By on March 15, 2021


BMW has announced that the upcoming iX and i4 electric vehicles will be equipped with iDrive 8, their latest interactive buddy to keep you busy while you motor about.


When you are the self-proclaimed ‘Ultimate Driving Machine’, it would seem less is more, at least that was my experience in owning a 535iS and two M3s. Of course, that was then and this is now, and to keep up with the digitalia that has proliferated, you’ve got to have a more robust driver-vehicle interface, certainly a larger or more impressive dash, and a digital assistant that encourages greater personalization.BMW

Not only is the BMW iDrive 8 processing your data, but it is doing likewise across the entire BMW Group vehicle fleet. According to BMW, this will allow implementation in a more contextual way. Suppose the drive you take to go over the river and through the woods to a distant getaway spot isn’t what the amassed data indicates is the optimal route. Will the iDrive chide you, or worse, light up the expansive curved display like a Christmas tree?


Speaking of Christmas, there’s a new routine, a customer experience BMW has initiated that welcomes you into your iX or i4 by lighting the area around the car before it unlocks itself, and your onboard assistant preps the cabin for you, roughly approximating what a flight attendant does. Think that’s a little overboard? Well, by using My Modes, you can set the mood inside your Bimmer, including ambient lighting.


iDrive 8’s sophistication is such that it will accept more third-party apps than ever before, onboarding them into your BMW’s operating system. We use WordPress daily to create our editorial content, but I can’t fathom how this might be iDrive-integrated so that in using the iX’s vocal recognition capabilities I could compose this article and drive at the same time.


Keep in mind with the purchase of your new iX or i4, you’ll be permanently, immutably connected to the BMW Cloud, along with 14 million other connected BMWs that are traversing the road. All that long-term, real-time data that BMW is collecting, includes but is not limited to: How fast you drive, where you’ve been, or where you’re going.

[Images: BMW]

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12 Comments on “BMW iDriving Machines Tout Connectivity...”

  • avatar
    Steve Biro

    “All that long-term, real-time data that BMW is collecting, includes but is not limited to: How fast you drive, where you’ve been, or where you’re going.”

    That’s until I pull the plug on the modem. Assuming that I would buy a modern BMW, of course. But thanks for pointing that out, Jason.

    • 0 avatar

      “That’s until I pull the plug on the modem”

      Pulling a plug or cutting a wire might have worked on eliminating OnStar from a Saturn Aura but I expect removing the tracking data without bricking the vehicle will be much harder on these.

      You would think that passing a law limiting consumer data mining and captive advertising would be an easy bipartisan thing to pass but it doesn’t even show up on the legislature’s radar.

      • 0 avatar
        Steve Biro

        ajla… you’re probably right.

        The irony is that the public has a massive amount of power to force the issue. All the people have to do is stop buying cars and trucks for – what? – three months? Six months? It will bring the auto industry to its knees. They will be the ones to finally demand the legislation. Congress will never listen to citizens. But they will listen to Big Business and its lobbyists.

        Alas, most Americans either don’t care (“I have nothing to hide.”), don’t believe they have such power or are too much in need of instant gratification to hold off buying a new vehicle.

        As for me, I either have to be very careful to only buy vehicles that can have such technology disabled… or buy used cars.

        • 0 avatar

          I’m already at the point where, if I buy something new, it will be because the vehicle interests me. The ones I already own should last until all I can drive is a wheel chair. They have the useful safety features, like ABS, stability and traction control, but not the intrusive ones, like lane keeping and emergency braking. My first question for a car salesman would be, “How do I turn that $#!% off?”

      • 0 avatar
        Art Vandelay

        I imagine it will be something akin to Dave Bowman disabling the HAL 9000 in 2001.

  • avatar

    Too much awesome for me.

    (My current computer doesn’t emulate a car, and my current car doesn’t emulate a computer. I think I like it that way.)

  • avatar

    That restless German engineering. When it will end?

  • avatar

    My car simulates Android phone when I use Android Auto. I actually don’t use it in my car, but can, because I do not need to. But use it in rental cars.

  • avatar
    el scotto

    Fedora? Trilby? Bucket? Tinfoil is easy to shape. Your vehicle already stores this information. Your GPS also gives away your location and speed. Your cell phone contributes more information. It doesn’t stop when you get out of the car; that discount fob from the grocery store tells them what you bought and your debit or credit csrd told them how much you paid. You’re not off the grid, not an itty bitty.

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