BMW Vision Next 100
BMW is on a world tour this year with a selection of concept cars that present its vision for the next 100 years of automotive development. Catering to our wildest adolescent fantasies, these cars are aggressively, almost absurdly futuristic, with this week’s debutant Rolls-Royce and Mini models exhibiting a preference for pizzazz over practicality. BMW’s own-brand Vision Next 100 vehicle is no less extreme, eschewing traditional things like a dashboard and rear-view mirrors in favor of high-tech alternatives.
I was already a fan of the futurism embodied by BMW’s Vision concept when it was made official back in March, but seeing it in all its aerodynamic glory in London this week, I’m upgrading my excitement by a couple of notches. The car simply looks stunning, like a more practical, more gadgety version of today’s supercars. It has a thoroughly streamlined shape that nevertheless still accommodates four people and even has room to include the design flourish of fin-like taillights (which I love). It’s very much the sort of thing I used to sketch during boring math classes in high school, and it’s that connection with the fantastic that makes BMW’s concepts so compelling today.
The purpose of the BMW Vision Next 100 cars is to create concepts that people can engage with, and the company firmly believes that the emotional driving experience must be informed by emotional design. That’s why the headlights look like a falcon’s talons and why the golden honey paintjob splinters out into small polygons as it morphs imperceptibly from the metal exterior to the darkened windows.
I didn’t get to see inside this particular BMW, but the company has helpfully provided video materials showing off what the ride would be like. Comprising both a Boost mode for the best of BMW’s storied driving tradition and an Ease mode for a relaxing, autonomous ride, this vision of the future aims to be both thrilling and convenient.
BMW says that in the years ahead, the driver’s well-being will become increasingly important, and rather than merely feeling they are in a machine that drives itself, they should sense that they are sitting in one that was specifically designed for them.
A very important element of the Vision Vehicle is another innovation known as Alive Geometry, the likes of which have never before been seen in a car. It consists of a kind of three-dimensional sculpture that works both inside and outside the vehicle.
The sensory and digital intelligence, permanent service availability and connectivity of the BMW VISION NEXT 100 come together in (the) Companion, which allows the vehicle to get to know its driver better and provide intuitive and subtle assistance in every driving situation. In this way, more than ever before, (the) Companion intuitively makes every trip a personalised and emotionally-rewarding experience for the driver.