1 series i-drive

Car technology moves apace

I have just returned from a short ski holiday, and as is usual I hired a car at Munich Airport (home to BMW) to get me back and forth to the ski resorts. As always with hire cars it is a bit pot luck but Sixt seem to be pretty good there and I ended up with a top of the range BMW 1 series sport hatch for the five days.

What I was blown away by was how much technology had been packed into such a small car, and how BMW seem to have mastered the art of integration. My Audi for example has sat nav but at very best it shows directions on a smaller screen by my speedo as well as the main screen. The BMW on the other hand has a full screen which links fuel consumption, directions and even the road speed of any given road. The last bit is pure witch craft and works brilliantly especially in a foreign country where I worked out not every road in Germany is an unlimited autobahn…

It is one of those systems you need to experience and makes any car feel immediately dated. I know for example that my forthcoming Evoque doesn’t do technology this well. I mean using Google Earth as the sat nav is genius, as is linking the gorgeous wide screen to the dynamic setup so you can see what is going on with the suspension, or even see boost gages in sport mode.

In all a thoroughly good effort and one that worked in harmony with the art of driving, rather than as a distraction to it. I wouldn’t even have been surprised if the system had an Apple symbol on it rather than BMW one and praise comes no higher than that.

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