The Mercedes-Benz S-Class has had one for a few years, and Jaguar-Land Rover recently fitted units to its all-new XJ and updated Range Rover. Now BMW is getting ready to offer its own fully configurable LCD gauge cluster on the next-generation 5 Series and 7 Series models.

Co-developed in Munich and BMW's Technology Office in Mountain View, CA, the new gauge cluster will display the standard dials for speed, revs, fuel and temp, but can be configured to show additional navigation, telematics and infotainment data depending on the driving mode. Comfort and Sport settings will tailor the display to suit conditions, possibly placing the tachometer front-and-center in Sport mode, along with providing shift lights and other more driver-centric information.

A BMW engineer we spoke with made it clear that BMW doesn't want to rely on digital representations of analog gauges. Instead, the automaker is looking at the display as a blank canvas with which it can display a variety of information in an innovative way. However, while consumer customization will be available, BMW believes that keeping the user-tweakability to a minimum is key for ease-of-use and general readability.

Expect the new dash to appear on the refreshed 5 and 7 Series within the next two years.


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  • 28 Comments
      Ak74
      • 3 Years Ago
      I don't think bmw will do that. It might be a hybrid mix of both. But if they do it more detailed that it might work as well.
      captainslg
      • 3 Years Ago
      And won't be easy to read when you're wearing polarized sunglasses.
      Hazdaz
      • 3 Years Ago
      Seems to me that BMW is playing catch up. The Lexus LFA has that gorgeous dashboard. Ford and Lincoln already have those really trick ones on their hybrid models (and I think a few others ones). When done right, these digital dashboards are cool as hell that look great and can clean up the rest of the interior of other guages, but if they are some lame, low-resolution replacement for good analog dials then I am not a fan.
      Synthono
      • 3 Years Ago
      I've always felt that good automotive dials are like a nice watch - more than just something that tells you relevant information, something beautiful that has a sense of weight, quality and design. Flat screens don't have that. Considering stuff like the Lexus LF-A and Fusion Hybrid that combine that mechanical and interesting quality of traditional analog with the practicality of screens surrounding them, I can't help but be disappointed by just a screen.
      EvilMustang
      • 3 Years Ago
      Horrible idea BMW! I agree with Synthono, why would I buy a digital watch when i'm paying for a Rolex?
      rocketmoose
      • 3 Years Ago
      A mechanical dial is -Readable in any light conditions -More reliable, generally And I like the physicality of it. Maybe I'm just old-school, but I feel like this isn't much of a step forwards.
      Charles
      • 3 Years Ago
      LCD?? what about OLED? true black and brighter colors.. keep up BMW
      longducdong
      • 3 Years Ago
      Im sorry, but these digital gauges are ridiculous, and ugly. I know in cars like the LF-A, they serve a purpose, but in a BMW? They look tasteless. A nicely crafted set of analog gauges are far more appealing than any digital crap currently out.
      Kyle James Dahms
      • 3 Years Ago
      UGHhhgDSFASIDJASMndas Fuglyness! I love BMW's, but it will be a sad day if the new M5 comes with this display... Analog FTW
        raider
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Kyle James Dahms
        i have always like the simplicity of the gauge cluster on a bmw. while other automakers add different colors and change things up bmw keeps it classy and simple.
      • 3 Years Ago
      [blocked]
        desinerd1
        • 3 Years Ago
        given how much BMW charges for fixing anything, I am sure the analog gauges will cost the same to replace. They are less likely to break down though
      diejoeboo
      • 3 Years Ago
      Toyota had this in their Crown in Japan years ago. Yawn.
      Jeremy
      • 3 Years Ago
      First thing I would do, is make the speedometer only read up to 90 mph. I never drive over that, and it would give me a much more granular impression of my speed. As a software interface designer, it has always bugged me how unconfigurable the gauges on a car are. When you spend 100% of your time under 90mph, and probably 90% of your time under 75mph, why have gauges that run to 140, 160, etc.? Pointless in a digital age. Especially when you could take user behavior into account. For those that go that high-- let it register that high. Better yet-- give people a digital speedometer and forgo the gauge! I understand the relationship of spacial recognition that you might lose (the needle at 10 o'clock means I'm going 65), but plenty of people don't find that to be an issue.
        Hazdaz
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Jeremy
        "...why have gauges that run to 140, 160, etc.?" Why? Because people that don't know better will think their POS car is super fast. I used to work with a guy who had this old decrepit Audi who thought it was fast based solely on the fact that his speedo went to 150. Never mind the fact that it could barely move out of its own way, but since the needle went to 150 is "had to be" fast. Riiiight. I fully believe that customizable dashes is going to be one of the hot topics in the years to come. Car makers probably won't like it, and probably try to lock down their systems to prevent tampering, but just like in the smartphone world where you can add widgets and customize the look of things, a similar thing will happen in the car world.
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