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Ex-Dictator
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I can't shake the feeling that if you asked the guy who invented iDrive how to put on a pair of blue jeans, he'd say, "First, you plant a field of cotton ..."
:rofl: :rofl:
 

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I have read several reviews on other Forums from recent owners (not people paid to write magazine reviews) of the E90 with Idrive/Nav, and while some say the Idrive does take a little getting used to at first, they overwhelming agrees that it's a nice feature in terms of cutomizing settings in the car and for getting operational status of the vehicle. Some of the things you can program/modify are things that non-Idrive equipped cars would have to be brought into a dealer to have done. As an IT professional I can personally appreaciate having that level of control. I think Idrive has gotten a negative rap from people who, when they hear about a Computer screen and a Mouse-like gadget in a car, conjure up an image of complexity that doen't exist. BMW is still "The Ultimate Driving Machine" but it has to evolve with the technology just like its competitors. I personnaly think it's a cool thing that you can check your oil level via a dashboard display verses opening the Hood and pulling out a dipstick. I wish some people would just chil out and enjoy the evolution of technology. Idrive rocks! :thumbup:
 

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Personally, I prefer I-Drive controller -- single large controller with 2 buttons -- to Audi A6's similar type controller that is smaller, with 20 million buttons surrounding it that can be accidentially pressed by just putting your hand on the center console. Yes people are impatient and something that may be awkward and take some time to learn immediately gives negative vibes. But, I believe, for the car magazine writers it just wouldn't be an article about new BMW if they don't trash I-Drive.
 

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I too am an IT professional, but when I see I-Drive telling me how much oil I've got in the engine, can I trust it? On occasion, if there is a bug in a PGM, I've got computer users that will see something on the screen that is not representative of the data stored in a table. The users freak out and don't understand that the data is OK, it is the translation to the display that is lost. I find this situation eerily similar to, for example, a bad oil sensor or any other thing that may go wrong with electronics. What you see isn't always what you get. Whereas most mechanical systems don't lie! I love what computers can do, I just prefer that their usage transparently enhances , not interferes with, my enjoyment of my BMW.
 

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While I agree that techological evolution is great, let's not forget that technology's purpose is to make life easier for its users. Adding multiple steps to a task that previously only took one step is *not* ideal technological innovation. Sure it's great to now have the "customizability" that I-Drive provides, but the simplest tasks should remain simple. Changing radio stations previously took one press of a button. It shouldn't take two (or more) with I-Drive. Maybe a nice balance could be had by simply adding just a few more buttons to the dash.
 

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As for the Idrive. Well I attended the drive for a cure and drove a 5 with it. I can say that it took a little bit to figure out the basics, but in five minutes I was able to change what I needed. I think the people that do not like it are those that do not read the owners manuals for their cars to begin with. Yes it is a complex piece of equipment, but you bought a German car, what do you expect. I will not be purchasing a new 3 anytime soon, but I will take one for a drive. I think this all has to do with the instant gratification society. Take some time and read the manuals and then decide if it is too complex to operate.
 

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i-Dive [and other similar systems] is, IMHO, an over-engineered solution in search of a non-existent problem.

First, buttons are more intuitive and easier to use and over time one becomes almost subconsciously aware of where each button is and what function it performs such that the driver can push said button or turn said dial in a completely intuitive way without taking ones eyes off of the road.

With i-Drive you have to take both your and attention and your eyes off of the road. There is also a brain-response learning curve that must be accessed every time you use i-Drive because of its need for visual attenuation and reciprocal verification.

Second, and even more important, there is a [relatively speaking] non-intuitive, multi-step process that one must go through to make an action or to receive information with i-Drive; Eyes look at screen, brain conceptualizes what function is desired, brain sends hand to controller, brain has to remember how to use controller each time that it is accessed, driver must visually and physically scroll through various options and when the desired option is achieved it must be visually verified and checked and verified again by the brain.

The notion of a few well placed buttons, switches and dials [being not only much more intuitive] is far more in character with the notion of a true driver's car where the utmost attention should be focused on the road ahead, no?

I submit that most of those who purchase '3's with i-Drive will do so [either consciously or subconsciously] because the owner thinks that it is a cool, high-tech gadget or because they feel it makes the cabin look better; both of which are perfectly valid reasons.

Just please don't try and tell me that i-Drive is in any way a better system from a performance and operational point of view.
 

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Theoretically, if someone can remember what button does what without looking, wouldn't they also be able to remember a sequence of clicks that does that same thing?
 

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ihavedrivenanm1 said:
i-Dive [and other similar systems] is, IMHO, an over-engineered solution in search of a non-existent problem.

First, buttons are more intuitive and easier to use and over time one becomes almost subconsciously aware of where each button is and what function it performs such that the driver can push said button or turn said dial in a completely intuitive way without taking ones eyes off of the road.

With i-Drive you have to take both your and attention eyes off of the road. There is also a brain-response learning curve that must be accesses every time you use I-Drive because of its need for visual attenuation and reciprocal verification.

Second, and even more important, there is a [relatively speaking] non-intuitive, multi-step process that one must go through to make an action or to receive information with I-Drive; Eyes look at screen, brain conceptualizes what function is desired, brain sends hand to controller, brain has to remember how to use controller each time that it is accessed, driver must visually and physically scroll through various options and when the desired option is achieved it must be visually verified and checked and verified again by the brain.

The notion of a few well placed buttons, switches and dials [being not only much more intuitive] is far more in character with the notion of a true driver's car where the utmost attention should be focused on the road ahead, no?

I submit that most of those who purchase '3's with i-Drive will do so [either consciously or subconsciously] because the owner thinks that it is a cool, high-tech gadget or because they feel it makes the cabin look better; both of which are perfectly valid reasons.

Just please don't try and tell me that i-Drive is in any way a better system from a performance and operational point of view.
What settings will you change with I-Drive while you are driving? AC? Its controlled by the same buttons on the dash in the same place where they had been. Radio Stations? CD tracks? Those also you can switch by using steering wheel controls. Additional functions are available through voice command. If you need to change some other settings, I HIGHLY doubt you will be changing those while driving.

Switching radio station presets? How frequently does one do it? With 12-18 presets available?
 

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CoasterLonghorn said:
Theoretically, if someone can remember what button does what without looking, wouldn't they also be able to remember a sequence of clicks that does that same thing?
No because with i-Drive everything must be visually verified which isn't the case with buttons. With i-Dive even the starting place in the sequence must first be visualized. Buttons and dials don't move; they are always in the same place.

Also, with many i-Drive functions one would have to remember a much more complex series of moves; for example, to access one function you might have to 'turn the dial right three clicks, then go up one click then scroll to the left four places and then click to activate, visually confirming that each step was correct'.

Now imagine trying to "memorize" this process for twenty or more functions, knowing that you also have to visualize the starting place again for each new function chosen.
 

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leshik said:
What settings will you change with I-Drive while you are driving? AC? Its controlled by the same buttons on the dash in the same place where they had been. Radio Stations? CD tracks? Those also you can switch by using steering wheel controls. Additional functions are available through voice command. If you need to change some other settings, I HIGHLY doubt you will be changing those while driving.

Switching radio station presets? How frequently does one do it? With 12-18 presets available?
I will admit that the i-Drive system in the '3' is less ridiculous than any of BMW's others but until the system is 100% voice activated/voice confirmed [like the Honda/Acura system] then buttons are still more accurate, more intuitive, safer, and much more driver-friendly.
 

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thelookingglass said:
While I agree that techological evolution is great, let's not forget that technology's purpose is to make life easier for its users. Adding multiple steps to a task that previously only took one step is *not* ideal technological innovation. Sure it's great to now have the "customizability" that I-Drive provides, but the simplest tasks should remain simple. Changing radio stations previously took one press of a button. It shouldn't take two (or more) with I-Drive. Maybe a nice balance could be had by simply adding just a few more buttons to the dash.
Don't you still have the steering wheel buttons to change radio stations, cd tracks, radio modes...? I personally think that I-drive is great, I wonder, however, if the younger users are more likely to adapt to it and like it than the older users, it probably was not a good idea for BMW to bring it out in 7 and 5 series before the 3 series since they have even older markets...
 

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ihavedrivenanm1 said:
I will admit that the i-Drive system in the '3' is less ridiculous than any of BMW's others but until the system is 100% voice activated/voice confirmed [like the Honda/Acura system] then buttons are still more accurate, more intuitive, safer, and much more driver-friendly.
But you have the buttons for AC, Entertainment (Radio/CD/MP3) What else do you need the buttons for on day-to-day basis?
 

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I've never used iDrive, however, it don't really understand all the arguing back and forth. To me, the iDrive debate is not really up for debate any more. The vast majority of iDrive users like it a lot. Not all like it, but the vast vast majority like it or love it, from what I have found. In the theoritical, I could see why iDrive may not be good, but at this point, I'll take the word of the experienced and their dominating opinion. I can completely understand why somone would not want to spend an extra 2K for it. I can also understand why someone may not like it. I may not even end up liking it myself. However, it's a little bit like arguing that email isn't good. It may not be good for a select few, but it's great for the substantial majority. My $0.02. :dunno:
 

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I've complained in the past that feature-laden luxury cars have dashboards cluttered with too many buttons and controls. I admire BMW's attempt to tidy things up, but iDrive simply adds too many steps to things that should be simple, like turning the stereo off.
Auto journalists can be such idiots. There's a radio knob for that! And there are separate climate controls/knobs as well.
 

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The Idrive bashers are forgetting one thing: It's an OPTION...you don't have to get it if you don't want to. Being a "techy guy" I have to admit that I'm biased toward Idrive, but I also belive that it might not be suited for everyone. It will require you to spend some time with the manual learning how to use it. Of course, people who find it difficult to take 2 seconds to buckle thier seat belts are not going to take the necessary time to learn how to use Idrive. They would rather bash the system without even understanding its full capabilities.
 

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I for one don't see this discussion as being about 'right' or 'wrong'.

The point that I was trying to make is that i-Drive is in fact a less intuitive system [in terms of synaptic response] that absolutely requires one to take their eyes off of the road which is inherently less safe and less 'driver' oriented, all of which are really pretty objective facts and not opinion.

As I said, for those that feel that i-Drive is a cool option that is great but it strikes me as a bit anathema to BMW's long-standing heritage of road focused driver-centric design.

And by the way, I for one am an under-40 tech savvy gadget guy who is completely comfortable working with different systems across different platforms.

For a pretty close analogy I would point everyone to the fact that many airlines opt to have their new aircraft cockpit LCD panels programmed to look like traditional round gauges. The reason is that the eye-brain network can, at a glance and much more quickly, read where a needle is generally on a round gauge without having to know an exact number, and still be accurate. At a quick glance a pilot can look at a round gauge and see if the needle is in the correct range [without cognitively] taking notice of the exact number as opposed to having to look at a sliding scale and determine the exact number and then determine its relationship to its function.

Again, the point is not about right or wrong; to those who choose i-Drive I say please, enjoy, but there is no need to try and justify that decision by making rhetorically strained, and frankly illogical, excuses that i-Drive is somehow easier or more intuitive to use. It isn't, and not because 'I say so' but because of the simple and undeniable facts of human physiology.
 

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ihavedrivenanm1 said:
The point that I was trying to make is that i-Drive is in fact a less intuitive system [in terms of synaptic response] that absolutely requires one to take their eyes off of the road which is inherently less safe and less 'driver' oriented, all of which are really pretty objective facts and not opinion.
I haven't used idrive yet, but that wont' stop me from interjecting. How many cars have gotten wrapped around trees while the drivers were fiddling with radio knobs? I think it's as dangerous to lean forward and watch your finger renevouz with buttons. At least, you don't have to move your arm or take your eyes off to get your hand on the knob of idrive. And I think idrive can be improved, if not already, so that people can quickly learn to do routine things with a couple of clicks without looking at the screen. If people can figure out 60 buttons on command system, they should be able to figure out click-click-turn. And I wouldn't call the keyboard-ful buttons intuitive.
 

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tksung said:
I think it's as dangerous to lean forward and watch your finger renevouz with buttons. At least, you don't have to move your arm or take your eyes off to get your hand on the knob of idrive.
With the I-drive you will have to take your eyes from the road too. How in the world you are going to read the bloody navigator screen. I think I-drive is not worthed its price.
:thumbdwn:
 
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