BMW iNext: electric SUV's innovative steering wheel revealed

BMW iNext polygonal-shaped steering wheel

Unconventional wheel design will aid shift between driver-operated and autonomous modes

Audi E-tron rival’s autonomous potential demonstrated with radical polygon-style steering wheel

BMW’s gradual unveiling of its innovative iNext, due in 2021, continues with the reveal of a range of images depicting the advanced electric vehicle’s polygonal-shaped steering wheel.

Described as the first BMW model in which the driver is no longer required to take care of the task of driving, the iNext is fitted with a newly designed steering wheel conceived to allow the driver to easily switch between highly automated driving and active driving modes.

It is the second interior detail from the production version of the iNext to be revealed, following official images showing its curved instrument display earlier this year.

Inspired by the steering wheels used in BMW race cars, the new steering wheel uses flattened upper and lower sections. They are designed to make it easier to recognise the steering angle than in a conventional round steering wheel.

“The moment the driver re-takes control of the vehicle, they can detect the steering angle instantly – both visually and by means of touch,” said BMW.

Together with the curved instrument display, the new polygonal-shaped steering wheel forms part of what BMW says will be a “pioneering interior design” for the iNext, which has been confirmed to go into production in 2021 as a “new technological flagship” model for the German car maker.

The iNext, a rival to Audi’s E-tron and the Mercedes EQC,  is a similar size to the conventionally fuelled X5, and will form an integral part of the brand’s electrification strategy. 

The SUV’s new platform has been conceived as a multi-purpose architecture that will go on to underpin ICE vehicles, hybrids and pure-electric models from the 3 Series upwards, in line with BMW’s plans to produce all future vehicles on one of two platforms. 

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Source: Autocar Online

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