BMW changes sound of M3 and M4 via software update

Here’s yet another refresher on how digital modern cars are these days. BMW has just announced that it will be sending an over-the-air software update to the BMW M3 and M4 that will change their sound.

Of course, this software update doesn’t do anything to the sound of the M cars’ quad tailpipes. Instead, it’s software that alters the synthesized sound played over the cabin speakers.

We suspect M3 and M4 owners are wondering how this update will change their cars, and BMW offers 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 we hear back – but our best guess is that the initial start will be louder and more dramatic than before. The M3’s boot isn’t exactly quiet as is, but it’s not a growling Hellcat either.

Additionally, owners of Competition models equipped with the eight-speed automatic transmission will find “clearer audio confirmation of gear changes and shift load changes.” We suspect that the clearer shift audio means that every gear change will be accompanied by some sort of louder noise. The current sound is almost like a thud, making it hard to believe people are missing shifts or wanting a louder transition. Regardless, we’ll be on the lookout in the next M3 or M4 we drive to hear the difference for ourselves.

Besides the above, there are other updates to 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 which is supposed to detect if it is on a narrow road without a central marking. If so, the car will automatically remove steering intervention to ensure the car does not steer into the middle of the road (potentially into oncoming traffic) if you are moving over or at the above the side lane marker.

The navigation system is improved to better detect traffic jams and should provide you with even more optimized routes. BMW’s digital key function (using your phone as the car key) extends the operation capability to Samsung Galaxy S21 series of phones and Google Pixel 6 and 6 Pro. The BMW News app gets an upgrade with better audio quality and more customization options. Finally, updates to the Spotify app and Sirius XM Pandora should make both services a better experience for users – both just add more features and options to the respective apps.

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