Last month we broke the news to the world that there was a new iDrive on the horizon for most of vehicles in the BMW lineup. This was met with some skepticism. As sources have continued to verify it there is very little doubt that it will indeed happen sooner than later.

What we did not know was the total package. One of our sources indicated that the car would have a hard disk and a system from Harmon Becker but we were unable to confirm this information at that time. Time has rolled on and our good friend, Jonathan Spira, has confirmed some of the same information. He has acquired information that essentially has spilled the beans on much of the up coming iDrive.

We still are a bit puzzled by the hard drive allotment; 10GB for a phone book? All in all this sounds to be a much improved system when you also consider the fact it will also feature the new controller. As we know all too well sources sometimes give you bits and pieces of information and you have to sift through them, we commend this effort and can at least agree that the system will feature a hard disk; we know this from the interior of the F01 7 series as there is only one slot! The details may still not be finalized and changes are happening regularly so the system we will eventually see may be a bit different. Information we have obtained indicates that there will be a multimedia showing of the new iDrive around the launch of the F01/02 on 07.07.08.

According to Jonathan:
A completely new infotainment system will replace BMW’s current CCC (Car Communication Computer) system in most but not all BMWs starting possibly as soon as September 2008 production, according to unconfirmed reports we have collected. The CIC will reportedly be installed on new 1er, 3er, 5er, and 6er Series, and possibly the new F01 7er Series, this fall if things fall into place as planned.

The X5 and X6 should receive the new CIC — the acronym apparently stands for Car Infortainment Computer — starting with March 2009 production. The CIC is made by Becker, which currently makes M-ASK (MMI Audio System Kontroller) systems for BMW, used in MOST-bus vehicles without “Professional ” satellite navigation. The system will include a 40-gigabyte (GB)80 GB hard disk drive, reportedly partitioned as follows (hopefully there will be more room for music and less room for names and addresses when we get final specs):
System 2GB
Music 3GB
Entertainment server 8GB
Navigation map data 12GB
Telephone (name and address) 10GB
Reserve 5GB
A new higher resolution display, reportedly 1280×480, will be included with the CIC. Favorites buttons, introduced on the E60 5er Series LCI (life cycle impuls, or mid-life refresh), will continue although it is likely we’ll see a new menu structure and improved language support. The new iDrive controller we mentioned last month will be part of the package as well.

Only one DVD drive will be included (the current Professional Navigation system now comes with two, one for music and one for map data; map data will be stored on the hard drive. It’s not clear yet as to whether drivers will still purchase a DVD and transfer it or whether the data will be updated in the dealer’s workshop but we suspect the latter will be the case. On other cars with hard drives for navigation, all have a dealer option to upgrade the navigation data and some also let the owner do it via a disc that is read by the car ‘s lone optical drive.

For the entire article please visit the column Jonathan wrote for the BMWCCA, and do not forget OktoberFest at Watkins Glen!