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iDrive and the 3-Series

patpat Posts: 10,421
What are your experiences with the iDrive in the 3-Series?


  • djocksdjocks Posts: 124
    being a product of this century i think the idrive and navigation might be something i like. what has been the experience of people on the board with it? simply put if you have the idrive do you regret it or have you come to like it?
  • is3ooguyis3ooguy Posts: 68
    Here's my input....
    I liked the idea of iDrive as well. Reading through the information available over the last 6 months or so, I was pretty convinced I would want it and if I happened to go with a 330i over a IS350 I would order it.
    July 23rd I went and test drove a bunch of 3 series at my local dealership to help me make my decision. All the cars I tried were manual (auto wasn't ever even considered which BTW was my biggest problem with the IS350 regardless of how the auto shifted and ran through the gears)
    Started with a manual 325i non-SP; was impressed. It had much more power than I was expecting. Wow, the new 3 is the way to go I said.
    330i non-SP; nice. After being so impressed with the power in the 325i I was a bit let down in the extra power of the 330i considering the extra 40hp advertised. But still, even more fun.
    330i SP w/ idrive: Spent most of the day with this car, thinking it was close to what I wanted to order. I tell you, I tired and tried to like/love the iDrive but never warmed to it. Every time I was going through the menus to do something and it was a couple of steps I would think to myself how it could be done in one of the other cars in one step. Is it cool? Yup. Will it impress your friends? Should. Did I order it? Not a chance. Maybe a week or more would have me loving it (don't know) but with my extended test drive I had enough seat time to decide no.
    Decided on a non-SP 330i in Electric Red with a few options. The SP package was left out as well because of concerns of the road quality (or lack there of) in the GTA.
    So now I'm waiting until the end of Sept. for my car and I can't wait.
    A question I would have for you guys is if my car is being built as a 'true' 2006 or before? Was it built before or after the summer break if it was ordered July 25th with production #. I had an email from my dealer that it entered production on Aug. 15th and had a serial#. Anyone know?
  • odessitodessit Posts: 140
    Congratulations on the very good choice. May I ask what exactly you mean by " 'true' 2006 or before?" ? How do you think car build before September borderline differ from those that will be build now?

    And about iDrive. I think it a matter of preference. I personally never even bothered to check it out, but not because I don’t like it – was trying to save some $$$ :) But if I had enough I would buy it. I design software for living. I simply don’t see any problems in getting used to any new computer system. Judging on the user manual that I read afterwards on the iDrive - it seems very easy and intuitive to use. But again – it comes from the guy who builds computer programs:)

  • is3ooguyis3ooguy Posts: 68
    I heard some one before saying that the e90s built before the 'summer break' were actually 2005's and only called 2006's in NA. I assumed it was true. Is it? As for differences, if it was after the change of the actual model year I was hoping for some updates or bug fixes that might have been issues with the older 2005's (some of which have been mentioned on this thread)
    Wishful thinking?
  • odessitodessit Posts: 140
    Don’t know about year models, I think it was simply a marketing pitch to introduce "new" 3 half year earlier than usual. And with all those software upgrades and bug fixes... yeah... I hope they fix all of them shortly after September.
  • bdr127bdr127 Posts: 950
    The 3-series before and after September will be the same.... except for the price. For all vehicles arriving at dealerships before September 1, they will have the "old" pricing (the pricing that is in effect right now). After September 1, there will be a price increase of roughly 1.5% (varies with model, options, etc.) If you ordered your 3-series before July 20, you could have "locked-in" the old pricing, even if your car comes in after September 1. At this point, it looks as though you'll be getting the new, higher pricing. :(
  • pearlpearl Posts: 336
    Re I-Drive: in my opinion, BMW is about the most stubborn car company out there. They have received tons of grief and virtually NO praise whatsoever for the I-Drive, yet persist in retaining it, year after year. You could understand this for a year or two because of supplier issues, but by now, you would think they would throw in the towel and put in a touch screen like Lexus or something. They had to deal with the Bangle Butt on the 7 series at mid-cycle refresh (I predict they will do the same on the 5).
  • djocksdjocks Posts: 124
    Thanks for all the input from everyone.

    I am also being $$$ conscience. Ironically the reason for the IDrive consideration is the need for navigation in my work. I can get one of the hand helds but I would love to work with it through the car.

    I am going to order something this week. I went for a great test ride the other day. A 330i sp, 325i non-sp, and an '03 540i. I wanted to do the 330i before the 325i because I figured it might be harder to tell the difference going down rather than up. I agree with is3ooguy, in that the difference is hard to make out. The 330i is faster but not by much. I really wish BMW put some good looking tires on the 325i non-sp. The base 325i tires do an injustice to the appearance of the car. I am leaning towards the 330i because the options important to me are stock on the 330i, especially the radio.

    Last I drove the 540i. OH MY GOD!.. It was the first time ever I actually backed off of a car because of acceleration. What an awesome car. I am thinking long and hard about it but it would push my budget, even though I keep telling myself I would have equity at the end.(The 3-series would be a lease).

    One last think about the BMW's. Maybe I am a total fat@ss, but I feel more comfortable in the regular seats. I am coming out of a lease of an 03 330i with sport and I never got used to the seats. When I get in the regular seats I feel more at home. And I know I am not 18 anymore but geesh, I don't think I'm that out of shape.

    Finally I know I am going to get crushed for this, but I am getting close to having a local Acura dealership come down on the money to match the lease package of the 330i. I know I have to pay for oil changes, but if I can get them to match I might do it. The RL is just more of a family friendly car, and it comes with very cool toys that from what I read are superior to BMW. I know behind the wheel will never be, but with AWD and more room I might opt to think about the 3 of us (wife, child and myself) rather than the 2 of us (my maniac alter-ego and myself)!

    Thanks again for the posts...
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    "Finally I know I am going to get crushed for this, but I am getting close to having a local Acura dealership come down on the money to match the lease package of the 330i. I know I have to pay for oil changes, but if I can get them to match I might do it."

    Crush you? No. Offer a little advice? Certainly. Just take another test drive in that 540i6 immediately after driving the RL. ;-)

    Best Regards,
  • chatkatchatkat Posts: 41
    I've had my car for four weeks now. I have the 330i with idrive. I also have the 745i with idrive - 2002. As I've mentioned before, I wanted the 330 loaded and the idrive on the 2002 (the BAD year for idrive) was what made me consider selling my 328i - 2000 - a near perfect car!. I love getting directions - and they are easy and accurate. The car is an improvement on perfection. The radio is beyond. The sound some of the best I've heard. I thought the Satellite would be a waste but I got it because of the ability to get reception on a long drive. I hardly every listen to regular radio now. I love the selection. Run Flats? So it could cost me a few hundred to replace a bad tire - I could have to replace one with regular soft side wall tires. Just factor that there is a penalty for driving poorly into curbs and ruts in the road. When you pay top pricing for the top of the line you have to factor in some additional expenses. Just the way it is.
  • erickplerickpl Posts: 2,735
    Set your radio controls to show the presets, not just the frequencies. You can then spin the controller to get to the station you want. Press/Play. Done.

    Yeah, having direct buttons would be nice, but if you have voice activation, press it, say "Play or tune 95.1" and it will tune to it.

    Voice activation makes iDrive the secondary controller. :)

  • carnaughtcarnaught Posts: 1,569
    "Set your radio controls to show the presets, not just the frequencies. You can then spin the controller to get to the station you want."

    Right, I understand that, but I like my nav. screen to be on most of the time. So, it would be good to have the station buttons to bypass using the screen.
  • erickplerickpl Posts: 2,735
    Don't the iDrive screens have the option of displaying the nav in one area and radio in the other? I've seen it done where the nav shows up in a helper screen on the right and the radio controls are on the left.

  • carnaughtcarnaught Posts: 1,569
    Yup, you're right, but to me the smaller helper screen for the Nav., just doesn't do it. Too bad the radio can't be shown on the smaller helper screen.
  • I am just about to pull the trigger on a 330i . . . .

    I had decided I didn't want Navigation early on in my E90 selection process, largely based on negative reviews in the press of the iDrive system. Now that the dealer has located a car with the odd set of options I want (and NOT Navi) , I am suddenly thinking I should consider Navi, as I frequently travel to unfamiliar places, sometimes over long distances, for work.

    I'm going to LEASE - probably for 3 years, maybe even for 2 years - so it isn't as if I'll have it for the next 10 years if I don't like it. And I am quite comfortable with computers, and love doing all kinds of stuff with them.

    The questions are, I guess, for those who have Navigation or who studied up on it carefully before deciding against it:

    Is it difficult to use, cumbersome, and irritating? Or is it helpful, amazing even, and you can't imagine doing without it? What are the pros and cons, as you see them? If you had it to do over, would you get Navi?

    Let me know what you think.

    Thanks, as always, for any input,
  • dl7265dl7265 Posts: 1,381
    Not too bad if your salesperson is versed and takes time to go over it with you. Personally I get a free map at the travel center. Travelled over 40 states and never been lost. 2k is a lot to add to a 2 years lease to me.

    Good Luck,
  • cdnpinheadcdnpinhead Forest Lakes, AZPosts: 3,206
    Keep in mind that you can get a very capable portable GPS from Garmin (my choice) or Magellan for a fraction of what the hard-mounted ones cost.

    For my money, having the ability to upload/download from a portable GPS to/from a PC gives me just what I want, and I can use the thing in a rental, on the airplane getting there, and in my next car. I have hundreds of waypoints marked, and have no interest in trying to load them into a $2000 dedicated system. Plus which, all these things work a little bit differently, and it takes a long time to get familiar with all the features & how to get them to work efficiently.

    I used to drive professionally and have had occasion to drive well over a million miles at this point, 95% with only paper maps & my memory to work from. No real problems, but navigating single-handed in unfamiliar territory (especially the UK, driving on the left) becomes 100% stress-free with a GPS.

    I don't go beyond my daily commute without mine. Even if you've been someplace before, there's entertainment value in knowing how far it is to the next item of interest and/or exactly when you're going to get there.

  • dom1dom1 Posts: 22
    I got Navigation and love it. I love everything about it, from the different dash, to the iDrive. I don't think it is hard to learn at all. I figured most of the options while taking delivery of my car. Read the manual, and can do everything with it without any problems. I think it is way better than getting one of the portable ones, since the display is much bigger and I have not seen any issues with directions. (Just had a friend which bought the latest Garmin and returned it since it was not consistent announcing the turns at the right time, sometimes too late!).

    Will I get it for my next car? You betcha!

    Do I put any trust in what magazine writers say about the system being too complex? No way! We have to wonder how good they are with computers, maybe they complaint about an iPOD since it has fancy menus ;) .

    Good luck with your purchase.
  • Didn't get the idrive/navi option on my 330i. One of my only regrets, I guess I didn't get it because all the negative press on it. Since then I have got a chance to use it a couple of times (once on a 330i) and I'm sorry I did not get it. My next one will have it 2 1/2 years from now :)
  • bdr127bdr127 Posts: 950
    I had decided I didn't want Navigation early on in my E90 selection process, largely based on negative reviews in the press of the iDrive system.

    With regards to the more recent bad press for iDrive, I have two theories.

    1) The magazine reviewers didn't even try to use the newest version of iDrive and just based their negative comments on reviews from 2002 or 2003 7-Series.

    2) They are 95 years old and have never used a computer before. Seriously, if you have ever used a computer with a mouse, then you can learn the entire iDrive system in a couple minutes. It's really pretty straight-forward now (although I admit that in 2002/2003, it was not particularly user-friendly).
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