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Journalist are by and large pretty good at regurgatating factory specs and technical jargon. They can hook up thier sophisticated, hightech equipment and produce and spew performance numbers until we are the ones throwing up! But should we take thier word on everything automotive?

The majority of journalist pound I-Drive mercilessly, but I see this as purely subjective. It seems to me, that with the software upgrades, the seperation from I-Drive of more common functionalities, and Voice Control, I-Drive cannot possibly be that cumbersome. Especially if one approaches it with an open mind, and the willingness to learn it's features and operation. Perhaps I'm wrong and it is the "pig" that many have written it to be. I'd prefer to base an evaluation on the owners who live with it on a daily bases, and have a vested interest in making it work for them.

Any one with an I-Drive car old or new version, I'd like your opinion on the benefits and difficulties of I-Drive and what your learning curve was, as well as whether you think it adds,subtracts or does neither to the driving experience.

:cheers: simmikie
 

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One thing that we seem to forget is that our lives are full of technology that we must learn. My wife still can't get it straight about how to set the various components in our TV system to display a recorded tape. She's been so bad at it that I got a DVR that's incorporated into our cable box so she only has one remote to deal with for watching and recording. I never had a problem with the prior system since I had taken the time to learn it. Since growth in technology usually increases the complexity, there's usually some
learning required.


I suspect that it will be the same with the new 5er i & m drives as well as smg. When I put the Stealth 1 in my car it was weeks before I stopped reaching up to mute the detector but now I just press the button on my steering wheel. And being an old dog(59) I suspect I can still learn new tricks.
 

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I have to agree. I recently read a review where the guy had to FIND something to complain about with I-Drive. Something about having to go several layers deep to set Sport, change EDC settings, set P500, etc. Totally ignored the buttons around the SMG shifter. IMHO, that is BS.
 

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If the journalist wanted to deliberately find something to complain about regarding iDrive, then that's something which anyone can do. If the journalist is willing to approach iDrive with an open mind and drive the car for some time (at least experiencing it for several months, which is not possible without owning the car), then that's investigative journalism. Therefore chances are the journalist will abuse his/her pen and deliberately find something to complain about. I usually disregard their opinion about computer interface in the car. If we didn't have iDrive, there would a dash board with 1,000 buttons everywhere. I'm not saying that iDrive is perfect either.

If you're smart enough to get on the internet, operate the icons and even join a discussion board actively like this one, I don't think iDrive is much more complicated than this :D .
 

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I-drive works fine for me. Both me and my wife needed no more than 10 minutes to sort it out. Biggest advantage is that all the controls are in one control unit. You can control almost everything by the use of i-drive, without a bunch of buttons on your dashboard. Also all the information on the car-status is available.

The only thing that I would like to have changed is a 'memory' function. After switching the power off you'll always get the start-up screen.
And if there can be a keypad (like the 7-series) for using the phone it would be nice.

Guust
 

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You never should just take the word of a journalist. One of the most important thing we have in the free world is the ability and right to critically think about something. Just following like a mindless drone puts us in a world where we have lost our freedom.

As to idrive. I hate it. Yet I have a car with it (7er). How is that? I can work it just fine. I understand the system and I know it as well or better than the dealer. I hate it because of the repetative steps I have to take to go through radio stations/ other stereo controls and some of the hvac functions. When I use it I keep asking "why?". I know the answer- to eliminate clutter of buttons and the confusion that goes along with it. iDrive is really not that difficult to learn, but you have to go with a new kind of logic that is just not intuative to most people. I do like the controller and screen locations. My suggestions to fix the system are:

1. Give a few more direct access buttons for the stereo and basic hvac
2. Update the user interface- this one just looks dull.

As it is the 7 interior could be better organized. The PDC button is very difficult to see or reach and its useful when pulling into a spot. IMHO, MB has a better setup, where their system comes on (front) when you are moving slow or in reverse (front/rear). They provide an off button to turn the system off (as their system does register more falses than the BMW- annoying in traffic). Anyway, BMW says they dont want more buttons, but they add a button for start/stop- they could have just made the key electronic but still turn to start/stop the car. That start/stop button is a waste of space, and frankly, a gimmick.

So iDrive 1.0 and even the 2.0 in the E60 is not so good. I think if they take a fresh look at the system, the will see they have a good foundation and they can build upon that.
 

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Take their word on nothing!

There's a basic rule in critical thinking called "consider the source" - this means treat all data like a person - get in the habit of asking "where's this coming from?" and "what's it's agenda?"

Journalists, in general, are a mindless hive organism. They swarm out of the hive and sting something or someone to death because the story's "hot" and "everybody" (read here other journalists) "knows" something to be true. People who read their stories are at risk of having their perceptions biased, so that when they test for themselves, they're looking to confirm what they think they "know" based on what the journalist has told them - it's called confirmation bias by cognitive psychologists. Sadly, these tendencies are obviously evident in far more important areas of journalism than automotive journalism.

There are some automotive journalists whose opinions I respect. For example, Georg Kacher seems to know what he's talking about and isn't as vulnerable to the "Gee Whiz!" kind of mindless enthusiasm many auto journalists tend to exhibit. When Georg writes something (witness his comments about the new M5 in Automobile), I tend to give it a more credence than the impressions of others in his field because past experience with his perceptions has shown me that they tend to be reliable, but I do consciously try to remain open to being convinced otherwise by the experience.
 

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LOL. Because its so sad.

Funny you say that about Automobile- I think he is the only redeeming quality of the magazine. I think its slid terribly over the past 24 months.

There is also the guy who writes for the LA Times....

So true about more important matters.
 

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Re: Take their word on nothing!

Very well put. I must study some psychology.

metzger said:
There's a basic rule in critical thinking called "consider the source" - this means treat all data like a person - get in the habit of asking "where's this coming from?" and "what's it's agenda?"

Journalists, in general, are a mindless hive organism. They swarm out of the hive and sting something or someone to death because the story's "hot" and "everybody" (read here other journalists) "knows" something to be true. People who read their stories are at risk of having their perceptions biased, so that when they test for themselves, they're looking to confirm what they think they "know" based on what the journalist has told them - it's called confirmation bias by cognitive psychologists. Sadly, these tendencies are obviously evident in far more important areas of journalism than automotive journalism.

There are some automotive journalists whose opinions I respect. For example, Georg Kacher seems to know what he's talking about and isn't as vulnerable to the "Gee Whiz!" kind of mindless enthusiasm many auto journalists tend to exhibit. When Georg writes something (witness his comments about the new M5 in Automobile), I tend to give it a more credence than the impressions of others in his field because past experience with his perceptions has shown me that they tend to be reliable, but I do consciously try to remain open to being convinced otherwise by the experience.
 

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MEnthusiast said:
You never should just take the word of a journalist. One of the most important thing we have in the free world is the ability and right to critically think about something. Just following like a mindless drone puts us in a world where we have lost our freedom.

As to idrive. I hate it. Yet I have a car with it (7er). How is that? I can work it just fine. I understand the system and I know it as well or better than the dealer. I hate it because of the repetative steps I have to take to go through radio stations/ other stereo controls and some of the hvac functions. When I use it I keep asking "why?". I know the answer- to eliminate clutter of buttons and the confusion that goes along with it. iDrive is really not that difficult to learn, but you have to go with a new kind of logic that is just not intuative to most people. I do like the controller and screen locations. My suggestions to fix the system are:

1. Give a few more direct access buttons for the stereo and basic hvac
2. Update the user interface- this one just looks dull.

As it is the 7 interior could be better organized. The PDC button is very difficult to see or reach and its useful when pulling into a spot. IMHO, MB has a better setup, where their system comes on (front) when you are moving slow or in reverse (front/rear). They provide an off button to turn the system off (as their system does register more falses than the BMW- annoying in traffic). Anyway, BMW says they dont want more buttons, but they add a button for start/stop- they could have just made the key electronic but still turn to start/stop the car. That start/stop button is a waste of space, and frankly, a gimmick.

So iDrive 1.0 and even the 2.0 in the E60 is not so good. I think if they take a fresh look at the system, the will see they have a good foundation and they can build upon that.
Well, in their defense the y are very new at this stuff. Think about Microsoft and Windows 1.0. j/k
They could have gotten it done by an outside company with expertise on the matter but I belive they choose to have full control of it. The only thing I know where they asked for "help" is to generate the different "sensation" when you turn the controler to different positions. If I'm not mistaken the company selling them that technology is the same that did the sensitive controls for the PS2 (i could be wrong, i know a little about cars, almost nothing about gaming consoles...).
 

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While I agree about journalists for the most part, I, like so many of you, place my trust in a certain number of them. Georg Kacher is a good example, as are some, (most?), of the writers at EVO and CAR. Not one of them that I have read have whole-heartedly embraced I-drive, in fact quite the opposite. The vast majority of reviews I've read have uniformly been negative about it.

The most recent issue of Roundel 'polled' each contributor about current BMWs; there were an amazing number of negative comments concerning the current direction of BMW, and not one writer had anything truly positive to say about I-Drive. Very enlightening coming from the BMW CCA magazine, and well done Satch for having the balls to publish it.
 

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thebishman said:
While I agree about journalists for the most part, I, like so many of you, place my trust in a certain number of them. Georg Kacher is a good example, as are some, (most?), of the writers at EVO and CAR. Not one of them that I have read have whole-heartedly embraced I-drive, in fact quite the opposite. The vast majority of reviews I've read have uniformly been negative about it.

The most recent issue of Roundel 'polled' each contributor about current BMWs; there were an amazing number of negative comments concerning the current direction of BMW, and not one writer had anything truly positive to say about I-Drive. Very enlightening coming from the BMW CCA magazine, and well done Satch for having the balls to publish it.
If the I-drive is any good or not I have no ideia (never tried it) but total BMW sales are goind up. Of course, this can just mean more sales on new markets and still a drop in USA and/or Europe.
 

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thebishman said:
The most recent issue of Roundel 'polled' each contributor about current BMWs; there were an amazing number of negative comments concerning the current direction of BMW, and not one writer had anything truly positive to say about I-Drive. Very enlightening coming from the BMW CCA magazine, and well done Satch for having the balls to publish it.
But how many of those contributors actually own, or have had a I-drive equiped car for any length of time? It took time to adapt to the interface in the E39 (which sucks, especially with NAV). If I based my final decision on a short term experience (even multiple short term experiences), I would not have a BMW at all, for many reasons, not just the interface.

My initial response to I-drive in the E60 is that it is no worse than the e39. The 7... different story. I can understand some (possibly most) of the complaints.

As for some of the other comments, you also have to consider the source. Many of those contributors prefer the older designs (more than one thinks that the only BMW was the E30 M3 and that everything since is junk... or they barely accept the E36). So I can't quite accept their opinions as a real indication. In fact, I am liking Roundel less and less because every month is more of the same.

Even the review, or preview of the M5 was full of errors. Run flat tires? Come on. Automatically this makes anything they print suspect.
 

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Most of the time I pick up the magazine to compare statistics conveniently, and it's just out of interest to see what the journalist think; usually with me thinking that this guy does or doesn't know what he's on about. My personal car buying preference is usually pre-set because of some convoluted experience relating to the particular model(s) in question, and it has never been because the reviews were generally good or bad.
 

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António Duarte said:
Well, in their defense the y are very new at this stuff. Think about Microsoft and Windows 1.0. j/k
They could have gotten it done by an outside company with expertise on the matter but I belive they choose to have full control of it. The only thing I know where they asked for "help" is to generate the different "sensation" when you turn the controler to different positions. If I'm not mistaken the company selling them that technology is the same that did the sensitive controls for the PS2 (i could be wrong, i know a little about cars, almost nothing about gaming consoles...).
Antonio, thats correct- they are new at this. But, thats not an excuse for why there have been so many problems with the system functioning properly and also just in the poor logic and setup of the system (at least in the 7). Lets just say that BMW decided to put in the same sensotronic brakes that MB uses and had the same results, totally inconsistent stopping distances each time you applied the brakes, you would have a right to be upset. Its no different here- if a product is not ready for prime time, it shouldn't be put out there. I think you do have to fish or cut bait at some point, but I wonder if the smart move was to put out a new styling theme + this brand new control interface at the same time. Maybe they should have waited for the next generation- but thats just my being critical, and its very easy to be a critic and very difficult to be the one actually doing something.

Getting back to the story- the reality is the company making the idrive system does make controllers for video games and they wanted to crack the auto market. So they created iDrive as a test platform. That's all it was- a test. Not meant to be the final. They did numerous focus groups and the overwhelming majority of comments on the system were negative. The company did an internal report that basically said: people don't want to be challenged when they get into their at the end of the day- they just want to go and use controls that are familiar. Kind of like how many people like analog watches, yet digital ones are more accurate and easier to read. Well, there was someone at BMW who wanted to challenge the established norms (you take a guess who- youll be correct) and he pushed this system through. The engineer at the controller company was so upset that he would be named as the inventor of this system, which was just supposed to be an evaluation piece, that he resigned from the company.

Not surprisingly, all the worries that this person had about the system came to pass (not reliable yet, confusing, too much change that most people will be put off, not really finely tuned enough to be put on the market). Now, this is just my speculation here, but I think the Board at BMW was told that this would be a revolutionary system and sold a bill of goods on the system that turned out to not quite be what they thought they were getting. I say this because BMW has created BMW IT (info tech). The purpose of this subsidiary is to develop the next generations of control devices (future iDrive if you want to call it that). The official reason for creating it is to have better security- they said they could not ensure tight security with an outside contractor so they could not better integrate the system. This sounds like a smoke screen to me. I think the reality was they didn't know exactly what they were getting until it was too late. So they are going to do the work in house with traditional BMW values.

So I think it would be very difficult for them to make the system worse, it seems to me they can only make it better.

But none of this is an acceptable reason or excuse as to why you would put a substandard system on the market. I think the criticism is warranted and if you're building cars and if you think journalist reviews are important, then you should be sure that your car will get good reviews. Its all advertising.
 

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MEnthusiast said:
Antonio, thats correct- they are new at this. But, thats not an excuse for why there have been so many problems with the system functioning properly and also just in the poor logic and setup of the system (at least in the 7). Lets just say that BMW decided to put in the same sensotronic brakes that MB uses and had the same results, totally inconsistent stopping distances each time you applied the brakes, you would have a right to be upset. Its no different here- if a product is not ready for prime time, it shouldn't be put out there. I think you do have to fish or cut bait at some point, but I wonder if the smart move was to put out a new styling theme + this brand new control interface at the same time. Maybe they should have waited for the next generation- but thats just my being critical, and its very easy to be a critic and very difficult to be the one actually doing something.

Getting back to the story- the reality is the company making the idrive system does make controllers for video games and they wanted to crack the auto market. So they created iDrive as a test platform. That's all it was- a test. Not meant to be the final. They did numerous focus groups and the overwhelming majority of comments on the system were negative. The company did an internal report that basically said: people don't want to be challenged when they get into their at the end of the day- they just want to go and use controls that are familiar. Kind of like how many people like analog watches, yet digital ones are more accurate and easier to read. Well, there was someone at BMW who wanted to challenge the established norms (you take a guess who- youll be correct) and he pushed this system through. The engineer at the controller company was so upset that he would be named as the inventor of this system, which was just supposed to be an evaluation piece, that he resigned from the company.

Not surprisingly, all the worries that this person had about the system came to pass (not reliable yet, confusing, too much change that most people will be put off, not really finely tuned enough to be put on the market). Now, this is just my speculation here, but I think the Board at BMW was told that this would be a revolutionary system and sold a bill of goods on the system that turned out to not quite be what they thought they were getting. I say this because BMW has created BMW IT (info tech). The purpose of this subsidiary is to develop the next generations of control devices (future iDrive if you want to call it that). The official reason for creating it is to have better security- they said they could not ensure tight security with an outside contractor so they could not better integrate the system. This sounds like a smoke screen to me. I think the reality was they didn't know exactly what they were getting until it was too late. So they are going to do the work in house with traditional BMW values.

So I think it would be very difficult for them to make the system worse, it seems to me they can only make it better.

But none of this is an acceptable reason or excuse as to why you would put a substandard system on the market. I think the criticism is warranted and if you're building cars and if you think journalist reviews are important, then you should be sure that your car will get good reviews. Its all advertising.
In an interesting sidebar - I was invited last year to the local "premiere" of the 760iL at an art museum (of all places!). There was a rep there from BMW USA (he spoke with a German accent, though) who did some spin control on the negative trunklid and iDrive comments (although none were made by anyone at the premier party). He said that iDrive was never intended to be used while actually driving. All of the various settings were to be done while parked and whatever could be assigned to steering wheel/dash buttons should be. That way, while in motion, the really necessary functions could be accessed without using iDrive at all. I silenced the room by asking why they called it iDRIVE and not iPARK. They were not amused. (I feel it is my duty in life to ask the questions everyone else won't).

I reiterate a comment I made a while back on this forum. If you want a really flexible software-based way to access vehicle functions, how about a touch screen? (First-time riders in my E39 M5 always start poking at the nav screen thinking it IS a touch screen.) The ATM at my local bank has a very nice one - the on-screen button functions change screen-by-screen. This would work great in a vehicle - no twisting, twirling, clicking or driving off the road....
 

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hihaGood one hiha

Moongate said:
I silenced the room by asking why they called it iDRIVE and not iPARK. They were not amused. (I feel it is my duty in life to ask the questions everyone else won't).
 

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Moongate said:
He said that iDrive was never intended to be used while actually driving. All of the various settings were to be done while parked and whatever could be assigned to steering wheel/dash buttons should be. That way, while in motion, the really necessary functions could be accessed without using iDrive at all. I silenced the room by asking why they called it iDRIVE and not iPARK. They were not amused. (I feel it is my duty in life to ask the questions everyone else won't).
That's high-class marketing BS to say iDrive is for use when stationary. I can't believe they tried that line. And good-on-you for asking, I would have asked something too, to make them twitch.
 

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M6 Forever said:
That's high-class marketing BS to say iDrive is for use when stationary. I can't believe they tried that line. And good-on-you for asking, I would have asked something too, to make them twitch.
I agree it was good to make them take a step back. However, once again, in the e60 with iDrive 2, I have YET to need to go into the system to change anything while I am actually driving.
 

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How do you go from am-fm-cd-sat radio?

On the 7 at least you can now have a button to switch modes- but the kicker is to go from am-fm you still have to navigate menus.

How about changing the air flow inside the car- maybe your feet are too hot or cold?

Im sure there are more examples.

If they really intended idrive to work only when still- they would have programmed it to be so.

Antonio, saying it was their first try is no good excuse. Youre talking about a moving vehicle here. Its almost like saying, well it was their first time with ABS so its understandable that it failed and you slid into a tree- try as you might to steer around it.
 
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