BMW i8 Spyder Set For CES Showing - Debuts New Contactless Touchscreen Photo:

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Trevor Collett | Dec, 30 2015 | 0 Comments

The topless version of BMW’s i8 sports coupe is set to make an official appearance at next month’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

This won’t be the first time an i8 Spyder has seen the light of day, with the original i8 concept built in Spyder form and unveiled at the 2012 Beijing Auto Show.

But while BMW initially decided to build the i8 as a coupe, the Spyder will now get its chance to shine in production form (as reported earlier this month) although another ‘concept’ is expected to be under the covers at the CES.

The show car may well be the original concept, but a new teaser pic from BMW shows that the interior, at least, might offer something new.

BMW calls it the ‘contactless touchscreen’, or ‘AirTouch’, which allows the user to select options on the screen using gestures.

Sensors record hand movements in front of the screen, and a single finger movement can inform the car of desired changes to audio volume or instructions for mobile phone controls.

To choose an option, a “simple confirmation” is all that’s required. One option is a button on the steering wheel if the driver is controlling the infotainment system.

BMW says the screen is a preview of future interior tech (which will hopefully end the days of grubby finger marks on touchscreens…).

Gesture Control is already available in the new 7 Series, but BMW says AirTouch is “another big leap forward”. Further sensors are installed near the instrument cluster, allowing ‘3D’ control.

As for the rest of the i8 Spyder, the concept is expected to be close to production-ready. The battery pack may receive a tweak for 2016, extending the electric-only range beyond the coupe’s current 37km rating.

Otherwise, the i8 powertrain is expected to remain more-or-less unchanged, using electric motors matched with a 1.5 litre three-cylinder petrol engine.

Stay tuned to TMR for more.

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