2016 BMW 340i: Clean Dashboard Design
by Ed Hellwig, Executive Editor on May 20, 2016
This is an odd thing to say about a sport sedan like our 2016 BMW 340i, but one of the first things I noticed was the simplicity of the dashboard design. Not the powerful new engine, not the striking leather seats, but the dashboard. Here's why.
With all the technology baked into modern cars, the dashboard often gets littered with so much clutter that it takes away from the overall design of the cabin. You get beautifully sculpted seats, striking door trim and then — a dashboard that looks like a missile launch command center.
BMW has been guilty of this in the past, but this 3 Series has reformed its ways. The continued evolution of iDrive helps since it bundles so many functions into a single controller.
Beyond that, there's BMW's simplified climate control layout and the use of universal memory buttons. The latter is an interesting way of simplifying unrelated functions. Instead of having memory buttons for just the radio presets or pre-defined phone numbers, these buttons can be programmed for any number of functions.
For instance, you can program the number "1" button to automatically set the navigation to your home address. So even if you're listening to the radio, hitting the "1" will engage the navigation system. The next two or three buttons could be your favorite radio stations while the next couple after that could be your most frequently dialed phone numbers.
It would take some time to get used to the setup, but once you did it would make everyday driving that much easier. Probably won't happen much in this car since it goes from one editor to the next on a daily basis. Still it's a nice way to bring various functions together in a simplified way.
Ed Hellwig, Executive Editor @ 1,254 miles