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Were you aware that BMWs used to feature programmable windshield wipers?



The Instagram post from Bimmertips recently brought attention to a unique feature in 1980s BMWs – programmable intermittent wipers. Unlike modern cars with rain-sensitive settings, drivers from this era had full control over when the wipers would swipe and the interval between swipes. By flipping the lever to intermittent, then to off, and back to intermittent at the desired interval, drivers could set their wipers to sweep at user-defined intervals.

While the exact timeframe of this feature’s availability in BMWs is unclear, owners have discussed it well into the 1990s. Additionally, some Volkswagens and Lexus models also offered programmable wipers, showcasing the attention to detail and customization options German automakers provided back then. Even aftermarket relays were available to add programmable delays to wipers, highlighting the demand for this feature.

Compared to American brands of the time, German automakers like BMW were ahead of the curve in innovation and technology. While a 1987 Lincoln Town Car boasted leather seats with a power-operated radio antenna, an E32 7 Series featured more advanced safety features like a driver airbag and anti-lock brakes, as well as a stereo with a built-in weather band and the unique programmable wipers. This serves as a reminder of the different approaches to design and features between German and American car manufacturers during the 1980s.

Although programmable intermittent wipers may not be a groundbreaking revelation in today’s automotive world, it signifies a time when customization and user control were key factors in car design. The ability for drivers to set their wipers at specific intervals based on personal preference highlights the attention to detail and user experience that German automakers like BMW incorporated into their vehicles. While this feature may not be as prevalent in modern cars, it serves as a nostalgic reminder of a simpler time in automotive design and innovation.

Whether the programmable wipers are still available in current BMW models or have been replaced by more advanced features remains unclear. However, the discussion surrounding this unique feature showcases how little details can make a big difference in the overall driving experience. Whether it’s a feature as seemingly small as programmable wipers or more significant technological advancements, the attention to detail in design sets certain cars apart and creates a lasting impression on drivers.

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