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BMW 3-Series (E90 E92) Forum > E90 / E92 / E93 3-series Technical Forums > ConnectedDrive / I-Drive / Navigation Related Discussion > iDrive versus Garmin



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      03-14-2010, 06:17 PM   #1
Kraven
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iDrive versus Garmin

For those of who who have iDrive on a newer model BMW (after the update of the system, I believe 2009 was the first MY with the newer version of iDrive)...are you happy with it or do you regret getting it? Wish you opted for a window mounted Garmin for a few hundred bucks instead?

I use a Garmin and love it. I also have Sirius Satellite Radio and love that. I like the idea of losing a suction cup on the windshield and the unclean look that a window mounted GPS offers. I would prefer to like the iDrive and the GPS/Nav system that BMW offers but don't feel like spending over 2K on a system that doesn't work as well as a Garmin.

I recognize iDrive offers more than just Nav, so I'm open to it and would like to hear perspectives from those of you who have the newer iDrive...thanks much all!
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      03-14-2010, 06:45 PM   #2
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not at all. i love my idrive. recently i was playing around with my friends in his '08 535. totally different. i can see why so many people hated the first generation idrive. the current software is incredible. and i think that the idrives ability to locate the car is pin point. with portable navis, sometimes it'll think you're in one lane while you're in another and it'll have a different route planned for you and you can get mixed up. you never have to worry about it "recalculating......recalculating...... recalculating". dynamic guidance is also great when there traffic ahead.
also keep in mind idrive also makes getting music from your ipod easier. trust me. its worth every penny.
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      03-14-2010, 07:05 PM   #3
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Love it on my 2010. Easier to use even! I hate the cheezy on screen keyboard that garmin uses, prefer the dial the idrive has. Played extensively with my buddies 2007 335i idrive, and the one mine has is superior in every way. Also, I've had a passenger window smashed and a garmin stolen, so I like having a "stock" system.
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      03-14-2010, 07:29 PM   #4
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I love my idrive, and it is the older version in the 2007 model.


Remember, Navigation is just one of five major menus within the system.
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      03-14-2010, 08:09 PM   #5
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Garmin will probably offer more features in terms of routing, POIs, waypoints, etc. But I would still take the iDrive (even the older version). Nothing beats the integration with the car and not having to put it up and take it down every time you drive.
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      03-14-2010, 08:20 PM   #6
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We got a Garmin, and I like it a lot. But my wife can't read the screen with her sunglasses on, no matter where we position it. Probably has to do with polarization. OTOH, when we had a loaner car with iDrive and BMW nav, she was able to read it just fine.

Garmin is clear as day to me, so who knows...I am sure the nav functions are better and more up to date. We took it to Europe with us last fall, just got a euro map card for it, and it worked great, both in rentals and just walking around in an unfamiliar city.
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      03-15-2010, 11:48 AM   #7
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I like the iDrive for the integrated look and other features. When it comes to navigation, I think it's not up to the standards that other manufacturers have. This past weekend was a perfect example. Saturday, I drove the BMW to a party and had to use the navigation as I didn't know the area. Sunday, I drove the Audi to a restaurant, and also had to use the navigation. Here are the things that the BMW iDrive navigation is lacking.

- It asked me to turn (for example, right turn) as I was initiating the turn. If I only rely on the verbal direction, I would've missed the turn.
- When I came close to a turn, the screen didn't tell me what street to turn to. Both my Audi and old Acura would do that either by saying the street name, displaying on the screen, or both.
- When I got to the destination, where the hack was the address on the screen? Often time I would just enter the address into the nav and forget about it. Unless the destination is a business, I have to look for the house number when I get to my destination. The iDrive only tells you that you've reached your destination, and it's on the right (or left) side depending on your destination. Both the Audi and my old Acura would show the address on the screen.
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      03-15-2010, 11:51 AM   #8
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I like how the Garmin can stay up to date with red light and speed cams, as well as any other poi's such as diners drive ins and dives, costco, etc. Costco does come in handy when traveling away from home...
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      03-15-2010, 12:06 PM   #9
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I have a Garmin in my old Volvo and have owned new and old iDrives. The one in the 09 is light years ahead of the old iDrive. The screen alone has 4 times the resolution and you can display the map across the whole screen. It is more intuitive than the old one. I love it!!

The integration with the car trumps anything a Garmin can do though and if you're worried about red light cameras and speed traps, get an Escort 9500 radar detector.

I also like the way I can send an address to it from Google Maps on my laptop, click on the address once in the car and go!
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      03-15-2010, 12:10 PM   #10
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The iDrive is so much more than just Nav. It is the vehicle's central command window and provides an array of information and control that make the purchase well worth it.

The Garmin is a superior Nav system, but it cannot do all of the other things that the iDrive can.
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      03-15-2010, 12:33 PM   #11
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I like sending nav addresses directly to the car from Google Maps. You can also get stock prices and local weather from the iDrive/nav.
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      03-15-2010, 12:37 PM   #12
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I like my 07 iDrive more than a Garmin, solely because it's integrated into my car. It's a gigantic piece of crap compared to the 09+!
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      03-15-2010, 09:43 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by m_thompson View Post
I like sending nav addresses directly to the car from Google Maps. You can also get stock prices and local weather from the iDrive/nav.
Thanks all for the responses! What steps do you need to take to send Google Maps to your iDrive system? Is there an email address for your iDrive?
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      03-16-2010, 12:19 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vwong View Post
I like the iDrive for the integrated look and other features. When it comes to navigation, I think it's not up to the standards that other manufacturers have. This past weekend was a perfect example. Saturday, I drove the BMW to a party and had to use the navigation as I didn't know the area. Sunday, I drove the Audi to a restaurant, and also had to use the navigation. Here are the things that the BMW iDrive navigation is lacking.

- It asked me to turn (for example, right turn) as I was initiating the turn. If I only rely on the verbal direction, I would've missed the turn..
This shouldn't have happened. Ordinarly, it keeps giving you warnings "Turn left in 200M". It is kind of dumb because it should say "Make next left" but you certailnly get warnings.

Quote:
Originally Posted by vwong View Post
I
- When I came close to a turn, the screen didn't tell me what street to turn to. Both my Audi and old Acura would do that either by saying the street name, displaying on the screen, or both.
Split screen turn arrow. Look at the top of the arrow, and you'll see the street that you are turning on.


Quote:
Originally Posted by vwong View Post
- When I got to the destination, where the hack was the address on the screen? Often time I would just enter the address into the nav and forget about it. Unless the destination is a business, I have to look for the house number when I get to my destination. The iDrive only tells you that you've reached your destination, and it's on the right (or left) side depending on your destination. Both the Audi and my old Acura would show the address on the screen.
Swipe the dial to the left, and then click on "last address."

I had an Acura (2003 TSX) and agree that system was much better. I also liked the touch screen a lot better than the Idrive dial. But, the Idrive system is not bad at all.
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      03-16-2010, 03:39 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kraven View Post
Thanks all for the responses! What steps do you need to take to send Google Maps to your iDrive system? Is there an email address for your iDrive?

How can I send business listings or street addresses to my BMW?
Just visit maps.google.com and search for any business or street address. When it appears, click "Send", choose "Car" and select "BMW", then type in your e-mail address on file with BMW Assist as the account name, a personal note if desired, maybe a phone number, and hit "Send".

http://www.bmwusa.com/Standard/Conte...MyInfoFAQ.aspx
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      03-16-2010, 09:51 AM   #16
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The new i-drive interface is fantastic! Gotta get the convinence package which adds some extras like BMW search.. I love the weather forcast feature..
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      03-16-2010, 09:56 AM   #17
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I bought a Garmin Nuvi 260W a couple of years ago and loved it. I'm kind of a gadget geek, so when I ordered my 2009 E90, I had to have the iDrive and built-in nav.

When I drive my second vehicle or a rental and use my Garmin, now I hate it. What a pain. I find that the BMW nav is more intuitive to use, and I don't have to deal with suction cups and power cords! I haven't noticed any difference in the quality of guidance. Both have steered me wrong in really rural areas, but 99% of the time the BMW nav is dead on.

The only thing I miss about the Garmin? The woman's voice with the British accent. Me likey....
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      03-16-2010, 10:40 AM   #18
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I love the idrive...i never have to worry about cords hanging around, people breaking my windows tryin to still the gps unit if i ever forget to put it away, the long warm up time and best of all the idrive w/the screen totally flows with the rest of the interior giving it an even more classy look
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      03-16-2010, 11:30 AM   #19
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I thought I made the right choice by keeping my Garmin but now it keeps losing it's signal! Very annoying and it seems the problem is getting worse, it has something to do with the antenna. Google it and you will see that Garmin is very slow at responding to customers. Get the Idrive...
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      03-16-2010, 12:10 PM   #20
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love the IDrive, my garmin is there for other car or if I am renting.
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      03-16-2010, 12:24 PM   #21
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just to echo what has been said..

the garmin, or any other portable gadget, is easily 1/10th the price of the idrive option. from that perspective alone, esp to a numbers geek like me, it makes ALMOST no sense to get the idrive.

that said: for us, here's what the idrive is:
1. nav, and not a bad one at that
1a. traffic info, with no subscription cost
2. command control center for logic7, stations, etc
2a. to minimize distractions, only ONE unit to deal with, not 2 separate devices
3. fun gizmo (even my 11 year old enjoys talking to it)
4. only while parked, but the dvd player is a gem
4a. even in motion, it is hilarious to listen to my daughter laugh at spongebob
5. don't laugh, but we don't own an ipod. well, we do, now. our car, thanks to the idrive, is and also controls our 'ipod on 4 wheels..'
6. no need to transfer, forget to bring, forget to charge, forget to unplug, forget to put away, no hanging wires, no fumbling with stand, no unexpected 'un-suctioning' of the cups
7. that gizmo is covered by bmw for at least 4yr/50k miles
8. i know some don't care for the double-bulge design of the console, but it is integrated, and nice enough for me
9. have NOT tried sending google info to the car yet, but will play with it soon
10. and if you choose to pay for it, the convenience plan even allows some degree of online google usage

when i factor all the above, even a cheapskate like me had to concede it was a good buy, esp on a nicely-priced used '09.
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      03-16-2010, 12:37 PM   #22
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I opted not to get the idrive after it was on my 530:

I found the screen distractiong. Some think screens with bright colored info is cool. I did care for it.

I have everything I need without it.

Its expensive and Im not leasing, its real money.

I got a vent mount and use the garmin sparingly. This is important cuz I don't need a garmin everyday. I am amazed how popular they are and how many people use them. I thought they would be used by people who don't know where they are going. Im wrong, people love to SEE where they ARE going.

Wire Phobia: I hate wires as much as anyone. On my 530 I used a "Kuda" mount and the Garman was down by my console. Out of the way and not distracting. Out of the way was also not great cuz you had to look down to see it. But like I said I did not use it all that much. Garmin you can transfer from car to car. If avg cost of NAV is $2000 and you have two cars I think its a bit excessive to have 4k of NAV equipment!

YOu can get creative with its mounting. For me, IM just gonna use teh $8 dollar clip for the a/c vent, turn off the vent and its right there where I can see it. Hate the wire though.

If I traveled for a living to new places I would see it as a great tool and worth the cost.

Im sure fanboys will profess their undying love for it and could not imagine what life was like before.

Garmins can go into rental cars, on foot in a new city, put a euro card in it for travel there, and you can use it in differnt cars. My kids need it, they take it.

ANd that stupid hump in the middle of the dash is gone.
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