BMW previewed the M Power App at the North American launch of the M6 Gran Coupe in Austin, TX this week. The M Power App is an enthusiast application that is essentially a track data recorder with insane functionality including steering angle and the ability to compare lap times with your buddy or even a race car driver via a proprietary data file. The app was designed for track use and can be used on any BMW outfitted with iDrive and BMW Apps. There is no additional hardware required if you have BMW Apps which is option 6NR which became available in 2011.
BMW Apps is an optional $250 add on to iDrive that must be installed at the factory when the BMW is manufactured. BMW states that there is no ability to retrofit an iDrive with BMW Apps as it requires additional hardware. In order to use the app, you download it from iTunes Store for free and then plug it into any BMW with BMW Apps. If the app has a track map of the track you are driving, it will record throttle position, steering input, braking, speed and GPS position. It will also record engine RPM and G-Force in addition to an accelerometer. This is all data imported into the program from the car. The steering input is unique to this app and BMW makes this available to customers who have BMW Apps without any additional cost.
One of the Demo’s BMW gave was overlaying two drivers who were with in a second of each other around Circuit of The Americas. The drivers had differing sections where they were faster or slower. It was fascinating to watch the small graphic steering wheel sawing back and forth as one of the two drivers dealt with what looked to be power on oversteer. It was a fascinating presentation and gives insight to what data the car is already gathering when you drive. No comment on the data recorder aspect of the car as to whether or not the data could be pulled out at a later date, like say when you take your BMW in for service. BMW is making this app available because they believe most M owners will take their M cars on track.
This app is intended for track use only, meaning it’s not gonna keep track of driving on public roads lest some people start using it improperly. If you have an iPhone 5, there is no snap-in adaptor you have to use your lightning cable plugged into the USB port. If you have an iPhone 4, you can the optional Snap-in Adapter or a USB cable. At this time there is no Android support and there is also no snap in adapter for the iPhone 5 but BMW is working on it.
Of note at the end of the audio portion of this podcast of the app, Roundel Magazine Editor, Satch Carlson throws up a hilarious yet serious comment about the M Power App providing a track timing device for BMW CCA Driving School Students. He goes so far, in a tongue and cheek fashion to claim that BMW is now the Antichrist for providing this. Listen for yourself and see. BMWBLOG sees this as one of the best BMW Apps out there and has the potential to be a fantastic data recorder for those who track new enough cars that have BMW Apps.
We will announce when BMW lets this app go live!
Listen to the video presentation by Phil Johnston, Product Manager for the BMW Group Apps Platform and Paul Doersch, the US Product Manager and Technical Lead for the M Power App.[audio:https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/3252835/BMW%20M%20Power%20App.mp3]