BMW announces all-electric iDrive 8

BMW announces all-electric iDrive 8
BMW iDrive 8. Credit: BMW Blog

In the footsteps of Tesla, BMW will introduce its new iDrive 8 model alongside the BMW iX and i4 fully electric cars.

The iDrive 8 comes equipped with an all-encompassing driver-vehicle interface, 5G connectivity, enhanced BMW Personal Intelligent Assistant and a large combined, curved display. With all of these new and improved features, BMW has aimed to create the best driving experience yet for its customers in terms of both digital functionality and engagement with the personal assistant.

In fact, the driver's experience begins before even entering the vehicle, as the iDrive 8 anticipates the occupant's arrival by automatically activating its lights and unlocking its doors. Then, once the driver starts on the road, the new My Modes feature combines car lighting and music to create the occupant's desired ambiance.

Moreover, the iDrive 8 includes the BMW ID, a feature that personalizes the driver experience. The ID learns from its surroundings, namely user habits. The processing of such data allows the ID to anticipate the driver's needs. The ID even has remote software upgrade capability, enabling the vehicle to integrate software updates from any of the driver's smartphone applications.

Since the release of the original iDrive 20 years ago, BMW's models have evolved along with general computer technology and artificial intelligence. As a result, models such as the iDrive 8 are always connected to the BMW Cloud, which provides combined computing power, long-term and real-time data, machine learning and swarm intelligence of the network of over 14 million BMWs currently in use. This way, the iDrive 8 learns from driver habits to the point that the vehicle makes suggestions to the occupant that only requires the driver's confirmation to proceed with an action.

The "act, locate and inform" principle helps filter out irrelevant data so that the vehicle can process and provide only information requested by the driver. This type of personalization helps to offer a more engaging experience between a customer and their BMW. On that front, the UI now involves half the number of buttons and switches present in previous models, minimizing the amount of manual engagement required and replacing those actions with touch and voice activation.

Examples of each component of this principle include driver instructions such as distance to another car for "act," a map showing a destination designated by the driver for "locate" and a display of the driver's overall route for "inform."

More information: Satanovsky, O., and Alexander S. "BMW USA News - The New BMW IDrive 8 ." BMW of North America, 15 Mar. 2021,

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