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I've been on a business trip in Japan this week attending a computer networking trade show. The trade show is near BMW Japan, and I walked over to the building today to check it out.

They've got a first-floor display in which they were showing 1 Series, 3 Series, Z4, 7 Series, X3 and Mini models, all in Japanese trim with right-hand drive (obviously).

An exceedingly polite receptionist let me wander around at will, and because I've got an ED coming up for a new E90 in July (American spec), it was a blast to compare the visual differences. (The cars were locked, so I only saw the exterior). She also gave me a bunch of JDM brochures, including the 2005 accessories and condensed E90 brochure.

The E90 in the display was a gun-metal grey 320i with a black cloth interior and Steptronic. I think it had the equivalent of the Japanese sport package, since the steering wheel had a bulge like the US sport package wheel. Bottom line, it looked de-contented to me even though it costs about US$40K. For those of you who've never been to Japan, you wouldn't believe how expensive everything is here.

The trim was metal, but I think it was different (at least I hope it is) from the aluminum trim I've ordered on my 3. The condensed brochure offers a FOURTH interior trim, which looks like a gold-colored metal in the brochure.

About the oddest accessory listed is a curb warning device that mounts on the left front quarter panel ahead of the wheel. At the top of this antenna-mast-like thing (a monstrosity) is a large BMW roundel. Streets in Japan are very narrow, so I guess you use it in preventing damage to your car on the curb.

I was intrigued by the 1 Series, because I know the 3 and the 1 share the same basic architecture. It was marked as a 118i. Personally, I don't like hatchbacks, so I wasn't impressed by this model, but it did have iDrive. Interestingly, it doesn't look like it came with Voice Command (the button was missing next to the iDrive controller). When this car comes to the US, I wonder if BMW won't have another debacle like the 318i on its hands.

Anyway, I have no pix because, believe it or not, I don't bother bringing a camera on business trips (I go to Asia a lot, but this is the first time I've been in Makuhari, the suburb of Tokyo where BMW Japan is).

When I get home, I'll try to scan some of the more interesting pages from the condensed 3 series brochure, if anyone's interested.
 

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I am very interested if they offer Nav in E90 in Japan and if it's different than in the US market. Japanese are used to much more advanced navigation from what we are being offered in the US.

I drove a car in Japan with Nav and I spoke to people. Almost all Nav is with touchscreen (except very old units). HDD for software/maps and DVD for movies is common. Streets in Japan have no names and, as many of you know, typing Kana might be frustrating so it's possible to input phone numbers to find destinations (this is really an awesome feature). I was at BMW dealership with my Japanese friend and she said she couldn't imagine Japanese people using such Nav as implemented in the E90 we tried (mainly because of non-user friendly interface).
 

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I know the E46 in Japan has a different (Alpine-sourced) NAV. I agree, the BMW NAV that US spec cars get would get laughed out of Japan.
 

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Kaz said:
I know the E46 in Japan has a different (Alpine-sourced) NAV. I agree, the BMW NAV that US spec cars get would get laughed out of Japan.
Neatest thing I saw while riding around in Japan in a co-worker's Tahoe (ok, he's a bit odd but not as much as another co-worker with a '89 Sedan Deville) was his aftermarket Navigation system. Besides the neat bird's eye view, when we came into the downtown city area, shadow forms of the actual buildings appeared! That, and it was linked to local traffic reports, so it would show were congestion was ahead and route around it. This was about five years ago. I think his also found destinations by phone number.
 

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Kaz said:
I know the E46 in Japan has a different (Alpine-sourced) NAV. I agree, the BMW NAV that US spec cars get would get laughed out of Japan.
I don't understand-- if carmakers are capable of offering better navigation systmes in Japan, why not just offer the same advanced system in the rest of the world?
 

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Yobyot said:
Anyway, I have no pix because, believe it or not, I don't bother bringing a camera on business trips (I go to Asia a lot, but this is the first time I've been in Makuhari, the suburb of Tokyo where BMW Japan is).
I was in Tokyo on holiday a couple of weeks ago. Riding the airport bus on the expressway (to/from NRT), I noticed a bldg with the BMW logo on top, and wondered if this was the BMW HQ in Japan. Your note confirms it because we were driving through Makuhari.
 

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Japan is a small island, relatively speaking, so once the roads are entered on the DVD, there is plenty of room left for all the building informations to be stored as well.
 
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