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March 12, 2023

BMW Is Saying Goodbye To the iDrive Controller

After 20 or so years, BMW is ready to retire its iconic iDrive Controller. The central knob which has become a mainstay in BMW vehicles will give way to a new infotainment interface using swipes, taps, and voice controls.

Realizing a shift in the way people use their smart devices, the automaker said it’s time to realign their vehicles’ user interface as well. The result is the upcoming BMW Operating System 9.0. This new OS, which will be gradually introduced in current models starting July this year, will have a new graphical interface and optimized menu structure. And instead of the iDrive Controller knob, it will rely heavily on the BMW Curved Display.

According to BMW, the BMW Operating System 9.0 will utilize a “zero-layer principle” meaning all relevant functions and information are shown on a single level making it possible to select a desired function without having to enter a sub-menu. Instead, live widgets appear in a vertical arrangement on the driver’s side of the user interface. These icons can be selected with a swipe of a finger and may be configured individually.

The QuickSelect functionality makes it possible to directly select entertainment programs, contact lists, and vehicle settings, start interaction with the BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant, or activate other menu options, all by touch. And once the relevant settings have been chosen, a quick tap on the home icon at the lower edge of the display is all it takes to return to the home screen.

The BMW Operating System 9.0 will utilize Android and will first appear in the BMW X1 beginning with the November 2023 production.

However, for owners of other select BMW models—mainly the 7 Series, iX, i4, X5, X6, X7, and XM—they will benefit from a upgrade from BMW Operating System 8.0 to BMW Operating System 8.5. This is enhance the current Linux-based system to take further advantage of the BMW Curved Display system.

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