Thanks all. Jonathan, I was hoping that you would chime in.
I'm toying with the idea of trading in my beta E90 for a real one (mine was built in April '05). If I do decide to do that sometime early this spring, I want to add all the options that I feel I am missing now. Because the NAV/iDrive is not cheap, I'd like to feel that it has more benefit to me over time than just the initial 'gee-whiz' factor which will dissapate more quickly than the new car smell.
I have a Garmin Nuvi 660 that I can move from car to car, so it's hard to justify it for only the navigation, although having it integrated and the ability to use the voice commands would certainly be nice. Also, as much as I am an early adoptor of technology and love gadgets of any sort, I am also aware that such critters become obsolete at an accelerated rate compared to other aspects of a car. How viable might the iDrive/NAV system be in three or four... or even five years hence? We have seen BMW become more and more stingy about providing updates for software and technology to current owners, and the existance of an outdated system might actually reduce the value of a car - more so than if it didn't exist.
Most likely, if I did order a new E90 I would get the system, just because I would hate to regret not having it. I enjoy and appreciate the input and opinions of current iDrive owners... I have never actually had a chance to touch one yet.