Offering an early look at what we could well see in the next-generation BMW 7 Series -- or possibly a range-elevating 9 Series model -- the BMW Vision Future Luxury Concept was unveiled at Auto China 2014 in Beijing. With its arresting visual presence, lightweight engineering and a host of innovative tech touches, Adrian van Hooydonk, Senior Vice President BMW Group Design says this stunning one-off "takes our thinking on modern luxury a logical stage further."
Stepping up the design game
Making extensive use of mass-reducing materials -- including aluminum and carbon composites wherever possible - and fitted with an eDrive plug-in powertrain -- the Vision Future Luxury Concept is a rolling testament to BMW's Efficient Dynamics on every level. Finished in Liquid Platinum Bronze, this forward-thinking exercise also expands on all of the firm's aero-optimization tweaks by adding new elements that include a C-pillar with internal air channeling and outlets in the rear diffuser that vent air from the aft wheel arches.
Complementing the boldly beautiful exterior styling of the Vision Future Luxury Concept are its advanced lighting elements. Distinctive thin-line headlamps incorporate BMW Laserlight technology that offers 10 times the illumination intensity of conventions LEDs but require less energy while its L-shaped taillights consist of numerous -- and also highly efficient -- organic LEDs. BMW says its first use of OLED technology opens the door to more extensive and creative implementation in a number of upcoming future models.
A study in elegant innovation
Covered in full aniline leather accented with rich wood and silk carpeting, the cabin of the Vision Future Luxury Concept embraces that same kind of innovative design approach. Like BMW's groundbreaking "i" Series models, carbon fiber is a structural staple here and found in the floor, doors and an elegantly narrow B-Pillar that permits the use of coach-style rear-door hinging as well as in other cosmetic areas. Retaining a classic driver-centric character, the Vision Future Luxury Concept introduces a new 3D user interface. The main instrument cluster consists of programmable "context-adaptive" displays supplemented by a full-color heads-up view that can highlight everything from looming road hazards to various points of interest along the route.
Other occupants of this tech-rich realm fare equally well. A front-passenger touchscreen interconnected with the driver's info display also affords full control of the extensive infotainment/online functionality as well as BMW's latest Luxury Concierge Services via an iDrive Controller. The aft "comfort zone" features two fully-adjustable individual seats divided by a center console fitted with a detachable Rear Seat Touch Command Tablet. Also on hand are dual displays set in carbon fiber frames on the front seatbacks as well as a retractable table.
We shouldn't have to wait long to see exactly where and when any or all of the design innovations seen in the BMW Vision Future Luxury Concept turn up in a showroom. The next-gen 7 Series is slated to debut late next year or in early 2016. BMW has not yet confirmed anything regarding the possible 9 Series flagship.
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