BMW iDrive 8 unveiled

The new iDrive 8 system will be available from later this year and promises curved screens, machine learning and a cleaner interface.

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Derek Fung
Derek Fung

Will iDrive Operating System 8.0 from BMW be the Ultimate Infotainment Machine?

The first car to receive the new iDrive system will be the all-electric iX crossover, followed by the new i4 electric four-door. The setup will then presumably spread to other models as they’re updated or renewed.

In the iX, the iDrive system will feature a curved 14.9-inch touchscreen and a 12.3-inch instrumentation display.

BMW says screens used in the new system will have a pixel density of at least 200 pixels per inch (ppi). By comparison, the latest iPhone is rated at 460ppi and the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra is up at 515ppi.

While the central display is a touchscreen, occupants can also interact with the system via the iDrive controller on the centre tunnel or using the Intelligent Personal Assistant voice recognition system.

The graphic user interface has a minimalist design, and features a home screen with an array of tiles and widgets that can be customised according to the driver’s preferences.

At launch three modes will be available: sport, efficient and personal. These modes not only change the display, but also alter the way the car drives and handles.

Owners can opt to set up a BMW ID, which allows the system to become more personalised through manually configured settings, or machine learning of your habits and preferences.

The navigation app, for instance, can automatically enter destinations for regular journeys, such as the commute to work or a school run. Similarly, the climate control can automatically configure zones based on previous behaviour in certain conditions.

Like most new infotainment systems, iDrive 8 can be updated remotely over-the-air, meaning owners don’t need to visit a dealership for the latest software or bug patches.

The iDrive 8 system works with an ultra wideband receiver in the key fob or smartphone, allowing the car to accurately detect the location of the driver from up to three metres away.

Vehicles equipped with ‘Great Entrance Moments’ will gently illuminate the interior, door handles and the area around the driver’s door as the driver apporaches.

When they are around 1.5 metres away, the car will unlock the doors and prepare the interior according to their preferences, including heating the steering wheel and seats if necessary.

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Derek Fung
Derek Fung
Derek Fung is a Journalist at CarExpert.
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