BMWs and Minis to get DAB as standard

  • DAB standard in all new BMWs and Minis from January
  • Equipment upgrades for 1 Series and X3
  • Progress being made to get DAB into more new cars
All new BMW and Mini cars will have DAB digital radio as standard from January 2013.

BMW has yet to reveal what price increases will be applied when the DAB-enabled cars go on sale; however it currently offers a retro-fit option for £299.

In addition to DAB radio, BMW says that from January all versions of the 1 Series and the X3 will get its Professional Radio system with 6.5-inch monitor as standard. Three-door versions of the 1 Series will also get rain sensors and automatic headlights as standard in SE, Sport, Urban and M Sport trims.

DAB radio: where are we now?
Car makers have set a self-imposed deadline to offer all new cars with DAB radio by the end of 2013. The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) believes this target is achievable.

'Significant progress has been made in developing the content and coverage of digital radio,' said SMMT chief executive Paul Everitt. 'The industry is on a firm footing to deliver its commitment to fit all new cars with digital radio by the end of 2013, and digitally enable all vehicles by 2015.'

CAP, the car data company, says the uptake of DAB radio is experiencing a sharp increase. The organisation's new vehicle data expert, David Saville, said: 'In the first quarter of 2010, only 3.8% of vehicles registered had DAB radio as standard, with 33% of the rest having it available as a cost option. By the third quarter of this year 25.5% of cars registered had DAB as standard, and 26% of the remainder sold had it available as a cost option.'

The analogue radio switch-off was originally planned for 2015, but there are concerns this might be delayed. The Government has promised to support the analogue signal until 50% of radio listening is conducted through a DAB receiver – the current figure is just 31%.

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By Iain Reid
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