Cars.com's Mike Hanley takes a look at BMW's iDrive system.
(upbeat music) <v Announcer>Cars.com auto review. (upbeat music) Hi, I'm Mike Hanley with cars.com and I'm here in a BMW 335D. And today we're gonna talk about BMW's latest iDrive system.
iDrive was first introduced on the 2002 7 series, but it's received some substantial changes for 2009. Now the first one you can see is that around the iDrive control knob, there's more direct key buttons, which the previous model didn't have, but what they allow you to do is go directly to the radio or to the navigation system. So it gives you quick access to those things. So that's a nice feature, but what's even more important is that the new iDrive onscreen menus are much easier to navigate. Now, the previous model, you had kind of four directions where you could choose things based on like North, South, East, West on a compass. With this new setup, it's more of a horizontal navigation. You can see on the onscreen menu that, you make selection still by pressing down, but then you nudge it left and right to move through the menus. It's a much more natural progression, much easier to get used to. So that's a big change that really enhances the usability of the system compared to the previous one. Now iDrive is just one of a number of these types of knob-based control systems. Other ones include mercedes' COMAND and also audi's MMI. And the BMW system lagged behind those in terms of intuitiveness to my opinion previously. But with these changes, it's definitely much closer to mercedes' COMAND, which was a leader in terms of ease of use. So it's a good move for BMW with this new system. <v Announcer>For more car related news, go to cars.com, for our blog, kickingtires.net.