Recent updates have added Amazon Alexa support, Remote Engine Start, and more.
BMW's new and improved iDrive 8 infotainment system debuted in the BMW iX and i4, but millions of models are still equipped with the last-generation iDrive 7 system including the latest M3 and M4. Luckily, BMW is still supporting iDrive 7 and has launched a slew of updates for US-spec models that make it more advanced than ever.
BMW has added Amazon Alexa support to iDrive 7 for its US customers. Using the voice assistant feature, occupants can ask Alexa to play a favorite song or playlist, add items to a grocery list, or even tell a joke with an instant response.
To access Amazon Alexa, iDrive 7 needs to be updated to version 21-03 or newer. To check which version is currently installed, simply select Apps > Settings > General Settings > Remote Software Upgrade.
In addition, iDrive 7's Remote Engine Start lets owners heat up or cool down the cabin during heatwaves or cold days using a smartphone. While this system has been available in models built since the 2019 model year, it can now be bought on demand for older vehicles that weren't originally fitted with it. Owners only have to head over to the ConnectedDrive store to get it. Remote Engine Start is quite easy to use; it's activated by tapping a button in the My BMW app.
This will remotely start the engine and adjust the interior temperature accordingly. You can even set a departure time and the cabin temperature will be optimized in time for your arrival. If you are delayed, a 15-minute switch-off timer activates to preserve the battery and fuel.
Finally, BMWs equipped with Live Cockpit Professional iDrive 7 software version 20-07 and newer gain a built-in Uneven Road Surface feature that displays notifications on the instrument panel or head-up display. Notifications will warn whether you are encountering a single uneven road surface ora rough road area within 25 miles of the first event. Notifications are triggered by potholes, speedbumps, sewer covers, and "generally irregular road surfaces" that compromise comfort.