BMW just dropped off the shrinking list of automakers that continue to resist Android Auto. The Munich-based automaker announced it will make wireless Android Auto available across most of its range of models in July 2020, and Digital Trends has learned that the feature will be free on every compatible car. The news comes shortly after BMW pledged to stop charging its customers an annual fee to use Apple CarPlay, Android Auto’s archnemesis.
Android Auto will come standard on BMWs equipped with iDrive 7, the company’s latest infotainment system, and Live Cockpit, a digital instrument cluster that replaces analog gauges. The newest evolution of iDrive is either standard or optional on a long list of models, including the 3 Series, 5 Series, 7 Series, and 8 Series, as well as the X3, X5, X6, and X7. Motorists who want to replace the native infotainment system with an Android interface will need a compatible smartphone
The cool thing about BMW’s Android Auto integration is that the Google-developed software won’t simply replace the iDrive infotainment system on the wide, high-resolution screen mounted on top of the dashboard. It’s been adapted to also display information on the digital, driver-configurable instrument cluster, and even in the head-up display.
BMW owns the Mini brand, and models like the Hardtop and the Countryman still aren’t Android Auto compatible. Contacted by Digital Trends, a spokesperson for the British firm affirmed there’s no guarantee it will follow its parent company’s lead: “Mini won’t receive Android Auto functionality at the same time as it was just announced for BMW. At this time, we don’t have a confirmed timeline of when this functionality may become available on Mini models.”
And, what about the Toyota Supra? It’s closely related to the BMW Z4, and its infotainment system is more German than Japanese, meaning it’s not Android-ready, either. We reached out to Toyota for clarification, and we’ll update this story when we learn more. As of this writing, the born-again coupe remains Apple CarPlay-compatible only, but, hey, at least it’s free.
We’ll get our first demo of BMW’s infotainment system during CES 2020. The decision to offer Android Auto brings the company in line with rivals Audi and Mercedes-Benz, and it makes the list of anti-Google companies smaller than ever. Bentley and Porsche notably don’t offer the software, but both are planning to change that sooner rather than later.
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