We take a closer look at 11 of the tech innovations that will find their way into future BMWs

BMW is preparing to pack its upcoming next-generation of models with revolutionary new technology that will allow the car to react ‘intelligently’ with local road conditions to allow both greater fuel efficiency as well as improving safety for both drivers and pedestrians.

Here, Autocar takes a closer look at some of the technology that will be on BMW's future models, including the new 3-series.

Read an overview of BMW's future techILENA intelligent sat-navThis system will suggest three different navigated routes — standard, eco or quick — with previous information about the driver’s style being used to plot the eco one. It can also be used with future hybrid BMWs, to calculate — via 3D mapping — the most efficient route for the drivetrain.

Mobility assistant appCan use public transport information to advise a driver that it is quicker to either use a bus or train for a particular journey. Could also receive live updates on car park space availability and even bike hire information, such as that already offered for smartphones by London’s cycle rental scheme.

Collision avoidanceLateral collision avoidance uses all-round laser sensors to automatically tweak the steering to prevent an accident in a narrow lane.

See pics of BMW's future tech in actionAutoparkDrivers will be able to squeeze their car into a tight parking space by lining up the car, getting out and using the key to remotely drive it into the space. Although the system could cost well under £800 as an option, it is currently illegal in most parts of the world.

Smart keyBMW keys will act like swipe cards, able to store small amounts of credit and hold codes that will work as train tickets or open pre-booked hotel rooms.

Micropause AppsCommunication with traffic lights will allow the car to know how long it will be stationary; news flashes or games could be brought up on the TFT screen.

See Autocar's exclusive rendering of the next BMW 3-seriesiDriveOn the next 3-series and 6-series initially, there will be an updated iDrive controller with an integrated touch panel on the top of the rotary knob.

Email on the moveDirect connection to an email server, with messages displayed on dash screen. Voice synthesis reads them out, voice control allows driver to reply.

Read Autocar's scoop on the next BMW 3-seriesGearbox ‘sail’ modeBMW has revealed a new version of the eight-speed autobox equipped with a ‘sail’ mode. If the driver lifts off the accelerator and doesn’t brake, the drivetrain switches into neutral and disconnects.

More efficient hybridsFuture plug-in versions of BMW hybrids could use pre-selected sat-nav routes and weather and traffic information to set an ideal battery charge and even pre-warm the engine for maximum efficiency.

AMULETT detectionThe car will be able to detect any children carrying a transponder, so they can be avoided should they run into the road from behind parked vehicles.Hilton Holloway

See all the latest BMW 3-series reviews, news and video

Our Verdict

BMW 3 Series
The 3 Series remains strong in the areas it has always excelled but now it's more rounded than ever

The BMW 3 Series' outstanding performance and handling complete a consummate all-rounder

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Comments
12

25 October 2010

The gearbox "sail" mode is interesting, as this sounds just like automatic coasting, which I thought we were encouraged not to do as it is unsafe. I coast down hills all the time as it saves fuel, & I always have my foot ready over the brake pedal so I really can't see how it is unsafe.

currently a happy owner of a Mitsubishi Shogun Pinin :)

25 October 2010

[quote roverfan1984]The gearbox "sail" mode is interesting, as this sounds just like automatic coasting, which I thought we were encouraged not to do as it is unsafe[/quote]

Is this new? I seem to remember the Ford A4LD gearbox, or whatever it was called, fitted to late Eighties Ford Granadas, doing exactly the same thing for the benefit of fuel economy.

Just because you are no longer accelerating doesn't automatically mean that you want (engine) braking, so to me it makes perfect sense.

I think that it is high time that the free-wheel transmission made a return on all non-hybrid cars. Let's face it, the transmission is for providing acceleration, the brakes are for retardation. Gone are the days of changing down to descend a steep hillbecause of poor brakes..

25 October 2010

[quote roverfan1984]I coast down hills all the time as it saves fuel[/quote]

I am sorry to tell you this is unlikely to be true. If your car is a modern fuel injected car it does not use any fuel at all when in gear but without your foot on the accelorater (except when ticking over).

If when you get to the top of a hill you leave the car in gear and roll down the hill without your foot on the accelorater the car is travelling without using ANY petrol. If you put the car in neutral a small amount of petrol is used to keep the engine turning over.

25 October 2010

[quote Autocar]

Can use public transport information to advise a driver that it is quicker to either use a bus or train for a particular journey.

[/quote]

With our public transport system this would be a redundant system!

[quote Autocar]Communication with traffic lights will allow the car to know how long it will be stationary
[/quote]

Only if we replace all the traffic signals with compatible systems, surely!

[quote Autocar]news flashes or games could be brought up on the TFT screen
[/quote]

Are they serious??? What idiot thought this would be a good idea while you're driving....Oh, yes, I forgot...BMW!!

25 October 2010

[quote artill]

I am sorry to tell you this is unlikely to be true. If your car is a modern fuel injected car it does not use any fuel at all when in gear but without your foot on the accelorater (except when ticking over).

[/quote]

Of course this is true, however the very small amount of extra fuel used when coasting, will have achieved quite a large amount of extra momentum when the car reaches the bottom of the hill since there is no engine braking. So assuming that you can make use of this extra momentum, there will most definitely be a net fuel saving.

From an efficiency perspective, it's only worth leaving the car in gear if you actually want to slow down or stop,

25 October 2010

All sounds pretty expensive to me.

25 October 2010

[quote LP in Brighton]

[quote artill]

I am sorry to tell you this is unlikely to be true. If your car is a modern fuel injected car it does not use any fuel at all when in gear but without your foot on the accelorater (except when ticking over).

[/quote]

Of course this is true, however the very small amount of extra fuel used when coasting, will have achieved quite a large amount of extra momentum when the car reaches the bottom of the hill since there is no engine braking. So assuming that you can make use of this extra momentum, there will most definitely be a net fuel saving.

From an efficiency perspective, it's only worth leaving the car in gear if you actually want to slow down or stop,

[/quote]

Unfortunately, this logic also appears flawed. If you need to accumulate speed downhill, use the accelerator. It will not take much effort from the engine as gravity is aiding your descent. Then, once at the desired speed, lift your foot. The ECU will cut fuel completely allowing gravity alone to maintain your speed, at nil further fuel cost to you. Your example would see you using petrol for the full length of the hill, rather than the first few yards only.

It is also a little dangerous to coast downhill - when in neutral, you have less control over a car's speed. When going downhill, the car is naturally trying to gather speed. I'd take full control every time in that situation, regardless of the extra one or two pence any particular hill may or may not cost me to traverse.

25 October 2010

Are you guys sure that a car uses NO fuel when coasting? I'm not intimately familiar with modern engine maps but I would have thought that a small amount would be required to maintain catalyst temperature and therefore effectiveness, and also to avoid pumping losses/excessive oil consumption. With respect to 'sailing', my fathers Rover 105 had this in 1963. And as for all of the other tech, I have rarely felt so underwhelmed. My phone does most of what BMW are advocating right now. Why would I want my £35,000 car, with it's 10-12 year life expectancy, to have similar tech to my £400 phone? After a year or two it will be decidedly out of date. Please just give us the basics BMW. We can do the rest if you provide an in-dash cradle for a mobile device.

25 October 2010

Can there be such a thing as too much tech?, self parking, which implies sardine like parking?, fine if your driving a BMW, but what if your not?, how many child related dents will stop you using the function?, just to have the novelty of watching your car park itself?, no, if we must have something useful tech in our car, pedestrian awareness tech would be a good idea, you know?, applies the brakes when needed or if you've not reacted to the unfolding accident?.

Peter Cavellini.

31 October 2010

Does this mean BMW will not be spending money on a hybrid 3 series and most development will be on improving the 2.0d power plant?

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