2016 BMW Vision Next 100 Concept

BMW was incorporated as a business unit in 1916 after the Rapp
Motorenwerke was restructured. The company would however wait
until 1923 to produce its first motorcycle and 5 years later to
produce a car. To celebrate this special fete, the automaker
has unveiled a 2016 BMW Vision Next 100 Concept that shows how
they see the future of the automobile industry in the next 100
years.

The car is dubbed “the Vision Next 100” and it looks wild to
say the least. It is a 4-seat sedan but with two doors. It can
be driven autonomously or by a human. Its body features
flexible components that shift as it moves. Hundreds of
triangles on its body shift to present informational and
warning messages.

Such a car may never make it to market but some individual
concepts might be used in the near future. I bet many 
enthusiasts of the “old guard club” will take time to let this
sink in  given the fact they are yet to take in 
automatic transmission, direct-injection and electric engines.
To be frank, I am also finding it hard to believe a car will
have a flexible body…seems like stuff direct from a sci-fi
movie; don’t be surprised if James Bond uses it on his next
mission.

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2016 BMW Vision Next 100 Concept Exterior

The 2016 BMW Vision Next 100 Concept features a wild design
different from BMW models as we know them today.  It looks
like a sporty sedan the size of the 5-Series.  It sports a
body shell featuring beefy fenders around the wheels. The
fenders appear to be made of a flexible material with
triangular-looking scales that twist and stretch when the front
wheels turn.

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The body configuration is different from current models. It
features very short overhangs while the windscreen extends to
the front hood resulting in a canopy-like cockpit. Except for
the signature twin-kidney grille, the blue-and –white roundels
and the Hofmeister kick, there are hardly any other BMW
features visible.  For example, the all-familiar
horizontal-shaped headlights have been done away with. New twin
and vertical –shaped LED strips take their place. At the rear,
the tail lamps feature a 3-D design. However, the deck-lid
looks similar to that of the “Bangle Butt” 6-Series coupe.

On the sides, the doors occupy almost the entire side
profile.  Their hinges are located along the A and C
pillars. The door system is similar to the “butterfly door”
concept.  It allows for easier access to the cabin. 
Its body exterior panels can also change shape to improve
aerodynamics as the vehicle maneuvers. It can also stretch to
cover the wheels to achieve a very low coefficient of drag,
about 0.18.

Maybe many of its styling cues will be standard styling cues in
future but as it is, the model is not likely to make it to
production anytime soon, probably in the next 100 years as BMW
has envisioned.

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2016 BMW Vision Next 100 Concept Interior

The interior looks simpler and less futuristic.  The model
doesn’t have a center console which results in plenty of
legroom all over. The roof is made up of transparent panels
which allow sunlight to illuminate the cabin. The triangular
scale pattern on the fenders is adopted on the dashboard and on
the seats. On the dashboard, BMW says the scales are part of
its safety package in that they turn red in color to warn about
upcoming hazards.

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The vehicle features two driving modes, the Boost mode where
the driver is in control and the Ease mode where the vehicle
turns into a self-driving car. In Boost mode, the controller
like steering wheel emerges from the dashboard where the
instrument cluster is supposed to be as the model doesn’t have
one. Data is displayed on augmented reality which helps give
the driver details on steering points and the ideal driving
line. The boost mode focuses on improving the driver’s
experience by offering the needed support.

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Switching to Ease mode, the steering wheel tucks itself in and
the vehicle transforms itself to a self-driving automobile. The
headrests turn to the side and the seats and doors emerge to
form a single unit allowing the driver and front passenger to
face each other for a more engaging conversation.  This is
aided by a new technology called “Alive Geometry” which
features 4D- printed components which can change shape and also
interact with the driver.

The luxury automaker hasn’t used a single piece of wood making
me wonder whether there won’t be trees in future or whether
wood will cease to be used in luxury cars.

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Engine

Sadly, the automaker seems to have woken up before the specs of
its drive-train were revealed.  Anyway, it is not unusual
for automakers to release concepts without a drive-train.

However it’s a bit awkward though for an automaker famous for
delivering some of the most innovative drive-trains. BMW should
have taken a risk and come up with an innovative drive-train to
back up the design no matter how wild it would have been.
However, I bet in future electric drive-trains will be the
norm.

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Conclusion

Whether the future of the automobile industry will be as BMW
has envisioned remains to be seen. Anyway, don’t expect to see
such a car anytime soon on the streets. It is even highly
likely that you will leave mother earth without having a model
close to it having been built.

After Geneva, the German automaker plans to showcase the
vehicle at Beijing on May 5th before shipping it to
London where it will be displayed on June 16th. The
future-looking concepts of Rolls-Royce
will also be unveiled at London on that day.

The concept will finally cross the Atlantic and be displayed in
the city of Angels (LA) on October 11th. BMW will
also unveil their Motorrad Concept in Los Angeles.