I've had experience with some of those memory settings on several different car models and if you're sharing keys with someone else who has different settings, you're constantly having to move things around. My Acura, for example, locks my doors after two minutes because that is how it was configred in the settings at the dealer, and I have absolutely no idea of how to change it. I too, would rather not pay an unnecesary visit (or fee, for that matter) to the dealer so what do I do? Have to play around with unlock buttons every time I want to open a door or the trunk. Sometimes, the less features, the better!
I drive an old Saturn that uses a far more advanced methodology. When I want to position the driver's seat, I reach underneath it, grab a thin metal bar, and pull. When I want to change the radio station, I reach out and touch a button (one finger is all it takes!) and the radio changes to the specific frequency that I'm looking for.
There's keep it simple, but don't you hate discovering someone's messed with your perfect driving configuration? There's no indicator for seat position for regular cars; you have to feel your way back to the right position. One more click back? No, that's not it.
Remembering settings can be terrific, if it's done correctly. 16-point adjustment sounds great, but to not have enough memory is simply lazy engineering, and the manufacturer should have a few heads chopped. There's no reason not to do a job right. When the vehicle costs in excess of $40,000, to scrimp on a few dollars of flash memory is simply LAZY.
There's a common theme for a lot of the posts dealing with automotive & appliance designs - over use of technology just for the sake of technology (and profit). I too wish for simpler designs - I havn't had a car yet with automatic climate control that was smarter than the good old fashioned manual controls. Unfortunately, the unwanted tech stuff usually gets packaged with a truely desirable feature.
I'm not sure there's an answer. It's hard to vote with your pocketbook if there's no option to vote for.
I agree with the "keep it simple" comments. This seems like electronic add-ons for the sake of electronic add-ons, which means there is more that can go wrong. It has never seemed particularly difficult to adjust the seat of any car I've owned. This sounds like a solution searching for a problem.
Owned a 2004 TOYOTA CAMRY.... GREAT vehicle, BUT it also would lock the doors on its own after a few minutes. I asked the dealer IF this could be disabled. He said, NO! So, every time I got out of vehicle, whether removing groceries or fueling, I made darn sure that the key was in my pocket. The replacement, a 2008 TOYOTA CAMRY is even more ridiculous. When first started, the screen of the radio announces, "Welcome to Camry". Is that really necessary? The dashboard light dimmer control has been combined w/ the odometer reset control. That's an interesting combination! The "automatic" headlight function can't decide whether it's sunrise, daytime, dusk, or evening. Depending on the cloud cover and/or sky brightness, the headlights and/or dashboard lights fluctuate between full daytime settings and full nighttime settings. Are these "advances" in technology included to make us all better motor vehicle operators, OR just prove that the engineers can design w/ the latest gadgets to come from the manufacturers?
This is why it is so important to have experienced (ie, older) people in charge of the bright young 20-somethings usually recruited to speed these projects through to production PDQ and STAT. Their brains haven't hardly finished maturing yet (medical fact) much less have they had much working experience (logistical fact) and they're usually party-hearty (c'mon, we've all seen the photos); which leaves very little left in the way of logical and rational thinking.
To any experienced software designer, it is crystal clear that settings should be saved as a "driver set" using a particular button or button sequence. The ONLY thing that key setting should store is the last "driver set" selected (NOT any changes or actions taking place when the key is being removed, etc.). If the car is driven by driver A (who activates the appropriate "driver set") and then parked, that is the "driver set" that should come into play when the car is restarted. That way if the valet moves the seat back, it automatically resumes the proper position when driver A gets back behind the wheel. If driver B is the next person to drive the car, they will select their settings using the appropriate button sequence (as they would under any circumstances).
Now, if the OEM wants to tie in wireless key fobs, then the "driver set" could be stored there also; although it forces drivers to make sure they always have their own key fob and not their diminutive spouse's (ouch when the seat crunches forward LoL).
Sorry, Rob. That's all the detail you get for free. LoL
Another feature of that X5 is that there's no easy way to turn OFF the climate control. You have to hold the fan speed slow down button and wait for it to slow down to "off".
Then there was the configuration feature where you couldn't get an in-dash CD player if you also wanted the in-dash navigation system. You could, however, get a navigation system with a cassette player. I think they've fixed this one since 2002 (they even now support iPod/iPhone integration).
Part of BMW's problem is that they have relatively low volume and a tremendous number of options. There are a large number of possible combinations and some of them are not well thought out. My overall concensus is that if it has to do with the driving characteristics of the car, they are spot on but if it has to do with creature comforts, BMW frequently gets it wrong.
To be fair, they did do a couple of things right in part of the key memory stuff...
1. When you bring the car in for service, they can get the VIN and odometer reading from the key rather than having to make a trip out to the car to manually read it. They then know stuff like what options your car has, what potential recalls apply, what scheduled maintenenance is needed earlier in the service drop-off process making that process smoother and more reliable.
2. The battery in the key is automatically charged when the key is in the ignition. In theory, you shouldn't have to replace the battery.
While some folks critisize Consumer Reports, I always review their vehicle reviews before buying. At least this way, I know what to avoid or what I am getting into. The BMW X5 (in general) has a very poor reliability history, especially with electronic features. This is why I am not surprised when owners of this vehicle complain.
And although Corvettes don't normally fare much better, my 01 allows me to set any of its many convenience settings such as auto seat movement, light/dawn/dusk/daylight settings, etc. In addition, I can access and read problem codes without having to buy an OBD II code reader. In a way, this car's gadget convenience outweigh the less-than-great reliabity.
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