Feb 24

BMW 5 Series First to Get Harman Wireless Apple CarPlay Integration

HARMAN will be the first company to offer a system utilizing CarPlay’s wireless implementation with the iPhone by connecting through Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. Operation will be just like connecting via physical wire — allowing for simultaneous operation of a vehicle’s in-car entertainment and CarPlay navigation while providing calls, music playback, and other features to be controlled through the car’s display.

Even better news is that this new technology will first be available in the new BMW 5 Series!

Wireless CarPlay is an official feature in iOS 9 and will also be available in after-market solutions.

Press release

February 23, 2017

STAMFORD, CT – HARMAN International Industries, Incorporated (NYSE: HAR), the premier connected technologies company for automotive, consumer and enterprise markets, today announced the successful commercial implementation of Apple CarPlay integration through a wireless connection, a first for the connected car industry. Through HARMAN’s end-to-end infotainment system, a vehicle’s Bluetooth and WiFi will enable the connectivity required to support CarPlay, creating a greatly enhanced wireless experience for the user. The solution is currently being deployed in the market on HARMAN infotainment systems for a luxury German automaker.

While other implementations of Apple CarPlay have been supported through a USB connection to-date, HARMAN is the first to enable wireless implementation with the iPhone connecting via Bluetooth and data transferring via WiFi. The HARMAN infotainment system provides flexibility between native and CarPlay Human Machine Interfaces (HMIs), and allows for simultaneous operation of head unit functionality and CarPlay navigation. The integration of Apple CarPlay provides users the various functions of their iPhone, including calls, music playback, mobile office, and navigation to be controlled through the car’s display. Additionally, the system also allows the use of voice-recognition for a safer, hands-free experience.

“HARMAN continues to deliver options to consumers for seamless integration of multiple mobile ecosystems into our integrated automotive platform,” said Phil Eyler, executive vice president and president, Connected Car, HARMAN. “Whether CarPlay, Android Auto, or any other projection mode solution, HARMAN is the industry leader with pioneering support for these accessory apps. We look forward to working with automakers to roll out this technology and together with many HARMAN solutions to offer consumers safe, secure, and harmonious driving experiences.”

Feb 24

BMW Returns to 2017 British Touring Car Championship, After 21 Years Absence

• Returning as a Manufacturer Team after 21 years.
• Marking ten years relationship with West Surrey Racing.
• Welcoming back 2014 BTCC Champion, Colin Turkington.
• Celebrating signing of multiple BTCC Independent Drivers Champion, Andrew Jordan.
• Renewing seven year WSR deal with Series’ favourite, Rob Collard.
• The Series commences at the opening rounds at Brands Hatch Indy Circuit on 1-2 April 2017.

A further chapter in BMW’s illustrious history in touring car racing unfolded today as BMW UK, in partnership with West Surrey Racing (WSR), announced a three-car team that will again bid for victory of the 2017 British Touring Car Championship.

The announcement of TEAM BMW is a landmark occasion, marking BMW’s return to the country’s best-watched motor race series as a manufacturer team. It has been 21 years since the marque last contested the series in this manner, when BMW Team Schnitzer fielded a BMW 320i line-up.

Graeme Grieve, CEO of BMW Group UK, commented: “The BTCC is one of the most significant race series in the UK and has a huge and enthusiastic following. With a history of success and the continuous support of WSR for the past decade, we are delighted to step up as a Manufacturer Team again after 21 years.”

BMW UK’s significant financial investment in the BTCC team includes the funding of technical developments on all fronts, focused on the very latest BMW engine derivative.

At the launch at BMW Park Lane, London, Graeme Grieve joined WSR Team Principal, Dick Bennetts, to remove the wraps from one of the three BMW 125i M Sport team cars that will contest the 2017 BTCC. With the cars freshly-developed, prepared and run again by WSR, BMW’s return to the Series as a Manufacturer coincides with a further landmark, marking a decade since WSR first contested the BTCC with BMW, which has endured to this day.

The BMW relationship with Dick Bennetts’ Sunbury-based operation in the BTCC was established in 2007, where they claimed both the Independent Drivers and Teams Championships. They repeated the feat in 2008 and went on to take the overall BTCC Drivers’ title in 2009, and added a driver and team double crown in 2014.

Dick Bennetts remarked: “I reckon that working together successfully as motorsport partners for ten years is the equivalent of a lifelong marriage. It is a tribute to BMW’s product and commitment, and we are delighted to once again represent the marque as they return with increased commitment as a Manufacturer in the BTCC.”

Feb 23

BMW Ranks 7th in J.D. Power Vehicle Dependability Study 2017

BMW has ranked 7th in this year’s J.D. Power Vehicle Dependability Study, up 7 spots from last year’s 14th place ranking.

COSTA MESA, Calif.: 22 Feb. 2017 — While Lexus and Porsche nameplates lead the industry in vehicle dependability, owners of many high-volume vehicles are also rewarded with excellent long-term quality, according to the J.D. Power 2017 Vehicle Dependability StudySM (VDS), released today.

The study, now in its 28th year, examines problems experienced during the past 12 months by original owners of 2014 model-year vehicles. Overall dependability is determined by the number of problems experienced per 100 vehicles (PP100), with a lower score reflecting higher quality. The study covers 177 specific problems grouped into eight major vehicle categories.

The study finds that the 10 top-selling 2014 model-year vehicles average 134 PP100, which is significantly better than the industry average of 156 PP100. Two perennial best sellers—the Ford F-150 and the Toyota Camry—also lead their segments in the VDS this year.

“We find buyers are increasingly avoiding models with poor reputations for dependability, so manufacturers can’t afford to let quality slip, particularly on their best sellers,” said Dave Sargent, vice president, global automotive at J.D. Power. “While many expensive and niche vehicles do have excellent quality, the fact is that most consumers are shopping in the high-volume mainstream segments. The good news is that consumers don’t have to spend a lot of money to get a very dependable vehicle.”

J.D. Power finds that in addition to impacting purchase decisions and brand loyalty, better long-term quality is a key factor in contributing to higher residual values for vehicles. For example, J.D. Power estimates that Toyota—the highest-ranked non-premium brand in the study—has a residual values benefit of more than $750 per vehicle, compared with the average brand. This translates into a benefit of more than $1.3 billion for the 2014 model year alone.

“In the current industry environment of record levels of leasing and long-term loans, higher residual values allow automakers to provide more competitive deals to buyers,” said Jonathan Banks, vice president of vehicle analysis and analytics at J.D. Power. “This creates the opportunity to achieve higher market share and/or elevated profit margins.”

Other Key Findings

Continuing increases in technology-related problems have contributed to dependability worsening in the industry for a second consecutive year. The industry average of 156 PP100 is a 4 PP100 increase from 2016.

The Audio/Communication/Entertainment/Navigation (ACEN) category continues to be the most problematic area, accounting for 22% of all problems reported—up from 20% last year.

For a third consecutive year, the problems most reported by owners are Bluetooth pairing/connectivity and built-in voice recognition misinterpreting commands.
New to the top 10 list of problems reported in 2017 is battery failure. In fact, 44% more owners report a battery failure this year than in 2016. Batteries are the most frequently replaced component not related to normal wear and tear in 3-year-old vehicles at 6.1%—up 1.3 percentage points from 2016.

The 2017 U.S. Vehicle Dependability Study is based on responses from 35,186 original owners of 2014 model-year vehicles after three years of ownership. The study was fielded from October through December 2016.

Feb 23

Mont Blanc, B&W, and Moleskin Premium Accessories For New BMW 5 Series

Munich. With the new BMW 5 Series Sedan on sale for just a few days, BMW Lifestyle has teamed up with top-calibre premium partners – Montblanc, Bowers & Wilkins and Moleskine – to present a series of ingenious accessories designed for the way we live today: a BMW Activity Key Set, BMW Headphones and a BMW Smart Writing Set. Their common denominator, besides quality of the highest standard, is a precise understanding of contemporary lifestyle, with seamless connectivity on the one hand and uncompromising design on the other as key elements.

Both the infotainment products and the personal accessory set complement to perfection the wealth of technologies built into the BMW 5 Series, making them ideal tools for any modern business athlete – both inside the car and beyond.

Transforming the car key into an elegant personal accessory.

The “Montblanc for BMW ” Activity Key Set turns the BMW Activity Key into an elegant personal accessory. With its compact dimensions of 5×2 cm, the Activity Key is a wearable car key that dispenses with the need to press a button to unlock the car. Thanks to its modular design, there are a number of different ways to stow the key away so that it is secure but always at hand.

BMW and Montblanc have taken the opportunity to build on the success of their “Montblanc for BMW” partnership by developing a stunning accessory set that lives up to the most exacting standards of both design and functionality. The chic Montblanc leather wristband in fine black cowhide leather transforms the Activity Key into a stylish personal accessory that can be worn on the wrist. The “Montblanc for BMW” Activity Key Set also includes a high-quality key fob with leather insert embossed with the words “Montblanc for BMW”; it’s a classy way for the Activity Key to travel with its owner.

An exceptional audio experience.

The superb acoustics of the Bowers & Wilkins surround sound systems available for the new BMW 5 Series can now also be enjoyed while away from the car, the on-ear BMW Headphones Bowers & Wilkins P3 S2 impressing with their stand-out sound quality.

The unique styling of the polished stainless steel speaker chassis and the headband’s fine lambskin leather finishing make the headphones a sporty and elegant triumph of design. They fold up compactly for storage thanks to a handy mechanism, while a robust carry case provides added protection.

Complete integration of analogue and digital content.

BMW has joined forces with renowned note-book maker Moleskine to create the Smart Writing Set, which provides an impressive demonstration of how analogue and digital content can be fully integrated and made fully available. Both text and images can be produced by hand in the Moleskine note-book, known as the Paper Tablet, then transferred digitally to a smartphone or tablet ready for further use there. With the help oft the car´s Microsoft Office 365, users can display the content they created with the BMW Smart Writing Set.

This seamless integration is underpinned by cutting-edge technology. The product-specific NCode™ technology from Moleskine makes it possible to detect where exactly the Smart Pen+ is in relation to the pages of the Paper Tablet, so that every stroke of the pen is recorded. An accompanying app smoothly transfers the handwritten notes from the note-book to the mobile device’s screen, while the content can also be displayed and shared using Microsoft office 365 in the BMW 5 Series.

Sporting an exclusive sketch of the new 5 Series Sedan on the note-book’s cover, plus understated BMW lettering on the pen cap, the BMW Smart Writing Set is a practical accessory for anyone who appreciates the convenience of writing notes by hand, yet does not wish to forego the benefits of digital creativity. And it’s a must-have for all BMW enthusiasts, too.

The BMW Smart Writing Set and the BMW Headphones Bowers & Wilkins are available from March at shop.bmw.com as well as from selected BMW dealers.

The “Montblanc for BMW” Activity Key Set will be available from summer 2017.

Manufacturer’s recommended retail prices:

“Montblanc for BMW” Activity Key Set: EUR 430.00

BMW Headphones Bowers & Wilkins P3 S2: EUR 150.00

BMW Smart Writing Set: EUR 250.00