By Andrew Ganz
Thursday, Nov 8th, 2012 @ 8:26 am
 

Steering wheels used to serve one function, but BMW's new M Performance wheel aims to deliver everything a track-oriented driver could ever want.

The wheel, which runs about $1,600 from the automaker's accessories division, contains an integrated trip computer and LED lights to help drivers keep track of optimal shift points. In addition, the wheel's built-in g-meter (pictured) gives drivers an instant look at the cornering forces they're encountering.

BMW - and other automakers - have also included this information on heads-up displays that project pertinent information onto the windshield, but the M Performance wheel goes one step further by putting the data as close to the driver's hands - and eyes - as possible. For drivers looking to maximize their BMW's on-track performance, the computer offers accelerometer and timer functions. On either side of the display unit, red and green LED lamps light up to indicate when drivers should shift to make the most of their engine's available performance.

The small screen at the very top of the wheel can also show fuel efficiency, presumably for the drive to and from the race track.

Like other M Performance units, the wheel is wrapped in Alcantara suede for added grip. We wouldn't be surprised to see this wheel become available direct from the factory in future BMW M products.