Half car, half haberdashery experiment. Meet the weird and wonderful BMW concept that didn’t quite make the cut.
The Vision Next 100 isn’t BMW’s first concept car, not by a long shot. In fact, it’s not even its first shape-shifting car. That title goes to the GINA Light Visionary Model of 2008. It too was a showcase for some strange new ideas, the most obvious being the polyurethane-coated Spandex bodywork that formed a stretchy, extremely tight-fitting skin around a metal frame. Yep, someone actually thought the Car of the Future would be shrink-wrapped in Mr Motivator’s trousers.
What was the point in that? They key was that aluminium frame, which was designed to lengthen, shorten, expand and contract at the driver’s command. Want a big wing for more downforce? Just press a button, let the actuators do their work, and it shall be done. Need to lose the wing for increased top speed? No problem. Fancy slimming down for a tight parking spot? You get the idea.
So the bodywork had to be stretchy in order to move with the shape-shifting chassis. The Spandex was also slightly translucent, so the taillights could shine right through it, while around the front, tiny motors pulled back the skin to reveal the headlights. Whether it would have passed any crash tests is another matter altogether, but hey, at least you could iron out the dents.