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No AM Radio - 2014 BMW i3 Long-Term Road Test

Edmunds.comEdmunds.com Posts: 10,059
edited April 2015 in BMW
imageNo AM Radio - 2014 BMW i3 Long-Term Road Test

The 2014 BMW i3doesn't have AM radio. There's supposedly a reason for it, but I'm not sure I buy it.

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Comments

  • handbrakehandbrake Posts: 99
    There is some truth to what BMW says. I have a Tesla P85D and had a P85 before that. AM radio reception is awful. Even nearby stations come through sounding like they are from some low power transmitter hundreds of miles away. The P85D is worse than the P85 was, likely due to the second motor, so it's possible that on the Edmunds P85 the interference wasn't as bad. Not being an electronics expert, or even well versed in the topic, my guess is that interference increases with proximity. The i3 is a small car, so its motor is close to where the AM receiver would be. The P85 was a big car and its motor was at the rear, so it could have had less interference...I know that the reception in the P85D is far worse than it was in the P85, and I suspected it was the motor in the front.
  • That is basically what you get for choosing to utilize a broadcast medium that is so outdated, you still can't hear it when you drive under a bridge. The content seems to be largely stuck in the 1950s as well...
  • iamthestigiamthestig Philadelphia, PAPosts: 85
    I love my KYW 1060 AM radio here in the Philadelphia area (it's an institution), and I would be quite disappointed if I couldn't get it. Fortunately they also broadcast KYW on 94.1 HD-2, so I'd still be able to receive it in an i3.
  • The deal breaker for me was that they didn't offer an 8 track deck, not even as a dealer installed option.
  • stuntman_mikestuntman_mike Posts: 57
    edited April 2015

    That is basically what you get for choosing to utilize a broadcast medium that is so outdated, you still can't hear it when you drive under a bridge.

    Yeah, just like Sirius XM. I hate those outdated broadcast mediums . . .

  • You can always code it - the hardware is there. http://www.bmwblog.com/2014/10/11/coding-tutorial-bmw-i3-electric-car/
  • markedwardsmarkedwards Posts: 32
    edited April 2015
    Teslas, Leaf, etc. have metal structures/bodywork, which provide a certain amount of shielding between antenna and high-voltage components. The BMW i. models have carbon fiber and composite plastics.

    Another alternative to streaming AM broadcasts is getting a portable AM radio and feeding it through the auxiliary input. But the quality probably would be even worse than a built-in tuner.
  • schen72schen72 Posts: 433
    I usually listen to AM radio in the car, so not having AM is a deal breaker for me. I never knew this problem existed with electric cars. Good to know. I do like satellite radio but I hate recurring monthly payments, so also a no-go.
  • stillageekstillageek Posts: 114
    In DFW most AM stations have an HD Radio channel. The problem is that it's piggy backed on am FM HD station. So WBAP 820 AM might be on 106.1 HD2...and it's labeled 106.1 HD2 instead of WBAP HD2. It takes some detective work...sounds crystal clear though.

    I have an I3 and coded AM radio....sounds like crap. HD AM radio sounds too clear.
  • joner800joner800 Posts: 80
    im sure you can get AM radio via another expensive BMW option check-box...
  • dvanosdvanos Posts: 52
    Once you go with Sat Radio there is no turning back, plenty of channels to satisfy your audio palate. Also HD radio isn't half back either especially for the price of :free".
  • mlin32mlin32 Posts: 35
    It can be coded into the vehicle, so I wouldn't think too much of such an omission. Can't think of the last time I used AM radio either.
  • goaterguygoaterguy Posts: 64
    What is this AM radio you speak of? I barely hear FM radio anymore. T-Mobile allows it's subscribers to stream music form a bunch of stations without touching the 4G LTE data allotment. Not an ad and I have nothing to do with them, just the truth. When I am out of a service area, I just use XM/Sirius.
  • Also, I can hear Sirius XM just fine when I drive under bridges...and even when I'm parked under one. Oddly though, I DO occasionally lose signal when I'm on top of a hill with a 360-degree unobstructed view of the sky...
  • zoomzoomnzoomzoomn Posts: 143
    As noted above, due to heavy electrical interference, AM radio reception with an electric vehicle is horrible, so BMW decided it best to just nix that band. Think of the last time that you drove under power lines while listening to AM and you get the idea. :)
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