BMW iNext EV teases its weird but purposeful polygonal steering wheel
It's not just odd for the sake of being odd.
Andrew KrokReviews Editor / Cars
Cars are Andrew's jam, as is strawberry. After spending years as a regular ol' car fanatic, he started working his way through the echelons of the automotive industry, starting out as social-media director of a small European-focused garage outside of Chicago. From there, he moved to the editorial side, penning several written features in Total 911 Magazine before becoming a full-time auto writer, first for a local Chicago outlet and then for CNET Cars.
BMW on Monday issued a teaser showing the iNext EV's steering wheel. While that might seem like a strange teaser, it turns out the wheel itself is kind of strange. Instead of rocking the usual circular shape, the iNext's steering wheel is more polygonal, closer in shape to what we've seen from the
and 2020 Corvette.
The automaker has a surprising number of reasons for this change. The main point focuses on switching from highly automated to manual driving modes. By having the wheel rock a weird shape, BMW claims it will be easier for drivers to know the exact steering angle when leaving a more automated driving mode. The steering wheel even has fiber optics on the sides that use color to tell the driver when automated functions are available, or if the driver is required to resume control of the car.
There are other, lesser reasons for having a weirdly shaped steering wheel, too. Like many other flat-bottomed steering wheels, BMW claims the iNext's wheel will improve ingress and egress. The wheel's shape also improves the driver's gauge cluster visibility, which is good, because there's a whole lot o' screen in this bad boy.
BMW claims that the iNext will have a driving range in excess of 373 miles per charge, although that's based on the European WLTP test cycle, which is a bit less conservative than the EPA's cycle. If you're after a more traditional vehicle shape, there will be an i4 electric sedan on offer, too. Both cars are expected to enter production in Germany in 2021.