BMW’s Head-Up Display: A Genuine Safety Feature Or A Passing Fad?

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Estimated reading time: 6 min

What
is head up display in BMW?
NOTE: Autosvs doesn’t offer BMW head up display retrofit as of yet. This
article was prepared purely for educational purposes. To check our retrofits
and coding options, go to our shop.
BMW head-up display is a transparent screen displayed on the windshield,
which projects driver-relevant data straight into the driver’s line of sight.
Made with the aim of helping drivers maintain their focus on the road, it
actually reduces the time required to absorb 
information by more than half compared to glancing at the cockpit or
the central BMW iDrive screen. Anyone who drives pedal to the metal
especially treasures that feature at high speeds.

Depending on your vehicle model and the options you pick BMW head-up
display can show the following information:

RPM
Vehicle Status
Warning Messages
Collision Warning
Navigational Turn-By-Turn Directions
Telephone and Call Information
Entertainment Menu
Check Control messages
Lane Guiding
Road Speed
Speed Limits
Overtaking Restrictions
Active Cruise Control
BMW speed limits

If your car is additionally equipped with BMW Night Vision, you can also
leverage your BMW head-up display to alert you about approaching
pedestrians.

HOW DOES HEAD UP DISPLAY WORK IN BMW?
And how does that technology work exactly? By the magic of coordinating 3
components: a projector, a projection surface and an optical module. LEDs act
here as a light source, the TFT (thin-film transistor) screen as an imaging
unit and windshield as a surface for projection.

How does head up display work in BMW?

So how it works is the image you choose to display is rotated and mirrored
by the system’s optical modules to be then shown on the windscreen covered
with a wafer-thin coating used to avoid double images and adapt to the brightness
of the ambient light. The driver can at that point see all relevant
information and warnings in real time about two meters away in the line of
sight and easily process them no matter the time of the day or night.

How to turn on the head up display on a BMW?
There are different approaches to turning on or off the BMW head-up display
depending on its generation and your vehicle model.

If your BMW was produced between 2004-2018 you’ll most likely be able to do
that by a push of the HUD button placed next to or beneath the headlight
control, and can adjust its settings in the iDrive menu.

In later date cars, made between 2019-2022, you may have to get into your
BMW iDrive Settings to turn on the BMW head-up display.

How to adjust the head up display in BMW?
If viewing issues occur, or you simply want to adjust the parameters or
type of information displayed on your HUD, you can do it all in your BMW
iDrive settings.

Go to Car.
Enter Settings.
Check the BMW Head-Up Display Box.
Here select the information you want to display by simply checking the
boxes.
To adjust the HUD settings check the setting you want to modify and with
the use of your BMW iDrive Controller set up the brightness, height and
rotation.
M-type BMWs can modify even more head-up display settings. See how:

BMW head up display update and Apple CarPlay
Much to the delight of Apple fans, BMW head-up display can be also used
with certain functions of Apple CarPlay. If only your BMW software is
up-to-date (or 07/2020 version at least) and you’re equipped with BMW iDrive
7.0, you can display your Apple Maps and the current music track from Apple
Music on the screen, and have it running in the background while scrolling
through other radio stations.

Need to unlock BMW Apple CarPlay on your iDrive? We can do it for
you!

Keep in mind, the BMW head-up display works only with OEM Apple CarPlay.
BMW CarPlay retrofit won’t be compatible with that feature.

Don’t have OEM BMW Apple CarPlay in your car? Get a CarPlay retrofit for
2008+ BMWs.

WHEN DID BMW START PUTTING IN A HEAD UP DISPLAY?
As innovative as it may seem, BMW head-up displays are not new to the
automotive industry, or the tech industry in general. The first such screens
were made for military purposes back in the 1940s where they appeared in
World War II jet fighters to improve pilots’ ability to simultaneously
process the instrument and environmental data.

When did BMW start putting in a head up display?

Skipping 60 years forward, BMW introduced its own HUD version in 2004 5
Series E60 as an integral part of BMW ConnectedDrive, which initially could
only display speed information in a monochrome orange color. Almost 10 years
later, in 2013, the first BMW full-color head-up display appeared, boasting
50% growth compared to its predecessor and ensuring much better readability
and projection quality.

Currently the full-color head-up display can be found on the following BMWs
produced between 2013 2021:

BMW 2 Series
BMW 3 Series
BMW 4 Series
BMW 5 Series
BMW 6 Series
BMW 7 Series
BMW X1
BMW X3
BMW X4
BMW X5
BMW X6
BMW i8
Is the head up display included in a BMW package?
Don’t get too excited though ūüėČ Unfortunately not every BMW you see on the
lineup has a head-up display on them. You’ve got to be equipped with either
the Technology Package, Innovation Package or Premium Package to find it on
your option list, but at times even that doesn’t guarantee its presence especially
if you’re based in Europe.

Since the semiconductor crisis has escalated in 2021, some countries such
as Germany have withdrawn BMW head-up displays from a number of vehicles with
the Innovation package. That includes:
BMW 1 Series F40
BMW 2 Series F44 Gran Coupe, G42 Coupe
BMW 3 Series M340i, M340d, 330e
BMW 4 Series G22 Coupe, G23 Convertible, G26 Gran Coupe
BMW X3 30e
BMW X4 M40i, M40d
BMW Z4 Roadster G29
The availability of OEM BMW HUD may vary from country to country so it’s
always advised to contact your local dealer about the latest rules.

HEAD-UP DISPLAY IN MINI
MINI drivers are also not left out of enjoying the comfort of the head-up
display. Although, we must say it’s even less common on the British make than
on BMW vehicles.

MINI head-up display was first introduced to cars produced after 2014 with
the optional Navigation Pack Plus. The list may include:
MINI Clubman
MINI Countryman
MINI Electric
MINI Hatch
MINI Convertible

HOW TO UPGRADE YOUR HEAD UP DISPLAY BMW?
So let’s say you lack it on your option list. Can you add a head-up display
to a BMW? Absolutely! You can either go for a more time-consuming solution,
which is changing up your entire windscreen to install the OEM HUD, or simply
add a BMW head-up display retrofit. Although, the latter won’t be a HUD per
se more of a HUS (head up screen) ūüėČ that acts almost like the BMW OEM
head-up display with the difference of projecting the data onto a standalone
transparent OLED screen instead of your windshield.

BMW manufacturers introduced the BMW head-up screen retrofit in 2014, so
that no driver would have to compromise his or her safety in an older date
vehicle. Just like the BMW OEM head-up display, this original
accessory,allows you to see nav instructions and real time vehicle
information in your field of view, and can be mounted on top of the cockpit
in many BMW models. The list includes cars with navigation system (option
606/609) and instrument cluster with extended content (option 6WA):

BMW 1 Series (E81, E82, E87, E88, F20, F21)
BMW 2 Series (F22, F23, F45, F46)
BMW 3 Series (E90, E91, E92, E93, F30, F31, F34, F35)
BMW 4 Series (F32, F33, F36)
BMW 5 Series (F10, F11)
BMW X1 (E84)
BMW X3 (F25)
BMW X4 (F26)
As for the range of functions, the BMW head-up display retrofit shows the
fuel gauge, car speed, power, temperature drop warning, traffic jam warning,
output, torque, cruise control, speed limit, the altitude above sea level and
more all of which you’ll easily read even in direct sunlight. Should you feel
like adding a few adjustments to the brightness or type of info displayed,
you can do it via the BMW head-up screen app for Android and iOS devices.
Your HUS will receive its navigation data through WiFi and modify the info
accordingly.

To download the apps visit Google Play store or iTunes store both apps are
free.

BMW HEAD UP DISPLAY VS HEAD UP SCREEN – COST
Again, depending on the type of upgrade you choose the price will differ.
While replacing the entire windshield with a BMW OEM head-up display may cost
even up to $2K, the BMW  heads up
screen price can oscillate around $450 the final charge is as always
contingent upon your region.

IS THE BMW HEAD UP DISPLAY WORTH IT?
There are a few drivers who would deny that. The BMW head-up display may be
considered only a military gadget straight from an F-22 Raptor, yet those
who’ve used it will tell you the complete opposite. Once you experience the
comfort and safety of not taking your eyes off the road while controlling
core functions of your iDrive, you’ll loathe going back to your previous
setup at least that’s how many drivers feel after the first month of cruises.

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