Preh GmbH has developed and will manufacture the BMW 7-Series iDrive controller in the middle console as well as the rear center stack with audio and climate control functions. Preh also said it developed ECUs for integral active steering.
Seven buttons and/or rocker switches provide access to the core functions of the menu prompts. The center control knob, with a precise haptic, responds to turning, tilting and pressing. A backlit corona ring provides visibility at night.
The audio and climate control system is located in the center console that is turned slightly toward the driver. The system is outlined in black panel display technology in which individual function icons, like interior temperature or fan blower speed, only appear after the ignition is turned on.
Driver can use an integrated proximity sensor system to select radio station buttons by placing a finger near a button or touching it lightly. The station frequency is indicated in the center display and the desired frequency is then selected by pressing the button.
The climate control system offers separate temperature, blower, air distribution, and optional seat ventilation regulation for the driver and front seat passenger. Rear climate control devices are placed at the back of the center console and on the right and left of the headliner. Rear climate control regulates the floor space air flow and air flow for the lower body region. The headliner controls steer the B-column air outlet to cool the head and torso range. The driver can control all climate zones simultaneously by activating a button marked “All.”
The audio and climate control system and the iDrive Controller are available with an optional ceramics design that provides “a particularly noble appearance,” according to Preh, as well as a “cool touch" surface feels cool at normal temperature. Preh said the comparatively higher singular weight of the ceramic material strengthens the distinctive haptic feel.
An optional Preh electronic control unit contributes to the integral active steering control by ensuring that the steering ratio is adapted to the speed of the vehicle. At low speeds the integral active steering achieves a large steering angle at a relatively small turn of the steering wheel, which allows less turning effort when parking. At higher speeds, the steering angle is smaller, thus steering errors can be better balanced. An additional ECU controls the steering angle of the rear wheels.