BMW's iDrive earns high marks, but doesn't match Apple

Douglas A. Bolduc is Managing Editor at Automotive News Europe.Douglas A. Bolduc is Managing Editor at Automotive News Europe.
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BMW’s iDrive system ranked highest in Germany and Italy for user experience in a recent test, but the automaker and its peers have a long way to go to match Apple.

The overall user experience score for automakers’ human-machine interface (HMI) systems was 4.3 out of a possible 6.0.

By comparison, the iPhone scores well above 5.0, said Tim Bosenick, global head of user experience at German market research GfK. He presented his findings at the we.CONECT Car HMI Concepts & Systems conference in Berlin this week.

Bosenick created GfK’s user experience score. It is based on: how easy it is to learn and use the HMI system; its look and feel; and, most important, whether the user is inspired to do more and more with it. This is where the iPhone scores very high.

Bosenick tested BMW and 14 other brands. The tests took place in Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States with the benchmark being 4.4.

Bosenick only showed brands that scored above the benchmark. He declined to reveal the individual scores but his data showed BMW was No. 1 in Germany and Italy among brands with results that exceeded the benchmark.

BMW was followed by Audi, Mercedes-Benz and Opel in Germany. In Italy, BMW finished ahead of Audi, Volkswagen brand and Mercedes.

Nissan was No. 1 in the United States followed by Honda, Audi, Ford, Chevrolet and BMW. Lexus was tops in Japan with Toyota brand second then Nissan and Honda.

The main message that Bosenick provided was that developers must create systems that will cause people to say, “That’s my HMI.”

You can reach Douglas A. Bolduc at

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