Some 3.8 million vehicles will benefit from enhanced functionality.
In the wake of a recent report from vehicle connectivity expert VNC, which said that the subscription service industry would be here to stay and would only continue to grow, many are preparing for a world in which you only pay for the features you want and are most likely to use regularly in your car. There are pros and cons to this, but it will be a little while yet before paying to unlock additional functionality becomes the norm. Until then, BMW is rolling out free software updates, perhaps in an effort to show goodwill after receiving public backlash from those who thought they'd lose access to options they had already paid for. Some 3.8 million vehicles will benefit, and there are ten new functions to look forward to.
The latest Remote Software Upgrade is applicable to vehicles with BMW Operating System 8 and has been available "since last week," with a similar upgrade for vehicles with BMW Operating System 7 to "be available shortly." Thanks to gradual refinements over the last 15 years, this software update can be installed in around 20 minutes, offering "improvements and extensions to infotainment, driving, drive system, driver assistance, comfort, and safety features."
The following updates apply to vehicles manufactured before July 2022.
Firstly, the charging route has been improved for BMW iX and i4 models. This means "more intelligent route planning and the faster calculation of routes optimized for charging," the latter of which applies when you don't have enough range to reach your destination. Live data allows new charging stations to be added if others are no longer available.
BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant gets new skills in OS 8-equipped vehicles, with 20 different icons and a more animated interaction, and it can now assume an "expressive" look with a pair of eyes that bring it "more to life." The IPA can also make proactive suggestions for the Active Cruise Control and Parking Assistant functions.
For the iX and 2 Series Active Tourer, two new My Modes called "Relax" and "Expressive" have been added to the existing Personal, Efficient, and Sport modes. Relax is meant to provide a calming experience if you have active seats, while Expressive gives cars with ambient lighting a new scheme.
The fifth upgrade is in-car access to the BMW ConnectedDrive Store for the iX and 2 Series Active Tourer. This gives owners a summary of all the available services and functions for their vehicle, as well as those that are already active in the car. Although this remote upgrade is free, it also gives you access to those Functions on Demand that we touched on at the outset. This allows owners to test a feature for free and then pay to use it "for a specific length of time," although no details on options are provided.
But don't worry - if your car was ordered at the factory with heated seats, you and all subsequent owners of the car will still have access to butt warmers.
The next update is an easier process for adding and removing vehicles in the My BMW App, and the number of users who can use the same vehicle in the My BMW App has increased too. In some cars, OS 8 allows three users (one main user and two co-users), and in others, seven total users (still with only one main user). The main user gets special rights like the ability to create and share the BMW Digital Key, admin rights, and reassigning of the main user role to a new BMW ID. In addition, when you delete a vehicle from the My BMW App, your BMW ID is deleted from that vehicle, and vice versa. The main user can delete everyone's IDs, ideal for when selling the car.
Update number seven is that the vehicle exit warning in the iX and 2 Series Active Tourer now has the ability to flash the ambient lighting to draw occupants' attention to the exit warning when it's unsafe to get out.
The next update is to do with the Front Collision Warning system with brake intervention. It affects the abovementioned vehicles once again and means that the collision system can now react to oncoming vehicles, for example, when turning, and identify the end of a queue of traffic.
For all vehicles with BMW Operating System 8, regardless of when they were manufactured, the design award-winning QLOCKTWO widget is now available in 16 languages. This shows the time using a matrix of words that changes every five minutes.
Finally, the Lane Keeping Assistant in vehicles with BMW Operating System 7 has been improved. Originally, this would give a warning signal if it had to intervene repeatedly, and if the system then made another three steering inputs within the next three minutes, the warning signal would sound for an extra 10 seconds with every subsequent intervention in the steering. Now, the warning signal is reset to its original length in response to drive activity. So don't fall asleep.
The system has also been refined to act smoother and "more closely to the specific driving situation," says BMW. "The slower the vehicle drifts out of its lane, the more gently it is steered back into it." Furthermore, to get the vehicle back on track faster, the LKA makes course corrections when the car is close to the lane markings rather than after crossing them, as was formerly the case.
These updates have thus far been rolled out for Germany and the UK, but the US will get these updates, where applicable, soon.