What is BMW ConnectedDrive

BMW is making ConnectedDrive cheaper and more extensive

Hans-Christian Dirscherl

BMW is revising ConnectedDrive: The Internet and multimedia solution for BMW vehicles is not only getting some exciting new functions such as online entertainment and message dictation. But above all, entry into the world of ConnectedDrive is significantly cheaper. In future, vehicle apps can be bought in real time in the ConnectedDrive Store. BMW wants to attract young drivers in particular. Update June 6th: BMW gave us the exact individual prices for the various services.

EnlargeBMW is showing a thoroughly revised ConnectedDrive. In this 6 Series Coupé, for example, online entertainment was demonstrated.

ConnectedDrive: The status quo

ConnectedDrive currently includes a) Internet access and use in the car, b) multimedia and infotainment functions and c) driver and safety assistants. If you want to use ConnectedDrive in your new BMW today, you have to overcome a major hurdle: the purchase price. Because the prerequisite for ConnectedDrive is not only the Business mobile phone preparation with Bluetooth interface, but also at least the Business navigation system or the even more expensive Professional navigation system. Roughly speaking, the basic equipment for ConnectedDrive costs around 3000 euros. However, this does not yet include the costs for many additional functions of ConnectedDrive such as the head-up display or the Night Vision device. All in all, ConnectedDrive is expensive fun, the price of which is likely to deter many potential buyers, especially from the younger target group of buyers.

This is how the current ConnectedDrive works: ConnectedDrive from BMW in a practical test (with huge photo gallery)

ConnectedDrive from the end of 2013: Low entry price and many new features

Obviously, BMW has also recognized the price problem. And that's why the hardware requirements for ConnectedDrive will fundamentally change from the end of 2013. Then you only have to invest around 350 euros (see below) to have the basis for using ConnectedDrive in the BMW (this means the Internet and multimedia functions, but not the security assistants. If you want to use the display or the Night Vision device or the Surround View parking aid, you have to order them ex works).

From July 2013, all delivered BMWs will receive both iDrive Touch and online entertainment (if the buyer has booked these optional extras). However, the vehicles must have the new generation of the BMW navigation system so that they can use the new ConnectedDrive. Exceptions are the 1 Series Convertible / Coupé, X1, Z4 and X6. These will not get the new ConnectedDrive for the time being.

EnlargeThe ConnectedDrive Store took photos in our test car, a 6 Series Coupe.

The significantly cheaper entry into ConnectedDrive is made possible by the fact that an expensive navigation device no longer has to be a prerequisite for ConnectedDrive, but only a high-quality radio serves as the basis for ConnectedDrive. This is the Radio Professional (with screen and iDrive). The pricing for this radio varies between models and markets. From the BMW 3 Series upwards, however, the Radio Professional option is available as standard. In the 1 Series, the price for Radio Professional is 390 euros. Radio Professional is only sufficient as a basis if you only want to use the ConnectedDrive apps. If, on the other hand, you want to use additional functions such as online entertainment, you still have to resort to the high-priced Professional navigation system.

To do this, you have to purchase the “ConnectedDrive Services special equipment” when you buy a new car. These ConnectedDrive services can also be booked retrospectively via the ConnectedDrive Store if the vehicle has the intelligent emergency call, which is already offered as standard in some vehicles. The separate SIM card required for ConnectedDrive is still permanently installed in the BMW.

The prices and terms for the special equipment that can be ordered ex works:

* Intelligent emergency call: 190 euros (one-time fee)
* ConnectedDrive Services 350 euros: Vehicle apps (such as Online Office / News / Weather / Stock Info / Park Info etc.). Duration three years. In addition, the smartphone apps interface (for using smartphone apps in the vehicle) with no runtime limit.
* Realtime Traffic Information: 150 euros for 3 years
* Concierge Services: 250 euros for 3 years
* Remote Services: 50 euros (one-time fee)
* Internet: 100 euros for 1 year (flat rate)
* Online entertainment: 390 euros for one year (includes data flat rate as well as music provider license costs and technical preparation in the vehicle). More on this below.

All services can be booked retrospectively as soon as the BMW ConnectedDrive Store becomes available with different terms and prices.

In order to make it easier for the customer to get an overview, BMW ConnectedDrive will in future be based on just two pillars: In addition to the driver assistance systems with their comfort and safety functions, there are the new BMW ConnectedDrive Services with all infotainment and mobility offers. A separate customer area is reserved for the ConnectedDrive Services of the BMW i sub-brand (more on this below).

New: The ConnectedDrive Store

The individual Internet and multimedia functions of the new ConnectedDrive can be purchased from the end of 2013 as vehicle apps in the new ConnectedDrive Store. Whenever you need a new function or just want to try it out. The associated visible change on the menu screen, which is still controlled by the iDrive, the Control Display, is the new menu item "ConnectedDrive Store". Software updates are then also possible for this new ConnectedDrive. This could also bring an older BMW up to date, at least as far as ConnectedDrive is concerned.

Every ConnectedDrive user then has a "My BMW ConnectedDrive" page on which they can not only configure their ConnectedDrive, but also expand it at any time - by purchasing vehicle apps. These apps can be accessed either at home on the PC Purchase a notebook or tablet from the BMW ConnectedDrive Store website or buy it directly in the car via the iDrive menu in the ConnectedDrive Store and install it immediately. In our short test, this worked without any problems, the download and installation each only take a few seconds. The freshly installed apps can be used immediately after the installation is complete.

Prices for the vehicle apps

Even after the launch of the new ConnectedDrive, BMW wants to offer some vehicle apps free of charge (but not all of them as before). For the paid apps and map packages, the prices should be between 10 and 30 euros. Depending on the duration of use, which can be specified when purchasing. The duration of the individual services varies between a month and a year or even longer. You can find some price examples in our gallery for the ConnectedDrive Store. In it, we also present the process of an app purchase picture by picture: