iDrive My Wife Crazy - 2008 BMW X5 Long-Term Road Test
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2008 BMW X5 4.8i: iDrive My Wife Crazy

February 17, 2009

X5 iDrive 555.jpg

Of all the dubious achievements credited to BMW's iDrive, I do not remember Destroyer of Marital Bliss being on the list.

Here though are snippets of a couple of telephone conversations I had with my long-suffering wife recently. The set up is that I've taken her car to the office to check the brakes. She's driving around in the X5 for the day.

[ring, ring]
Me: Hey.
Wife: Your daughter wants to listen to "Little Ghost."
Me: Okay, it's on the iPod.
Wife: Yeah, how do I do this?
Me: Um, well. Okay. Hit the big MENU button. Okay, now push the big knob in the direction of "Entertainment."
Wife: Okay. Now what?
Me: You've got to find the AUX setting. It's in one of those menu bars along the top. I don't know which one.
Wife: [sighing, fumbling]
Me: It's White Stripes.
Wife: I know that.
[an inordinate amount of time passes]
Wife: Is it the album "Get Behind Me Satan?"
Me: Yeah, you're in! Just push down on the knob and then rotate until the song title is highlighted, then push the button.
Wife: Okay. Thanks.

See, I thought, iDrive isn't that difficult to operate. If I can act as the help line for it, how bad could it be?

[ring, ring]
Me: Hey, honey.
Wife: How do I get this stupid navigation lady to shut up? She's talking over the song.
Me: Uh, navigation? Aren't you just going to the grocery store?
Wife: Yeah, [background: "Make a U-turn if possible"] Uhg! Stupid thing!
[click]

It was then that I realized that I essentially re-learn many aspects of iDrive's operations each and every time I drive the vehicle. Or rather, I take stabs at what seems like the right moves until I've failed to get what I want so frequently that only the right answer is left.

Then I recalled it took both Executive Lead Senior Super Editor Ed Hellwig and myself 15 minutes and the owner's manual just to find Chicago's McCormick convention center one morning on our way to cover the auto show.

The time has come, BMW. I can defend you no longer. It is time for Gen II iDrive to make its way through the lineup. --Daniel Pund, Senior Editor, Detroit


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