BMW is taking part in this year’s virtual CES show and taking the opportunity to take a closer look at the next-generation iDrive infotainment system. We’ve seen a few photos of the massive curved screen in the BMW iX unveiled last year, but now BMW is ready to talk a little bit about some of the features to come. Sadly, it’s more of a preview and not a full deep dive into the technology – BMW says detailed information is coming later this year.
The next generation iDrive tries to take it further into the future digital world, but sticks to the analog connection of the iDrive rotary knob. Like the current iDrive system, you can operate it by touch or the dial – in the iX, the scroll / tilt wheel appears to be made of glass. The 14.9-inch infotainment screen is larger than even the largest screen BMW offers on a car today (12.3 inches).
BMW says a new level of ‘digital intelligence’ is going to the iX in this system to make people’s lives easier. It offers a few examples. New, cloud-based services are increasingly using real-time data. It can receive and display hazard warnings from other BMW vehicles. Predictions about the availability of parking spaces at a destination will be available. Optimized sensors will increase automation and enable self-parking with even more convenience than is currently available. BMW is vague on many of these capacity claims, so we’ll have to wait and see what exactly is on offer.
In addition to the new photos and info about the next iDrive, BMW has released a series of videos on a CES minisite. It goes into a number of different details and shows the screen in action. For example, BMW says the new personal assistant (for voice control) is inspired by the latest James Bond movies and calls it the modern ‘Q’. It should have character and maybe even make the driver laugh when interacting. You can check the minisite at this link here to see all of BMW’s CES videos.
And if you’re just interested in a quick laugh, BMW has put together this rather cinematic piece (below) that looks back at iDrive’s history through the lens of talking cars. It uses the 7 series, in which iDrive first took shape, and the upcoming iX.