By Peter Dushenski
BMW is famous for many things. The tagline “Ultimate Driving Machine”, its compact luxury car that wins every comparo it enters, and the inorganic X6 are but a few. But its reputation for broad daylight dupery is growing faster than even its impressive profit margins. Almost every BMW review you read now has a caveat about engine size politely disagreeing with the chromed numbers on the trunk lid. And it’s not just the new turbo M-cars that are attracting the poetic furor of car blogs and print mags (whatever those are) alike. It’s a pandemic!
328i with a 2.0L, 750i with a 4.4L, and their most brazen yet: M550d with a 3.0L!
If you were from another planet and didn’t know that BMW had a marketing department, you’d swear they used a giant spinning Ferris wheel and a team of carnies/interns to determine the names of their cars. It’s even possible that, given the recent petering out of the German Horsepower Wars (the new RS4 has fewer horsepower than the old C63), that Teutonic engineering pride is now given to he with greatest spread between actual and claimed engine size. If so, BMW is now in the lead with a untouchable two point difference. Audi and Mercedes don’t stand a chance!
And then there’s Ford. With their much-belaboured MyFord Touch (MFT), they’ve entered new realms of connectivity and confusion. MFT 1.0, as it is now post-humously known, was a landmark in infotainment gambling rivaled only by BMW’s 2001 introduction of iDrive. While BMW has taken over a decade to refine its proprietary system into something useable and intuitive, Ford isn’t waiting around so long. It can’t. Its customers aren’t badge snobs who will put up with something inferior as long as it has a blue and white roundel on it – Ford’s customers expect their tech to work now. Like RFN (Right Fuckin’ Now). And to do so intuitively.
The clock is definitely bigger…
So after only a year on the market, Ford is out with MFT 2.0, a pure software upgrade that’s compatible with MY2011 and MY2012 hardware, and will be standard on MY2013 systems. The new software is graphically cleaner, functionally quicker, and a marked improvement. But does it justify its moniker? Is it fully a generation beyond MFT 1.0 Is it a complete rethink of the way people interact with their Fords? Is Ford any better than BMW when it comes to deceptive naming?
Of course not. MFT 2.0 a spit and polish. It’s a necessary and useful upgrade, but it can’t overcome the inherent distraction of using a touch screen based system vs. a joystick. MFT still sports the two 5-way steering wheel joysticks that control the 4.2″ screens on either side of the speedometer, but the new upgrade didn’t touch those.
After playing with the new MFT 2.0 at a fairly nonexclusive preview event, I’m of the mind that it deserves to be called “1.1” at most. Calling the new MFT “2.0” is like selling pasteurized milk as “Milk 2.0″ because it’s now less likely to kill you with pathogenic contamination. The new MFT is better, and less likely to kill you, but that doesn’t make it deserving of the Big Two.
On an entirely more philosophical note, an updated edition of a religious text is sufficient to start an entirely new religion. What edition of your religion would you be on if your Synogogue/Temple/Church followed in the fanatical footsteps of Ford and BMW? 188.8.131.52? Quite possibly. And even if you happen to be an atheist, you’re not the first.
By this point I think it’s clear that Ford is making progress far, far faster than BMW did, but their naming conventions still have some catching up to do.
And I managed an entire post on in-car infotainment without mentioning a fruit company. Booyah.