BMW goes for unsafe design, removes ability to change radio channel

BMW 2024 control layout - with no radio buttons

BMW has been a sensible and happy holdout against the touchscreen only interior car design insanity started by Tesla. Study after study has shown that touchscreens are not only impractical and annoying, but more importantly unsafe as well

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So why is it that BMW has decided – now that even Volkswagen is bringing back physical control buttons in new cars – to get rid of them. The picture above shows the control layout for the 2024 models. The picture below for the 2022 models.

BMW control layout 2022 with radio buttons

As you can see, the most commonly used buttons in the car – the radio memories and volume – have gone entirely. To change the radio station, the driver now has to go through a convoluted process which involves looking in the cockpit quite a bit. To make things worse, they have gotten rid of the control dial too, which at least made the process slightly easier. The worst about it though – the passenger can’t change the radio station either.

Not only is this incredibly inconvenient, but it’s also dangerously unsafe. BMWs are drivers cars – they tend to not only be driven on empty highways, but on small and winding roads. When you want to change the radio station, it’s often because it’s annoying you. Looking around (and mainly down, away from the road) in bewilderment when you are trying to change channel, especially whilst annoyed, is a recipe for disaster.

So whilst it’s very annoying for BMW to have also removed the climate control buttons (especially if you drive a cabriolet!), the radio buttons are a real safety issue.

Please, BMW, see some sense and put them back.

Robin Edgar

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