Technology Quirks and Quibbles - 2009 BMW 750i Long-Term Road Test

2009 BMW 7 Series Long Term Road Test

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2009 BMW 750i: Technology Quirks and Quibbles

December 06, 2009

BMW 750i No Keyless Entry.JPG

I spent all last week behind the wheel of our Long-Term BMW 750i, and in that time I learned a thing or three about its less obvious features. We all know it drives like a magic carpet and coddles like a Beverly Hills spa, but why doesn't the keyless entry seem to work, what's with the USB port in the glovebox, and how long does it take to rip Dark Side of the Moon to the car's on-board music hard drive?

All this and more after the jump.

No Ruffles Means No Keyless Entry

I've tried, off-and-on over the past eight months, to get our long-term BMW 750i's door to unlock without using the buttons on the keyfob. After a few seconds of swiping, pushing and pulling the exterior door handle I always get frustrated and just hit the keyfob button to get in and go. I finally did a little RTFM last week and learned the exterior door handles need to have a subtle set of "ruffles" (for lack of a better term) on the top of the door handle (just to the left of my hand in the photo above). If your BMW doesn't have these (our long-term 2009 BMW M3 does) then it doesn't have keyless entry. Hard to believe this is an extra-cost option on BMW's $80,000 top-end sedan -- but it is. You'll have to spring for the $1,700 Convenience Package to get "Comfort Access" on your 7 Series (also includes "soft close" doors and power-operated trunk).

BMW 750i USB Port.JPG

Why is there a USB Port in the Glovebox?

Speaking of missing options, our long-term 7 Series has no USB port in the center console for listening to external music players (ala iPod/iPhone), but it does have a USB port in the glovebox. Why?

Because this port can be used to upload information to the car's computer, including a driver profile and music stored on a jump drive. In theory you can have one BMW all set up just the way you like it and then export those settings to a jump drive. Slide said drive into another BMW's USB port and import the settings so you don't have to start from scratch on the new Bimmer's plethora of adjustments via iDrive.


I say "in theory" because I could not get our car's USB port to recognize anything I plugged into it. I put some songs on a jump drive to try uploading them into the car's music hard drive but it wouldn't recognize the drive. You're also supposed to be able to upload music from a music player, but it also wouldn't recognize my iPhone when I plugged it into the port. I know the port works because it will charge my iPhone when it's plugged in. It's ironic because the owner's manual says not to use this USB port to charge devices, but that's the only thing it did seem capable of doing.

BMW 750i Store Music.JPG

Let 'er Rip!

Thankfully, the USB port isn't the only pathway to the 750i's music hard drive. You can also rip CD's the old fashioned way. Just put one in the CD slot and scroll to the "Store in vehicle" option. This method worked as advertised in the owner's manual, ripping CD's to the car's 12 gig hard drive in about 2 minutes per song. Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon and The Cars Greatest Hits took approximately 10 minutes (those are densely packed CDs), while Rush's Hold Your Fire (with eight songs) took 5.

BMW 750i Window Switch.JPG

Auto Up Windows, but only when Door is Shut

One last technology quirk I noticed while playing around with the BMW 750i -- the auto-up windows only work when the doors are shut. At first I thought the driver's window was broken, as it would lower with a single push but I had to hold it to make the window close. All the other windows were working both directions so I made a note to have this looked at. Then I shut the driver's door and happened to try again. It worked fine. Not sure where this programming comes from, but if you happen to have you BMW's doors open and the windows won't auto up, don't panic.

Karl Brauer, Editor in Chief @ 22,930 miles

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