Meet BMW's in-car gaming console | CAR Magazine

Meet BMW's in-car gaming console

Published: 31 May 2023 Updated: 31 May 2023

Allows occupants to game while stationary
Designed to help pass time when charging
Uses smartphones as game controllers

BMW has teamed up with the online gaming platform AirConsole to produce a new in-car gaming system for its next-generation vehicles. It’ll be first offered on the new BMW 5 Series – but the German brand eventually plans to roll the technology out across its line-up.

The gaming tech is powered by BMW’s new Curved Display infotainment system. The screen works like your TV at home, displaying the game – and, because it’s rather inconvenient to always carry a couple of Xbox remotes in your glovebox, your smartphone acts as the controller.

Getting started sounds simple enough. Just launch the AirConsole app on your car’s infotainment system, then scan the QR code with your phone camera to link it to the screen and you’re away. The platform even offers a local multiplayer mode. How about that for a throwback to the early 2000s?

BMW i5: two people playing video games on the i5's infotainment system

Don’t think you’ll be using the technology to play Dark Souls or Elden Ring, though. The AirConsole app only features a series of casual games that are designed to be picked up quickly and enjoyed.

There’ll be 15 games available from launch, including a variety of off-brand go-kart racers and platformers. However, you can also play the popular multiplayer kitchen carnage sim, Overcooked – and BMW says it plans to expand the library of games over time.

Naturally, you can’t use the technology when the car is in motion. It’s designed to help pass the time while you wait for your car to charge – and that process shouldn’t take too long if you’re connected to a fast enough charger.

BMW i5 : front three quarter, high angle, video game-inspired wrap

BMW says the new i5 electric saloon can charge from 10–80% capacity in just 30 minutes at a 205kW DC rapid charger. So maybe it’s just as well you only have casual games to play. You couldn’t even complete the tutorial on Elden Ring in that time.

To mark the launch of its new in-car gaming platform, BMW unveiled a video game-inspired version of the i5 saloon which has been wrapped in a unique vinyl (above). The company says the large pixels on the design are an homage to the iconic era of 8-bit video games.

By Luke Wilkinson

Deputy Editor of Parkers. Unhealthy obsession with classic Minis and old Alfas. Impenetrable Cumbrian accent