Fully-Digital Instrument Displays On Horizon For BMW

Although beaten to the market by the likes of Audi and Mercedes-Benz, recent developments are pointing to future BMWs coming equipped with all-digital gauge clusters. Previewed last month as part of BMW Group’s Digital Day, Operating System 7.0 seems to promise full integration of the ever-improving iDrive system into the main instrument display. Scheduled to arrive in production models later this year in the form of the G20 3 Series and G05 X5, more recent spy photos suggest the system could also be used in the upcoming G11 7 Series LCI, 8 Series and 2019 Z4.

Billed as entirely digital, the current color-themed iDrive and gauge-cluster display modes found in modern BMW vehicles will be greatly enhanced in the future, with new aesthetic skins which look to offer wide variability. According to BMW, a clearly structured layout that follows tradition in conjunction with customizable and personalized displays allows the system to show exactly what’s desired when the time is right—and quite beautifully, we might add.

An intuitive interface is also promised, via multiple avenues that include gesture control, speech prompts, touch, and of course the continuously evolving iDrive controller. The Eco-oriented display preview above includes important fundamentals like a speedometer and battery-power gauge overlaid atop a navigation map. There is also data displayed about recent driving-history efficiency, along with an odometer and individual sections for range, temperature, and time. The Sport setup below uses much of the same structure, but for different purposes: Instead of power output and battery stats, there’s an odometer, while an array of drive-mode information appears below it. The map, temp, and time displays remain present, but a large gear indicator has taken the place of the odometer on the left, while what looks like a g-force display is also visible in the upper right-hand corner.

Despite retaining some hard points within the layout that appear fixed, the new setup seems like a perfect fit for the manufacturer that has always championed the integration of modern technology. It will be interesting to see how Operating System 7.0 differs between various platforms and models, along with how it interacts with the optional HUD. Above all, we look forward to putting it to the ultimate test in an M car—on the track—when the time comes.—Alex Tock

[Images courtesy of BMW AG.]

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