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      04-25-2023, 10:25 AM   #1
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iDrive7 vs iDrive8 comparison from three months daily driving using both

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As is generally the internet, things tend to be hyperbolic on both sides. We moved from the we're rushing out to buy 2022's as we hate ID8, to maybe ID8 is OK, to we definitely want ID8.5.

First off, I'll say having had ID in my cars for the better part of 12 years now, I find the system very intuitive. I still very infrequently use the touch screens in either cars and prefer the wheel. I hate smudges on the screen and keep an e-cloth in the car as well as a swiffer. The leather dashes are dust magnets. When BMW gets rid of the wheel/knob I may consider another brand. I find touch screens also distracting where you can wheel and drive at the same time a lot easier. Having kids there's always shuttling to be done so we take a lot of shortish trips multiple times a day, so it's a daily routine of hopping back and forth between cars.

For daily use, both my wife and I use Carplay (she has a 13 pro, I have a 14 pro) about 100% of the time, outside of going into the settings menus. I don't see any discernable thing that is done better by any infotainment system than what is done through the phone. The maps are instantly updated, you can view satellite and now street level and rather than pay a subscription cost for traffic camera information, it's all built into Waze. Also using Carplay audio produces lossless connection via Wi-Fi as opposed the compression of bluetooth. I do find it funny the X7 is now asking us to pay a subscription cost for traffic camera information when we turn the car on, a feature we've never actually used.

In terms of the implementation of Carplay, ID8 appears higher resolution so more icons and information is displayed as compared to ID7 but both look similar.

Overall, I see very little changes among the systems. ID8 is evolutionary in terms of color scheme changes as well as HUD/Driver's display changes in Sport mode (although the X6M has M-Mode for the Driver's display which the X7 obviously doesn't have). ID8 is amazingly good at temperature control. We've gone from -11 degrees to 93 in the period of three months and I've maybe adjusted the temperature twice. It was nice the ventilated seats came on immediately as the temperature changed, whereas in ID7 you had to go in and set levels for the ventilated and heated seats to change. On the ID7 side, I feel like I'm constantly adjusting fan speed, that hasn't been the case in ID8, it's been a lot more accurate in terms of getting to temperature. It's a very well done system, in some respects because it has to be with the loss of physical buttons.

ID8's implementation of the heating steering wheel is a massive fail. This should definitely be a button the steering wheel instead of a setting in the climate menu that has five settings, from off to very high. There is no reason one should have to click four times to turn the steering wheel onto the highest setting. It's made to be programmed through the climate menu but it just seems unnecessary, in the same way asking your car to turn on the steering wheel is.

In terms of the loss of buttons, it's really been a non issue outside of the steering wheel and overall I find ID8 to be a very usable continuation of ID7. I don't look at any of the changes as being something that should force someone away from upgrading. At the same time I don't view anything in ID8 as being a reason to upgrade. I guess it's TBD if 8.5 is evolutionary or not, it would appear as it's more UI changes than anything. It may be snappier as a general UI as well given the updates to the head unit; however, Carplay for all intents and purposes is extremely snappy and responsive already.

Overall, what'd I'd say and also having seen the newest implementations of Carplay that other brands are going to from WWDC, I don't see a huge reason to use the internal infotainment system. It's just hard to see how internally designed infotainments can fight the goliath that is Apple in terms of development and the phone even with the new headunit speed, still has more processing power to deal with.

Hope this helps people that are on the fence, e.g. there's really no reason to upgrade if you're happy but also no reason not to if you want/need something newer.
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      04-25-2023, 11:37 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tehyox View Post
Also using Carplay audio produces lossless connection via Wi-Fi as opposed the compression of bluetooth.
Interesting. If CarPlay is used- Apple Music connects via the head units wifi as opposed to connecting via the phone and via bluetooth, or am I mistaken it was is being said? I had read somewhere that the bluetooth connection between the phone and X7 didnít allow for the full advantage of lossless audio experience (something about the specs of which Bluetooth was used and ability to translate at that granular of level). The above seems to indicate that the head unit connects with apple directly via wifi if using CarPlay and therefore allows for the full advantage of lossless playback.
Suppose this also means that a wifi subscription is needed in order to effect this.

Am I reading and digesting the above accurately?
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      04-25-2023, 11:49 AM   #3
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Agreed. On the steering wheel heating I usually just use voice command. Same for seat heating and cooling if I want to override the car. Otherwise I barely go into climate menu. The one time I did want to change the fan speed, I wished I had buttons! But in general it's a non issue.
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      04-25-2023, 11:51 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chicagox7 View Post
Interesting. If CarPlay is used- Apple Music connects via the head units wifi as opposed to connecting via the phone and via bluetooth, or am I mistaken it was is being said? I had read somewhere that the bluetooth connection between the phone and X7 didnít allow for the full advantage of lossless audio experience (something about the specs of which Bluetooth was used and ability to translate at that granular of level). The above seems to indicate that the head unit connects with apple directly via wifi if using CarPlay and therefore allows for the full advantage of lossless playback.
Suppose this also means that a wifi subscription is needed in order to effect this.

Am I reading and digesting the above accurately?
Wireless Carplay and Android Auto connect over WiFi, so they have a high bandwidth connection over which they can transmit lossless audio.

Imo the issue is overblown, modern Bluetooth can transmit at very high bitrates and is effectively lossless as far as the human ear is concerned. Even the basic SBC codec is capable of doing that, you don't need fancy codecs like AptX or LDAC.
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      04-25-2023, 12:20 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PinkNinja400Guy View Post
Wireless Carplay and Android Auto connect over WiFi, so they have a high bandwidth connection over which they can transmit lossless audio.

Imo the issue is overblown, modern Bluetooth can transmit at very high bitrates and is effectively lossless as far as the human ear is concerned. Even the basic SBC codec is capable of doing that, you don't need fancy codecs like AptX or LDAC.
If you look at the sources on bitrate for steaming via bluetooth directly, it seems to cap most as 256kbps. Amazon Music is one of the only ones that will show it. Whereas it will play using 24bit/96khz via Carplay. In theory I guess it goes to 192khz but I am not even sure the DAC supports it on the car.

It may also be a coding issue on the side of Amazon Music and Apple Music for all I know. It definitely goes into the lossless formats a lot easier via Carplay than it does via BT.
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      04-25-2023, 12:22 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chicagox7 View Post
Interesting. If CarPlay is used- Apple Music connects via the head units wifi as opposed to connecting via the phone and via bluetooth, or am I mistaken it was is being said? I had read somewhere that the bluetooth connection between the phone and X7 didn’t allow for the full advantage of lossless audio experience (something about the specs of which Bluetooth was used and ability to translate at that granular of level). The above seems to indicate that the head unit connects with apple directly via wifi if using CarPlay and therefore allows for the full advantage of lossless playback.
Suppose this also means that a wifi subscription is needed in order to effect this.

Am I reading and digesting the above accurately?
The opposite in terms of the wifi subscription. If you are using the wifi subscription the router in the car will actually take the SSID away from Apple Carplay. Apple Carplay will take over the router to establish an internal network to the car, so it's free.
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      04-25-2023, 01:03 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tehyox View Post
The opposite in terms of the wifi subscription. If you are using the wifi subscription the router in the car will actually take the SSID away from Apple Carplay. Apple Carplay will take over the router to establish an internal network to the car, so it's free.
This is very helpful to understand, thank you. If Iím understanding correctly, the phone connects via cellular to get the info and then creates itís own network within the car via the internal router. This allows for a better /faster connection to the car, which may be also be used by other devices.

BTW- apologies for hijack of the thread to help me better understand this!
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      04-25-2023, 01:35 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chicagox7 View Post
This is very helpful to understand, thank you. If Iím understanding correctly, the phone connects via cellular to get the info and then creates itís own network within the car via the internal router. This allows for a better /faster connection to the car, which may be also be used by other devices.

BTW- apologies for hijack of the thread to help me better understand this!
The cars have a router inside. When using Carplay that router is used to pass from your phone to the car. It does stop the in car Wi-Fi from being connected to by other devices as the router is being used for the Carplay connection. The phone still uses its own cellular connection to connect all of its services onto Carplay, audio, maps, etc. then passes those through the in car wifi to the headunit. As the headunit router is being used for Wireless Carplay you can't then use it for the in car Wi-Fi. Probably the only disadvantage as compared to using a wired connection for Carplay or the in-car infotainment.
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      04-25-2023, 03:45 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tehyox View Post
If you look at the sources on bitrate for steaming via bluetooth directly, it seems to cap most as 256kbps. Amazon Music is one of the only ones that will show it. Whereas it will play using 24bit/96khz via Carplay. In theory I guess it goes to 192khz but I am not even sure the DAC supports it on the car.

It may also be a coding issue on the side of Amazon Music and Apple Music for all I know. It definitely goes into the lossless formats a lot easier via Carplay than it does via BT.
Ok. I'm using a music player app to play flac files which I have saved on my phone. Didn't realize that streaming apps could underselect the bit rate when they detect you're using bluetooth.
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      04-25-2023, 05:36 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PinkNinja400Guy View Post
Ok. I'm using a music player app to play flac files which I have saved on my phone. Didn't realize that streaming apps could underselect the bit rate when they detect you're using bluetooth.
Makes total sense. There's probably nothing that Apple does any better than anyone else, it just puts it in a good, easy to use package.

Do you know what DAC the Harmon Karden and B & W use and what the max bitrate is?
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      04-26-2023, 07:20 AM   #11
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I have had both as well.

For me the big evolutionary items on ID8 are the bigger screen and augmented directions that pop up with arrows and real picture of where to turn. It has saved me a couple times.

The rest are nice to haves, and I do like the enhanced voice recognition. It seems to work much better and can do almost anything in the car by voice.

The reason that's important is the biggest con, lack of buttons
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      05-04-2023, 03:08 PM   #12
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For both our G20s, I do not find iDrive 8 any faster than iDrive 7 in day-to-day interactions. For example, saying ďHey BMW, open all the windowsĒ nets the same 5-10 second delay for it to actually happen. Itís probably because the actual voice command is being routed over AT&Tís 4G LTE network to BMWís servers, which then process the request, and then have to relay it to the car. Thereís definitely some lag there.

Having said that, Iím sure the updated MGU in the new 7 makes iDrive 8 faster than 8 in my M340i - after all, it has more processing power to handle things like augmented reality navigation.
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      05-04-2023, 03:09 PM   #13
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Itís funny that OP posted this thread. Iím a big fan of ID7 and do not like ID8. The deal breaker for me was the initial CarPlay bug that existed when ID8 came out that made CarPlay navigation unusable. I got to sample ID8 at M Town a couple of days ago in the XM and found it worked as it should in CarPlay. Do I like ID8 as much as ID7, no. Can I live with it if I must, yes. So, Iím now back to considering another X6M which now has ID8.
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      05-04-2023, 03:11 PM   #14
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Thank god my M3 still has the steering wheel heating button.

Using both semi-daily in an id7 2023 X5 and my 2023 id8 M3 I can say id8 isn't had bad as I first taught, I actually like many things about it but the integrated seat heating that you can't control without turning off auto climate was a risky move by BMW, I wouldn't be surprised they revert some stuff back eventually or at least give back some individual control without removing the integrated stuff.
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      05-04-2023, 04:20 PM   #15
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Great review, I have ID8 in my G80 and oddly enough the heated steering wheel button is a physical button on the wheel. I didn't know it was different on other models.
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      05-04-2023, 05:24 PM   #16
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Do you have to look at the screen to get to the macro buttons, or can you macro that screen to pop up from the steering wheel inputs in any way? Putting the macro buttons into the software is completely unintuitive to me, and a huge bummer, as I use them on nearly every drive. Did you use them a bunch before, or not so much? Thanks for the write up!

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      05-04-2023, 05:40 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alpine300zhp View Post
ÖThe deal breaker for me was the initial CarPlay bug that existed when ID8 came out that made CarPlay navigation unusableÖ
I still have that bugÖ Iím mostly using the BMW nav for now, but itís annoying to have to manually enter the destination (even using the app). Apple map mostly works - except of course when I depend on it to get somewhere.
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      05-04-2023, 06:07 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by CaliforniaDrew View Post
I still have that bugÖ Iím mostly using the BMW nav for now, but itís annoying to have to manually enter the destination (even using the app). Apple map mostly works - except of course when I depend on it to get somewhere.
Maybe you know this already but you can share a destination from apple or Google maps to the bmw app which will then send it to the car. You never have to actually search for anything directly in the bmw app or on the car.
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      05-04-2023, 06:14 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chris3g View Post
Maybe you know this already but you can share a destination from apple or Google maps to the bmw app which will then send it to the car. You never have to actually search for anything directly in the bmw app or on the car.
Agreed but instead of just pressing ďGoĒ in Apple Maps, now I have to do send the destination to the MyBMW App, then open my notifications in the car, then start Nav. Yeah, Iím lazyÖ

Point is - CarPlay Nav works flawlessly on ID7, so in my mind ID8 is a clear step back on that front (for now at least)!
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      05-04-2023, 07:52 PM   #20
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Youíve adjusted the temperature twice with a 100 degree change in outside temps?

You left out some important things - sorry if I missed this in my quick read: 1) recirc button is also super frustrating. 2) if you do want to adjust air speed or direction, you have to turn off automatic mode which is a little toggle. 3) my steering wheel still had the heated button - it wasnít a multi-level adjustment, at least not that I knew of 4) heated seats and ventilated seats adjustment is annoying, too many levels. And why does it go from 5 settings to 3 if you turn off the auto mode? 5) favorites are cool but itís a swipe down function that doesnít work so well and especially when in apple CarPlay. Favorites in iD7 is superior. 6) swiping right and left is a nice way to navigate some of the widgets and graphics are high def, I agree; that said, the graphics are a bit unnecessary, not sure I get any value from them. 8) the sheer amount of icons is totally unnecessary, what do most of them do - never could really undertstand that computer-like approachÖ. Like taking a walk back in time to a Microsoft PC with an early operating system. 9) I spend more time looking at the road with iD7, you know, actually focused on driving. 10) flipping back and forth between trip computer and weather and sound settings and CarPlay etc is a bit of an effort. 11) my impression is if you are coming into iD8 from another brand or an older model you might be amazed at the versatility; if you have been accustomed to iD7, itís a bit overwhelming and annoying and an overly simplistic cabin, ie a learning curve.
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      05-04-2023, 08:32 PM   #21
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Good review. My god, why would they not just a damn button on the steering wheel for the heater still? Click it up to 5 times for higher settingsÖ..or at least click it once and then have something come up on the dash where you can then hit the touchscreen to do the temperatureÖ.thatís 2 presses total.

Even in my AMG, I have to turn the stalk on that is behind the turn signal stalk in order to turn on the heated wheel. Itís a PIA.
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      05-04-2023, 08:43 PM   #22
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Iím one week into ID8 and I agree with OPís comments. Even in ID7 I rarely changed the temp and 8 definitely seems to improve upon auto temp settings. I donít miss the heated steering wheel button, but miss the distance control button for DAPP. Being honest with everyone, I put the DAPP distance to medium and it performs great so far and doesnít have harsh braking like my 2020 X5 did. ID8 is BEAUTIFUL as far as visually. Donít let this deter you from buying a new Bimmer. Soon ALL cars will have similar systems without buttons.
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