left the talks without reaching a deal with BMW because the company wants "to explore developing a passenger car on its own." During the visit, Apple executives asked BMW board members detailed questions about tooling and production and BMW executives signaled readiness to license parts, one of the sources said. News of the Leipzig visit first emerged in Germany's Manager-Magazin last week. "Apple executives were impressed with the fact that we abandoned traditional approaches to car making and started afresh. It chimed with the way they do things too," a senior BMW source said.Apple and BMW do not have plans to jointly develop a car at this time, but one of the sources believes that "exploratory talks" could potentially be revived in the future. Given Apple's lack of experience with industrial manufacturing, a partnership with BMW or another car company would make sense, as it could help speed up development and eliminate many of the headaches associated with entering an entirely new industry. Details on Apple's

New Report Says Apple Was in Talks to Use BMW i3 as Basis for Electric Car Project

Apple and BMW were in negotiations to use the German car manufacturer's car platform for its electric i3 for Apple's rumored car project, code-named "Project Titan", according to a new report from German business magazine Manager Magazin [Google Translate]. The Cupertino company was interested in the body of the i3, which is a small hatchback that has a shell made out of carbon fiber, helping keep the car light. The two companies began talks in autumn 2014, but broke off talks before committing to check in with each other and their plans periodically. The report also states that Tim Cook and Apple senior managers made a trip to BMW's factory in Leipzig, Germany to take a look at the production of the i3. This isn't the first time BMW and Apple have been linked to be working on a car. In March, a report from German automotive magazine Auto Motor und Sport claimed the two were in close negotiations to turn the i3 into an "Apple Car". However, BMW denied the claim to Reuters hours after the report surfaced. Earlier this week, Apple hired Doug Betts, former Senior Vice President of the Chrysler Group and the global head of operations leading product service and quality, continuing the company's hiring of automotive experts. Additionally, Apple hired Paul Furgale, a researcher with a specialization in autonomous vehicles. While details on Apple's car project have been scarce, there have been reports of Apple recruiting talent from the automotive industry, including poaching employees from Tesla, Ford and GM, and that the company has hundreds of employees working

BMW Denies Report of Electric Car Discussions With Apple

German carmaker BMW on Thursday denied that its discussions with Apple involved developing an electric car, according to Reuters. German automotive magazine Auto Motor und Sport reported hours earlier that Apple and BMW were in close negotiations about developing the automaker's all-electric i3 vehicle into a so-called "Apple Car." "The BMW spokesman said: 'We are in regular talks with companies from the IT and telecommunications sector, including Apple, concerning topics like connected vehicles. Developing or building a car is not a topic of these discussions.'" The German report claimed that the electric car could be manufactured by BMW and sold at Apple Stores, with Apple developing a full-fledged operating system for the vehicle that integrates with the car's fuel consumption and driving data. It is plausible that Apple is working to expand its CarPlay efforts on the dashboard, but it remains to be seen how closely integrated the platform will be with future vehicles. Multiple reports claim that Apple is working on an electric car that is ">possibly self-driving and could enter production in 2020. Some other reports, however, downplay the rumors by suggesting that Apple is working on expanding its presence in vehicles through CarPlay. Any electric car project at Apple is likely in the early stages of research and development at this