Software updates

BMW issues OTA update for iDrive 7

BMW owners with iDrive7 will see a wealth of new tech features with the update.

BMW

In-car technology is progressing quickly, to the point that the cars we drive today would be completely foreign to people even just a decade ago. Over-the-air updates allow automakers to add new features and refresh existing functionality, and BMW is taking advantage of that functionality to update its vehicles for 2022. Cars running iDrive 7 will receive an update that brings new functions and refines others.

New features include a warning feature that suppresses lane departure and steering interventions on roads without clearly marked lanes. A real-time traffic information system can now process data from congestion in turning lanes and automatically route the driver around the issue for faster transit and more accurate estimation of arrival time. The system now includes an advanced volume control function for Android smartphones that provides enhanced sound for streaming and podcasts. The driver profile recognition system has also been improved to recognize drivers when the key fob is in odd locations, such as in a purse in the back seat.

THE M3. (G80.2020)youtu.be

The M3 and M4 get enhancements to their interior engine audio systems, which pump engine sounds into the cabin. BMW says the new system now provides clearer audio confirmation of gear shifts and a refined startup sound. Changing the cars’ drive modes changes the sounds, and a quieter mode can be selected to reduce distraction.

Updated vehicles get built-in access to Spotify podcasts and Pandora radio, and BMW’s News app has been updated with better on-demand features and podcasts. The app filters news and other content for the user, providing a personalized experience. Finally, BMW’s Digital Key will be available for select Android phones.

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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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The Supra finally gets a manual transmission for 2023.

Toyota

After an almost nonstop chorus of enthusiasts and journalists asking for a manual transmission in the new Supra, Toyota has gone and done it. The car will get an available six-speed manual transmission that will be available on both variants of the GR Supra 3.0, plus a limited-edition model on the U.S. market next year.

2023 Toyota Supra 3.0 MTToyota had to modify the car's interior for the new gearbox. Toyota

The A91-MT Edition Supra will be limited to 500 units, and gets two exterior colors with an exclusive Cognac leather interior. All 2023 Supras come with a 3.0-liter straight-six engine that makes 382 horsepower and 367 pound-feet of torque. Toyota says the six-speed manual has been specially tuned to work with the car's engine, and notes that it modified an existing transmission housing to come up with the design. The gearbox's final drive ratio is shortened to improve response and take-off.

Toyota had to modify the car's interior to accommodate a gearshift lever, so the iDrive controller and other buttons had to be relocated. The automaker says that it focused on the feeling of shifting, from the weight of the knob to the ergonomics and location of the component.

2023 Toyota Supra 3.0 MTThe limited-edition A91-MT trim gets an exclusive cognac leather interior.Toyota

A Supra with a manual gearbox is reason to celebrate, but availability is limited to the top Supra 3.0. The "base" Supra 2.0 won't get the transmission. Toyota says pricing and other information will be available later this year.

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