To round out my opinions on the stereo system of the R56 with navigation, here’s a quick look at Sirius satellite radio. The factory system is very expensive, especially compared with a sub-$100 standalone receiver that you could connect to the AUX input … but with the factory system it’s fully integrated to the car, there’s no additional antenna on the roof, and you get your first year of service included.
When you access satellite radio, the NAV screen shows a list of all channels – every one has a check mark next to it, assuming you’ve activated the receiver. Seems a bit odd to show that; why not simply omit channels that aren’t available! But anyway, you get a list of channels and you can rotate the joystick to listen to any one – with less than 200 channels, it’s much easier than the iPod! You can call up a “Details” display for the channel you’re listening to, which shows the artist/title info – but nothing else!
I’m sure this would look fine on the non-NAV R56, but it looks a bit empty here. It would have been better to integrate with the channel list, like the iPod interface does.
You can set up a list of 12 presets for your favourite Sirius channels, you can also access the list by Genre if you wish – but personally I find the 12 presets sufficient to cover all I need, making it extremely easy to access the music I want to listen to.
One interesting feature is that the satellite radio seems to be “instant on”; when the car turns on the music is immediately playing – there’s no delay for a couple of seconds while the receiver powers up and syncs to the channel. I’m guessing that the receiver powers up when the car is unlocked, giving it a headstart, but however it’s done, it’s a noticeable improvement over non-factory solutions (and yes, 2 or 3 seconds isn’t much of a delay, but it’s better if the delay is zero!)