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Some new BMWs won't have touchscreens thanks to chip shortage

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New buyers beware — the 3 Series and more won’t have touchscreens

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Image: BMW

BMW is dropping touchscreens from many of its new cars due to the chip shortage, according to a forum post on BimmerFest and later confirmed by the car company to Edmunds and AutoBlog. While we’ve seen other auto manufactures have to pause production or cut other features, this omission is a big deal — nowadays, touchscreens are a fairly standard feature in cars, and not having one will affect how you interact with the car almost every day.

According to the BimmerFest post, some affected vehicles (which include the 3 Series sedans, and X5, X6, and X7 SUVs / crossovers) will also lose access to the backup assistant feature as well, which automatically backs into spots for you after recording how you drove through them going forward. The post also says that cars shipped without touchscreens will come with a $500 credit and will require both a software update and the customer to sign a form with the dealer to acknowledge that they know about the feature deletion.

Instead of the touchscreen, users will have to rely on a controller in the center console, which features touchpad-like abilities. It’s a divisive input option between reviewers, but I doubt most people would choose it over the touchscreen under normal circumstances.

What’s worse is that, practically speaking, you probably won’t be able to get a touchscreen installed after the fact with the $500 you’re saving from the deletion. At this point, then, it may be best to just try and wait it out — while the chip shortage is expected to last until at least 2023, cars are often a long-term purchase. Do you really want to be using a touchpad instead of a touchscreen in, say, 2030?

BMW isn’t the only company making cuts to its vehicles to deal with shortages — GM has dropped features as well, from the relatively innocuous like HD radio and built-in wireless charging on some models to serious omissions like fuel management modules and auto stop-start on some of its V8s and its much-touted Super Cruise hands-free driving mode.