Matt Robinson profile picture Matt Robinson a month ago 5
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The Ignition On A Modern BMW Doesn't Turn Off Until You Lock It, And I Don't Get Why

M850i 'ownership' has got me thinking about BMW's new obsession with keeping the ignition on until you lock the car

Remind me later
BMW - The Ignition On A Modern BMW Doesn't Turn Off Until You Lock It, And I Don't Get Why - Blog

To begin with, the end of every journey is the same. You pull up to your destination, turn the engine off, open the door, and…wonder why the radio hasn’t shut up. So you press the stop/start button to switch the ignition off, only to be given a message about putting your foot on the brake to start the car. Which isn’t what you’re trying to do.

That’s because, by default, the M850i’s ignition won’t turn off until the car is locked. So if you have a lot of stuff to unload, you’ll be inflicting your taste in music on anyone near you until you’re finished.

BMW - The Ignition On A Modern BMW Doesn't Turn Off Until You Lock It, And I Don't Get Why - Blog

Buried deep within the infotainment system, though, is a way of getting things back to the way they should be. You navigate via Car>Settings>Doors and Access, which brings up an option to have the ignition turned off as soon as the driver’s door is opened. Or, if there’s someone in the passenger seat, it switches off after both front doors have been opened. I’m not sure why it took me this long to find it, but finally, I can unload the car without music pointlessly blaring out.

This isn’t restricted to the 8-series, either - all Gx generation BMWs we’ve tried have the same default setting. To understand why we had a word with BMW UK. The answer is that the cars “are smart enough to decide what vehicle functions remain active” based on what the car/driver are doing at the time.

BMW - The Ignition On A Modern BMW Doesn't Turn Off Until You Lock It, And I Don't Get Why - Blog

There are three main ‘states’ a Gx BMW can be in: ‘Parking’, when no one is in the car and “vehicle functions cannot be operated”; ‘Residing’, when someone’s in the car and functions are limited to those “relevant when the vehicle is stationary”, and finally ‘Driving’, when all functions are available.

You’d think, then, that when everyone’s out of the car, the 8er would go straight to ‘Parking’, but this actually takes a little while - I tested it (yes, I’m that dull) and it took around three minutes for the car to automatically power down.

BMW - The Ignition On A Modern BMW Doesn't Turn Off Until You Lock It, And I Don't Get Why - Blog

To me, it just makes more sense that the car turns itself off when you get out. It’s the way almost every other modern car works, I can’t see any reason why you’d want the ignition to remain on any longer. And most importantly, if the car is set to shut down when you open the door, you get to enjoy the snazzy ‘goodbye’ sequence on the infotainment screen, which is a little like the end credits of a Bourne film.