The rotary knob lives on! BMW previews next generation iDrive

If you’re looking for a reason to feel old, let me help. BMW’s proprietary infotainment system, iDrive, is 20 years old this year.

To celebrate, BMW took a look back at the tech and teased a few changes that will come with the latest iteration of the system that will debut in the iX electric car, at this year’s CES.

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In the iX, BMW will follow the trend for massive dashboard screens, which is a welcome addition. Compared to cars like the Tesla Model S or Polestar 2, the screens in BMWs have started to seem a little small of late.

But best of all, BMW is keeping its analog rotary control knob and is not removing it in favor of voice inputs or touchscreens.

In the early days, iDrive was a little rough around the edges, and the rotary control was a little more confusing than it needed to be.

Turning it would scroll through menus on the screen, and it could also be pushed forward, backwards, left, or right, to perform dedicated functions.

Credit: Wikimedia CC