BMW outlines plans for its iNEXT future
BMW used its recent annual meeting to outline plans for its fledgling “i” sub-brand by the end of the decade and also dropped hints about several other aspects of what’s to come. Harald Krüger, Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG, said the automaker intends “to remain the driving force behind premium individual mobility” by maintaining a focus on people and the environment and deliver “solutions that are both ground-breaking and responsible.” He indicated the firm is readying a new iNEXT model that will underscore the division’s role as an innovator and that this technology will find their way to other members of the BMW family.
Krüger noted that the recently introduced “i Performance” nomenclature will be part of seven BMW Group model ranges in either full electric or plug-in hybrid form and that it will include a new Plug-in Mini. In addition to a redesigned i3 model with significantly increased battery capacity and greater range, a production version of the i8 Roadster that was shown in concept form at the 2016 CES show will join the lineup by 2018. But the biggest news centers on the iNEXT – which is due to arrive in showrooms early next decade. While offering no details, Krüger indicated this vehicle “will raise premium individual mobility to previously unknown levels.”
Project i 2.0
BMW also used the occasion to introduce its new Project i 2.0 program, an effort which Klaus Fröhlich, member of the Board of Management responsible for Development says will see the firm take the leadership position in the autonomous driving arena. To do so, BMW will place major emphasis on high definition digital maps, sensor technology, cloud technology and artificial intelligence to facilitate both automated and fully networked vehicle operation -- both things in which the new iNEXT will excel.
BMW also confirmed several mainstream products including a new, range-topping X7 SUV at some point in the near future. A further expansion of the M product range also is planned as are a number of new vehicles that will receive the M Performance treatment.
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