We’ve all had to do it: the awkward shuffle in and out of the car when some inconsiderate motorist decided to park a little bit too close, or when we overestimated the size of the spot we were squeezing into.
Thankfully, BMW has a solution, though only on its two executive sedans. It’s called Remote Control Parking and allows the driver to stand outside the vehicle and guide it into or out of a particularly tight parking space by simply pressing a few buttons on the key.
How does Remote Control Parking work? Thanks to a video from BMW, we have our answer. Using the optional Display Key, the driver can start the engine, select the direction of travel, and pull the vehicle slowly head- or tail-first into a perpendicular parking spot at approximately 1 mph. The system allows the car to be moved up to 1.5 times its own length forward or backward, so make sure you’re close enough to the entrance of the parking spot before use.
Cameras and sensors in the front, rear, sides, and mirrors of the car help the system make small adjustments to center the vehicle and keep it from colliding with other vehicles or even obstacles like those pesky shopping carts that are always where you least expect them.
If the end of the parking space is detected by the car, the procedure is automatically stopped. However, if you want to pull in even closer, you have the ability to override the system and continue the maneuver. To start or stop the car moving manually, just press or release the button on the side of the Display Key.
Which BMW Models Offer Remote Control Parking?
At the start of 2019, Remote Control Parking is available as an option on the current 5 Series and 7 Series sedans and the 6 Series Gran Turismo. On the 6 Series and 7 Series, it is an $850* option on top of the required $700 Parking Assistance Package, for a total price of $1,550.
For the 5 Series, the technology is only available on the 540i and M550i after selecting the $1,400 Convenience Tier Package as well as the Parking Assistance Package, totaling $2,950 for the whole shebang.
Thankfully, that Parking Assistance Package also adds surround-view cameras, parking sensors all around, and the ability for hands-free parallel parking while you’re seated in the vehicle. This can steer you into a tight city space automatically if, like many of us, your parallel parking skills are sketchy at best.
Considering the 2019 540i starts at $59,945 and the 740i starts at $84,645 (both including the $995 destination charge) before tallying the additional options and packages required for Remote Control Parking, this tech doesn’t come cheap. But a robot chauffeur to guide you in and out of tight parking spaces doesn’t sound like a feature for the masses, does it?
* All prices accurate as of January 25, 2019