CES 2021

Profanity-laden video from BMW celebrates (?) just how far iDrive has come

The BMW xDrive system celebrates its 20th birthday this year.

Photo courtesy of BMW

The year was 2001. It was the second year of a new millennium that had gone ahead without much disruption despite all of the concerns about Y2K. It was the advent of modern infotainment systems and BMW was on the cusp of debuting their new iDrive system.

The technology first appeared on the BMW 7 Series, which was ridiculed for a whole host of reasons, with iDrive just another part of what critics thought was wrong with the car.

A new, four-minute video from BMW released to coincide with the beginning of CES celebrates (?) just how far the iDrive system has come in 20 years. Why the question mark? The video is the perfect example of the age old tale of the boy who likes the girl but to hide it he constantly picks on her and shows off in front of his friends, with a smattering of disrespecting your elders.

A story of generations. BMW is a part of CES 2021.www.youtube.com

The entire video takes place in a darkened garage with the 7 Series voiced by an aging male who uses words like "whippersnapper" to ridicule the forthcoming BMW iX, comparing it to a "Tomagachi" and accuses it of being a toy car because it's not in production yet. The iX is voiced by a female who accuses the 7 Series she calls "grandpa" with "sniffing at the gas pumps too long".

The iX accuses the 7 Series of being past its prime, saying that it's impossible to talk to "their generation". The two voices rattle through the various features of their iDrive systems and while the iX's voice goes over that system's, the 7 Series voice replies with a swear word that refers to feces from a male cow.

Then the iX voice explains what infotainment intelligence means to the 7 Series while touting that the iX "knows everything because I'm always online".

BMW iDrive Evolution: BMW X7 with BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant (2018)

The first-ever BMW X7 with BMW Individual full leather Merino Ivory White/Night Blue (10/2018).

Photo courtesy of BMW

After being thoroughly insulted, the 7 Series drives away and the iX seeks them out saying the popular refrain, "I didn't mean it that way" before explaining that without the original iDrive the iX wouldn't exist.

While amusing, the video clearly fits in with social media posts the company has featured recently where they make fun of older buyers, who are also known as the bread and butter of BMW's audience. It's an interesting sales tactic.

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The EQB lands this summer with a not-so-bad starting price.

Mercedes-Benz

Mercedes-Benz is pressing ahead with its electrification goals. Following the release of the EQS flagship electric sedan last year, the automaker is readying the EQB, an electric SUV with up to seven seats. Today, Mercedes announced pricing for the vehicle, and it's surprisingly reasonable. Two trim levels will be offered for the EQB in the United States: Exclusive and Pinnacle, and wecould see an AMG variant at some point down the road.

The EQB comes in two variants, including the EQB 300 and EQB 350, both of which come with all-wheel drive. The EQB 300 offers 225 horsepower and the 350 delivers 288 ponies. Those aren't super-serious numbers and they don't have to be. The EQB competes with vehicles like the Volkswagen ID.4, so mind-blowing performance isn't exactly the goal. Mercedes hasn't given range estimates yet, but they should fall in line with the competition.

2023 Mercedes-Benz EQBThe EQB will come in two powertrain variants, each with two trims.Mercedes-Benz

The SUV comes standard with a 10.25-inch configurable digital gauge cluster and a 10.25-inch touchscreen. Mercedes includes a good list of standard safety features, including lane keep assist, blind spot monitoring, and active brake assist. Additionally, the EQB's navigation system routes the vehicle for the best efficiency and can help locate charging stations.

The 2023 Mercedes-Benz EQB 300 starts at $56,800, including a $1,050 destination charge. A range-topping Pinnacle trim is available for $59,350. The EQB 350 starts at $60,350. Mercedes says the SUV will go on sale in summer 2022.

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The IIHS may increase the speeds it uses to test advanced driver aids.

Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) recently announced that it is considering changing the speeds it uses to test vehicle-to-vehicle front crash prevention systems. The agency currently tests the systems at 12 and 25 mph, but says that the speeds don't accurately represent the types of crashes the safety tech is meant to prevent.

Front crash preventionwww.youtube.com

Automatic emergency braking (AEB) is designed to notify of a possible collision and help respond with automatic application of braking. Just like a human using the brake pedal, it can stop the car, but higher speeds make it difficult to stop in time. The new tests would be conducted at 35 to 45 mph, which is the range where a large number of rear-end crashes occur. As Automotive News noted, an IIHS study showed 43 percent of rear-end crashes occur at speeds of 45 mph or less, so it's important to have a test that shows how well the tech performs at those levels.

A whopping 85 percent of 2022 vehicles earned a "Superior" rating in the current testing regime, so the IIHS will remove it from 2023 testing and Top Safety Pick award evaluations. Their view is that, since the majority of vehicles meet the criteria, it's no longer an accurate way of evaluating performance. In its place, the agency introduced a night test for automatic emergency braking systems that will begin next year.

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