BMW Reveals iDrive 9.0

New Android-based operating system eschews iDrive controller in some models, a feature of iDrive in every BMW since 2001.

Greg Kable

January 5, 2023

2 Min Read
BMW’s iDrive 9.0 home screen powered by Android operating system.

LAS VEGAS – BMW confirms plans to introduce a ninth-generation version of its iDrive operating system in 2023, saying it will boast updated touchscreen and voice-based functionality as well as a new “content-driven” interface that replaces the existing tile-based home screen with a 3D map-based layout.

Set to launch in the second-generation X2 before being rolled out in other BMW models, the iDrive 9.0 operating system forgoes the Linux-based software used by today’s iDrive 8.0 for an all-new Android-based package that the German automaker says provides faster and more seamless capabilities.

Further advances include a new app store function developed by BMW at its software centers in Brazil, China, Germany, Japan, Portugal and the U.S.

The iDrive 9.0 system also gets 5G over-the-air (OTA) capability for faster internet search capability and downloading of software updates, according to Christoph Grote, BMW senior vice president of electronics and software.

Other refinements center around the digital air-conditioning controls, which have been extensively reworked and simplified compared with iDrive 8.0

In addition to the new X2, iDrive 9.0 will be introduced to the X1 and 2-Series Active Tourer in 2023. Each model does away with the iDrive controller that has been part of every new BMW since 2001 (see history, below). However, Grote says the controller will continue to be a feature of other new BMW models.

Mini models set to launch in 2023, including the new hatchback and a production version of the Aceman, will receive iDrive 9.0, albeit with a specific Mini interface, according to Grote.

Current BMW models are planned to receive an update to the existing Linux-based iDrive 8.0 operating system. Dubbed iDrive 8.5, it is planned to launch in the upcoming i5 in 2023 before being introduced in the recently launched 7-Series and i7 via a planned OTA.

Grote says iDrive 8.5 will mimic the functionality and interface of the Android-based iDrive 9.0. However, it does without the new app store function.



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