BMW’s New Infotainment System is a Step in the Right Direction

It’s been a big month for auto tech, and most of the news hasn’t been good. It started with NHTSA stopping Tesla’s full self-driving feature and continued with Mercedes-Benz announcing an in-car app store including TikTok. Suffice it to say, car-based technology has taken a beating so far. He showed off his system this week, and he made us feel a little better about the future of in-car technology.

BMW’s new infotainment system | BMW

Smartphone-like appearance

The development of the system began in 2001 and has continuously evolved over the years. Each iDrive update is designed to mimic the technology popular at the time, with user functionality in mind. So when it came time to design the updated iDrive8 system, BMW turned to the world of smartphones for inspiration.

Volvo attempted something similar with its Android-based infotainment upgrade in 2023, though the previous system’s tough underpinnings remain. That’s decent enough, but a sea of ​​menus makes for a confusing interface.

With BMW iDrive 8.5, the simple icon design and familiar setup make the overall experience more intuitive.

Even better, the new interface allows users to easily customize the home screen display. The system uses a familiar mechanism to put the most relevant icons on top. Similar to a smartphone, press and hold an icon to rearrange the front screen, then press Home to set it.

Perhaps the most exciting update is the reduction of menus in iDrive 8.5. Getting lost in menus when trying to change a setting is frustrating at best. BMW’s new infotainment system helps make that a little easier.

Which BMW models get the iDrive 8.5 infotainment update?

All BMW X5, X6 and X7 SUVs, as well as the flagship 7 Series sedan, will come with the iDrive 8.5 infotainment system from the start.

Those who already own models with the older iDrive 8 architecture have two free upgrade options. Connected cars could get a system that will replace the current system with updated 8.5 software. And for everyone else, BMW dealers will be able to update the software in-house. The timing of this update is not yet known, but owners will be notified when their vehicles become eligible for the new program.

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