iDrive arguably started the current in-car UX revolution. The new 5-series represents the third iteration of the model line to come with BMW’s screen and GUI-controller pairing, but there are some significant changes…
BMW 5-Series 530e 2017
BMW 5-Series — 530e 2017
Not only can you navigate the centre screen with the tunnel-mounted rotary controller (what is its ‘proper’ name? — anyone know?), but you can also now touch the screen and (if you select the right option) control it with gestures. Not only that, but the instrument cluster is now fully digital, although the physical rings which mark out where the two instruments fall on the screen, means it’s much less flexible and configurable than it might be.
For the first time in a BMW, we actually found this system relatively cumbersome to use — and this is after stepping out of 3 years in an F31 3-Series, which runs the previous generation of this system set-up. The problem is that it feels bloated by features — BMW has added so many of them that it’s easy to get lost or become frustrated as you try to optimise the set-up.