Ask BF: Problems with Dealer Support for ConnectedDrive

We ‘ve covered ConnectedDrive extensively on BF and even spoken with the engineers behind it all. But we haven ‘t heard from readers and owners about their day to day use of the product. While we expect most have had good experiences thus far, we have heard of a few less than stellar stories when it comes to dealerships having a full command of the functionality of the system. This latest comes from Greg and is a good example of some of the issues we ‘re seeing.

I recently traded in my 2008 135i for a 2011 328i xDrive and I ordered it with the BMW Apps package and have the Connected Drive app on my iPhone. Problem is, it seems that I know far more about what the App and CD can do than anyone at the Chicago dealership and a majority of the functionality is not working.Having emails or texts read to me.Bluetooth iPod play.All “office functions ” and probably an issue or two more if I thought about it.My dealer simply said to schedule a loaner and they ‘ll figure it out, the sales men told me that ‘s how they guys learn the new stuff. However I really don ‘t want my car to be the designated guinea pig.

So my question is two fold:

  1. Have all the functions “as advertised ” on the BMWUSA web site fully functional today, or are some not ready yet and will be coming in software updates?

  2. If indeed everything, or even most of it is FULLY FUNCTIONAL, any idea who to call to assist?Even when I contacted BMW corporate, they simply told me to go to different BMW dealers until I found one that knew what they were doing.

This is rather disturbing on a $47,000+ car and I am especially surprised at the response I received from BMW Corporate to be perfectly honest.

While BMW ‘s ConnectedDrive site certainly can help it ‘s not quite the personal help that Greg probably needs. So let ‘s go through line by line and talk about the issues:

  1. Emails and texts read to me

Based on what we ‘ve heard this is something only support by Blackberry phones at this time

  1. Bluetooth iPod play

Bluetooth audio streaming should work but it ‘s something you have to set on your iPhone as well (similar to Airplay)

  1. Office functionality

Blackberry is the only platform that currently has APIs for office connectivity that BMW supports.

Hope that helps! And as always if you the reader have better answers let us know in the comment section below.

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  • Anonymous
    1. Correct
    2. iDrive can only use one type of audio output for the iPod application: via apple cable or bluetooth audio. Check to see which one you have selected under the “external devices” settings menu.
    3. Correct
  • Anonymous

    The nice thing about this option is that it is upgradable by downloading a new version from the app store. Expect email reading etc to hit the iPhone soon enough.

    Weather is on the way as well.. there is no limit as long as it is on the phone.

  • GSKChicago

    Bluetooth audio streaming should work but it’s something you have to set on your iPhone as well (similar to Airplay)…  So what specific settings do I need to change on my iPhone?  I have the Bluetooth paired, but the only time the dealership got the bluetooth air play to work was after they re-set my battery on the car.  Obviously this is not a practical solution. These are my settings for my iPhone…  Do I need to change anything else?

    Thanks in advance for any/everyone’s help.  Thanks BF for posting!


  • Bimmerdude

    The Bluetooth audio feature needs to be turned on through the idrive not set through the phone. Go to “configure phone” in the phone menu and check Bluetooth audio. You can also turn on the office feature here. This way when your phone has been updated the feature will be turned on.

    • GSKChicago

      Thanks Dude.  I have the settings on my iPhone correct and on my car, but it’s still not working even for the Bluetooth iPod and those setting are correct on my car and my iPhone and the app itself are 100% up to date.  Hence some of my confusion/frustration.

      • Bimmerdude

        Is it set up correctly on both of your keys?

        • GSKChicago

          I have not set up the second key….  My wife will be using that extremely rarely and it is sitting in a drawer, so that shouldn’t affect it.  That key has never been used.

      • Anonymous

        Do you have anything plugged into the usb port or is there a bmw ipod interface “Y” cable plugged in?  Everything gets overridden if the cable is plugged in the USB port.. 

        • GSKChicago

          I use my white cord that came with the phone to connect so I can access Pandora or the iPod with album art on screen, etc.  But whenever I try to connect to the iPod via Bluetooth it does not work.  Ever.

          • Anonymous

            Well I guess a few things then, first off why do you need the bluetooth audio to work if you already have it plugged into the interface via USB?  Next, if you leave the cable plugged in with no device it still will not work.  I have verified this at work.  If you go into the bluetooth settings and go to phone, then options, is the phone and the music note illuminated to the right of the phone name?

    • GSKChicago

      I’ve done this and it still doesn’t work.  🙁

  • Tom221

    Hey Michael,

    Just wanted to let you know there’s something wrong with your image tags.  Whenever there’s an image, several following paragraphs of text are hyperlinked to the photo.  It doesn’t stop until there’s another anchor tag in the text.  This is happening to me on IE9 and Firefox 4.

    • Not sure I see an issue in the attached image. I just see our stylized quote text but not a hyperlink.

  • One thing I am having problems with is when you select the “plug in” the first time it will display your playlist etc…  I can never get back to that w/o switching it off and sometimes removing the phone from the cradle.  Am I missing an option somewhere to bring up the playlist again?

  • Steven Mask

    This is a test comment.

  • Bob M3

    First off, the new functions only apply to cars built since march 2011. The only phone everything will work with is the Blackberry. Additional phones, like the i-phone, will be added in the future, but there is no known timetable. The only training for dealer personal is an on line module which is not very clear. It’s is being left to the tech savoy guys in the dealership to sort out and even most of them are confused. My guess is most BMWNA personal are not up to speed on the subject as evidensed by the Customer Service reply. I have gotten it to work perfectly in a new 535xi with Blackberry and it is mindblowing. It reads e-mails perfectly thru voice reconigition. BMWNA needs to get it’s own people up to speed first and make sure at least 2 people in each dealership know the system so they can teach others. I’m not suprised customers are confused. Thank goodness most don’t care. 

  • bcworkz

    I’m one of those that happily don’t care, but I feel for those that do. Unfortunately, tech roll outs that are not fully ready is SOP now a days. Add to that the failure to effectively inform and train dealerships compounds the problem, which also seems to be SOP as well. What I think is the worst violation is the failure to properly manage customer expectations, possibly intentionally to prevent loss of sales. The limitations of the current version are unclear, and what info is available is confusing at best, deceitful could be a better description. Better to anger those that have signed their money away than to disappoint those about to sign. This all feels less like a business/customer relationship and more like a carney/rube relationship to me.