BMW unveils the future iDrive operating system of its electric cars, with a windshield which acts as a panoramic screen in the form of an intelligent head-up display.
A little flashback. The first time we heard about iDrive at BMW, the word seemed hyper futuristic. It must be said that it was 2001. It was six years before the iPhone which launched the fashion for the prefix “i” used everywhere. Beyond just the word, it was the technology that was futuristic.
Moreover, it was the very high-end BMW 7 Series that inaugurated it. Imagine: in the center of the dashboard, a screen. Yes, a screen! And to control it and display navigation or media, a wheel in the center of the central console. Mad !
What seems distressingly banal today was worthy of a science fiction film at the time. What was less so was the user manual for this new iDrive system at the time: some 700 pages to study! And this is where we measure how far we have come since then as BMW presents its new generation iDrive at the 2023 Munich Motor Show.
An immersive screen windshield
Integrated into the BMW Neue Klasse concept which gives us a taste of the technologies and solutions of the electric BMWs which will be on the roads from 2025, this new generation iDrive system moves in the direction of intuitiveness and simplicity. Exit the wheel and even almost all of the analog controls, almost everything is done by touch.
There are still a few multifunction buttons on the hyper-futuristic steering wheel, barely visible, but here the interaction is done through the BMW Panoramic Vision, already discovered at CES in Las Vegas. But compared to the i Vision Dee concept on which it appeared, here it appears closer to a future series arrival.
This is a head-up display with a completely new projection since it is displayed across the entire width of the windshield. The information displayed is therefore visible both to the driver but also to his and his passengers. But another head-up display is superimposed on the first, exclusively for the driver, this one displaying information in 3D.
There is of course still a central screen in the BMW New Klasse, albeit in a very special shape, from which the driver can send information to the panoramic head-up display with a simple gesture.
Ambient lighting is part of this brand new user interface with lighting moods that correspond to different modes and specific displays on the central screen. Yellow was, for example, chosen to convey a sporting atmosphere.
In addition, BMW explains to us that its BMW iDrive allows infotainment data to be crossed with the electronic and electrical data of the car and the BMW Cloud, undoubtedly to display the most precise driving data available on the central screen and/or the panoramic screen. And be ready for level 5 autonomous driving!
The date has already been set for 2025, the year in which BMW will put on the road its first production model based on this Neue Klasse platform, most certainly the next generation of 3 Series, and incorporating the technologies presented on the eponymous concept.