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(Pocket-lint) - German car manufacturer BMW has announced that it will add Amazon Alexa voice-control to its in-car infotainment service, as well as Mini's, from mid-2018.

With Alexa onboard, BMW and Mini owners will be able to carry out all the same functions using Alexa as you can with something like the Echo. That includes asking questions, making phone calls, playing music and even controlling smart home products.

Because Alexa's services will be built into the infotainment systems, owners won't need to download a separate app in order to access them.

BMW already offers an Alexa skill that allows owners to control in-car climate control, locking the doors and more, from an Alexa-enabled devices such as an Echo, but the new capabilities will allow everything to be controlled from the driving seat.

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While neither BMW nor Amazon have commented on the matter, Apple CarPlay will still be available as a service that will run alongside Amazon Alexa. CarPlay is itself due to be available in 2018 Countryman and Clubman vehicles. 

Dieter May, Senior Vice President Digital Services and Business Models at the BMW Group said: "By making this step and integrating Alexa into our models from 2018, BMW and MINI will form a more intrinsic part of our customers’ digital lifestyles," 

"Voice control first featured in BMW Group cars many years ago, and we are now enhancing its functionality by adding a digital ecosystem, which will open up all sorts of new possibilities that customers can access quickly, easily and safely from their car."

Alexa will be available in all BMW and Mini vehicles in the US, UK and Germany from mid-2018.

Writing by Max Langridge.