BMW Vision Next 100 Concept looks to tomorrow
Officially kicking off its second century in business, BMW AG has unveiled the Vision Next 100 Concept at a gala event in Munich. Embracing design themes it plans to explore in future models, this adventurous, autonomous one-off pushes boundaries in every area while maintaining fundamental BMW values. According to Adrian van Hooydonk, Head of BMW Group Design, the primary objective of the BMW Vision Next 100 was to create a vehicle people would engage with on a more intimate level.
“Technology is going to make significant advances, opening up fantastic new possibilities that will allow us to offer the driver even more assistance for an even more intense driving experience, he noted at the reveal. “My personal view is that technology should be as intuitive as possible to operate and experience so that future interactions between human, machine and surroundings become seamless. The BMW Vision Next 100 shows how we intend to shape this future.”
Creating sensory experiences
Anchoring the design brief of this coupe-like 4-door sedan were four key beliefs with the first and foremost remaining that a genuine BMW must always be driver focused. The automaker also believes that in a fully connected future, the inevitable merger of artificial intelligence and intuitive technology will elicit new approaches to control/communications functions and that advances in manufacturing and materials also will open new creative opportunities in the way vehicles are produced. Finally, BMW tasked the Vision Next 100 with delivering an intense sensory experience to the driver under all operating conditions. To that end, the car introduces groundbreaking “Alive Geometry.” Alive Geometry, which consists of about 800 molded triangular elements in the interior and exterior, facilitates a new kind of man/machine interaction whether the car is functioning in Boost mode with the driver in command or operating autonomously in Ease mode.
Accessed by wing doors that swing up when the driver approaches with the Smart Key, the spacious cabin of the BMW Vision Next 100 is designed to configure itself to the moment. In Boost mode, the yoke-style steering wheel, seat and center console slide into an optimum driving position while the Head-up Display – which here covers the entire windshield – serves up basic information and can create a digital representation of the surroundings anytime outward visibility is compromised. Alive Geometry elements on the car’s dash interact with the HUD to create light patterns that serve as “intuitive signals that predict an imminent real-time event.” Operating in Ease mode, the steering wheel and console on the Vision Next 100 retract while the seats and door panels merge to facilitate a greater level of social interaction. Information on the HUD also can be fully personalized to display anything from music program details to roadside points of interest. One final element an “intelligent digital partner” BMW has dubbed “the Companion.” Shaped like a large gemstone and sitting mid-dash below the windscreen, the Companion actively learns the behavior patterns of the car’s operator and occupants. In addition to automatically performing various routine functions when required, it rises up from the dash surface to serve as a visual cue to other nearby vehicles anytime the Vision Next 100 is toggled into Ease mode.
Recycled carbon fiber body
About the same size as a current 5 Series but nearly four inches lower, the Vision Next 100 shows some stylistic influences originally seen in the BMW i8. Its copper-colored bodywork is made from the recycled leftovers of normal carbon fiber production and also features Alive Geometry on flexible side panels that allow its large wheels to remain fully covered even when the car is turning. The design contributes to its stellar 0.18 coefficient of drag.
Save for indicating it will be “emissions free,” nothing was mentioned about the powertrain in the BMW Vision Next 100 Concept. However, the automaker did note that it will be the first of four vehicles presented in conjunction with its centenary celebration and accompanying “Iconic Impulses. The BMW Group Future Experience world tour will stop in Beijing, London and Los Angeles. In June, BMW plans to unveil similarly futuristic Vision models from Mini and Rolls-Royce while a Vision motorcycle will be presented by BMW Motorrad in conjunction with the Los Angeles Auto Show in October.
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