In-Car Tech

BMW in-car tech receives five big upgrades in July and here's how to get them

BMW is upgrading its infotainment system with a big boost for BMW Map functionality, among other features.

Photo courtesy of BMW

This month, BMW will release a comprehensive vehicle software update with new and improved features. Any BMW leaving the plant from July with Operating System 7 will already have the updated roster.

Here's what you can expect from the upgrade.

BMW Maps

2021 BMW 5 Series

Photo courtesy of BMW

The experience of using BMW Maps will be improved. BMW says that it will be faster, more intuitive, and more accurate. Destinations can be entered more easily and new cloud-based route calculation improves performance.

BMW Maps will now use real-time traffic information in addition to historical and extrapolated data to optimize routing. That data has been collected from over 14 million BMW vehicles. The automaker says that the system, "avoids unnecessary detours through residential areas."

When searching for a destination, BMW Maps lists the search results based on the vehicle's position. The application will now provide contextual information for points of interest including ratings, business hours, and images.

Connected Parking functionality also supports the search for parking spaces with additional services.

Connected Charging

2021 BMW 5 Series

Photo courtesy of BMW

BMW's Connected Charging services are being expanded as part of the update. Customers can now view details of past charging processes in the app and define specific time windows in which the car should be charged. The app can now also send push notifications directly to the customer's smartphone when charging events occur.

Public charging information has been expanded as well, now offering more detailed information on charging stations including opening hours, providers, or authentication options. Users can also see points of interest nearby like cafés or restaurants.

All-electric vehicles now push their projected range to the app, which users can view in the form of a blue circle on the map overview.

If their BMW senses that a driver needs a break, the app will automatically suggest stopover points that include charging destinations.

BMW Digital Key

2021 BMW 5 Series

Photo courtesy of BMW

On the heels of an announcement at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference, BMW has confirmed that the innovation is part of the upgrade, not just coming to new products. Click here for more information about this specific feature.

Wireless Android Auto

2021 BMW 5 Series

Photo courtesy of BMW

Many new luxury vehicles are going wireless so it's no surprise that BMW is following the trend - something they announced in December. As part of the new update, Android Auto will become wireless in vehicles already equipped with Android Auto.

Users can access Google Assistant and interact with their smartphone with their voice and see the results on BMW's infotainment screen.

Additionally, the capability allows for adoption of Google Maps turn-by-turn guidance that is displayed on the vehicle's instrument cluster and head up display.

BMW Personal Assistant

2021 BMW 5 Series

Photo courtesy of BMW

The BMW Personal Assistant system is getting a new design. It has been enabled with intelligent functionality as well. This means that the system can now do things like show a graphic on the screen that turns toward the person talking (driver or passenger).

BMW says that the update allows the Personal Assistant to provide "proactive assistance with possible voice commands to improve natural interaction."

Here's how to get the update

Certain BMW vehicles built before July are capable of over-the-air updates. BMW has been enabling remote software upgrades since 2018.

For those vehicles, the update will be pushed to the cars starting in the third quarter of the year. The automaker says that around 20 minutes of installation time is required.

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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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