Owners of BMWs with the latest BMW Operating System 7, rejoice – a new Remote Software Upgrade is coming for your car. The update, claimed to be the biggest ever to be rolled out by a European carmaker with over 750,000 vehicles involved, will land in Germany on Monday, October 19. It will then be expanded to Europe, the United States, Canada, China and other remaining markets in stages.
Beyond the size of the operation, the update itself is pretty big, containing several features that can already be found on BMW’s latest models. One of the most important of those features is Android Auto compatibility, which joins Apple CarPlay on cars equipped with the latter. Finally, Android users will be on par with iPhone-toting owners, who have been able to use their in-car OS since 2016.
Even better, you will now get navigation directions in the instrument cluster and head-up display no matter which device you’re using. We should point out, however, that this functionality is limited to Google Maps on Android and Apple Maps on iOS, which will not please users of the latter.
Those who don’t want to use either of those apps can instead utilise the new built-in navigation system called BMW Maps. The cloud-based service gets faster and better routing through the use of both real-time and predicted traffic information.
The system also displays additional contextual information regarding points of interest, such as ratings, operating hours and photos. Munich has also improved the process of inputting the destination, with features such as the use of a single box for searches and an autocomplete function that will suggest relevant search words as the text is being entered, just like using Google.
Plug-in hybrid drivers will benefit from the new eDrive Zones, where the car will detect a low-emission zone and switch to pure electric power, a feature that already supports over 90 European cities. Information on charging stations in BMW Maps has also been expanded to include charger availability, opening hours, service providers and authentication options. It will also show nearby points of interest, such as cafés.
There have also been improvements to existing features. The Intelligent Personal Assistant voice control can now recognise if the driver or passenger is speaking and change its orientation to suit. It also has a new interface and shows possible voice commands and suggestions in the new homescreen widget.
Functionality has also been expanded, affording drivers greater control over vehicle functions. You can now operate the windows, switch drive modes and ask for tips on how to drive more efficiently, all using your voice. Elsewhere, on-street parking information in the navigation system will show the probability of finding an available space, using data from other BMW vehicles in the area. Lastly, the functionality of the optional hands-free opening tailgate can be customised or disabled altogether.
The update can be downloaded over the air, with installation expected to take around 20 minutes. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the rollout of the update may be delayed in certain markets. The good news is that all cars built after July 2020 will have come with the latest system already installed.