BMW to offer Bluetooth audio streaming

BMW currently offers buyers the the ability to stream music (wired) and use a mobile phone wirelessly. You can use your Apple iPod (or many other music player) through the optional USB audio interface – and for wireless hands-free mobile phone calls use Bluetooth (included with BMW Assist or the premium package) both can be easily controlled via the car ‘s infotainment system (iDrive or the radio).

The real news is that BMW is currently developing an in-car Bluetooth-based playback solution for music files. It will offer stereo quality music streamed from a device (must be compatible) wirelessly to the cars infotainment system. The files would remain on the device and not need to be transfer to the car system in any manner.

This capability will use the Bluetooth A2DP (Advanced Audio Distribution Profile) and AVRCP (Audio/Video Remote Control Profile) standards. A2DP takes care of the actual audio streaming, while AVRCP allows the audio output to be controlled through the vehicle’s infotainment system. Devices currently available allow audio streaming but only with simple remote control functions such as start, stop, pause and skip. Bluetooth audio streaming will only be able to offer the features you currently expect in a BMW (such as track selection) when the next version of AVRCP arrives. The development of this standard is ongoing and promises these additional functions.

Will the sound quality match that of “wired ” devices is yet to be seen, but we are fairly sure BMW will make sure it does. It appears the next generation IPods/Iphone may offer this technology as BMW has shown that they and Apple often collaborate on these sort of things. Lots of new technology will be available in the not so distant future. Source: BMWAG

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  • Wow this is fascinating news.

  • Pat H.

    Very cool stuff. Not something I would honestly ever be too concerned with, nonetheless it’s some really cool technology.

    The only concern I have is when it comes to compatibility. We already see this arise with iPod’s that need current software, and several phones that don’t have seamless pairing with the Bluetooth system. I just think it adds another part to it which could have the average consumer (ie, not bimmerfile readers) upset that their new car doesn’t integrate 100%.

    Also, I wonder what the cost might be. With the 6FL iPod option running $400, will there be a significant increase in cost?

  • Pat- good points… people will have to have compatible devices and be up to date. As for cost, it should be part of the next generation Bluetooth module and Car Communications Computer. Bluetooth should become a standard option in the next generation cars as other manufacturers are beginning that already, if BMW adopts that idea is yet to be seen. If it is an add-on it may become part of the radio upgrade or BMW assist (current BT) or premium package. Details are still not clear as far as price point and packaging. Battery life and charging will be concerns as well so in a practical sense this is less practical.

  • Jeff

    I think this is an advancement in practicality. Just think of it: you have your iPhone in your pocket, you get into your car, and instantly you have access to all your music on your iPhone without having to take it out of your pocket and hooking a cable into it. Just charge it at night when you’re sleeping. No problem. I’ve been wishing for this feature.

  • Rich

    Presumably this will just be a software upgrade? The current hardware is clearly capable of streaming sound (voice) over BT from a phone so it just needs a change to the software to support A2DP and (optionally IMHO) AVRCP.

    I ask because I have a (late) 2006 E91 and don’t fancy paying for a audio system hardware upgrade!

  • Rich,

    I am not sure if it is software or hardware. Some of the modules can not be flashed with new data and I am not aware of the BT modules abilities in that regard. Some of the processing power of older modules is not great enough for the new functions.

    I can tell you A2DP will begin shipping in cars after 9/10.


  • Mark

    Your 2006 E91 will NOT support A2DP as your car has Bluetooth version 1 which only supports MONO audio, and does not have enough bandwidth to carry the stero sound of A2DP. So it works as a handsfree phone device but thats all I’m afraid, no software can fix this 🙁

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  • David Scott

    Hi, I have a 2007 E65/E66 (750li). Is there a way for me to get A2DP to be supported in my car?

    • BimmerFile_Michael

      No, the hardware is not compatible and there was never a hardware version with your chassis that supported A2DP nor software to do such a thing.