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2021 BMW iNEXT reveals polygonal steering wheel in new teaser

motor1 logo motor1 7/22/2019 Adrian Padeanu
a close up of a phone: 2021 BMW iNEXT teaser© Motor1.com/Hersteller 2021 BMW iNEXT teaser

You've never seen this steering wheel in a BMW before.

It was at the end of May when BMW hopped inside the cabin of the iNEXT to provide us with an official glimpse of the SUV’s cabin by showing off the back of the massive driver-oriented curved display. Fast forward to July 22, a new interior detail has been revealed as we get to see the electric vehicle’s all-new steering wheel that represents a departure from previous designs.

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We’ve seen spy shots of prototypes inside and out before, but those had typical BMW steering wheels carried over from something you can get in a 3 Series or an X5. However, the production-ready iNEXT will boast a polygonal steering wheel featuring an almost flat rim at the upper and lower sections combined with rounded corners at the sides. BMW explains they did this not just for the sake of coming out with something new, but to make it easier to figure out the steering angle based on the position on the wheel compared to a traditional circular-shaped wheel.

In addition, the polygonal geometry is considered by the German premium brand as being ideal for a vehicle that offers a highly automated driving mode alongside the conventional driving experience. The explanation lies in the wheel’s shape as the driver can easily figure out the steering’s angle the moment the automated driving mode is turned off to take control of the vehicle in a safe manner.

The two-spoke steering wheel boasts optical fibers built into the side sections that light up whenever the driver needs to take control of the iNEXT or when the automated driving functions are available. BMW explains the flat lower section of the rim was designed with ergonomics in mind as it gives the driver more legroom whenever entering and exiting the vehicle while providing additional freedom of movement during extended trips. That will come in handy during journeys with the active cruise control turned on for a considerable amount of time as the driver will be able to bend both legs to avoid fatigue.

Billed as being BMW’s “technology flagship,” the iNEXT will go into production in 2021 and will benefit from the company’s fifth-generation electric drive system.

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