BMW South Africa will, over the next three months, introduce new gearboxes, Bluetooth communication technology and adaptive light control systems on its product ranges.

BMW South Africa will, over the next three months, introduce new gearboxes, Bluetooth communication technology and adaptive light control systems on its product ranges.

According to BMW SA managing director Ian Robertson, the BMW group has earmarked 2003 as an important product and technology year for Munich-based manufacturer.

The recently-unveiled Rolls-Royce is reportedly the curtain-raiser for the largest product offensive that the BMW Group has ever undertaken in the space of a year. A number of new BMW models will also be coming to South Africa in the near term, Robertson said.

But in the meantime, the BMW 320d, 330d, 325ti Compact and 330i sedan will be fitted with 6-speed manual gearboxes. The BMW 325i will remain a 5-speed manual but together with the 325ti Compact and the 330i will be offered with the option of a refined 6-speed SMG (sequential manual gearbox).

In addition, from May BMW SA will be offering Bluetooth technology in its 3- (including Compact), 5- and X5-Series cars. Due to the universal provision of a Bluetooth interface in mobile phones it is now possible to link up any Bluetooth-compatible mobile phone to the vehicle's electronic system.

This new link-up technology incorporates the use of a specific wireless data transmitting standard. As soon as the mobile phone is brought within the range of the chip installed in the vehicle, the system login is automatically performed as if the connection had been made by cable.

When the mobile phone is linked to the vehicle's electronic system via Bluetooth technology, calls can be made incorporating the multifunctional steering wheel and vehicle displays - this includes full use of the hands-free system. Data such as phonebook entries, top 8 priority list and numbers last called are synchronized with the vehicle's electronic system and displayed via the vehicle's on-board monitor. Up to four mobile phones can be linked up with the system.

Adaptive light control (ALC) will be available on the new-look BMW 330 Ci convertible and optional on the 325 Ci coupé. Featuring variable headlight control, ALC “quite literally brightens up the night”, BMW claims.

“Unlike conventional, swivelling headlights only following the steering wheel or the position of the front wheels, intelligent light control anticipates in advance which direction the driver is taking and swivels the moving vario-xenon-module headlights in the right direction. Thus ALC is able to illuminate the ongoing course of the road even before you enter a curve,” a BMW spokesman said.

The system works by virtue of "anticipative" illumination of the road ahead using a system of sensors and computers incorporating networked data such as the car's steering angle, road speed and lateral acceleration in order to recognize changes in course.