2014 BMW 328i xDrive Gran Turismo: Album Artwork via Bluetooth
May 27, 2014
In this MP3 era, seeing the album artwork on a display is the closest thing we have to holding the CD insert and looking at it while listening to the music. In 2004, I bought a fourth generation iPod, the first to display album artwork. Despite the artwork being smaller than a postage stamp, I was blown away. Years later, I continue to be impressed whenever a car has the ability to display cover art.
In the past few years, the cars that have offered album artwork have required that the phone be hard wired with a USB cable or proprietary Apple cable. But now, Bluetooth technology has improved to the point where it can transmit album artwork wirelessly. The long-term 2014 BMW 328i xDrive Gran Turismo is an example of a car in which this works.
The album artwork takes up a nice portion of the 328i's screen and refreshes fairly quickly when you skip tracks. I even tried to throw it for a loop by switching to a podcast. For the non-Apple users out there, music and podcasts are separate apps, and some cars will only see the music app. There was a slightly longer transition to the podcast app, but the 328i's screen eventually loaded the proper artwork.
The above photo shows what the screen looks like when you don't have the album artwork. Pretty bland, right?
What do you think? Is the display of album artwork a gimmick? Or part of the modern infotainment experience?
Ronald Montoya, Consumer Advice Editor @ 9,846 miles