BMW Unveils iDrive 8.5 with Customizable “QuickSelect” Menus

German automaker BMW has revealed the latest version of its iDrive vehicle infotainment system. First debuting in the BMW 7 Series in 2001, the newest iDrive 8.5 update features a new home screen with customizable QuickSelect menus like a smartphone. The latest iDrive 8.5 software will become available to the BMW 7 Series, X5, X6, X7, ix, i4, and XM via over-the-air (OTA) updates beginning in the summer of 2023.

“BMW iDrive is more than just a control and operating system – it’s a digital world of experience allowing humans and cars to interact and exchange information,” said Stephan Durach, Senior Vice President of BMW Group Connected Company Development. “We are continuously enhancing the associated user experience based on the latest available technology.”

Zero-Layer Menu Structure

The most significant change in BMW iDrive 8.5 is a “zero-layer” menu structure for the home screen. We first heard about this concept with the Mercedes-Benz MBUX Hyperscreen that debuted in the brand’s EQS all-electric luxury sedan. Like the MBUX Hyperscreen, iDrive 8.5 mimics the user interface of a smartphone, enabling users to reconfigure or customize the home screen.

Moreover, the home menu features a vertical section on the driver’s side that shows quick-access menus or live widgets to adjust the navigation, media, vehicle settings, and more. In addition, users can return to the home screen from anywhere in the menus or sub-menus by touching the “Home” icon at the bottom.

Arriving Soon: BMW iDrive 9

BMW iDrive 8.5 runs on a Linux-based architecture and pairs with the BMW Curved Display, the latter comprising a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster and a 14.9-inch center touchscreen. In addition, the Android-based iDrive 9 is coming soon in the 2024 BMW X1, the first production vehicle in BMW’s lineup to feature Android Automotive OS.