2012 BMW X3 Long Term Road Test


2012 BMW X3: Easy Off Display

December 03, 2012

BMW X3_display off.jpg

You can access the function to turn off the X3's display from seemingly anywhere within the iDrive menu structure. Just bump the iDrive controller to the right two or three times to call up the screen and select the Switch off command. To get the screen back, simply depress the dial controller or one of the function buttons.

This is a feature I'm starting to demand in my advancing age, usually only for night driving when there's already enough light pollution. I don't need nav on my drive home and I don't surf radio channels enough to need the screen on throughout a drive. I know there's a brightness control in there somewhere, but usually I just want a dark screen into which to steal a glance and consider the universe. A dedicated display off button near the screen, like the CR-V's, is most useful. But we all have too many buttons to contend with in our cars already. This'll do.

And for all its initial failures, iDrive is now one of the best media interfaces available. By limiting motion to up/down and side-to-side selection, iDrive feels less distracting than guiding your finger on a touchscreen or a cursor across a cinema display. iDrive isn't as pretty as Audi's MMI, but feels easier to get around. Mercedes' COMAND feels right on par with iDrive, although you'll get multiple opinions about that around our office.

Dan Frio, Automotive Editor

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