BMW rolls out details on its new iDrive system, with more powerful software, big screens, fewer buttons and heading for the new iX first.
BMW has revealed its latest iDrive for infotainment and more, although, in terms of how it looks (above), we’ve already seen it when the BMW revealed the iX at the end of last year.
But 20 years on from when iDrive first arrived on the BMW 7 Series (E65), iDrive now moves in to its eighth generation with, inevitably, fewer physical buttons, smarter software, better graphics and big screens. Which is what you’d expect
The most obvious change for iDrive is what looks like a big, curved single screen which groups a 12.3″ digital instrument panel to a 14.9″ infotainment screen which sits on top of the dashboard (are we the only ones who’d rather these big screens were integrated, rather than plonked on top), curving gently to focus on the driver.
Control is still available with the rotary controller, or by touchscreen, although ‘Voice’ gets a bigger role and ‘Gesture’ less so (thankfully), but HVAC moves to the screen, which is a bit disappointing. Although the HVAC is clever enough to work for each individual user by delivering what’s needed without input. Maybe.
Voice is said to be more natural in use, and can work out who’s talking and where in the car they are for more focussed response – and a BMW ID for each user – and gesture control is still available for a quick twiddle to change volume or answer the phone, but it doesn’t appear to have been expanded.
New modes come too with Efficient, Sport and Personal, which do what they say on the tin, and something called ‘Great Entrance Moments’ which sees you coming and slowly wakes up the car as you get closer.
The new iDrive will debut in a production car when the electric iX goes on sale later this year, followed by the new electric i4.