Displays are getting bigger and more bold. We’ve seen it in a number of cars – especially Chinese start-ups. Now BMW is previewing its own huge iDrive display in coming in the iNEXT electric crossover and it’s very close to the concept we saw last year. Planned for a 2021 release, the iNEXT (the real name to come) is a blueprint for the brand’s future. And if you listen to BMW executives explain the car, it’s the brand’s “iPhone moment” – a product that defines a new era for the brand. But this is a product that is more than a vehicle alone. The BMW Vision iNEXT represents future BMW strategies encompassing technology, design and new ways of thinking. As we speak the thinking we see in this concept are filtering across the company and its brands. In other words, no concept in recent memory will likely have more input into BMWs and MINIs future products.
This concept also represents the first time all of the BMW Group’s strategic innovation fields – Autonomous driving, Connectivity, Electrification and Services (ACES) – have been incorporated into a single vehicle. Hence this entirely new display and iDrive concept to dissect.
Official Release: BMW Previews Huge iDrive Display for the iNEXT
The driver-oriented arrangement of display and control elements has been one of the hallmark features of BMW model interiors for decades. The next generation of fully digital display will be seen in the BMW iNEXT, which is due to be produced as the premium automobile manufacturer’s technology flagship from 2021 onwards. In the new Curved Display featured in the BMW iNEXT, information and control display areas are merged to create a single unit that is curved towards the driver. This integrated unit geared towards the driver optimises the visualisation of information and facilitates intuitive touch control.
The traditional driver orientation of cockpit design was recently optimised further with the current BMW Live Cockpit Professional. Here, the clear structure and uniform presentation of extensively customisable content on the fully digital instrument panel and Control Display ensure the driver always has the right information at the right time. The next step on from this now follows with the Curved Display in the BMW iNEXT. It features a curvature that is geared towards the driver. The single-section display surface creates a particularly harmonious effect, lending additional visual emphasis to the ergonomically optimised controls.
“The curved, single-section display is the central control element and represents the modern interpretation of driver orientation. It occupies a dominant central position in a highly iconic display structure that provides a highly distinctive display experience,” explains Domagoj Dukec, Head of BMW Design. “The Curved Display is set in high-quality materials and is virtually freely suspended on the instrument panel. This makes it a key element in terms of the modern, luxurious and generous sense of space in the BMW iNEXT.”
The Curved Display is positioned in such a way that vehicle occupants cannot see its connection to the instrument panel. This means it conveys a particularly striking sense of lightness. The distinctive, high-quality design of the Curved Display draws its inspiration from modern consumer electronics technology, with the curved display element itself being held in place by an extremely slim magnesium bracket. The sophisticated display technology with non-reflecting glass also does without a hood for shading purposes, thereby giving the cockpit area a particularly tidy and uncongested look.
“The Curved Display in the BMW iNEXT takes us to the next level of driver-oriented controls,” says Robert Irlinger, Head of BMW i. “The new display unit enables intuitive, natural and ergonomically perfect use of the touch function.”
As such, the shape and arrangement of the Curved Display represents a ground-breaking interpretation of the driver orientation that is characteristic of BMW. At the same time, the Control Display area remains clearly visible and accessible to the front passenger, too. Depending on the situation and individual preferences, individual display content items can be shifted back and forth between the Control Display area in the driver’s direct field of vision and the area that can be used by the front passenger.