As BMW debuted the upcoming all-new and all-electric iX and i4 vehicles, it also unveiled the iDrive 8 infotainment system. The 8th generation of its driver interface system is quite possibly the most advanced driver-passenger-vehicle interface ever created, which makes it perfectly suited for the new electric vehicle line.

The goal of BMW engineers was to design a system that was focused on voice and dialogue-based interaction with the BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant. The Intelligent Personal Assistant recognizes the driver’s voice to adjust the vehicle to the driver’s preferences and routines. The system also recognizes what is happening around the vehicle for input. Like we said… This is an extremely sophisticated system for a sophisticated vehicle, and we’ve got 10 fact’s that you’ll want to know about the BMW iDrive 8, so sit back and enjoy.

1. Massive Floating Curved Display

If you read our 10 Things You Need to Know on the iX xDrive50, you know that BMW took time to make a minimalist design the interior of their new electric car line. The incorporation of the vehicle’s instrument cluster and iDrive 8 touch screen are clear example of this. BMW designed a single piece curved display that features a 12.3” information display and 14.3” control display all in one. While this curved display is angled towards the driver, the passenger still has full view of the control display, allowing them to easily operate it. Adding a touch of elegance and keeping with that minimalist design, the curved display is mounted in such a way that it looks as if it’s floating over the dash.

2. Customized Driver/Passenger Display
With a system as intricate as the BMW iDrive 8, you naturally expect driver customization and BMW delivers. The smaller of the two displays, which is located behind the steering wheel, displays the standard information you’d expect such as vehicle speed, battery charge, time, outside temp, etc. As for the aesthetics of the drivers display, BMW has programmed three different display options (Luxury Drive, Focus Sport, and Reduced Gallery) that are easily changeable from a control on the steering wheel. Luxury Drive provides more information like a traditional display and the Reduced Gallery is more of a minimalist view of the same information. The larger control display is where the driver can program different widgets, such as GPS, radio information weather, etc. for easy view for both driver and passenger, and also allows for easy use by the passenger as well.

3. My Modes: Creating Your Personalized Driving Experience

The desire for drivers to have a personal relationship with their vehicle is achieved with the new My Modes feature from BMW in the new iDrive 8. With one simple command, drivers are able to adjust up to ten settings such as wiper functions, dash layouts, lighting and special sound design, and more. There are three preset modes which put emphasis on energy efficiency and a serene cabin area (Efficient), performance-based acceleration and handling (Sport), and the third being themed and programmed to your heart’s desire (Personal).

4. BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant

As the BMW iDrive system has evolved, so has the BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant in the new iDrive 8. Just as in older systems, drivers can still give the Intelligent Personal Assistant a name of their choice for personalization of the system, but this latest version has also gotten a facelift as well. The BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant is given a “face” with spheres of light in different sizes and brightness, giving it more ways to express itself. As for functionality, the BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant has the ability to control functions such as cabin climate control, ambient lighting, audio playback, opening/closing of side windows, and switching between My Modes settings with basic voice commands.

In addition to the mentioned action items that the Intelligent Personal Assistant can perform, it is also capable of answering questions on driving history, vehicle characteristics, and providing critical information, such as where the closest coffee shops or restaurants are located. Ultimately, BMW wanted this system to help drivers focus on the road while being given the greatest amount of information by simply asking a question.

5. Personalize Your Driving Experience from Your Smartphone with BMW ID

By simply scanning a QR code on your smartphone, owners can download the new My BMW App (replacing the former BMW Connected App) and have the ability to set personal preferences such as seat and steering wheel position, display layouts, exterior mirror settings, infotainment settings and more. All of this information can be utilized with the associated key once the BMW ID app has been activated, or when the driver selects the BMW ID function in the iDrive 8.

6. Get A Warm Welcome from Your BMW

In the design of the iDrive 8, BMW engineers put a strong emphasis on personal interaction between driver and vehicle. This emphasis goes well beyond when drivers first get into the vehicle. Engineers want drivers to have “Great Entrance Moments,” that start well before they get close to the vehicle and using the latest technology, they make it happen. By utilizing Ultra-wideband (UWB) radio technology, the iDrive 8 system is able to pinpoint where the driver approaching the vehicle from by sensing their registered key or smartphone. Once within ten feet of the vehicle, the vehicle begins to “wake up” with a gradually intensifying, dynamic lighting effect utilizing the head and taillights, and lightly illuminating the cabin. In this process the door handles and trunk lid are illuminated, while a light carpet illuminates the area around the driver’s door.

Once within five feet of the vehicle, the doors are automatically unlocked, and exterior mirrors are folded out indicating that the vehicle is ready to drive. When the door is opened, the driver’s area becomes illuminated and the curved glass display of the iDrive 8 welcomes the driver with an animation as the system starts up and your personal settings from your BMW profile are being initiated.

7. Intelligent Climate Control
A main purpose of the BMW iDrive 8 is to make life easier for the driver and passenger, and this meant a reduction of controls in the cockpit. Control of the AC and heating systems will be handled through the curved glass instrument panel of the iDrive 8. Cabin temperature adjustments are now controlled by either using voice commands or the menu in the control display and are registered and stored in the driver’s profile for the BMW ID, eliminating the need for constant changes by the driver. Aside from heat and AC control in the cab, the system also controls steering wheel, surface heating, seat heating and air flow to ensure the optimal level of comfort for both driver and passenger.

8. Smart Navigation with BMW Maps

Introduced in 2020 with iDrive 7, the BMW Maps cloud-based system has enabled drivers to navigate to desired destinations quickly and efficiently by utilizing real-time information and forecasting models. The iDrive 8 utilizes these same functions and goes a step further through “Learning Navigation.” Using the driver’s BMW ID, the iDrive 8 system learns habits of the driver, including destinations, so the driver doesn’t have to manually enter the information into the GPS. The system also works in conjunction with smartphones via the My BMW App, where the route, traffic condition and estimated driving time are sent to the app in the phone prior to leaving. This allows the driver to choose an alternate route if they want.

Once getting close to the destination, the system will ask if the driver wants help finding a parking space and where their preference of parking is (street vs parking lot). This helps increase the odds of finding a free space.

9. 5G Technology
Utilizing the high data bandwith and fast data transmission of 5G technology, BMW introduced the iX model as its first premium model available with 5G technology. This allows the iDrive 8 to utilize real-time reception and transmission of data to the BMW Cloud. To maximize the use of 5G technology in the vehicle, passengers are also able to use various smart devices, capable of HD-quality streaming.

10. Remote Software Upgrade
As with the BMW iDrive 7, the iDrive 8 system is able to keep up to date through remote software upgrades. This process can be done over the air, using the car’s built-in SIM card or through the My BMW App. Once downloaded, the installation can be finalized while the vehicle is on the move. The iDrive 8 system allows customers to schedule the installation of a Remote Software Upgrade, meaning that the process can be done while the vehicle is parked overnight, eliminating the need of the customer having to start the installation manually from the vehicle.

There you have it. 10 great facts about BMW’s most advanced infotainment system coming in its new electric vehicles for 2022.