The next-generation 2013 BMW 5 Series has a number of tricks up its sleeve, not least a fancy stereo system that lets you stream millions of songs via the Internet on demand.
As well as playing cruddy FM radio and old-school CDs (ask your dad), the new 5 Series will come with the optional RaRa audio streaming service, which forms part of the new Connected Drive Online Entertainment package.
Unlike traditional audio streaming services like Spotify and Bloom.FM, which require the use of a smartphone, RaRa is integrated directly into BMW’s Connected Drive system, negating the need for extra hardware. Users simply navigate to the correct option using BMW’s iDrive interface and can search for specific tracks from a library in excess of 17 million.
Users can play individual songs, build playlists to suit their mood or the types of roads they’re travelling on, or choose from ready-made playlists curated by RaRa.
A Vodafone SIM card built into the vehicle streams tracks from the Internet, with clever caching ensuring your music keeps playing even if you travel through areas where a mobile signal is temporarily unavailable. Users can also download playlists in advance for journeys where a cellular signal is likely to be patchy for extended periods (North Wales, we’re looking at you).
RaRa in the BMW 5 Series will be available in the UK, Germany, France, Italy and The Netherlands and users can continue to stream without incurring extra roaming charges even when driving between countries.
RaRa BMW 5 Series customers will also be able to use the service on their iPhone, iPod Touch, Android and Windows 8 devices as well as on PC and Mac.
The service costs a not inconsiderably 390 Euro for a 12 month subscription, with subsequent 12 month renewals costing 220 Euro. Those prices work out at a hefty 32.50 Euro per month, which is considerably more than the £9.99 per month RaRa charges for its smartphone music subscription service. The company tells us the extra cost goes towards paying for the hardware inside the 5 Series as well as the roaming data plan.
RaRa for the BMW 5 Series can be ordered from dealerships now with availability commencing this summer. Keep your eyes peeled for a full hands on in the near future.