The latest BMW models running on iDrive 8 combine a 12.3-inch digital driver’s display with a 14.9-inch infotainment in a tablet-like configuration atop the dashboard. Front-wheel-drive models like the 1 Series, X1, 2 Series Gran Coupe, and the 2 Series Active Tourer have slightly smaller screens by utilizing a 10.25-inch instrument cluster and a 10.7-inch touchscreen. What lies ahead? Surprisingly, the company’s CEO believes massive displays will be gone.

In an interview with Automotive News Europe at CES 2023 in Las Vegas, Oliver Zipse declared he is “absolutely convinced” these big screens will become a thing of the past since they’re a source of distraction: “In 10 years, that is gone. Probably the regulator will not allow it.” In other words, BMW’s head honcho estimates massive dashboard-mounted displays are going to be banned as early as the 2030s.

Oliver Zipse went on to say drivers are not looking at the road ahead when they’re using in-car screens: “If you have to look down to operate your car, we think it’s a big mistake.” For this reason, the i Vision Dee concept unveiled at CES boasts a more sophisticated head-up display that will trickle down on a production car in 2025 with the first Neue Klasse-based EV.

Mind you, an official preview of BMW’s next-generation electric cars still has fairly generous screen real estate. Separate from the i Vision Dee, the Munich-based luxury brand released an image of a Neue Klasse interior and it had a dashboard-wide display mounted at the base of the windshield. Pictured above, it does seem to be less distracting than what you’ll find in the current crop of iDrive 8-equipped models.

Separately, Stephan Durach, head of BMW’s connected company development unit, told ANE the thinking is to provide “the information you need at the right time to give you the perfect experience. That is what people are asking for.” He explained the added tech should not be a distraction, and a new head-up display earmarked for NE-based cars will allow drivers to better keep their eyes on the road.

In the meantime, the upcoming iDrive 8.5 and iDrive 9 operating systems will rely on large displays. The former OS will premiere with the next-generation 5 Series / i5 this summer while the latter will debut on the X1 in a couple of months.

Source: Automotive News Europe