Sunday, November 23, 2003

They Ruint Everything: I’m still riding my recent favorite hobby horse -- how high tech is misused in the auto industry -- so I want to draw your attention to a recent comparison of luxury cars (70k +) over at Car and Driver. Apparently the most extreme case in point is the top of the line BMW. Here’s a quote from the summary:
…the latest luxo crop has become screen dependent, to the point of ruination in the 7-series BMW.

"It wouldn't be that bad if they changed a few things." That's from the staff's most ardent 745i defender. The majority of us think iDrive, as BMW calls its computer interface, needs a clean-sheet redesign.

BMW tried to take over control of HVAC, audio, chassis settings, trip info, navigation, etc., with a screen. You make your choices with a single knob that turns, toggles, and clicks; it's a mouse substitute. Worse yet, the company forced ordinary controls into some contortion of the knob thing; for example, you must select the part of the seat you want to adjust by pressing a button, then twist or toggle a knob to make it move. Okay, but what was wrong with the old way?

In fact, the 745i has buttons and rockers scattered about the dash that let you adjust HVAC and do very basic radio/CD changes without using iDrive. But they're so haphazard in their logic that they only add to the annoyance.

We've given iDrive 18 months to persuade us. It failed. Now the F is in ink. Fearless prediction: The 745i will take a beating on resale.

Here’s the entire article. Lucky I found this considering I was about to pick up one of those 7-series Beemers in charcoal grey. [This is where you do a spit take.]