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F10 / F11 (2011 - Current)
The new chapter in the highly successful story of the BMW 5 Series Sedan (F10) and wagon (F11)

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  #51  
Old 12-25-2011, 01:32 AM
PeterC4 PeterC4 is offline
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Originally Posted by chuck92116 View Post
There are just a few nav companies and algorithms. Not one of systems is perfect. I can find flaws in them all.

Having said that, without question the BMW map interface quality looks very elegant compared to others I have seen in luxury cars which look like they belong in a Kia.
I agree. I have been in cars with various NAV systems and none of them are perfect. My Acura TL had a touch screen which made it a little easier to use, but the directions were no more consistent than the BMW's. My Acura did not have the ability to receive directions from Google maps, did not have 3d perspective and it's points of interest were narrower in scope. The make a "legal U-turn" is present in all the systems I've tried.

To me NAV is a valuable tool, particularly at night when you're travelling on a long trip.
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  #52  
Old 12-30-2011, 12:42 PM
RICHARD107 RICHARD107 is offline
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BMW Navigation .... sucks?

Do we really expect BMW navigation to work well in US? It cant't even work properly in Germany. 4 month ago we drove from Munich to Innsbruck, usually about 2 hrs drive. The navigation took us on a 4 hrs drive thru every small village in between. It was really a disaster. That's not what one would expect after 8 hrs flight from US...Richard
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  #53  
Old 12-31-2011, 04:37 AM
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all of these car navs lag behind $200 consumer electronics. someday the csr companies will get out of the computer business.

the nav in my wife's lexus 450h is by far the best i've seen in a car. it has a funny 'mouse-like controller' that i though i would hate but turns out to be genius. the nav speaks ALL the street names like any sane nav should, and the systrm has a much better ui for combining visuals of different functions together. (it's more map-view centric, with a big secondary info bar that drops down for radio/climate/calls )

i find it incredibly embarassing that my new 550 which cost twice as much as her lexus doesn't speak all the street names.
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Last edited by davesf; 12-31-2011 at 04:41 AM.
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  #54  
Old 12-31-2011, 06:17 AM
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chuck92116 chuck92116 is offline
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"Incredibly embarrassing"? Seriously? Drama .

If you are going to compare to lexus at least be fair and post the negative aspects of the Lexus system. There are many.

Consumer nav units are not as good unless you spend close to $2k and get the dead reckoning capability.

A $200 garmin is no better than an iPhone app.
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Last edited by chuck92116; 12-31-2011 at 06:23 AM.
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  #55  
Old 12-31-2011, 08:40 AM
copello copello is offline
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Originally Posted by RICHARD107 View Post
Do we really expect BMW navigation to work well in US? It cant't even work properly in Germany. 4 month ago we drove from Munich to Innsbruck, usually about 2 hrs drive. The navigation took us on a 4 hrs drive thru every small village in between. It was really a disaster. That's not what one would expect after 8 hrs flight from US...Richard
Are You sure the default setting of your nav was Not selected as "recommended" or "efficient" Instead of "quickest"? I have been travelling in France for more than 3000miles and never had this issue (once nav system was correctly configured).
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  #56  
Old 12-31-2011, 10:38 AM
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davesf davesf is offline
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I love my new BMW, but YES, I do find it embarassing that it dosn't speak streetnames! So should the BMW engineers!

I'm a software engineer. I tinkered with synthesized speech on the Apple II and TI-99/4a back in the 1980s! If I had the code to the BMW system, it would take me less than a day to integrate a TTS engine and have it speaking street names, at least in most western languages. There are free open-source options available, or for a few dollars per car they could license a nice-sounding commercial offering. The pronunciation on those things is highly variable, but it doesn't matter. We kinda like to laugh at how our Garmin Nuvi pronounces Hawaiian street names when we travel there. It's also weird that BMW has speech recognition (which is "hard" to implement) but no text-to-speech for street names (which is very "easy" to implement).

Saying "turn in 300 feet" is what the bad early nav systems did back in 1998. Speaking street names is a must-have feature for a $150 consumer nav unit -- not to mention Google Android Navigation and VZNavigator on hundreds of phone models. It should be in a ~$2000 nav system on an ~$80k car.

---

As for dead-reckoning. I agree standalone GPS units can sometimes have positioning troubles, though I've never seen them in my Garmin Nuvi, only the older Magellens. My Verizon Droid3 (and my droid-1, blackberry, and LG Chocolate before it), all use cellular assisted GPS, which has been perfect as far as I've ever seen. The only downside is that these systems only work with cellular reception, which means, ohh, just about everywhere. Maybe some cut-outs in tunnels and remote areas. In my experience, consumer systems (especially Google Android Navigation) currently blow away car systems by a wide margin.

Though I suppose it all depends what you consider "good". I consider it good if it's easy to enter an address, get a decent route, and follow the directions. As a bonus, it's nice if it has traffic info, alternate routes, and lets you route around a problem, searching for stuff is a bonus, but I generally do that on my mobile device not the car. (I would **LOVE** an Android Google Maps send-to-bmw feature, but alas that does not currently exist)

My post didn't include all the positive and negative aspects of either system, as it wasn't intended to be a complete review. Here is a more complete list of the differences between the 2010 lexus 450h nav and 2012 BMW idrive nav

Lexus 450h nav vs bmw idrive, this is how, in my opinion, the two stack up in core navigation features:
  • both have decent traffic info/display
  • both have POI display, nearby major streetnames (but never the ones you want)
  • both have available operator-assisted stuff (BMW Assist, Safety Connect)
  • both have voice systems with marginal recognition quality (because speech recognition is "hard")
  • bmw allows you to enter an address while leaving city the same, lexus requires you to re-enter city each time
  • bmw allows you to operate while driving, while lexus does not
  • lexus speaks all streetnames, bmw does not
  • lexus funny mouse-controller is easier to use, requires less driver attention than idrive (ironic that lexus won't let you operate while driving)

...and here is a comparison of their nice to have features:
  • bmw has the ability to manually route-around a specific route section, lexus does not
  • bmw has better (more specific) options for voice prompts, allowing you to enter or correct a part of an entry without full-reentry
  • bmw has nice visual hud integration (if you have the HUD)
  • bmw can warn of out-of-gas and suggest gas stops, lexus leaves that to the driver
  • bmw allows you to google-search for a POI, lexus does not
  • lexus has a nicer "temporary overlay" for radio/climate changes, while bmw's overlay must be toggled manually
  • lexus nav map seems to require less 'fiddling', during navigation it shows the right amount of nearby context... returning to this auto-mode after fiddling requires just tapping the map button. On bmw you have to scroll the zoom level to the left until it hits auto, and even then I don't find the context shown as appropriate as lexus
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Last edited by davesf; 12-31-2011 at 10:43 AM.
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  #57  
Old 12-31-2011, 10:56 AM
tadtaggert tadtaggert is offline
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Originally Posted by davesf View Post
I'm a software engineer. I tinkered with synthesized speech on the Apple II and TI-99/4a back in the 1980s! If I had the code to the BMW system, it would take me less than a day to integrate a TTS engine and have it speaking street names, at least in most western languages. There are free open-source options available, or for a few dollars per car they could license a nice-sounding commercial offering. The pronunciation on those things is highly variable, but it doesn't matter. We kinda like to laugh at how our Garmin Nuvi pronounces Hawaiian street names when we travel there. It's also weird that BMW has speech recognition (which is "hard" to implement) but no text-to-speech for street names (which is very "easy" to implement).
Things are very different from the 80's. While speech recognition is a more difficult proposition, remember that with respect to the BMW system you're dealing with an extreme subset of words/phrases (basically a command set), with confirmation through the process, vs. being able to pronounce correctly either all the roads in north america or europe (or somewhere else).

What you call 'easy' to implement may meet the standards for Kia or Hasbro, myself I always have turn guidance speech muted anyway, don't need nor want the distraction.
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  #58  
Old 12-31-2011, 11:37 AM
RICHARD107 RICHARD107 is offline
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YES settings were on "quickest" on my ride from Munich to Innsbruck. I got my new 528 xi today. Played with the navigation and realized there is no hope. Having the setting on "fastest" or whatever it says, it took me on some ride to get home. Maybe the purpose of navigation is entirely different from what we expect. Maybe to goal is eventually to take us somehow to destination, but not using the most efficient way. I concluded no more NAVIGATION for me...i got it just because the car came with it as BMW pushes it into all cars, lately.

Last edited by RICHARD107; 12-31-2011 at 11:43 AM.
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  #59  
Old 12-31-2011, 01:35 PM
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davesf davesf is offline
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Unlike the title of this thread, I don't think the BMW Navigation sucks, I just think it needs some love in a couple of the right places....

My main point is that it would be great if the BMW engineers would integrate readily available and commonly used text-to-speech technology into the BMW nav system for spoken streetnames. It would make the voice nav experience better. A few more details below...

Quote:
Originally Posted by tadtaggert View Post
Things are very different from the 80's. While speech recognition is a more difficult proposition, remember that with respect to the BMW system you're dealing with an extreme subset of words/phrases (basically a command set),
The voice command system both recognizes a subset of commands, and recognizes a large-dictionary of proper street/city/state names.

Speech Recognition for a small subset of commands is much easier than for large dictionaries. Recognizing proper street and city names requires a large dictionary, and thus is relatively hard. Nobody has a nav system that does this well, because it's so hard to do. The technology is called "untrained speaker independent large-vocabularity recognition" and there is no system that works very well. They work abysmally in the face of background noise.

Google Voice Search (on mobile phones), in my experience, is the best "untrained speaker-independent large-vocab" system for place names. It performs so much better because it puts a whole rack of computers to work each time a single-person's voice input arrives (hundreds to thousands of computers). As a result, it can do thousands of times more processing than can be done on a single computer in a car -- and it's still not perfect.

---

Speech Synthesis for arbitrary text, on the other hand, has many acceptable solutions for mostly phonetic languages. Almost all consumer nav systems have this feature. Operating systems such as Windows, MacOS, and Android have text-to-speech built in as a system service.

Looking at these lists of TTS engines, there are at least two completely free TTS implementations (Festival and FreeTTS), many more semi-free, and 6 commercialy licensable versions. Microsoft's TTS engine has amazing pronounciation, and is based continued work by the folks who made the free Sphinx-II engine.

This is an easy thing to integrate into the Nav. I hope they do it sometime soon!

Quote:
What you call 'easy' to implement may meet the standards for Kia or Hasbro, myself I always have turn guidance speech muted anyway, don't need nor want the distraction.
This sounds like some kind of elite brand rationalization. Any street-name TTS would be better than the current 1980's Magellan style "turn in 500 feet". There is nothing "elite" or "quality" about it.

However, it also doesn't sound like you are interested in this spoken-streetnames issue at all, so it's strange you seem to think the rest of us should suffer. I assure you those of us using voice directions would prefer it to speak all streetnames.

Anyone who prefers the "turn left in 500 feet" please speak up now!

----

On a side-note, it would also be awesome if I could use Google Voice Search from the car... either by BMW integrating directly with Google Voice Search, or by BMW/Android supporting hands-free multi-function button use. (At a guess, I think BMW doesn't send bluetooth-multi-function button signals over bluetooth, and Android doesn't yet turn them into voice-search, so both sides may need to be improved). However, AFAIK this isn't something anyone else supports yet either. Maybe it'll be a BMW first.
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Last edited by davesf; 12-31-2011 at 01:40 PM.
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  #60  
Old 12-31-2011, 01:58 PM
aceman67 aceman67 is offline
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I came out of a benz (a 2005), and must say i like this nav much better than i liked the benz. In particular - the perspective view with scale set at appx 0.25 miles on wide screen (no split screen), you really get a good idea of where you are and where you are heading.

My biggest gripe w/ the nav is using the idrive controller to enter addresses (so much so i am now trained to call my office and have someone enter it in google maps and send to the car )....

My 2 cents...its not perfect - but i'll take it!

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  #61  
Old 12-31-2011, 02:53 PM
tadtaggert tadtaggert is offline
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Originally Posted by davesf View Post
The voice command system both recognizes a subset of commands, and recognizes a large-dictionary of proper street/city/state names.

Speech Recognition for a small subset of commands is much easier than for large dictionaries. Recognizing proper street and city names requires a large dictionary, and thus is relatively hard. Nobody has a nav system that does this well, because it's so hard to do. The technology is called "untrained speaker independent large-vocabularity recognition" and there is no system that works very well. They work abysmally in the face of background noise.
A large dictionary of words as opposed to a large dictionary of street/city/state names are two very different animals. Just by definition knowing 'state' is a noun as opposed to a verb simplifies considerably. The constructs to be interpreted are still a very small subset.

Quote:
Originally Posted by davesf View Post
Speech Synthesis for arbitrary text, on the other hand, has many acceptable solutions for mostly phonetic languages. Almost all consumer nav systems have this feature. Operating systems such as Windows, MacOS, and Android have text-to-speech built in as a system service.
Yes many have it, most still can't tell the difference in pronunciation between Louisville, Ky and Louisville, OH. How do you pronounce Versailles, KY?


Quote:
Originally Posted by davesf View Post
This sounds like some kind of elite brand rationalization. Any street-name TTS would be better than the current 1980's Magellan style "turn in 500 feet". There is nothing "elite" or "quality" about it.

However, it also doesn't sound like you are interested in this spoken-streetnames issue at all, so it's strange you seem to think the rest of us should suffer. I assure you those of us using voice directions would prefer it to speak all streetnames.
No, it wasn't really any rationalization, more of a comment as to how easy you say it would be. Perhaps the difference is in acceptable quality or function. Having managed development groups before, I wouldn't characterize it as easy.

I too have a background in software, many years ago I worked for a GIS - AM/FM firm, developing what's become today's nav systems (our focus was more municipalities/utilities and to a much larger scale). What you say could be, but to do it right (my definition) would require significant integration of spatial data relationships to language cues.

I suppose if there were a demand someone (perhaps BMW) would do it, but to be honest I can think of infinitely more things I'd like to see refined/developed/fixed in a BMW.

And just to be clear, I don't think the nav in the F10 sucks either. Much better than past BMW's or any other cars I've had.

Sorry if I offended.
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  #62  
Old 12-31-2011, 04:10 PM
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Quote:
Yes many have (text-to-speech for streetnames), most still can't tell the difference in pronunciation between Louisville, Ky and Louisville, OH.
In an odd bit of irony, I'm not aware of any pronunciation difference between them, I'd pronounce them both the same. I've never lived in either place.

Quote:
How do you pronounce Versailles, KY?
The same way I'd pronounces Versailles, France, which is the same way Microsoft Speech pronounces it. I did a search and see that it's pronounced "ver-sales". Ohh the joy of non-phonetic languages.

This discussion of city-names is a bit off-topic as we're talking about tts for street-names. There is no question TTS is not going to pronounce all street names correctly. The question is whether questionably pronounced street names are better than voice instructions like "turn in 500 feet", I argue they always are, as long as they are intellegible. Others may disagree. I suspect you have to use voice navigation to care.

I'm not holding my breath for spoken streetnames in iDrive. I am glad I ordered the HUD so I can turn off the confusing "turn in 500 feet" instructions and just watch for streetnames on the HUD. Non HUD users are not so fortunate.

No offense taken, we all love our beamers, elements of perfection and flaws alike.
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Last edited by davesf; 12-31-2011 at 04:12 PM.
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  #63  
Old 11-26-2012, 11:47 AM
fmalloy fmalloy is offline
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Hello,

New 2013 535i owner here. First BMW.

Was very disappointed with the nav. I assumed (incorrectly) that when you pay this much for an auto, the nav would be equal to or better what I have on my $200 iPhone.

The worst for me is the constant "bear right" and "bear left" instructions when going straight on a freeway. After a few miles, this gets downright annoying. It seems like it sees every curve in the freeway as an opportunity to tell me to "bear" in a certain direction, but looking at the map it doesn't necessarily seem to match up.

This to me is a serious bug, and not just a simple annoyance. When I have hundreds of miles of driving on a long freeway I don't want to keep hearing "bear right" every minute.
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  #64  
Old 11-26-2012, 12:12 PM
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chuck92116 chuck92116 is offline
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Originally Posted by fmalloy View Post
Hello,

New 2013 535i owner here. First BMW.

Was very disappointed with the nav. I assumed (incorrectly) that when you pay this much for an auto, the nav would be equal to or better what I have on my $200 iPhone.

The worst for me is the constant "bear right" and "bear left" instructions when going straight on a freeway. After a few miles, this gets downright annoying. It seems like it sees every curve in the freeway as an opportunity to tell me to "bear" in a certain direction, but looking at the map it doesn't necessarily seem to match up.

This to me is a serious bug, and not just a simple annoyance. When I have hundreds of miles of driving on a long freeway I don't want to keep hearing "bear right" every minute.
You can turn off the voice if you don't wish voice instructions.

Garmin is the same way. Kinda chatty. Do you want them on or off?

I don't think there is an option for wanting only a few random instructions vice having them all.
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  #65  
Old 11-26-2012, 12:20 PM
fmalloy fmalloy is offline
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Originally Posted by chuck92116 View Post
You can turn off the voice if you don't wish voice instructions.

Garmin is the same way. Kinda chatty. Do you want them on or off?

I don't think there is an option for wanting only a few random instructions vice having them all.
Thanks Chuck. Yes, I want the voice instructions but when I'm on the same freeway for 400 miles I don't need to constantly hear "bear right" and "bear left" when all I'm doing is staying on the same freeway. I've never heard of this from any other nav system.

Just shut up until I get close to the exit.
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  #66  
Old 11-26-2012, 12:35 PM
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Originally Posted by fmalloy View Post
Thanks Chuck. Yes, I want the voice instructions but when I'm on the same freeway for 400 miles I don't need to constantly hear "bear right" and "bear left" when all I'm doing is staying on the same freeway. I've never heard of this from any other nav system.

Just shut up until I get close to the exit.
You can probably program two of the buttons below the Nav display to easily turn voice instructions off and on.

That may help.

On the older cars you could program a steering wheel button to turn nav voice off/on which I used all the time.
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  #67  
Old 11-26-2012, 12:37 PM
fmalloy fmalloy is offline
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Originally Posted by chuck92116 View Post
You can probably program two of the buttons below the Nav display to easily turn voice instructions off and on.

That may help.

On the older cars you could program a steering wheel button to turn nav voice off/on which I used all the time.
Thank you Chuck, that is an excellent suggestion.
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  #68  
Old 11-26-2012, 07:22 PM
wildvlad wildvlad is offline
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Originally Posted by fmalloy View Post
Thanks Chuck. Yes, I want the voice instructions but when I'm on the same freeway for 400 miles I don't need to constantly hear "bear right" and "bear left" when all I'm doing is staying on the same freeway. I've never heard of this from any other nav system.

Just shut up until I get close to the exit.
Took me a day to figure it out: mostly those "bear left" are caused by "auxiliary lines" (those which go from exit-to-exit), so system thinks that one if the line ends and you need to stay on the main course. They are easy recognize able when you look at the "line breakdown" on the bottom of the display.
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  #69  
Old 11-27-2012, 10:41 AM
fmalloy fmalloy is offline
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Originally Posted by wildvlad View Post
Took me a day to figure it out: mostly those "bear left" are caused by "auxiliary lines" (those which go from exit-to-exit), so system thinks that one if the line ends and you need to stay on the main course. They are easy recognize able when you look at the "line breakdown" on the bottom of the display.
Hi wildvlad,

That's interesting...can you clarify further what these "auxiliary lines" are, and what you mean by "line breakdown" at the bottom of the display?
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Old 11-27-2012, 11:43 AM
wildvlad wildvlad is offline
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Originally Posted by fmalloy View Post
Hi wildvlad,

That's interesting...can you clarify further what these "auxiliary lines" are, and what you mean by "line breakdown" at the bottom of the display?
According to wiki (sorry for British accent of wiki article) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lane
Quote:
An auxiliary lane along a highway or motorway connects slip roads, with the entrance ramp or acceleration lane from one interchange leading to the exit ramp or deceleration lane of the next.
Basically some cities to offload local traffic connect entrance lane from one exit with exit lane from the next exit. This creates situation when one of the lane of freeway "ends" confusing nav.

Same situation (but less common) if just one of the lane of freeway "ends" at the exit (becomes "exit only"), so nav has to advise you to keep on remaining lanes.

"Lane breakdown" - don't have picture but usually it's called "lane assist" in navs: at the bottom of the screen (and on the dash) it will draw you small pictures of the lanes with indication which lanes are OK to take - you can check it to see if you can take any lane except rightmost to get around most of false "bear left"s.

Last edited by wildvlad; 11-27-2012 at 11:44 AM.
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  #71  
Old 11-27-2012, 12:02 PM
fmalloy fmalloy is offline
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Originally Posted by wildvlad View Post
According to wiki (sorry for British accent of wiki article) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lane
Ah ok. I will keep an eye out for this kind of thing. It happened on the 5 freeway in Orange County and there are tons of these road complexities as the freeways are quite complicated there. But, I think I was in middle lanes and it still told me to bear right/left. Not exactly sure...

I wish there was an option to reduce the "sensitivity" of the nav. If I need to stay on the 5 I know how to do that and don't need to be bothered with how to stay on the freeway. I haven't seen this happen in any navs on the Japanese cars or Android/iPhone apps.

I don't think I have this lane assist display capability in my 2013 535i.

Thanks for your help!

Last edited by fmalloy; 11-27-2012 at 12:08 PM.
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  #72  
Old 11-27-2012, 03:07 PM
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It's a hit or miss. Yesterday, the NAV was way off as it told me I reached my destination that was a block away. Other times, it was spot on.
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  #73  
Old 12-01-2012, 05:55 PM
jhatmchsi jhatmchsi is offline
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Exclamation BMW Navigation Sucks

I bought the navigation option on my 2011 535. I did not have any complaints with the system until I retired and began to travel across the USA. The system's reliability was terrible. After numerous incidents (>100) where I was missing or provided with incorrect routing information in addition to numerous incidents where I was directed to the wrong address, my dealer updated my software to the latest version free of charge. The update did not correct the problems.

I was told BMW switched to the same navigation system used by Cadillac and Lexus on the 2012 models. My dealer traded me into a 2012 535 in an effort to resolve my extreme dissatisfaction with an unreliable navigation system. The navigation system on the 2012 model has been improved, it still does not compare to my $150 Garmin. Based upon my experience, you should not expect BMW to stand behind the warranty on their navigation system. They seem to be more interested in selling software updates than providing their customers with a reliable product. I will never buy another new car without a written promise to provide annual updates to the navigation system software. (My $150 Garmin came with lifetime updates!)

FYI - - - navigation problems include the following items:
1. No verbal instructions provided when traveling through interstate highway interchanges and when changing the route from one interstate highway onto an intersecting interstate highway
2. Missed destination (manually entered address) - - - range from 400 feet up to 2.5 miles
3. Missed destination (destination selected from "Points of Interest" in the navigation system menu)
3. Unable to load destination (system does not recognize the address)

I still travel with my $150 Garmin in order to avoid these problems on my 2012 535i. It seems kind of stupid to stick a Garmin to the windshield of the car but the BMW organization has not shown any ability to resolve the issues.

Last edited by jhatmchsi; 12-01-2012 at 06:05 PM.
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  #74  
Old 12-01-2012, 06:10 PM
Donm's Avatar
Donm Donm is offline
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So, would you buy a sports oriented car from Garmin?

Not me, it's not their forte.

Why expect that from BMW, even at 100K?

It's not their forte. It semi sux but you can talk to it.

Maybe BMW should not offer nav?

NOT!

I have a Garmin.
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Last edited by Donm; 12-01-2012 at 06:58 PM.
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  #75  
Old 12-01-2012, 06:25 PM
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Needsdecaf Needsdecaf is offline
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Location: The Woodlands, TX
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 7,106
Mein Auto: 2007 MDX
Quote:
Originally Posted by Donm View Post
So, would you buy a sports oriented car from Garmin?

Not me, it's not their forte.

Why expect that from BMW, event at 100K?

It's not their forte. It semi sux but you can talk to it.

Maybe BMW should not offer nav?

NOT!

I have a Garmin.
Sorry, this logic is asinine.

BMW offers a Navigation system and charges big bucks for it.
Every other luxury manufacturer offers Navigation and pretty much every car down to a $10k econobox can be equipped with factory Nav. They are an integral part of driving and automobiles today.

Everyone, regardless of price, does it better than BMW. Everyone.
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