BMW has already announced its next-generation infotainment system, the iDrive 9, which is supposed to arrive with the new X1. However, that doesn’t mean the Bavarian company is neglecting the iDrive 8, which is currently installed on nearly every vehicle from the brand. Until all those vehicles or their respective successors switch to the new interface, BMW will update the existing iDrive 8 software to a newer 8.5 version.

The biggest improvement this new software version brings is the new home screen with clear and more logically arranged functions. A new zero-layer principle introduces quick access to all relevant functions of the infotainment system permanently shown on a single level. Or, simply put, the system’s most important and frequently used features can be now accessed without having to enter a submenu first. 

Gallery: BMW iDrive 8.5

The best part is that the selection of these functions that are displayed on the home screen can be individually selected and configured. Some of the available quick-access icons include entertainment channels, contact lists, vehicle settings, and others. Together with the new home screen, iDrive 8.5 also comes with a better menu structure making it easier to navigate through other functions.

There aren’t any significant hardware upgrades, though – iDrive 8.5 continues to use a dual-screen layout with two curved displays, one for the instrument cluster and one for the infotainment system. However, both screens receive new graphics developed by BMW Group Design that is more in line with the brand’s visual identity and more consistent. 

BMW will gradually introduce the new operating system 8.5 to all its midsize, executive, and luxury model ranges. This system will continue to be based on Linux, while its successor – the iDrive 9 that BMW says is still being developed – will move to an Android architecture. The two, however, will have a lot in common when it comes to the basic structure and logics. 

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