BMW is to offer DAB radio as standard across its entire range from January 2013. The move sees the marque establish a marked lead in the switch over to digital radio compared to its competitors and comes soon after it offered owners of older BMWs the chance to upgrade their vehicles with a retrofit solution.
The 360 degree solution to the forthcoming digital switch over means no BMW owner of a modern vehicle will have to go without in-car entertainment when analogue radio broadcasts are discontinued. DAB radio will be fitted as standard from the entry level BMW 114i 3-door Sports Hatch all the way up to the BMW 760Li. No other mainstream premium manufacturer currently offers such a breadth of in-car entertainment.
The benefits of DAB have been compared to the switch over from AM to FM as the preferred medium. Digital radio offers greater choice to the listener with better reception and superior sound quality. Currently 94 per cent of the UK is covered by DAB signal with approximately 24 million listeners a week using the format at least once.
News of the class-leading across the range DAB offer comes soon after BMW partnered with Connects2 and its AutoDAB product to offer a fully integrated retrofit digital radio that is compatible with all BMWs with an RDS text-equipped FM radio.
The unique interface is the first fully integrated aftermarket digital radio available for BMWs in the UK. The AutoDAB system fits behind the dashboard, plugging into the existing radio. Fitting seamlessly behind the existing head-unit, installation takes on average one hour with no additional box or dangling wires, just a small aerial running from the back of the unit, affixing discretely to the top left corner of the windscreen.
Once installed, the station, artist information and song titles are all transmitted via RDS and displayed as text on the car’s existing display. All DAB functions are controlled by a radio frequency remote control fixed to the dashboard and favourite digital radio stations can be stored for quick access, with FM radio stations still available. The BMW digital radio retrofit is priced at £299 fitted and available to order from your local BMW dealer.
BMW model portfolio receives raft of enhancements
January 2013 sees the introduction of a higher level of standard equipment on several BMW models. The BMW 1 Series Sports Hatch gains BMW Professional Radio with a 6.5-inch monitor as standard along with an upgrade to DAB capability, while SE, Sport, Urban and M Sport models also gain rain sensor with automatic headlight activation. The BMW 1 Series Coupé and Convertible, and the BMW X3 gain the same radio enhancements as the Sports Hatch with the addition of Bluetooth and USB Audio Interface now as standard.