11 August 2014

BMW Design Flaws

I'm now the proud owner of a 428i convertible.  With xdrive.  I love it.  But that doesn't mean I can't find a few design flaws.

* The rear view mirror blocks too much of the forward view.  The frame around the mirror is a couple of centimeters wide.  It needs to be a couple of millimeters wide.  Also, there are sensors and connectors built into a roughly hand-sized component just above the mirror that reduce visibility.  Sure would be nice if that was built into the back of the mirror.

* Adjusting the side mirrors is too confusing.  There are two adjacent buttons: One button causes the mirrors to fold in.  The other button is really a slide and selects the left or right mirror for adjusting with the electronic switch.  Except that when the left mirror is selected, mirror automation is enabled.  (Mirror automation is when the right mirror tilts down when the gear shift is in reverse.)  This has various problems:
    * The switch has overloaded functionality.
    * The switch looks like the button.
    * There is no position on the switch where neither mirror is selected.  A "no selection" is desirable to prevent the mirror from being accidentally adjusted.
    This could be better by providing a three position switch with a distinctive switch shape that just controlled mirror selection.  This would be next to the adjustment dial.  Behind the switch would be a pair of buttons.  Ideally, one of the buttons would have an icon indicating it is used to fold in the mirrors, and the other button would have an "A" icon which BMW uses on other controls to indicate it turns on automation.

* The gear shift is backwards.  When you want to drive forwards, you pull the gear backwards.  When you want to drive backwards, you push the gear forward.  You could also take a cue from manual transmissions where first gear involves moving the gear shift forwards and reverse involves moving the shift to the side and backwards.


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