In 2001, BMW launched what would become a huge trend in the automotive world. That’s when iDrive first appeared on the BMW 7 Series, an infotainment system that combined just about all functions that would normally be hidden behind individual buttons on your dashboard, in one system with a rotary knob. More than two decades and eight generations later, iDrive is still there, although it has changed beyond recognition. And that trend promises to continue this year.
Focus op touch
BMW has proposed generation 8.5 of its iDrive software, a kind of final update to the current iDrive 8 system. That version puts even more emphasis on touch functionality – or what would you have thought – but it’s not iDrive 8.5 that will get most of our attention. In the press release, BMW also reveals that they are busy with the development of iDrive 9, and they are doing this for the first time together with Google’s Android Automotive department. This means that iDrive 9 becomes a system on which you can install Android apps, just like on your smartphone, or log in to your Google profile for direct integration, as is already the case in Polestars, Volvos and some Renaults.
BMW is talking about launching iDrive 9 in November 2023, when it would first appear on newly produced X1 and 2 Series Active Tourer models. Before that happens, however, iDrive 8.5 is still being rolled out. You should see that renewed system in action from July 2023 behind the curved screens of the 7 Series, iX, i4, X5, X6, X7 and XM.
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