BMW caught everyone off guard when it unveiled the second-generation 2 Series Active Tourer in October 2021. No, not because it elected to maintain a front-wheel-drive minivan in its lineup, but because an essential function was removed. We’re talking about the iDrive’s rotary dial, which serves as a complement to the infotainment system’s touchscreen. The next X1 should follow a similar pattern, but it is not the end of the conventional controller.
The X7 makeover was unveiled last week, along with the eighth-generation infotainment system and the recognizable iDrive knob. The 7 Series G70 / i7, which was unveiled today, features it as well, and BMW interior designer Stefan Frick thinks the controller is here to stay. He refined his response by outlining how the corporation would pick which automobiles will and will not have it.
To cut a long tale short, it all boils down to ergonomics. If the screen is near enough to the driver, it makes little sense to keep the iDrive knob. This was the reasoning for the development of the 2 Series Active Tourer and, most likely, the next X1. The lack of a dial has been spotted in spy images of near-production prototypes of the compact crossover.
The first BMW with iDrive was released more than 20 years ago.
Many would argue that it is an unnecessary piece of hardware, given that there is already a touchscreen and growing better voice control. Traditionalists, on the other hand, do not want to lose one of the distinguishing qualities of a modern-era BMW. Stefan Frick told Auto Express that these individuals shouldn’t be concerned: “We continue to use the iDrive controller, particularly with this model [the 7 Series].” We have a 20-year history with the iDrive controller.” Technically, it’s 22 years old since it was initially used in the 1999 Z9 concept car. It wasn’t until 2001, however, that the 7 Series E65 became the first series-production BMW featuring iDrive. The most recent edition has already been fitted in a number of vehicles, including China’s i3 Sedan, which retains the knob.
Auto Express is the source.