BMW has confirmed that all new cars from January 2013 will be fitted with DAB as standard. The move sees the brand establish a lead in the digital switchover, while it has also confirmed a retrofit solution is also available on older BMWs.
From the entry level BMW 114i 3-door Sports Hatch all the way up to the BMW 760Li DAB will be the norm and currently no other premium manufacturer offers such a breadth of in-car entertainment.
Comparable to the switch from AM to FM, DAB offers a huge number of radio stations and all with superior sound quality. Currently 94 per cent of the UK receives a DAB signal with approximately 24 million listeners a week using the format at least once.
The German brand has partnered with Connects2 and its AutoDAB product to offer a retrofit digital radio that is compatible with all BMWs with an RDS text-equipped FM radio.
The unique interface is the first fully integrated aftermarket digital radio available for BMWs in the UK. The AutoDAB system fits behind the dashboard, plugging into the existing radio. Sitting behind the unit, installation takes only an hour and there’s no additional box or dangling wires, just a small aerial running from the back of the unit, affixing discretely to the top left corner of the windscreen.
Car information experts CAP expects other manufacturers to quickly follow suit, New Vehicle Data expert David Saville said: "In the first quarter of 2010 only 3.8% of vehicles registered had DAB radio as standard, with 33% of the remainder of those sold having it available as a cost option. By the third quarter of this year 25.5% of cars registered had DAB as standard and 26% of the remainder of those sold had it available as a cost option.
"BMW's announcement this week that DAB would become standard across their entire model range is a real shot in the arm for a less piecemeal approach by the industry to DAB.
"Whether it's in 2015 as originally planned, or later, DAB will be essential rather than a ‘nice to have' option. Experience shows us that where the Germans lead in the car market, others follow, and we therefore expect most manufacturers to start making DAB standard across their ranges in the coming year to 18 months."