iDrive BMW 2006-6 Series

iDrive is a proprietary integrated drive system developed by BMW for its vehicles. It was first introduced in 2001 and became available in the BMW 6 Series in 2006. iDrive acts as a central control system for various vehicle functions, such as climate control, navigation, and entertainment, and can be operated through the use of a rotary controller or touch screen interface.

The 2006-6 Series BMW cars equipped with iDrive are luxury vehicles that offer a premium driving experience with advanced technology. iDrive in the 2006-6 Series BMW vehicles allows the driver to control a variety of car functions, such as audio, navigation, and climate control, through a central controller or touch screen. The iDrive system offers a user-friendly interface that makes it easy to access and control various features of the car.


iDrive combines the functions of a multitude of switches. This allows these functions to be operated from a central position. The following section provides an introduction to basic menu navigation. The control of individual functions is described in connection with the relevant equipment.


iDrive BMW 2006 6 Series

1 Control Display
2 MENU button Opening the start menu
3 Controller

You can use the controller to select menu items and change settings by:

  • moving in four directions, arrow 4
  • turning, arrow 5
  • pressing, arrow 6

⚠ To avoid becoming distracted and unnecessarily endangering both your own vehicle’s occupants and other road users, never attempt to use the controls or make entries unless traffic and road conditions allow.

Menu overview

  • Telephone*
  • BMW Assist* or TeleService*
Navigation or onboard information
  • Navigation system*
  • Onboard info, e.g. for displaying of the average fuel consumption
  • Radio
  • CD player and CD changer*
  • Air distribution
  • Automatic program
  • Parked car ventilation
I menu
  • Switching off the Control Display
  • Tone and display settings
  • Settings for your vehicle, e.g. for the central locking system
  • Display of the service requirements and dates for statutory emission and vehicle inspections
  • Settings for the telephone

Basic operation

With the ignition switch at radio readiness or higher, the following message appears on the Control Display:

iDrive BMW 2006 6 Series1

To confirm the message: Press the controller. This opens the start menu.

Start menu
iDrive BMW 2006 6 Series2

You can call up all the functions of iDrive using five menu items.

Opening start menu

Press the MENU button. To open the start menu from the i menu: Press the MENU button twice.

Opening menu items of start menu
iDrive BMW 2006 6 Series3

From the start menu, you can call up the four menu items Communication, Navigation, Entertainment, and Climate by moving the controller left, right, forward, or back. Depending on your selection, the last menu opened will be displayed in each case.

You can open the i menu by pressing the controller

Comfort opening of menu items

Convenience opening offers you the option of:

  • Opening a menu item of the start menu in the view last selected
  • Direct switching between Communication, Navigation, Entertainment and Climate without pressing the MENU button

To do so, move the controller in the corresponding direction and hold it for longer than approx. 2 seconds.

Displays in menu
iDrive BMW 2006 6 Series4

1 Each menu is divided into fields. The currently selected field appears brighter.
2 A symbol indicates the last selected menu item of the start menu:

iDrive BMW 2006 6 Series5

1 Menu items are usually grouped in horizontal or vertical lists.
2 Arrows indicate the possibility of accessing other menu items that are not currently visible.
3 Settings are displayed graphically or numerically

Operating principle at a glance

Basic operation via iDrive is described in this view. You can view the individual steps under Settings on Control Display, Setting time.

iDrive BMW 2006 6 Series6

1 Selecting a menu item:

  • Turn the controller; the marking moves
  • Menu items shown in white can be selected by marking

2 Activating a menu item:

  • Press the controller
  • New menu items are displayed or the function is carried out

3 Selecting a menu item: refer to 1
4 Switching between fields:

  • Briefly move controller left, right, forward or back
  • Release controller
  • Active field appears lighter

5 Adjusting settings:

  • Turn controller
  • Graphic display, numerical value or text displays can be changed
  • Confirmation by changing field

Status information

iDrive BMW 2006 6 Series7

1 Display for:

  • Entertainment: Radio, CD
  • Telephone* in “Communication”: Name of linked mobile phone, network search or no network
  • “BMW Assist”*: Existing voice connection with a service from BMW Assist

2 Entertainment sound output off
3 Display for:

  • New entries present in “Missed calls”*
  • Roaming active

4 Telephoning* is possible if the mobile phone is logged onto the vehicle Reception strength in mobile phone
network depends on mobile phone
5 Time Other displays: When Check Control information appears or entries are made via the voice command system*, the status information is temporarily hidden.

Assistance window*

iDrive BMW 2006 6 Series8

Additional information can be displayed in the assistance window:

  • the computer or the trip computer
  • the arrow display or map view in vehicles equipped with navigation system*
  • The current position
Selecting displays
  1. Move the controller to the right to switch to the assistance window and press the controller.
iDrive BMW 2006 6 Series9
  1. Select a menu item.
  2. Press the controller.
Switching assistance window on/off
  1. Move the controller to the right to switch to the assistance window and press the controller.
  2. Select “Assist. window off” and press the controller.
iDrive BMW 2006 6 Series10

To switch on, switch to the assistance window and press the controller.

Switching Control Display on/off

  1. Press the MENU button. This opens the start menu.
  2. Press the controller to open the I menu.
  3. Select “Display off” and press the controller.
iDrive BMW 2006 6 Series11

To switch on, press the controller.

Voice command system

The concept

The voice command system allows you to control operation of various vehicle systems without ever removing your hands from the steering wheel. Individual menu items on the Control Display can be spoken as commands. This frees you of having to use the controller.

The voice command system transforms your spoken commands into control signals for the selected systems and provides support in the form of instructions or questions. The voice command system includes a special
microphone. The microphone is located:

  • Near the interior rearview mirror in the Coupe
  • On the steering column in the Convertible

In order to enable identification of the commands to be spoken, use iDrive to set the language for the voice command system. Setting iDrive language.

Symbol in the Owner’s Manual

{…} Say the specified commands word for word. {{…}} Indicates the responses of the voice command system.

Voice commands

Activating voice command system
  1. Press the black button on the steering wheel or in the center console.
iDrive BMW 2006 6 Series12

This symbol on the Control Display and an acoustic signal indicate that the voice command system is ready to respond to commands.

iDrive BMW 2006 6 Series13
  1. Say the command. The command is displayed on the Control Display
iDrive BMW 2006 6 Series14

This symbol appears on the Control Display when it is possible to input additional commands. If no other commands are possible, then operate the equipment using iDrive.

Terminating or canceling voice input

Press the button on the steering wheel or in the center console or {Cancel}.

Having possible commands read aloud

You can have the system read aloud the possible commands related to the selected menu item on the Control Display. To have the system list the possible commands:


For example, if you have selected “CD”, the system will read aloud the possible commands for operating the CD player and the CD changer.

Opening help


Using alternative commands

There are often several commands for running a function, e.g.:

{Settings menu} or {i menu}

Running functions directly with short commands

You can use short commands to carry out certain functions directly, regardless of which menu item is selected.

Opening start menu

{Main menu}

An example: selecting a track

  1. Switch on Entertainment sound output if necessary.
  2. Press the button on the steering wheel or in the center console.
  3. {Entertainment} The system says: {{Entertainment}}
iDrive BMW 2006 6 Series15
  1. {CD} The system says: {{CD player switched on}}
iDrive BMW 2006 6 Series16
  1. Press the black button on the steering wheel or in the center console.
  2. Select a track, e.g.: {Track 1} The system says: {{Track 1}}
iDrive BMW 2006 6 Series17

▶ The mobile phone can also be operated by voice commands.

For voice commands, bear the following in mind:

  • Say the commands and numbers smoothly and at normal volume, avoiding excessive emphasis and pauses. This also applies to spelling when entering the destination.
  • Always say the commands in the language of voice command system.
  • When selecting a radio station, use the usual pronunciation of the station name.
  • For entries in the voice-activated phone book, only use names in the language of the voice command system and no abbreviations.
  • Keep the doors, windows and glass sunroof* or convertible top closed to prevent interference from ambient noise.
  • Avoid background noises in the vehicle while speaking.
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