Modern cars are more sophisticated than they let on. Loaded down with sensors and other electronic equipment, they record and process a ton of data that you never really see. But what if you could harness that data to become a better driver?
BMW has found a clever way to do that using your iPhone and a USB cable, and it's called the M Power App. If you have a newer Bimmer with the Apps package, and you find yourself at race tracks rather often, you're going to want this. It seems like a great way to learn how not to fling your M3 into the grass at your next track day.
Track apps are really nothing new. There's a litany of apps for iOS, Android and other platforms that use your phone to measure zero to 60 mph times, horsepower, lateral G's and other things you'll want. Some of the better ones even work with the car's OBDII port, but that starts to cost money.
But this app is interesting because it's designed to work directly with your BMW, recording data from the car's sensors. The folks at Bimmerpost have the scoop, and some of them even got to take it for a spin around the Circuit of the Americas using the new M6 Gran Coupe as a test car. (Tough gig, I know.)
If you have the BMW Apps option on your car and a a USB cable, you can plug in your iPhone and record lap times, throttle input, steering input, top speed, number laps completed, and other technical data. It also used the GPS to generate a "track map" that shows your braking and acceleration, which I think is pretty cool.
You can compare your times and cornering speeds to your BMW-driving pals, so that if one of you puts your car into a wall, you'll know exactly what went wrong. It also works directly with the car's infotainment system and center screen.
This is different from the M Power Meter app that's currently for sale in the iOS store. The new one goes on sale this summer. The only downsides are that it seems to be for iPhone only at the moment, and it only works with newer BMWs with the Apps option, though not just M cars.
So if you planned to use it on that E30 "project car" that's sitting on blocks in your front yard, better luck next time.
Photos credit Bimmerpost
Hat tip to Tom!