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      01-09-2010, 12:29 PM   #1
seemebreakthis
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iDrive questions

Several questions on iDrive before I make my decision to purchase the 325i:

1. The 325i I am considering comes with the "Navigation System Professional". The salesperson says having this GPS option essentially means the car comes with iDrive as well. Is this true?

2. The salesperson also said the iDrive does NOT come with any hard drive. i.e. there is no way to load songs into the system via USB. Is this also true? But from other sources (e.g. http://www.bimmerfile.com/2008/05/26...0gb-hard-disk/) the latest iDrive systems all contain internal harddrives... very confused here.

3. I want to integrate my iphone to the idrive... to be able to use the panel on my steering wheel to answer calls, listen to iphone's music via iDrive, etc. To use the "IPhone snap in adaptor" for this purpose, will I need to first get the bluetooth hands-free kit? But the dealer said all Hong Kong 3-series models do not have the bluetooth hands-free kit (unless you tailor make your order, that is).

Thanks for helping me make my decision to own my first BMW.
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      01-10-2010, 12:46 AM   #2
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...

Quote:
Originally Posted by seemebreakthis View Post
Several questions on iDrive before I make my decision to purchase the 325i:

1. The 325i I am considering comes with the "Navigation System Professional". The salesperson says having this GPS option essentially means the car comes with iDrive as well. Is this true?

Yes

2. The salesperson also said the iDrive does NOT come with any hard drive. i.e. there is no way to load songs into the system via USB. Is this also true? But from other sources (e.g. http://www.bimmerfile.com/2008/05/26...0gb-hard-disk/) the latest iDrive systems all contain internal harddrives... very confused here.

The updated Professional Nav System comes with an integrated hard disk for audio files and navigation data. According to the 3 series brochure (page 57) you can show your dealer and ask him to find out for you!! "Navigation System Professional includes DVD drive, iDrive Controller with direct menu control buttons, eight functional bookmarks, integrated hard disk for audio files and navigation data, 3-D map display and high-resolution 8.8 inch monitor" But I am unsure how to upload the music onto the hard drive as I only have the basic iDrive (previous version and without Nav) on my X5 and it does not come with a hard drive. In addition, there is a USB/audio interface option in the brochure - I would give BMW Parts Department on 2896 0394 a call to see whether it could be retrofitted.

3. I want to integrate my iphone to the idrive... to be able to use the panel on my steering wheel to answer calls, listen to iphone's music via iDrive, etc. To use the "IPhone snap in adaptor" for this purpose, will I need to first get the bluetooth hands-free kit? But the dealer said all Hong Kong 3-series models do not have the bluetooth hands-free kit (unless you tailor make your order, that is).

Yes you need to order the "Preparation for mobile phone with Bluetooth interface". For this item, I am quite sure it can be retrofitted... again, you may wish to give BMW Parts Department a call. Hope this helps and good luck!

Thanks for helping me make my decision to own my first BMW.
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      01-10-2010, 12:52 AM   #3
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Thank you! Great information.
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      01-10-2010, 01:31 AM   #4
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From my personal experience, the bluetooth interface was a great idea initially (they come standard in every model in Australia)... but after a month or so, I went back to using my trusted bluetooth earpiece...

- NO PRIVACY - when you're in the car with friends and your girlfriend calls, they will hear your conversation as it is broadcast through the speakers in the car. You cant just switch off the connection, you have to end the call and disconnect the 'paired device'.
- VOICE DISTORTION - people on the other side of the line sometimes have trouble hearing your voice especially if you have the speaker volume set to loud - the caller's voice goes back into the microphone (next to the sunroof switch) and that distorts the sound.
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      01-10-2010, 02:01 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by N52B30 View Post
From my personal experience, the bluetooth interface was a great idea initially (they come standard in every model in Australia)... but after a month or so, I went back to using my trusted bluetooth earpiece...

- NO PRIVACY - when you're in the car with friends and your girlfriend calls, they will hear your conversation as it is broadcast through the speakers in the car. You cant just switch off the connection, you have to end the call and disconnect the 'paired device'.
- VOICE DISTORTION - people on the other side of the line sometimes have trouble hearing your voice especially if you have the speaker volume set to loud - the caller's voice goes back into the microphone (next to the sunroof switch) and that distorts the sound.
I ordered iDrive (Professional Nav Syste) with my car. But, some functions didnít come with the system as N52B30 said. (Voice command, phone, USB, etc).

My one has internal harddisck. it allowed me upload song from cd/dvd through system menu. My iDrive cost HK$ 55,000 together with tax.
Yes, Bluetooth, voice command come with phone system and it cost around hk$ 18,000 additionally.
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      01-10-2010, 05:28 AM   #6
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Heard there are shops out there who will install a third party bluetooth interface on the BMW. But I suspect the main drawback will be the lack of integration with iDrive...

It doesn't cost a fortune though. I would be surprised if it even costs more than $5K HKD.

But being a gadget freak, I want everything to be well integrated together... and the snap in bay sure looks cool...

Hard to choose. Thanks again guys for the info.
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      01-20-2010, 01:44 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by seemebreakthis View Post
Heard there are shops out there who will install a third party bluetooth interface on the BMW. But I suspect the main drawback will be the lack of integration with iDrive...

It doesn't cost a fortune though. I would be surprised if it even costs more than $5K HKD.

But being a gadget freak, I want everything to be well integrated together... and the snap in bay sure looks cool...

Hard to choose. Thanks again guys for the info.

When I bought my E93 in 2008, the salesman said that the iDrive could not read DVD movie disc, could not read MP3 from a thumb drive, and the most ridiculous of all is that the GPS map is all in English, no Chinese input of roads and buildings names or Chinese characters display !!

He said it is virtually useless...

Though I thought it is cool to install an iDrive, I finally gave up.

Last edited by JC/E93; 01-20-2010 at 09:13 PM.
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      01-20-2010, 07:32 PM   #8
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Then apparently the current version of iDrive has improved.

The roads are displayed in Chinese when I test drove a 325i last weekend. Did not try inputting anything though, so don't know. Also, the reminders are narrated in Chinese as well: 前面 200 米轉左 etc.

And yes, it has an internal hard disk. This I am now sure about.

I will perhaps create a youtube video to show the features of the new iDrive (with language configured to be Cantonese) when I get my vehicle in about 2 weeks. So for those who are interested, stay tuned.

Since the map now displays Chinese characters, I am hoping the Chinese mp3 songs can be properly displayed too... keeping my fingers crossed....
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      02-03-2010, 01:51 AM   #9
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Yes mp3 song names are displayed properly in Traditional Chinese.
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      02-03-2010, 03:12 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JC/E93 View Post
When I bought my E93 in 2008, the salesman said that the iDrive could not read DVD movie disc, could not read MP3 from a thumb drive, and the most ridiculous of all is that the GPS map is all in English, no Chinese input of roads and buildings names or Chinese characters display !!

He said it is virtually useless...

Though I thought it is cool to install an iDrive, I finally gave up.

I think the iDrive which you have and already installed in your car, is belonged to 1st generation, I believe 2nd generation has solved most of the major problems. As the salesperson of BWM said : 俾你都唔好要啦第一代 >.<
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      03-09-2010, 02:11 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by seemebreakthis View Post
Then apparently the current version of iDrive has improved.

The roads are displayed in Chinese when I test drove a 325i last weekend. Did not try inputting anything though, so don't know. Also, the reminders are narrated in Chinese as well: 前面 200 米轉左 etc.

And yes, it has an internal hard disk. This I am now sure about.

I will perhaps create a youtube video to show the features of the new iDrive (with language configured to be Cantonese) when I get my vehicle in about 2 weeks. So for those who are interested, stay tuned.

Since the map now displays Chinese characters, I am hoping the Chinese mp3 songs can be properly displayed too... keeping my fingers crossed....

Hi, seemebreakthis

Have you posted your youtube video? Eager to take a look.
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      03-12-2010, 08:12 AM   #12
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no... not yet, i will make one this weekend. Really nice, but better be extra careful, i almost went on a collision because i wasn't paying attention....

Note: to clarify - i added an 'after market' module to my idrive that allows any video to be projected on the idrive screen.... will post it on youtube later

Last edited by seemebreakthis; 03-12-2010 at 08:19 AM.
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      03-12-2010, 11:36 AM   #13
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Hi seemebreakthis, do you have any photo of the installation?
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      04-06-2010, 11:38 PM   #14
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Quote:
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Yes mp3 song names are displayed properly in Traditional Chinese.
Hi seemebreakthis,

I have a 2009 X5 with iPod integration and I cannot display Traditional Chinese characters. They come out as monster characters (???). How do you display them?

Thanks.
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      04-07-2010, 01:13 AM   #15
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Initially, I want to add voice control together with telephone system under my iDrive. But, salesman told me that voice control is not available for Hong Kong!!!! Really don’t understand!!!

Looks BMW really not care about HK customers!
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      06-13-2010, 01:56 PM   #16
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Quote:
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no... not yet, i will make one this weekend.
Finally had time to make a video. Posted it here:
. Enjoy.

Part of the reason this took so long was the problems I kept having with the whole setup. Anyway here is a recap:

The A/V module + the iphone dock were purchased from www.alekshop.com. Contrary to what the site says, i would strongly recommend against trying the installation on your own if you are an average car owner like me who has never ripped a car apart before. Even the mechanics who helped me install the thing spent hours trying to figure out how everything should fit together.

Be prepared to spend up to 50% of what you pay for the hardware to find a suitable local garage / car repair shop to install the device for you. My experience was very bad here. It was really "hit and miss" to try and find someone who is capable of installing the module + the rear view camera. I ended up going to 2 repair shops 3 times in total just to get everything to work right. At the end, they had to look for another place inside the front panel to place the A/V module, because the location indicated by alekshop's installation guide just wasn't big enough to fit the module. Looking back at this ordeal, I could say it was ALMOST not worth it to install the thing. Having said that, the end result is really impressive.

I did not show the rear view cam in action in the video. But the idea is simple - you put the car on reverse, and the idrive starts showing what's behind the car.

One thing I forgot to mention in the video clip - you will need an iphone A/V cable too for this setup to work.

Some other useful links related to the video clip:

Slingbox and slingplayer: http://www.slingbox.com/go/slingbox
"TV Out" for the iphone: go to Cydia and install 'Landscape TV Out'. this allows you to output the video signal to the A/V module regardless of the app you are using.
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      06-13-2010, 03:00 PM   #17
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it's awesome, man! the only concern is whether if the dock holds the phone tight enough during accelerating/braking. did you purchase the cam locally or it came with the kit from alekshop? where did you connect the iphone A/V cable? the dock and the module?

Anyway, thanks for sharing and yes the result is impressive indeed!

btw, the slingbox pro is a good product and i've been told there will be a new model coming soon, just fyi
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      06-13-2010, 08:59 PM   #18
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Yeah the phone does wobble a bit during acceleration / decceleration. But nothing too serious to worry about because the dock connector seems to be very sturdy (so is the iphone).

The cam came with the kit from alekshop.

The video out of the iphone A/V cable is connected to the A/V module (should be called 'Video' module instead becasue apparently it does not handle audio).

The audio out of the A/V cable is connected straight to the AUX input of the car.

One more thing to note: I would also pay more attention to which 3G network provider you use. On this, just remember to avoid 3HK at all costs!
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      06-13-2010, 10:31 PM   #19
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Haha... 3HK is rubbish!!!

Btw, where did you have it install in HK?
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      06-14-2010, 09:17 PM   #20
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Haha... 3HK is rubbish!!!

Btw, where did you have it install in HK?
I ended up going to "駿科汽車服務公司" in Kwun Tong. On Wai Yip Street.
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      06-15-2010, 03:32 AM   #21
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I ended up going to "駿科汽車服務公司" in Kwun Tong. On Wai Yip Street.
so they knew how to install for your bimmer or just try & error?
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      06-15-2010, 11:37 AM   #22
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so they knew how to install for your bimmer or just try & error?
haha... NOW they know.

They actually did not install the whole thing. The rear cam and the A/V module were installed somewhere else, but they screwed up the installation so i won't mention their name. This service center fixed the problem plus installed the iphone dock for me.
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