- BMW’s iDrive infotainment and interface system just went through a major overhaul.
- It prioritizes voice commands and touchscreen operations.
- Debuting on the upcoming BMW iX EV, the new iDrive system will have a massive curved screen.
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BMW says to think of the on-board system as a personal assistant. Customers still have the option of naming their BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant (I’d recommend something like Fritz), and BMW said in the new iDrive system, it’s been upgraded to look visually improved and include, uh, “a ‘face’ with a clearly visible point of focus and identifiable states of activity.”
The system can even tell who is speaking to it. If the driver is addressing it, for example, a visual image will appear on-screen closer to the driver. If the front passenger is speaking to it, the image will show up closer to the passenger.
The interior of the new iX EV, where the new iDrive system will debut, has been designed to be very minimalist. The slim, curved display includes a 200-ppi, 12.3-inch information display for the driver and a 14.9-inch center display. Though angled toward the driver, BMW asserts that the passenger can still see and use the display with ease.
The interior of the iX has half of the buttons and switches that current BMWs do; however, BMW claims that the controls for basic functions are still where you’d expect them to be.
BMW’s been including crystal shifters in its center consoles for a couple of years now, but the iDrive central control dial now has a “smart glass-effect finish.” Combined with the open-pore wood trim, the whole thing is quite attractive.
The original iDrive system was introduced on the 2001 7 Series – a time when it was fashionable to have the “i” prefix attached to any sort of tech. Its earlier iterations included a color screen and a rotary dial menu selector. You can clearly see the evolution of that idea in iDrive 8.
The iX is scheduled to begin production later this year. Deliveries are set to happen in 2022.
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