Can you believe it’s been 20 years since the first BMW iDrive came into the spotlight? Time goes by so quickly ;) Fast-forward to 2021, you can now use the 7th generation software system, and it's more focused on your comfort than ever.
If you’re a BMW tech freak and lurking into the purchase of 2018 or newer BMW with iDrive 7.0, here’s what you should know about this latest infotainment update.
WHAT IS BMW IDRIVE 7.0
The BMW Operating System 7.0, more commonly known as BMW iDrive 7.0, is the 7th generation – and the newest version yet – of BMW’s in-car communication and entertainment system. The software controls a number of areas of your BMW’s computer, such as entertainment, navigation, communication, media controls and vehicle information, as well as easily integrating with a phone's internet connection.
Split into its main parts, the BMW iDrive consists of:
MGU (Media Graphic Unit) head unit.
BMW touch controller.
Displays: the Live Cockpit instrument cluster (driver display), the Head-up display and a high-tech iDrive infotainment display (central display).
Replacing the Analog Instrument cluster with an LED display, the iDrive 7.0 digital instrument cluster doesn’t limit its functions to showing passive gauges like speed, the odometer or the tachometer. It can also turn into a quick-access screen for entertainment purposes. Meanwhile, the iDrive infotainment display makes use of touchscreen technology, as well as voice and gesture control to work with the on-board computer.
When did iDrive 7.0 come out?
The new operating system had its big debut on the G05 BMW X5 SUV in the summer of 2018, as well as on the 3 Series and 5 Series later that autumn. BMW manufacturers decided to introduce a new design to iDrive 7.0, which would streamline the architecture of iDrive 6.0, letting the updated display present only a selected set of information most valuable to the user. This prioritization of some information over others was supposed to improve the looks and modern feel of the iDrive, but more importantly distract the driver less when on the road.
BMW Live Cockpit instrument cluster
Available in 2018+ BMWs.
Almost no road passes by without distractions. There’s always something that will catch your attention and make you want to stay even more focused behind the wheel. Your iDrive's role is to help you with that – for this reason, Operating System 7.0's BMW Live Cockpit digital instrument cluster was created.
The LED display is split into 3 areas offering driver-oriented personal information, which are supposed to highlight only the information of particular interest to you, such as navigation instructions, the speed limit or entertainment content:
- The left area houses all driving information.
- In the center you can check route guidance, navigation and control messages.
- On the right side, all the rev counters, well as widgets are displayed.
Seems convenient, right? The flat menu structure makes it easy for you to get quick access to all functions and settings, which you can toggle using steering wheel controls.
Plus, depending on your driving mode, the display will change the colour and type of presentation.
Customizable BMW iDrive infotainment display
Available in 2018+ BMWs.
The bigger the better? In the case of displays, it seems so. The BMW iDrive center infotainment screen has been gradually growing over the last decade to become a vital aspect of the driver experience. From a 6.6” display set in the dash to a 12.3” screen located atop it, it has increased both in resolution and control possibilities.
The infotainment display of BMW OS 7.0 equipped with Live Cockpit Professional package has a 12.3” touch or gesture control screen (1920 x 720 pixels), which divides into 5 sections: navigation, media, communication, apps and car control. The convenient part? You can flexibly customize the home screen using smartphone-like, drag-menus at the top and on the left side of the screen. Redundant apps, you can simply remove from the list by using the ‘personalize menu’ function. That way your main menu stays as clean as you want it to.
What about the layout of information in a specific section? Similarly to the instrument cluster, it divides into 3 areas. The left side hides the navigation menu you can swipe in or out, the center shows the main content and on the right all live actions take place. This design unity between the LED driver display and central display makes it pretty quick to adjust to the iDrive architecture – not mentioning the steering wheel controls, which on top of everything allow you to maintain a full focus on the road.
From CCC and CIC generations, through NBT Evo modules, up to MGU upgrade – BMW manufacturers have undeniably sharpened up their acts in producing technological upgrades of i Drive systems. Undoubtedly, the latest iDrive 7.0 version, being even more driver-focused and interconnected between devices, is the ultimate proof of the 20-year progression. But, the exciting part is, soon we can expect even more to come from BMW iDrive features and functionalities.