BMW will use the all-digital 2021 CES Show to showcase the latest iteration of its iDrive interface. This coincides with the system’s 20th anniversary since it first appeared on the 2001 7 Series sedan. Once criticized for its complexity, BMW has done extensive work to simplify iDrive’s usability and it is now one of the most intuitive interfaces on the market.
Based on the teaser photos BMW released, this new version of iDrive is an evolution of the current one. You get two displays that appear to be at least 12.3 inches each. The controller appears to have been kept but the shortcut buttons have been turned into haptic feedback ones while the volume knob has become a roller dial on the center console next to the electronic shifter. BMW has also reconfigured the home menu with a new tile layout and shortcuts on the left side similar to what you’d find on the latest versions of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
More connectivity features have also been added such as cloud-based services to access real-time data. Vehicle-to-vehicle communication will also be part of the new iDrive system, enabling BMW vehicles to communicate with each other. More information should come in a few days as CES starts. The first vehicle to get the new iDrive system will be the BMW iX, an all-electric SUV built extensively with carbon fiber and aluminum. BMW promises up to 300 miles of range on the iX and the ability to get to 80 percent charge in 40 minutes.