Upgrades to BMW's iDrive infotainment system will include the addition of touchscreen technology, says design director Adrian van Hooydonk

BMW is set to offer touchscreen infotainment systems in the near future, according to Adrian van Hooydonk, director of BMW Group design.

“We will see some big steps in how you operate the vehicle, and voice control and head-up display is a big part of that. But, of course, using an iPad sitting on the sofa is easier than when you’re on the motorway. This is a challenge that we’re working on, and there will be a role for rotary-controlled iDrive for the foreseeable future, even as we introduce touchscreen."

Using touchscreen technology will affect the design of BMW interiors, although Hooydonk rejected the idea of a Tesla-style, flat, one-piece touchscreen dash.

“A touchscreen is a big surface, and as designers we don’t like to see big, flat surfaces. However, flexible screens are around the corner, and we are pushing for that. We are dreaming of a seamless integration between display and shape.”

It was not confirmed how far away curved touchscreen interiors might be, but it seems possible that they might first appear on future electric ‘i’ cars. Hooydonk referred to the i brand as a “think-tank that encourages us that big leaps are possible, and helps us to prepare for whatever might come, and we want to keep the think-tank alive.”

"You will see some big steps in how you operate the vehicle. Voice and touch-control are things that will happen. This is a challenge that we’re working on and we want to make sure that our customers get the best. Head-up display will be a big part of that, but I believe that new technology will allow us to take bigger steps in the design of interiors, as well.

"There will be a transition period between rotary controller, and there will probably be a role for that for the foreseeable future, but we will go to touchscreen control," Hooydonk said.

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Comments
15

10 March 2015

Especially for controlling the heater and radio!

 

Hydrogen cars just went POP

10 March 2015

"We will go to touch-screen control" Just like in a Jag, then? The XF has had touch-screen since launch, way back in 2007, so why is this such big news, other than an admission that the rotary controller is useless?

10 March 2015
Halfabee wrote:

"We will go to touch-screen control" Just like in a Jag, then? The XF has had touch-screen since launch, way back in 2007, so why is this such big news, other than an admission that the rotary controller is useless?

This is BMW not only recognising they went down the wrong route with the complicated and fiddly iDrive system, but this is them playing catch-up to Jaguar again and an example of Jaguar leading the way. As you say the XF had touch screen in 2007, but I think Jaguar have had such a feature for longer. Only Audi and Mercedes followed BMW, everyone else followed Jaguar and so many companies do.

10 March 2015
Saucerer wrote:
Halfabee wrote:

"We will go to touch-screen control" Just like in a Jag, then? The XF has had touch-screen since launch, way back in 2007, so why is this such big news, other than an admission that the rotary controller is useless?

This is BMW not only recognising they went down the wrong route with the complicated and fiddly iDrive system, but this is them playing catch-up to Jaguar again and an example of Jaguar leading the way. As you say the XF had touch screen in 2007, but I think Jaguar have had such a feature for longer. Only Audi and Mercedes followed BMW, everyone else followed Jaguar and so many companies do.

Having been a previous Range Rover owner and now a 3 series owner, I have to say the JLR touchscreen is far inferior to the iDrive. Its slow, not very intuitive and difficult to touch some of the small buttons. It also looks horrible with all the mucky fingerprints on it.

The JLR system is certainly not superior.

10 March 2015

Banging the drum again, but please get rid of the stick up screens. Leave the heater and ICE controls as buttons, and don't hide routinely used things in menus and submenus - just give me a button.

I prefer Idrive to touchscreen as it's way easier to use on the move, and hate fingerprints all over screens. I'm not a luddite, I prefer electric handbrakes to manual ones, etc, but no change for change's sake please. For a final rant - what's the point of that Iwatch?

10 March 2015

The rotary controller is much better than a touchscreen when driving, the problem is its location, it should be on the wheel NOT the console.

The point of the iwatch ? - to make Apple money selling you a device you dont really need

10 March 2015

Having just got out of 1 series loan car i can only hope it's more obvious where the Sat nav button is!

Peter Cavellini.

10 March 2015

My Touran has had this at least since the 2011 facelift and does not claim to be premium. Welcome to the 20th century BMW.

10 March 2015

Surely if a VW Farm Vehicle has had a touch screen since 2011 that would be the 21st Century?

10 March 2015

"..using an iPad sitting on the sofa is easier than when you’re on the motorway" What a stupid thing to say - when you're relaxing at home you're not in control of a potentially lethal machine. Sadly, fashion is completely taking over from ergonomics in car interior design now: I'm not against touch screens, but they definitely should not be used for frequently accessed functions such as heating and ventilation. Even some of the push button systems for climate control are harder to adjust without diverting your eyes than a simple and much safer three dial system.

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