BMW has announced upgrades to its ConnectedDrive suite of telematics safety and convenience features for 2014 models, including the ability to access Apple's Siri or Android S-Voice interactive features through a button on the steering wheel.
ConnectedDrive will also provide emergency phone assistance and automatic crash notification on almost all models, upgrades to the iDrive multipurpose controller, and a broadened availability of apps accessible on the road.
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With the Siri and S-Voice integration, users will be able to access their paired phone's voice command assistant through the same steering-wheel-mounted button used to access the car's built-in voice command menu. Pressing the button once will continue to access the car's menu for audio, climate, navigation, and other functions, while holding the button gains access to the phone's built-in virtual personal assistant through the car's audio system. (See our smart-phone buying guide and Ratings.)
Other upgrades include:
- 10 years of access to BMW Assist standard on most models, including emergency crash notification and one-button access to live help.
- Automatic service reminders based on mileage , driving habits, and vehicle needs.
- Improvements to iDrive traffic reporting, entertainment, connectivity, and navigation, with the addition of a touch pad for entering addresses on navigation-equipped models.
- 3G Internet access while the vehicle is stationary.
- A concierge service for assistance placing calls and locating points of interest.
- Increased access to mobile apps through the iDrive controller, including Yelp, Google Street View, Facebook, Twitter, and more.
- The ability for owners to add selected apps for access in the car, as long as they meet BMW requirements to minimize distraction.
- Enhanced voice-recognition capability.
Availability of the new ConnectedDrive features varies by model. Pricing and specific release dates have not been announced.
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