The BMW Group has reached the latest stage of development with the BMW iDrive system. This new version, called iDrive 8.5, arrives after the OEM confirmed that the ninth generation of the system will launch later in 2023.

A key feature of iDrive 8.5 is its revised home screen, with newly rearranged functions that offer a streamlined UI on the BMW Curved Display. The system’s QuickSelect concept brings an improved menu structure, with its design inspired by consumer electronics devices. BMW confirmed that the upgraded iDrive system will be gradually introduced across its current line-up over the course of 2023.

In implementing a new graphical interface and an optimized menu structure, BMW aims to focus iDrive on enhancing user interactions made through both the touchscreen and natural language commands given to the system’s voice assistant. In the updated version of iDrive the BMW Curved Display, which also serves as the system’s main point of interaction, becomes a permanently viewable UI. Other individually configurable graphics can also be displayed at all times as an alternative to the navigation system’s map view.

iDrive 8.5’s new zero-layer principle means that all relevant functions and information are shown on a single level, making it possible to select a desired function without having to enter a submenu first. Here, live widgets appear in a vertical arrangement on the driver’s side of the user interface. These widgets, referred to by BMW as function icons, can be selected with a swipe of the finger and individually configured.

The new QuickSelect functionality makes it possible to quickly activate a variety of functions through touch – including entertainment programs, contact lists, vehicle settings, and the BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant. Once the relevant settings have been chosen, a tap on the home icon at the lower edge of the display returns the user to the home screen immediately, as opposed to exiting through various submenus to get there.

BMW confirmed that the updated iDrive 8.5 system will be introduced on a rolling basis – beginning with select models that have a July 2023 production date. Initially, the system will launch on the BMW 7 Series, iX, i4, X5, X6, X7, and XM before rolling out to all of the OEM’s midsize, executive and luxury model ranges.

While this version will be based on Linux, BMW Operating System 9 will be based on Google’s Android Open Source Project software. The OEM confirmed that this future version will appear first in the new BMW X1 from November 2023.