Ultra-fast internet: BMW's quickest ever car has the web built in
The new BMW M6 is not for the faint hearted. The fastest road car BMW has ever put into production, it zips from 0-60mph in 4.2 seconds before the needle stops rising at a jaw-clenching 189 mph. And yet it also finds the time to pack in styling that turns more heads than an owl sanctuary, and more technology than a NASA scientist’s Christmas list.
It’s this last addition that makes the M6 really interesting. BMW’s Connected Drive system is rarely championed by the German car giant, always playing second fiddle to power, performance and design in the company’s high profile adverts, but it’s worthy of a gadget fancier’s attention, perhaps even more so than the M6’s 4.4 litre twin turbo V8. Last week, we got a hands on to see it in action.
Working in concert with BMW’s well-known iDrive controller, Connected Drive slathers the BMW M6’s in-dash display with prompts for tantalising tech treats, from web browsers to local Google Maps searches and the ability to read news feeds, tweets and Facebook messages (or rather, have them read to you while you drive). That’s on top of the usual hands-free calling, voice control and the ability to read incoming text messages out loud.
Throw the M6 into reverse and you’re treated to a spectacular panoramic view on the M6’s dashboard display. Fed from the video cameras secreted into the car’s body, this spookily accurate top-down vantage point lets you parallel park to perfection, or simply centre the car in the trickiest of supermarket spaces.
There’s more impressive stuff too, but it’s harder to see. BMW Assist uses a built-in SIM card, with its own telephone and data connection, to put you in touch with a concierge service, wherever you are, for whatever you need. Naturally, we used it to find the nearest fast food restaurant but BMW’s operators can find almost anything you need, beaming GPS details, contact numbers and addresses direct to the dashboard. You might never need to tap in a postcode again.
And then there’s the Connected Drive feature we hope you’ll never use: Emergency 999 SOS call. If it detects a crash, at least hard enough to activate the M6’s airbags, it’ll alert the emergency services and calmly convey your location down the line to them. Again, it uses the car’s own SIM card, and quickly unlocks the doors and turns off the radio as it does so.
These features, it must be said, are present on almost all new BMW models. You needn’t slap down the £93,795 to get hold of them. But hey, who doesn’t love seeing what’s possible right now when it comes to taking motoring tech to the limit?