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BMW Teases AirTouch Interface for CES, Possible i8 Spyder Concept

Topless i8 could be shown again at CES.

BMW plans to show off a new touchless in-car control system at next week's Consumer Electronics Show (CES), and Autocar reports that the technology might be fitted to a Spyder version of the BMW i8.

The BMW AirTouch concept allows drivers to operate the car's infotainment system without actually touching the screen. Like the gesture controls already offered in the 7 Series luxury sedan, cameras monitor the position of the driver's hands and present relevant information on the widescreen display. Two AirTouch keys -- one located on the steering wheel, the other on the passenger-side door -- allow driver and passenger to "confirm" choices they have made with their other hand. In the concept, the giant display screen is mounted on the passenger side of the dashboard but angled toward the driver.

Last year at the 2015 CES show, Volkswagen showed off similar gesture controls on a Golf R concept car with a 12.8-inch display system.

According to Autocar, this infotainment concept will be wrapped inside an updated version of the BMW i8 Spyder concept. The topless version of the AUTOMOBILE All-Star-winning BMW i8 plug-in hybrid was first shown as a concept in 2012, and earlier this month reports suggested that BMW had finally green-lit the car for production. Autocar says the i8 Spyder concept may arrive at CES with possible powertrain upgrades to improve its electric driving range compared to the current model. The EPA rates the BMW i8 at 15 miles of electric-only driving.

Check back next week for more details on the BMW AirTouch interface and the possible debut of an updated i8 Spyder.

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