BMW i4 steps up its Android Auto and Apple CarPlay integration

With apps available across the instrument cluster, main screen and even the head-up display, the new BMW i4 EV is taking Android Auto and CarPlay to new levels

BMW i4
(Image credit: BMW)

The BMW i4 is the first gran coupé electric vehicle to join BMW’s ranks and while it offers stunning looks and an impressive 365-mile range, it’s the entertainment system that stands out for me.

The 12.3-inch instrument cluster and 14.9-inch main screen combine to provide a sweeping curved display with its view optimized for the driver. While this principally still operates using BMW’s proprietary iDrive system, it provides wireless connectivity for Apple CarPlay or Android Auto in a way I’ve not seen before.

According to the promo video released by BMW, app functions such as Apple Maps can be integrated into the i4’s information display panel and head-up display, not just the main screen. While I’ve previously complained that use of Android Auto and CarPlay lack a wider car integration, this appears to be a big step forward.

BMW i4

(Image credit: BMW)

According to MacRumors, while other vehicles have offered turn-by-turn directions from Apple CarPlay in the instrument, this is the first instance of the full map being made available on a second display. It seems a lot of work has been done by BMW to make these systems feel like part of the car design rather than an add-on.

The video also suggests that “EV routes” (presumably to include charging stations) will be coming to Apple Maps soon. Something that I haven’t seen confirmed anywhere else. (Skip to around 8:40 on the video for the CarPlay section)

Arguably, a lot of this is still just catching up to what is offered by Tesla, but the combination of a curved screen and head-up display feels more useable than the large flat screen on recent Teslas. The Connected Professional Package that includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration appears to come as standard on the BMW i4 but does require you to connect your phone for it to work.

Mat Gallagher

As T3's Editor-in-Chief, Mat Gallagher has his finger on the pulse for the latest advances in technology. He has written about technology since 2003 and after stints in Beijing, Hong Kong and Chicago is now based in the UK. He’s a true lover of gadgets, but especially anything that involves cameras, Apple, electric cars, musical instruments or travel.