GETTING TO KNOW YOU
The Vision Next 100 is networked into BMW’s servers, which are expected to know more and more about the driver’s life. Data includes your travelling habits, your diary and address book, the way you configure your car, your kind of music – even the embarrassing tracks – and so on. Thus aware, it can for instance pre-program destinations according to the time of day, automatically go to recharging points, find entertainment for your likely mood, and so on. Whether you view this as helpful or creepy, it’s no more than an extension of the virtual assistants that are already finding their way into most of our lives.
BODYWORK AND MATERIALS
The basic body structure isn’t envisaged as steel, because that’s too heavy and, of course, would have a damaging impact on energy consumption and range on a charge. Instead much would be carbon fibre, a material BMW is already using in substantial parts of some of its road cars. Inside, there’s an emphasis on sustainable cloth rather then leather – BMW thinks many future buyers will be vegetarians. As a bonus, cleverly textured mono-materials will also ease recycling.
The car is 4.9m long, the same as today’s 5-series, but BMW says it has the interior room of its full- size 7-series. Because of the flexible skin and sleek shape, the drag coefficient is just 0.18.
What’s perhaps most surprising, and a true achievement, is that despite the futuristic shape of the body, it still somehow looks like a BMW. Look, there’s even a traditional BMW double grille, although there’s no engine behind it – instead it’s used as a porthole for all the on-board sensors.
But it’s not just these styling details that say ‘BMW’. Even though in recent years the firm has joined the trend for crossover SUVs, and even though the Vision Next 100 has concept-car tropes such as gullwing doors, the car’s basic shape is a futuristic take on a traditional sports-saloon. Such saloons have been BMW’s heartland since the 1060s. Even in an era of disruptive ideas and transformation, not everything has to change.