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Examining the BMW iDrive Interface

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BMW Rotary Controls
BMW iDrive data input

BMW's iDrive interface relies heavily on the main knob control.

Photo © Jeff Wilcox
Most of the controls in the iDrive system are designed to take advantage of the control knob, which makes it easier to navigate them without looking away from the road. To facilitate that, the communication, GPS navigation, entertainment and climate control systems are each mapped to a cardinal direction. Some models don't include a navigation option, in which case the onboard computer monitor replaces the navigation system on the dial. When text input is required, such as searching for a POI in the navigation system, the alphabet is displayed in a ring formation. That allows letters to be selected by rotating and clicking the knob.
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