We have obtained the September 2008 product marketing guide for the UK. In this guide it states a good deal of information about the upcoming release of option 609; BMW Professional Multimedia Navigation system. This document also confirms that in addition to the newly designed 7 series the 1er and 3er will also feature the new system from September onwards.

Last week we mentioned many of these iDrive features from the experiences of those who had access to the system in testing, but now we can offer up the official information.

Over the past few days we have confirmed upcoming features from official BMW announcements originating outside of the US; first the DCT in the 3er coupe (BMW Australia) and now the new iDrive (BMW UK).

While this information does not definitely mean the US or other markets will be receiving these options we have been hearing from other sources to expect these options in the Fall. BMW would need a really good reason not to offer them to its largest market in the US especially with the upcoming mid cycle refresh/ LCI (Life Cycle Impulse/ “Facelift “).

The text below is from the UK guide which can also be found in it entirety along with photos at the end of this post.

The highlights of the new system are as follows:

New iDrive Controller with more intuitive operation

High resolution Control Display with vibrant screen

Revised iDrive menu structure

Interactive help with on screen description of function

Built in hard disc drive for improved speed of operation and data storage

More detailed navigation map

New navigation options and settings to enhance route planning

Multimedia capability with 8GB storage for audio files

Improved voice control

New layout for Favourite buttons with new direct function keys (model specific)

New iDrive Controller and Control Display

The new iDrive Controller now features shortcut buttons.
These provide access directly to systems which are regularly used by the driver:

CD / Multimedia

The “turn-press-slide“ system previously used has been enhanced.
From the Main menu a sub menu is selected by turning the controller and pressing down. To then navigate to the sub menu you then tilt to the right to open each further sub menu. This opens a window on top of the last screen. Tilting to the left moves back a screen.
Using any of the shortcut buttons (CD, RADIO, TEL, NAV) at any point returns the user to the last screen used within that menu.

The other controller buttons function as follows:

MENU Returns you to the Main menu

BACK Back to the previous screen, for up to 30 steps

OPTIONS Some sub menus have settings and specific functions that can be set by using this button

Hard Disc Drive

The new system is hard disc based rather than running from a DVD map. This provides the following benefits:

Improved speed of operation
Factory installed navigation map
Storage capability for other data
Single DVD Drive in dashboard

The navigation map can be updated by:
Workshop programming system
Loading an update disc in the DVD Drive

Navigation Enhancements – Route Planning

The new navigation map provides route planning enhancements:

Full screen mode
3D perspective view
Assistance window
Height mode
Night view
Travel planner (multiple stop-off points along one route)

Navigation Enhancements – Assistance Window

The following changes have been made to the functionality available within the Assistance Window:
Zoom in / out separately from the main window
With manual navigation destination entry, after input of several characters, a wizard type list is displayed
Any list containing locations will be displayed in a map in the assistance window (eg. points of interest, traffic information)
If a route is planned, the Assistance Window will highlight it, making it easy to see where a location is in relation to the route
Entertainment details allows you to display details of the music you are currently playing
When a destination is set the Road junction zoom is an option that will show an enlarged graphic of the junction exit on your planned route

Navigation Enhancements – Travel Planner

The new navigation system can also be used as a travel planner to plan routes with up to 30 stop-off points.
When you set-up a route you can freely insert new addresses into anywhere between the start point and the destination.
When a stage destination is reached the navigation system automatically sets the next destination.
You can also reverse the direction of the route and save routes you have created for future use.

Multimedia Capability – Music Storage

The hard disc drive provides 8.0GB storage for audio files.
Music can be stored on the hard disc from three sources:

Audio CD
USB device in data port
Usable storage capacity on the hard disc in 7.6GB, this will hold circa 2,000 songs at 128kbits/s.
Audio CD

‘Save music to car’ function ‘rips’ the music to hard disc drive
Music is converted into a WMA file with a fixed data rate of 128 kbits/s and is saved on the hard disc drive

Music can be played while the music is saved
Audio CD’s ripped and saved to the hard disc drive are shown in the music collection with a CD icon by the corresponding title

‘Save to vehicle’ function copies audio files from a data CD or DVD to the hard disc

MP3, WMA and AAC formats are compatible
Audio copied to the hard disc drive is shown in the music collection with a folder icon by the corresponding title
USB device
‘Import New Music (USB)’ function copies audio files from a USB device to the hard disc

MP3, WMA and AAC formats are compatible
Audio copied to the hard disc drive is shown in the music collection with a folder icon by the corresponding title
The new navigation system includes a new USB data port hidden in the glove box to import the music, this USB data port cannot be used to play audio files
You cannot import music to the hard disc drive from option 6FL USB audio interface, located in the arm rest

The new USB data port in the glove box can be used export all of the audio files from the hard disc drive, onto an external USB device.
This facility is for the customer to use if the vehicle is to visit the workshop, or if the customer is changing their vehicle.

Exported audio files can be imported back to the vehicle by uploading via the USB data port.
Note: It is not possible to play music files that feature copy protection, although they will be copied to the hard disc drive from CD/DVD or USB device.

The CD / Multimedia menu includes a sub-menu which allows you to search the audio you have saved using the following criteria:
Genre / Artist / Album / Track
To enable use of this facility every audio file stored in the car must be encoded with data (it is called the ID3 tag). This information is not always available on an audio CD.
On the hard disc drive there is 4GB space allocated to a database called Gracenote. This database is accessed when an audio CD is ripped and the audio file is saved with the track data if it is available.
There will be additional options for BMW® ConnectedDrive customers to supplement missing data. The Gracenote database can also be updated during a workshop visit.

Bluetooth telephone integration

The new system supports PIM services (Personal Information Manager.)
Future bluetooth handsets we recommend with PIM services will transfer the phone’s contact data to the hard disc, this will include contact addresses held in the phone memory.
The car will have a ‘Central address book’. Information transferred by the phone will appear in all relevant menus (phone menu, navigation address book and Contacts.)

Voice Control

Improved voice control (where fitted.)

BMW UK Product Marketing Guide .PDF

Source: BMW UK