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Mixed Opinion on Bluetooth Audio - 2015 BMW M235i Convertible Long-Term Road Test

Edmunds.comEdmunds.com Posts: 10,059
edited February 2016 in BMW
imageMixed Opinion on Bluetooth Audio - 2015 BMW M235i Convertible Long-Term Road Test

The Bluetooth audio connection in our 2015 BMW M235i is pretty sophisticated in its display and control of your music library, but the frequent hiccups and freezes disappoint.

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Comments

  • nagantnagant Posts: 176
    Having a car with a nice sound system is silly if one is going to use Bluetooth audio. I mean heaven forbid one would actually listen to the radio (even HD AM sounds like old FM). Just learn to carry a flash drive with your music on it so you can actually enjoy hi fidelity.
  • boffboff Posts: 91
    edited February 2016
    I have to say I find BT audio completely useless for music. Podcasts? Yes (though I don't listen to 'em). Streaming services? Sure, why not, although sound quality is somewhere between satellite radio and a low bitrate mp3. But even then I am reluctant to use any interface that requires me to interact with my phone and risk a $300 ticket. I have my music collection on a USB memory stick that lives in my Mustang..no fuss, no muss, and accessed by the car's touch screen or voice commands. I only take it out to add more music. And it holds 10x what my phone will. Interestingly, my wife's 2012 328i does not have a way to get music from a USB stick. I have her stuff on an old iPod, that links to the car through a proprietary cable. I sure hope BMW has improved matters since then.
  • boffboff Posts: 91
    BTW Dan, what's the purpose of the "Play" item on the screen in your second photo?
  • @boff: that's just it; it doesn't do anything! Rotate to it, press iDrive dial, nothing. I don't know if it's my phone, or a necessary BMW software upgrade. Maybe something in the last iPhone update? Beats me, My phone is a 2.5-year-old iPhone 5, aging but not that old. Even power-cycled it and set it up anew. That Play menu command WILL work on the wired connection, however.

    I think I'm with you and @nagant from now on. Might have to just go buy a high-capacity USB stick and be done with it.
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 12,246
    My 2014 M235i hasn't suffered from any of those issues- I'm using an iPhone 5s. I charge it though the 12V socket using a BMW dual USB charger.

    Mine: 1995 318ti Club Sport; 2014 M235i; 2009 Cooper Clubman; 1999 Wrangler; 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica Wife's: 2015 X1 xDrive28i Son's: 2009 328i

  • I'm with those guys too. By the time you get a really good music collection, even as mp3, 320 kbit/sec files, my 800+ (and that's not really a huge collection) albums take up over 70GB of space, which is beyond the capacity of almost all phones, even Android ones with mini-SD cards, and I'm not interested in having only a portion of my music, that I bought and paid for, in my car, and not interested in some lo-fi subscription streaming deal. 99% of my music came to me as CD, was ripped to WMA lossless and mp3 as described above, and for that large cash outlay, I want as high sonic quality as I can get, no matter where I'm listening.

    I have an iPhone 6S 64GB, which has an awesome camera that takes fabulous stills and videos. I would rather use that storage in the phone for that purpose. I listen to music at home, at work and in the car...not the guy walking around with earbuds hanging from my ears 24X7, so if I have no music on my phone, I'm good with that. As an added benefit, this results in a day's phone use only taking 50% of a battery charge...so I don't need any cords hanging around in the car or at work.
  • "I can search and select an artist or song, and the system will queue it up,....." Try substituting "cue" for "queue". Frankly, I find the discussion of audio in cars a sad joke, so I pick on spelling and grammar to get my jollies when the subject comes up.
  • boffboff Posts: 91
    edited February 2016

    "I can search and select an artist or song, and the system will queue it up,....." Try substituting "cue" for "queue". Frankly, I find the discussion of audio in cars a sad joke, so I pick on spelling and grammar to get my jollies when the subject comes up.

    Many idioms come from billiards, but not this one. Queue is correct. Perhaps you're thinking of racking 'em up? Just a little miscue on your part...perhaps you were behind the eight-ball, snookered, or just thought you'd put a little english into your post?
  • darexdarex Posts: 187
    edited February 2016
    boff said:

    "I can search and select an artist or song, and the system will queue it up,....." Try substituting "cue" for "queue". Frankly, I find the discussion of audio in cars a sad joke, so I pick on spelling and grammar to get my jollies when the subject comes up.

    Many idioms come from billiards, but not this one. Queue is correct. Perhaps you're thinking of racking 'em up? Just a little miscue on your part...perhaps you were behind the eight-ball, snookered, or just thought you'd put a little english into your post?
    Muphry's Law! You're wrong!

    "9. to search for and reach (a specific track on a recording) (sometimes followed by up)."

    Well, at least it's not "incorrect" to use the word "cue" in the rubric of audio technology. Turntables of old always had switches labelled "Review/Cue." However, it probably is incorrect to use "cue" in the way the O.P. used it, as opposed to "queue."
  • steverstever Posts: 52,462
    It's been fun to see how people have lined up for this queue....

    Shall we carom back to the M235i now?
  • I don't know if this matters to readers in this discussion, but you can't access most of the BMW Connected Drive Apps unless you are plugged in. I realize that a car tester is not a car owner; hence, is not going to sign up as the car's BMW Connected Driver, but there are myriad reasons to hard connect with current iDrive iterations, in addition to enhanced access to your music. You also can't play the media on your device to your screens unless you are plugged in.
    I find that journalist testers verge on nitpicking most of the time, and often reveal their limited knowledge of the product. In most BMWs, the nav/full iDrive technology package will come with heads-up display, which hugely simplifies the difficulties the author encountered.
    Another point, any of the recent BMWs I've purchased (2012-) have had one, if not two, iDrive software updates available.
    It's too bad that a product gets misrepresented; rather, is only superficially represented, by the limited understanding and knowledge of the testing user.
    The current iDrive system and BMW Connected Drive and BMW APPS LAB kills the system on our 2015 GL, or our Escalade. But you have to know what its capabilities are and how to access them. But it's a time investments well worth making.
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 12,246

    You also can't play the media on your device to your screens unless you are plugged in.

    Are you referring to the album art and track data? Mine shows up on screen via BT.

    Mine: 1995 318ti Club Sport; 2014 M235i; 2009 Cooper Clubman; 1999 Wrangler; 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica Wife's: 2015 X1 xDrive28i Son's: 2009 328i

  • reighty8reighty8 Surrey, UKPosts: 6
    I guess because I don't use Apple I don't have this issue. I prefer to maintain my own MP3 library so transferring MP3s to the internal HDD is a breeze. Just playing through a USB stick works just fine too. BT has came a long way, but it still sucks for anyone who is interested in sound quality so I would avoid it really; I would use the AUX cable over BT even.
  • I think most car audio BT now just passes the audio stream directly from source without further compression. There's a noticeable difference in my car when using Spotify premium offline songs at normal (96 kb/s) vs High and Extreme (160/320). It's not like the old days of bluetooth headphones.
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