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The rotary knob lives on! BMW previews next bearing iDrive

  • Tech
  • BMW
  • Dashboard
  • IDrive
  • Control
  • mobility

The rotary knob lives on! BMW previews next bearing iDrive

Even though there are touchscreens, voice commands, and action controls, the rotary knob lives on

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If you’re attractive for a reason to feel old, let me help. BMW’s proprietary infotainment system, iDrive, is 20 years old this year.

To celebrate, BMW took a look back at the tech and teased a few changes that will come with the latest abundance of the system that will debut in the iX electric car, at this year’s CES.

In the iX, BMW will follow the trend for massive dashboard screens, which is a acceptable addition. Compared to cars like the Tesla Model S or Axis 2, the screens in BMWs have started to seem a little small of late.

But best of all, BMW is befitting its analog rotary ascendancy knob and is not removing it in favor of voice inputs or touchscreens.

In the early days, iDrive was a little rough around the edges, and the rotary ascendancy was a little more ambagious than it needed to be.

Turning it would scroll through menus on the screen, and it could also be pushed forward, backwards, left, or right, to accomplish committed functions.

Credit: Wikimedia CC
If you ask me, the BMW iDrive really came of age in 2015. It was quick and easy to use, was ergonomic, and just made sense.

Over the years, this system was refined, and buttons were alien to allow users to cross bound to assertive functions like aeronautics or music.

Using the latest iDrive system is quick, easy, and can be done after taking your eyes off the road. It’s not just the software design that makes it so useable, its concrete ergonomics also deserve some of the praise.

Just drape your arm over the center armrest, and there it is, affliction your fingertips.

bmw, idrive, future, car, ev
Credit: BMW
The iDrive system was simple, easy to use, and altogether placed at the driver’s fingertips. Once used to its layout, it didn’t take any added absorption to operate.

In recent times, BMW has added action controls, which let drivers skip tracks and turn up the volume, by just waving their hand around in front of the dashboard.

The German automaker has also added touchscreens to some of its vehicles, acceptance for more direct human input.

But it’s never got rid of the rotary knob, and we should all rejoice, because it’s simply the best input ascendancy of any vehicle’s infotainment system.

BMW, idrive, future, ev,
Credit: BMW
BMW’s next bearing iDrive retains the rotary knob that has been a key affection of the system since the very beginning.

In fact, I’d even go so far as to argue that it’s so good and so iconic to BMW cartage that it’s become as important as the kidney grilles, Hofmeister kink, and ballista aggressive roundel.

The next bearing iDrive system will hit the market in the company’s flagship electric car, the iX, which will be out in 2022.

Sure, BMW‘s iDrive wasn’t the best system to begin with, but the German automaker has stuck to its guns and aesthetic it over the years. It’s now one of the best systems around, and we should account BMW for not ditching it in favor of more affected aural and bankable input methods.

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.


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Published January 12, 2021 — 15:31 UTC

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