BMW has gone from being the ultimate driving machine to a company that builds rolling computers. Nowadays, you can play split-screen games or watch soccer/football on the iDrive’s center screen. Alternatively, you can sit in the back of a 7 Series and watch a movie on that giant 31.3-inch, 8K-resolution wide display. Post-purchase software revisions and additions make the experience better.

Speaking during the Annual General Meeting, CEO Oliver Zipse proudly said BMW has the world’s largest fleet of cars that support over-the-air updates. The top brass from Munich claims more than 7.5 million vehicles have been built with OTA updates. The Remote Software Upgrade function has been around for years, an effort accelerated with the iDrive 7’s launch in 2018.

We’re living in an interesting timeline considering BMW sells cars with three different generations of the iDrive. Models such as the Z4 and 6 Series Gran Turismo still use iDrive 7 while most products run on 8/8.5. Some of the newest vehicles come with iDrive 9 and do away with the rotary dial – as seen on the latest X1, X2, and 2 Series Active Tourer. The new 1 Series and 2 Series Gran Coupe are not going to have it either. However, the next-gen X3 debuting next month will keep the hardware despite switching to iDrive 9.

Come 2025, the German luxury brand will launch its first model with iDrive 10 / iDrive X. The Neue Klasse-based electric SUV will supersede today’s iX3 riding on CLAR. It’s likely to be even more technologically advanced than any other BMW before it. As seen in the Vision Neue Klasse X, it’ll have a larger central display, without an instrument cluster. The latter is being replaced by Panoramic Vision; a new head-up display as wide as the windshield. The Munich-based marque has already said it won’t install a physical dial to control the infotainment. You’ll just have to rely on the touchscreen and the buttons on the steering wheel.

OTA updates will become the norm in the automotive industry, much like your smartphone’s software is updated every now and then. The days of analog cars are long over, but at least BMW is making efforts to keep the manual gearbox.

Source: BMW