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Technology Test Drive: BMW 750i Puts Information Superhighway on the Highway

September 21, 2009

EL SEGUNDO, CA - iSuppli Corp.'s Automotive Infotainment Usability Test Drive of the model-year 2009 BMW 750i revealed the vehicles improved ease of use, making its industry-leading set of technology features more accessible to motorists.

The BMW 750i is one of the most technology-loaded cars among comparable luxury sedans sold in the U.S., according to iSuppli's Automotive Technology Index. Of the 28 infotainment features covered by the Index, the 750i integrates 24. The 750i integrates two rear video screens, boosted its score to 25. In comparison, the No.-2 ranked model on the scorecard - Cadillac's CTS - sports 22 technologies.

One major step forward is the refinement of the car's iDrive system, according to the report. BMW's iDrive is an interface system for control of most secondary vehicle systems, such as climate, audio, navigation and communications. iDrive combines an LCD panel on the dashboard with a controller knob mounted on the center console.

Other new features promoting usability include the on-board owner's manual, a center stack display with an industry-leading 10.2-inch, 1280- x 480-pixel resolution, and a high-resolution instrument cluster display. In addition, the new 7 Series features standard BMW Assist telematics, now with BMW MyInfo, and BMW Search powered by Google.

BMW is the first OEM to offer in-vehicle Internet access. This feature is only available in parts of Europe, and not in North America.

In the meantime, BMW North America has introduced BMW Search, an off-board local search service powered by Google. Using BMW Assist telematics, users are able to insert search terms and get real-time Google-reported results directly on their navigation screen. It, in effect, eliminates the need to update on-board Point of Information (POI) data.

"While iSuppli's test drive revealed a few flaws in the Google listings, in terms of wow-factor, BMW Search is a hit," Boyadjis said. "Users will revel in the fact that they can 'Google' in their car, and likely will broadcast that fact to their friends and family."

The 2009 BMW 7 Series is the first vehicle in the world to offer an on-board computer-based owners manual. This feature comes pre-installed on the 750i's Hard Disk Drive (HDD) and is accessible through the iDrive user interface. At any time, users can view in-depth information on any number of topics, including everything from navigation and adaptive cruise control, to checking the oil and transmission status.

The data includes detailed text explaining the specific feature and most features offer pictures to complement their information. Some more complex features, like the lane departure warning system for example, include select video clips that the user can play directly on the navigation system.

For more information on this topic, see iSuppli's new report, entitled: 2009 BMW 750Li - Infotainment Usability.

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