It will soon be easier than ever to stream your favorite music while driving your BMW, as long as you’ve got a late model with iDrive and use one of the selected services. Rather than connecting your phone through Bluetooth, a cable, or wirelessly for Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, the streaming will actually be taking place with the iDrive system. Eliminating the need for a connected device is big benefit here, and the streaming occurs over the car’s data signal. So far, supported streaming services include Spotify, Napster, and Deezer, while there’s no word on Apple Music and others.
Connected Music is part of the Connected Package Professional, which means it’s backwards compatible with BMWs as old as three years. The setup is optimized for iDrive Operating System 7.0 though, which means the full experience is likely reserved for the latest BMW’s with Live Cockpit Professional. Streaming music from your preferred service won’t expend a large amount of data, either. Once a song is played, it’s been saved the iDrive system’s hard drive, meaning entertainment won’t be interrupted if you drive through an area with subpar coverage. An active BMW ConnectedDrive subscription is required.
Music streaming is also integrated with BMW’s Intelligent Personal Assistant (Siri for your car). Want to hear a certain song? All you have to do is ask. The same goes for playback functions and accessing playlists. When viewed in the grander scheme of things, Connected Music is merely the latest example of the growing interconnectedness of the world and how so much in the way of information and entertainment is now at our fingertips.
It’s also a great testament to the flexibility of BMW’s in-car electronic systems. Twenty years ago, the E46 3 Series and E39 5 Series were being shipped with wiring and controls that could someday handle bluetooth calls, while BMW models from nearly a decade ago can still display Spotify album art if fully up-to-date, with everything connected properly. Today, BMW’s infotainment systems continue to explore the cutting edge of automotive technology.
Connected Music has confirmed availability in Europe, but we’re still waiting to for verification of U.S. availability. If it’s not here yet, it probably will be soon.—Alex Tock
[Photos courtesy BMW AG.]