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Discussion Starter #1
Though I've never actually used the system on the road, when I tried out the iDrive system, I found it to be extremely tedious and annoying. BMW's are supposed to be drivers cars, and Id think it'd be hard to "drive" the car, when you are too busy fiddling with a computer screen instead of watching the road. I don’t know about you, but I could see myself being too busy punching through the gears to fool around with a computer (assuming they’ll have a 6 speed manual option…) I must say, I don’t like the direction BMW are going in. Lately they seem to make all the wrong choices. But enough of my opinions, what do you guys think of the iDrive system? Is it really necessary... was it so hard to just press a button on the dash?
 

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well, i dont entirely like the system; but consider how many buttons you've got on a S class, you wonder how all the controls should be simplified. (side note: upcoming S class has some sort of iDrive/MMI system)

the iDrive controller makes sense if you already have Nav. but to incorporate simple functions like AirCon, etc into it, and you have to go thru a few pages to get to dialing down the temperature just does not make sense. simple functions should have their own buttons / controls. Audi does it well with their MMI doing many functions and the basics out with simple buttons.

the Mdrive or whatever it is called makes sense when it centralizes all the settings.

also makes sense for hybrid cars,etc. I still think the R34 (?) GT-R Skyline's computer / Nav with all the goodies (torque split, boost, graph and recall function, track black box, etc etc) and a glorious Nismo start up screen for those who had the upgrade, etcetc would be a very cool feature, and should have been thought of for the M5. I wonder if the aftermarket tuners (Schnitzer, Alpina, Hartge, Hamann, Dinan) would have access to the system and offer upgrades. and a backup camera too please.

And, how about in the next BMW's - touch screen Nav and menus? already done in some Japanese imports. I am sure the german engineers had not anticipate how cheap these touch screens are now and instead used idrive controllers.

i would say, if you are getting the M5, get a AC Schnizter idrive knob - looks like of cool (to detract any from the idrive).

i am driving a QP now. nothing wrong without an idrive or MMI. the dash is simple and clean. nothing like a MB's clutter. I do wish the Nav is DVD and touch screen though.
 

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Don't forget that the extended voice control can be used for most of these functions now, and there is a special display for opperating the audio system.

From what I understand you can even adjust ventilation and the seat heating position, introduced on the 7 series, through the voice. As well as all the normal functions you would expect.

As long as you can get on with the voice, once the car is setup, you should not need to navigate the I-Drive menus. Just say the command and only use the I-Drive control to input data like new destinations.

Sacha...
 

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HomerUK said:
Don't forget that the extended voice control can be used for most of these functions now, and there is a special display for opperating the audio system.

From what I understand you can even adjust ventilation and the seat heating position, introduced on the 7 series, through the voice. As well as all the normal functions you would expect.

As long as you can get on with the voice, once the car is setup, you should not need to navigate the I-Drive menus. Just say the command and only use the I-Drive control to input data like new destinations.

Sacha...
I find marked buttons easiest to use. Buttons offers the best visual and tactile feedback for inputting.

With iDrive, it's frustrating as one easily forgets the submenu locations, and the knob is not comfortable to hold and use. Voice control is worse as one naturally forgets what to say, especially the not very frequently used commands.

The best system is the combination of all three, buttons, mouse/joystick/knob, and voice recognition.

Forget about superficial style, just create a user friendly interface with form following function. Bring bak the engineers and let them run the show, no shallow silly flame surfacing, hotel furniture BS.
 

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e46m3 said:
With iDrive, it's frustrating as one easily forgets the submenu locations, and the knob is not comfortable to hold and use. Voice control is worse as one naturally forgets what to say, especially the not very frequently used commands.

The best system is the combination of all three, buttons, mouse/joystick/knob, and voice recognition.
IMO the new M5 has it covered as best it can with the BMW parts available. There are marked buttons for the imoprtant M specific bits as well as the M button on the steering wheel. Also there is another programmable button on the wheel that you can pick its function from a list.

I totally agree that a combination is the best solution, and had no issues with this setup in the 7 series. I also found the 7 series I-Drive easier than the simplified version in the E60, not sure if anyone else found this?

With the host of functions and settings in the cars we are never going to get away from menu based systems. It's just the job of the people in control of the erganomics to ensure we have the right functions within easy or instant access, IMO the M5 has this with the M button and additional buttons by the gear lever.

The vioce control is getting there and a vast improvement on the last generation, not perfect by a long shot but it shows the're trying. They have increased the functionality and systems controlable with the extended voice to an extent that, once the car is set the way you like, you shouldn't need to use I-Drive, well other to enter data. I don't quite understand the comment about forgetting the voice commands? Phone "name", map, CD "n", track "n" etc. But I do think there's a the human element to think of, you might have a cold, sore throat or the roof down on a convertable, all of these will require using the I-Drive to access all those options again.

Sacha...
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
Regardless of so called improvements, I really can’t understand how or why BMW feel that iDrive is a better system then what the old M5 had. There are just too many problems with a system that requires you to take your hand off the wheel, and begin to navigate a digital screen with something that makes the computer mouse look intelligently designed. Assume you are ripping though the gears around a tight corner and you need to change the heat because the windows are fogging in. Are you seriously going to take your hand off the wheel somewhere between second and third, and start fiddling with the iDrive system simply to change the heat? The entire system seems to canter to people who don’t enjoy actually driving the car. BMW’s are supposed to be driver’s cars (and I don’t mean going to the store with the family sort of drivers). And voice commands aren’t much better, what if you had other people in the car? Are you going to yell out “TRACK 2” in the middle of a conversation? If you ask me they should put the iDrive system in the back seat and let the people who are too good to drive their cars mess around with it. As a car enthusiast, I say lose the system and let the driver drive the car again.
 

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milani said:
As a car enthusiast, I say lose the system and let the driver drive the car again.
Or at least give people the choice - do you want iDrive or a bunch of buttons on the dash - it would be entirely up to you.

Best regards,
 

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The old system?

Do you mean the old 6.5" screen that had menus to activate various functions? Or are you talking about a base car with the little LED display to navigate to activate the options?

Even tho we had all the buttons before we still had menus and submenus, I remember them in my E34 M5, submenus on the small display for settings. Now all this has been packaged into a nice graphical display a lot of people seem to hate it? Don't get me wrong I think the way it's implemented could do with improving, but just how many buttons are you able to put up with?

Would people be happy with I-Drive if it was a touch screen solution like the Lexus?

So could someone please help me clarify what functionallity buttons that were on an E39, fitted with the screen, that need to be on the E60? As I might be missing the point. IMO the only extra buttons I can think of is a number pad, like the 7, for the phone and it could even do the CD and track.

Also MB are just about to implement a new centralised system on the S, not surewhat it will be like at the moment, to reduce the cluttered interior. So it seems that centralised systems are here to stay.

Sacha...
 

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milani said:
Assume you are ripping though the gears around a tight corner and you need to change the heat because the windows are fogging in. Are you seriously going to take your hand off the wheel somewhere between second and third, and start fiddling with the iDrive system simply to change the heat?[/color]
No you would press the screen clear button, the one that turns the fans to full and directes it to the windscreen and small side window vents. Same as the E39.

You said youhave never driven a car with I-Drive, but looked at the system. What did you think was controlled by I-Drive? I think people think that more is controlled by I-Drive than actually is, and if you dont want to have options and comfort settings get a striped out dedicated sports car.
 

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milani said:
And voice commands aren’t much better, what if you had other people in the car? Are you going to yell out “TRACK 2” in the middle of a conversation? [/color]
Well are you having a conversation or listening to music? And you dont have to yell, activate voice and speak.
 

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milani said:
Assume you are ripping though the gears around a tight corner and you need to change the heat because the windows are fogging in. Are you seriously going to take your hand off the wheel somewhere between second and third, and start fiddling with the iDrive system simply to change the heat?
Well, first off, you shouldn't be changing anything in the middle of a tight corner while "ripping through the gears". In fact, there are very very very few situations where actually shifting in a corner, especially a tight one, is the best practice. To address the point, either adjust the settings before or after the turn, which is also the best practice to take in most shifting situations.

Second, the E39s system was no better in this regard. You still have to take your eyes off of the road (or spend time feeling around) to locate the correct button to change a setting. It might be faster than I-Drive version 1, but it generally takes a second to look over. Since you haven't driven a car with I-Drive 2, you haven't seen the temp buttons on the dash.

Third, having driven several I-Drive equiped E60s and E63s, I STILL haven't found something that I want to change WHILE actually moving (especially in aggressive driving situations) that doesn't have a button, most of which are on the steering wheel. Sure, I might adjust the temp a bit, but that has been it.

Fourth, a simple search, or even a browse would have netted you numerous heated discussions about I-Drive and what people think of the system.

Oh, and I feel sorry for your cars, with all of the gear "punching" and shift "ripping".
 

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Ooops, another iDrive discussion. This has been done to death?

Conceptually, there are two theoretical extremes for driver & car interface:-
(A) One extreme is where there is a button and a screen for every single function ending up with millions of buttons and screens for modern complex cars,
(B) The other extreme is where there is one control console and one screen for all functions.

The art of selecting where a particular make should sit between these two theoretical extremes is not easy. I think BMW verges towards extreme B. The sensible maker will cherry-pick the best of both extremes and come up with something that is logical to use for the purpose of the car. Easier said that done. We can forget about wishing for simple driver's cars of the past. Face it, the corporate direction will not be going that way.
 

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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
No need to get nasty about it and start flaming. I'm sorry you dont agree with me, but that's no reason to insult me. I'm sure you are one of those people that loves change, that would take a flappy paddle gearbox over a conventional manual gearbox any day. That's fine if you are, but I'm not one of those people. All I tried to do was point out problems with a system I don't agree with. No reason for you to take this way out of context and insult my word choice. Again, im sure you drive with a flappy paddle gearbox, so I'll explain what I ment by punching through the gears. "Punching" the gears means changing them, they are just descriptive words, not unlike "poping" the clutch, if you didn't know what it ment thats fine. Its an honest mistake :p. Anyways, I don't want an argument, so lets just drop the thread if we cant discuss the issue.
 

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milani said:
No need to get nasty about it and start flaming. I'm sorry you dont agree with me, but that's no reason to insult me. I'm sure you are one of those people that loves change, that would take a flappy paddle gearbox over a conventional manual gearbox any day. That's fine if you are, but I'm not one of those people. All I tried to do was point out problems with a system I don't agree with. No reason for you to take this way out of context and insult my word choice. Again, im sure you drive with a flappy paddle gearbox, so I'll explain what I ment by punching through the gears. "Punching" the gears means changing them, they are just descriptive words, not unlike "poping" the clutch, if you didn't know what it ment thats fine. Its an honest mistake :p. Anyways, I don't want an argument, so lets just drop the thread if we cant discuss the issue.
Getting back to topic, I completely understand your frustration and disappointment.

The example I always like to use, when talking about the improvements needed in iDrive, is the poor phone keypad.

Yes, it's available on the 745i but painfully lacking in the new 5.

For those who regularly having to access PBX systems or having to enter alpha numeric names or numbers, they will understand what I mean.

You simply cannot dial 1-800-BMW-HELP or spell out Tom using voice or the iDrive knob.

Yes, we do need to move forward but BMW must pay closer attention to ergonomics and the functionality details. Porsche, VW and MB do smartly retain the phone keypad and Lexus and others with touch screen also conform the standard layout:

123
456
789
*0#

BMW? Too arrogant and decides that they can reinvent the telephone keypad:

1234567890

Forcing users to turn the stupid knob left and right and push to enter a simple phone number.

Sorry it's another iDrive discussion but if you are sick of the topic, why click open the thread? Just click remove from email notification and be done with it.

I hope BMW is listening and will upgrade the next version.
 

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hey milani, sorry if you take it as a flame or an insult, but the whole i-drive thing has been discussed to death.

If you look through the threads regarding SMG (and many of the others) you will find that I am one of the ones who actually likes to shift for myself. In fact, as far as I am concerned, the biggest problem with the E60 M5 is that it will be SMG only, at least initially. If you were to see my collection of cars, you might notice that only two are automatic transmissions, all of the others are traditional manuals. One is a truck, the other is a purpose built drag car. I don't want to deal with shifting while towing or off-roading in the truck, and I found that the auto makes my drag car more consistant. So, I am not one who "would take a flappy paddle gearbox over a conventional manual gearbox any day." The SMG might just be enough reason for me to NOT get one.

iDrive? I couldn't care less, as long as whatever is in the car is at least as good as the system in the E39, which iDrive2 is IMHO. The computer interface in the E39s is junk.

The problem with pointing out the problems of a system such as iDrive is that you haven't actually driven a car WITH iDrive. Definately not one with iDrive2. So, how can you be a judge of how good or bad the system is? As I said, I haven't had to change a single thing in the times I have driven cars with iDrive2. Jerry once pointed out one feature that required iDrive to change that could be an issue for me, if memory serves it was to change CDs in the changer. Temp controls, radio presets, switching between CD and radio, heated seats on and off (and levels as well it appears).. all on the dash.

As e46m3 points out, phone dialer could be a real pain in the butt, but since I don't use the built in phones (all of the BMW ones sound like crap on the other end I think), this isn't a problem for me. However I realize his point and openly admit that it is a real design flaw. But at least his example is a real world description of the problem, unlike the heat change in the middle of a ripped shift in the middle of a tight turn, or changing CD tracks while talking with passengers. As I said, the heat change is a button on the dash. Even sitting in a E60 or E63 will display how simple that adjustment is. As pointed out, the track change could be handled by a voice command, or go figure, by the button on the dash or even better, the button on the steering wheel.

So, it seems to me that you are basing your judgements on half education of the systems.

And finally, in all of the cars that I have ever driven except for one rental, I have never "punched" a gear, or "ripped" a shift. I have "popped" the clutch, but that definately is not the fastest way from point A to point B. It is however the fastest way to the repair shop. I have witnessed first hand the results of such heavy handed wanna be racer driving styles. They usually end with lots of broken parts such as gears, syncronizers, u joints, half shafts, etc. Do you also use "Naus"?
 

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yep- in the 7 at least, to change a cd you have to go to entertainment by pressing the controller down, then select cd changer, then cycle over to the disc you want. My gripe with idrive is that it is an intellectual system that doesnt make much intellectual sense or logic in its execution. I think you will see in future versions that a few buttons will be added that will alleviate the criticisms of those like me, who say they hate it. They'll get it right. Their real problem is there is a demographic out there that looks at anything electronic and they freeze up, lose all common sense and won't try to explore it or learn it. I think adding a few buttons and leaving idrive for more intricate settings (like how to distribute the heat on the seats (for example, I like the bottom cushion to be warmer than the back cushion)).

For now we just have to deal with the brave new electronic world. I don't really like idrive in its current incarnation, but I wouldn't let idrive dictate an automotive purchase.
 

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I'm sorry if I caused offence, not the intention. I'm just trying to understand what extra buttons people really want.

With regards to the phone pad, the only BMw I've ever seen it in is the new 7. So why all of a sudden is this factor such an issue? I understand the in the E39 and E46 you can use the buttons on the phone as it's exposed, the E60 phone slot is now under an arm rest. But did I miss an option to have a numeric pad on the dash?

I knew and understood MEnthusiast's point about the audio for CD and raido changing. As far as I'm aware there is now a specific audio mode for I-Drive to ease this issue, and thats why I said the voice makes these settings easy again. Press the voice button and just say CD "n".

So if anyone has the time please could they explain what buttons are missing and why extra new ones are required.

The reason I'm interested is I have helped on a test project to create an external control panel for I-Drive, allowing single button settings to be created. Currnetly we are using an iPAQ hence the earlier question "would people be happy with a touch screen", but this could be adapted to dash mounted buttons and a control unit.

Sacha...
 

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missing buttons

HomerUK said:
I'm sorry if I caused offence, not the intention. I'm just trying to understand what extra buttons people really want.

With regards to the phone pad, the only BMw I've ever seen it in is the new 7. So why all of a sudden is this factor such an issue? I understand the in the E39 and E46 you can use the buttons on the phone as it's exposed, the E60 phone slot is now under an arm rest. But did I miss an option to have a numeric pad on the dash?

So if anyone has the time please could they explain what buttons are missing and why extra new ones are required.
In my other cars with telematics (MB, Porsche), I have the nice phone keypad. If I do replace the E55 with an M5 as my daily workhorse, I need to be able to dial numbers quickly.

You're right, the 7 has it and I find it very convenient.
 

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Re: missing buttons

e46m3 said:
In my other cars with telematics (MB, Porsche), I have the nice phone keypad. If I do replace the E55 with an M5 as my daily workhorse, I need to be able to dial numbers quickly.

You're right, the 7 has it and I find it very convenient.
Ah I understand now:)

It's one of the things with threds, so easy to misunderstand someones post. I thought you were comparing I-Drive with either the E39 or E46 setups.

One annoying fact for us RHD owners is they often forget to move the buttons over, really bad for the keypad in the 7 not such an issue with PCM as the 911 is narrower.

I have overcome the lack of the numeric pad in my M3, as there is no kit for the SPV C500 I just have it angled to use the buttons on the phone and Bluetooth to connect to the car's hands free. Not perfect but it does, unless the roofs down and then they can't hear you anyway:)

The system I tested will allow you to have a numeric pad on the screen for dialing and DTMF. But as the system currntly sends pulses to mimic the I-Drive knob movements you would have to type in the number and then hit dial. I think they are talking to BMW about direct system access but I have no idea where they are with that.
 

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phone pad: coolest feature on the 7er. Should be on all models.

Voice activation: not bad at all, but to cycle functions it is annoying because of the loud tone involved. It wakes up sleeping babies (a no no by me) and I find the tone to be annoying anyway. Many of the new tones sound a little too much like using MS Windows. I almost expect to see a talking paperclip on the screen! ;)
 
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