BMW changes the M3’s and M4’s sound via a software update

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Here’s another reminder of how digital modern cars are today. BMW just announced that it is sending a wireless software update to the BMW M3 and M4 that will change the way they sound.

Of course, this software update doesn’t do anything about the sound of the M cars’ quad tailpipes. Instead, it’s software that changes the synthesized sound played through the speakers in the cabin.

We suspect M3 and M4 owners are wondering how this update will change their cars, and BMW gives us a brief description of what’s going on. BMW says owners will be “inspired by a refinement of the sound when starting the engine.” We’ve asked BMW exactly what that means – and will update after receiving a reply – but our best guess is that the first boot will be louder and more drama than before. Booting up the M3 isn’t exactly quiet as it is, but it isn’t a rumbling Hellcat either.

In addition, owners of the Competition models with the eight-speed automatic transmission will “find clearer audio confirmation of gear changes and load shifting changes.” We suspect the clearer shifting audio means each shift is accompanied by a louder bang. The current sound is almost like a loud thud, making it hard to believe that people miss upshifts or want a louder transition. Never mind, we’ll be wary of the next M3 or M4 we drive to hear the difference for ourselves.

In addition to the above, there are other updates for the BMW range as a whole, as long as said BMW is equipped with iDrive 7. The lane departure warning system will use new logic that is supposedly able to detect if it is on a narrow road. is without a center mark. If this is the case, the car automatically suppresses steering intervention to ensure that the car does not steer into the middle of the road (possibly into oncoming traffic) when you drive on or over the side lane marking.

The navigation system has been improved to better detect congestion and should offer you further optimized routes. BMW’s Digital Key feature (using your phone as a car key) extends control options to the Samsung Galaxy S21 series of phones and the Google Pixel 6 and 6 Pro. The BMW News app gets an upgrade with higher sound quality and more personalization options. Finally, updates to the Spotify app and Sirius XM Pandora should make both services a better experience for the users – both simply add more capabilities and options to the respective apps.

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