What is BMW Live Cockpit Professional?

Jessica Shea Choksey | Apr 26, 2022

Automakers are constantly looking for new ways to engage drivers to make the in-car experience more enjoyable and intuitive. To that end, BMW has developed a fully digital gauge cluster system called Live Cockpit Professional with a look, feel, and functionality far more robust than any traditional analog setup.

BMW Live Cockpit Professional Operating System 7.0 Information Display Driving Assistant Information and Media

The Premise - Find the best BMW deals!

Live Cockpit Professional features a sizeable 12.3-inch gauge cluster screen located directly in front of the driver, just beyond the steering wheel. In other words, it is precisely where traditional analog gauges would live. It comes standard on BMW's M models and is optional across other models in the German luxury automaker's product portfolio.

This feature should not be confused with BMW's large center dashboard display, which provides the crux of infotainment screens and functions. However, the two displays are closely connected and provide overlapping information through BMW's latest software operating system.

Live Cockpit Professional is essentially BMW's answer to Audi's Virtual Cockpit, which is the first of this kind of dashboard technology. Its premise is to put all relevant information, metrics, and feature content in the driver's immediate view, giving no reason to take attention off the task of driving or the road ahead.

The Look and Feel - Find the best BMW deals!

The Live Cockpit display is a departure from analog circular gauges. Its arced design elements are less siloed with a more organic flow from one to the next. Their shape and arrangement bring BMW's familiar kidney grille face from the car's front end into the interior.

The default Comfort Zone screen gives the gauge an orange-ish hue. Moving to the Eco Pro mode to emphasize fuel economy, the digital gauge cluster turns blue. Sport mode provides the display with a deep red treatment to highlight the vehicle's performance acumen.

The screen broadly divides into three main sections—left, center, and right—each serving a different purpose and delivering specific information. The gauges feature a speedometer, a center map screen, and a tachometer from left to right. But each of these screens has other functions, as well.

Left Screen - Find the best BMW deals!

The left side of Live Cockpit shows more rudimentary information such as speed in miles per hour and kilometers per hour, posted speed limits (informed by the speed limit recognition functionality of the vehicle), a fuel gauge, and approximate driving range. This section also has standard icons for headlights, daytime running lamps, and high beams.

Center Screen - Find the best BMW deals!

The built-in navigation map is the primary graphic in the center section. A hard-drive-based multimedia system powers this display. If the driver is plugged into Apple Carplay or Android Auto or is utilizing Waze, the standard center navigation map does not appear. In that case, this section only provides turn-by-turn guidance.

The center display also provides advanced driving assistance system and cruise control information when switching away from the map. It provides an image of the car in its lane and other surrounding vehicles, ahead, behind, and in adjacent lanes.

Right Screen - Find the best BMW deals!

The right side of Live Cockpit is more of a tachometer dedicated to information like fuel economy or performance information. On the fuel-economy side, the screen shows real-time mileage and battery charge for those vehicles with a mild-hybrid powertrain. This indicator will show when the battery is gaining charge from regenerative braking.

On the performance side, the right-hand display provides real-time horsepower and torque output, as well as the vehicle's g-forces to measure acceleration in any direction. This information may not have any relevant application on everyday roads but could interest a driver putting their car on a track.

In addition to the tach-style displays, the right-side gauge section will allow the driver to scroll and select entertainment sources—radio stations, SiriusXM satellite radio channels, and smartphone music catalogs.

Head-up Display - Find the best BMW deals!

Although the head-up display is not in the gauge cluster, it is considered a component of the overall digital cockpit system. This large graphic floats out over the car's hood. It provides the driver with certain information they can also see in the gauge cluster, including current speed, cruise control status, turn-by-turn navigation, and the audio/entertainment source. This extra level of redundancy helps the driver keep their eyes and mind on the road.

Summary - Find the best BMW deals!

BMW's Live Cockpit Professional is a convenient and attractive way to provide vehicle information to the driver while helping to keep their attention on the roadway. It is another way the automaker elevates the "ultimate driving machine."

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