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      12-21-2007, 01:10 PM   #25

Drives: 2016 228i 6-speed
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Portland, Oregon

iTrader: (0)

The concept is not just good -- it's absolutely necessary. It's too cumbersome to handle so many functions through push-buttons, dials and levers. ( Just look at the non-iDrive implementation through the turn signal and dashboard display.) The iDrive implementation has been less good: there's no good reason to make it difficult to do the ordinary things people do when driving, like adjust the HVAC or the radio. But it's getting better, and I'm sure it will continue to improve (witness the customizable buttons in the latest version). The other difficulty with a built-in nav is that it is frozen technology, while the portable units continue to get better and cheaper. Some of the newer Garmin units have such good battery life that they don't even need to be plugged in during use, and they are small and light enough to remove and use on foot or in another car. That's a big advantage. The windshield mounts suck (literally, too), but there are other solutions that are less unaesthetic. If an iPod can be connected and operated through i-Drive, other devices, like nav, could in principle be handled the same way, to the customer's great advantage.