The very first version of the iDrive system was included in the BMW 7 Series in 2001, which did away with the ever-increasing range of buttons by (partly) replacing them with a ‘large’ color screen that you could operate with a rotary knob. This way you could set everything to your liking without having to search for the right button, which benefited road safety.
Since then, iDrive has continued to evolve and new features have been added over the years. In 2004, the head-up display was introduced to see all pertinent information at eye level, while BMW already integrated Google searches in its cars in 2007. And while the dial is still in use to this day, the 2015 7 Series also introduced a central touch screen that lets you click directly on whatever you want. That same generation also brought gesture control and natural voice control.
In the meantime, the iDrive systems are taking more and more steps towards a fully digital experience, something that the electric iX goes a lot further in. The car is not only connected to the internet, but can also communicate with the infrastructure and other cars to collect information and automate certain driving functions. In concrete terms, this means that the iX can warn you of a danger on the road, but can also predict where there is parking space.
Fortunately, the dial is still there, but we also see screens that are bigger than ever and look a bit like the Mercedes dual displays. The counters follow the line of the current digital counters from BMW, but look a bit more futuristic, while the central screen is very different from what we know now and – unfortunately – now also includes the climate control. Hey BMW, that also provides extra distraction!