Automotive

BMW concept shows heart-pounding performance will remain relevant in the self-driving future

BMW concept shows heart-poundi...
BMW looks at the future of enthusiast driving with the Vision M Next
BMW looks at the future of enthusiast driving with the Vision M Next
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BMW reinterprets its front-end styling for a more futuristic look
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BMW reinterprets its front-end styling for a more futuristic look
BMW shows a possible future direction for its sports cars
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BMW shows a possible future direction for its sports cars
The Vision M Next is designed to sprint to 62 mph in three seconds and top out at 186 mph
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The Vision M Next is designed to sprint to 62 mph in three seconds and top out at 186 mph
All lines point to the road directly ahead
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All lines point to the road directly ahead
BMW strips away extraneous controls and displays, putting virtually everything directly in front of the driver
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BMW strips away extraneous controls and displays, putting virtually everything directly in front of the driver
BMW takes the idea of a driver-focused cockpit to the next level
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BMW takes the idea of a driver-focused cockpit to the next level
The "Boost Pod" features a three-layer interface with head-up display, hovering instrument displays and sporty steering wheel
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The "Boost Pod" features a three-layer interface with head-up display, hovering instrument displays and sporty steering wheel
The Vision M Next cockpit wraps and embraces the driver like a glove
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The Vision M Next cockpit wraps and embraces the driver like a glove
The pull handles are one of the few places you'll find leather
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The pull handles are one of the few places you'll find leather
BMW explores different materials like woven synthetic fabrics and anodized titanium
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BMW explores different materials like woven synthetic fabrics and anodized titanium
At the wheel of the BMW Vision M Next
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At the wheel of the BMW Vision M Next
BMW held the world premiere of the Vision M Next at this year's #NEXTGen event
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BMW held the world premiere of the Vision M Next at this year's #NEXTGen event
The profile was clearly inspired by the i8 but is lower and more dramatic
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The profile was clearly inspired by the i8 but is lower and more dramatic
The orange contrasts tie in with the BMW Turbo, one of the cars that influenced the design
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The orange contrasts tie in with the BMW Turbo, one of the cars that influenced the design
Butterfly doors open at the tap of a touch pad
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Butterfly doors open at the tap of a touch pad
The BMW Vision M Next combines electric and turbo power
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The BMW Vision M Next combines electric and turbo power
The rear window louvres are derived from the M1
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The rear window louvres are derived from the M1
BMW gives its classic facial features some extra sharpness
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BMW gives its classic facial features some extra sharpness
A large diffuser takes up the lower, darker section of the rear-end
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A large diffuser takes up the lower, darker section of the rear-end
Laser-etched mesh fills out the hexagonal kidneys
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Laser-etched mesh fills out the hexagonal kidneys
Developing the BMW Vision M Next
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Developing the BMW Vision M Next
Developing the BMW Vision M Next
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Developing the BMW Vision M Next
BMW looks at the future of enthusiast driving with the Vision M Next
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BMW looks at the future of enthusiast driving with the Vision M Next
Developing the BMW Vision M Next
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Developing the BMW Vision M Next
BMW shows that the cars of the future don't all have to be soulless autonomous robots
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BMW shows that the cars of the future don't all have to be soulless autonomous robots
BMW intends to ensure that "M" remains "most powerful letter in the world"
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BMW intends to ensure that "M" remains "most powerful letter in the world"
BMW premieres two all-new concepts, the Vision M Next and the Motorrad Vision DC Roadster electric motorcycle
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BMW premieres two all-new concepts, the Vision M Next and the Motorrad Vision DC Roadster electric motorcycle
BMW Vision M Next concept
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BMW Vision M Next concept
BMW uses tiny "Laser Wire" lighting, front and back
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BMW uses tiny "Laser Wire" lighting, front and back
Switched on and ready to drive
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Switched on and ready to drive
The autonomous era won't see BMW abandoning driver-focused roots, as previewed by the Vision M Next
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The autonomous era won't see BMW abandoning driver-focused roots, as previewed by the Vision M Next
BMW Vision M Next
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BMW Vision M Next
BMW Vision M Next
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BMW Vision M Next
BMW Vision M Next
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BMW Vision M Next
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Automakers around the world have spent much time looking at futuristic cars that will drive themselves. BMW takes a sharp right turn away from this trend with the all-new Vision M Next concept, exploring what the future of cars will look like for enthusiasts who want to continue wrapping their leather-clad fingers around the steering wheel. The car's suite of next-generation technologies isn't there to take over driving, but to connect driver and vehicle toward voraciously devouring the pavement ahead.

In BMW's future, every driver will face a critical decision: to drive or be driven. Last year's Vision iNext concept explored what it would be like to be chauffeured by technology, while this year's M-badged Vision Next takes a look at how tech can improve the experience for those that emphatically choose to keep their feet engaged with the pedals.

To start with, BMW manipulates hybrid technology toward creating a purer driver-focused environment, as well as a cleaner ride. The 591-hp plug-in hybrid powertrain lets the driver select between electric all-wheel-drive and turbocharged four-cylinder rear-wheel drive, perhaps even switching on the fly to enjoy the sporty feel of rear power after sprinting to 62 mph (100 km/h) from standstill in a mere three seconds thanks to the immediate all-wheel torque of the e-drive.

The Vision M Next is designed to sprint to 62 mph in three seconds and top out at 186 mph
The Vision M Next is designed to sprint to 62 mph in three seconds and top out at 186 mph

BMW says the Vision M Next can wander through the city for up to 62 zero-emissions electric miles (100 km) before opening things up to a top speed of 186 mph (300 km/h) on the highway. Boost+ mode delivers an extra burst of power at the push of a button.

Without the need to focus all its next-gen technology on reading and analyzing the surrounding driving environment the way it would with a Level 5 self-driving concept, BMW was free to direct next-generation systems toward assisting the driver and enhancing the overall experience. Autonomous tech is a loyal co-pilot rather than a pilot.

Butterfly doors open at the tap of a touch pad
Butterfly doors open at the tap of a touch pad

The process begins before the driver even gets in the car, the Vision M Next's facial recognition system auto-unlocking the doors. A tap of a touch sensor prompts the butterfly wings to swing open, revealing a minimalist interior focused entirely on seat #1. A hulking monobloc center console separates the driver's seat into a driver's nook, and memory foam seats help create a tailored suit-like fit.

The dramatic curvature of the wide, race-inspired steering wheel helps to draw the driver's attention directly ahead, where the floating curved glass brings gauge information to life. Farther ahead, an augmented reality HUD provides another layer of information directly in front of the driver. BMW refers to its digital informational layout as a Boost Pod, conveying information and control via three layers: the HUD, the curved glass instrument panel and the steering wheel-integrated displays and controls. However, we think the real three tiers are the linear array of road, informational cluster and driver.

In contrast, the dashboard next to the steering wheel is a blank slate, with no controls or visuals to pull the driver's attention away from the windshield.

The "Boost Pod" features a three-layer interface with head-up display, hovering instrument displays and sporty steering wheel
The "Boost Pod" features a three-layer interface with head-up display, hovering instrument displays and sporty steering wheel

The actual information displayed within the Boost Pod continually adjusts to sharpen driver focus. As speed increases, the displays shift layout toward performance-based data and reposition information more in the driver's eye line. The HMI also alerts the driver of the optimal timing for the push-button Boost+ mode, assisting in creating a hair-raising ride.

"Intelligent technologies help the driver and deliver the right content at the right time," explains Domagoj Dukec, BMW design VP. "Operation is clear and intuitive, with all information presented in the driver's direct field of view. This is a deliberate counterpoint to the BMW Vision iNEXT, which focused on multimodal operation from every seat."

BMW explores different materials like woven synthetic fabrics and anodized titanium
BMW explores different materials like woven synthetic fabrics and anodized titanium

Interior materials further intensify the human-machine connection. Only surfaces touched by driver or passenger – the door handles and steering wheel – have the supple warmth of leather. The majority of the interior is covered in dark blue microfiber, and a mix of anodized titanium and painted surfaces enhance the aesthetic. A gyroscopic cupholder helps keep drinks from spilling during fast, spirited straight-lining and cornering.

The Vision M Next would stand out quite effortlessly in a world of shapeless autonomous bubbles and tiny electric city cars, conveying a sense of speed and power. Referencing contemporary and classic BMW sports cars, designers carefully massaged the car into a futuristic supercar wedge with race-derived attitude. The roofline is a lower, more dramatic version of the i8; the "thrilling orange" contrast blocks and vertically angled rear-end tie in to the 1972 Turbo concept; and the louvred rear windshield is a very clear reference to the M1 supercar. The combination of curvaceous hood and fenders and sharply cut character lines and creases demonstrates the cross-generational inspiration.

Switched on and ready to drive
Switched on and ready to drive

Designers had particular fun with the face, a futuristic iteration of timeless "BMW" design cues. The classic rounded kidney grille is angled off into a polygonal design, the top of which rises upward to split the hood, making it look as though the illuminated mesh-filled grille openings might just thrust the vehicle backward rather than swallow air as it moves forward. Way out at the edges, the headlights are arranged into a stacked interpretation of BMW's famous four-eyed design, two thin bands of phosphorous-coated glass fiber standing one above the other on either side. BMW calls this next step of laser-sharp headlight design "Laser Wire" technology.

The aerodynamics of the Vision M Next's low, smooth-rolling cabin get an assist from the sharply cut side intakes, blade-like front intakes, front spoiler, oversized recycled-carbon side skirts, and sturdy rear diffuser.

The BMW Vision M Next combines electric and turbo power
The BMW Vision M Next combines electric and turbo power

At the rear, a two-tone combination of orange and black recycled carbon fiber grabs the eye and refuses to let go until the car accelerates its way completely out of view. Barely-there wraparound rear lights benefit from the same Laser Wire tech as the headlights.

BMW held the world premiere of the Vision M Next at this week's future-focused #NEXTGen event. The automaker didn't confirm any plans to develop it into a production supercar and M1 spiritual successor, but it did outline accelerated plans to get 25 electrified vehicles to market by 2023 – so there might just be some room in the electric lineup.

Source: BMW

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2 comments
paul314
Nice renders. Lots of buzzwords.
TomLeeM
I think that is an awesome design. I only like a self driving car if there was an option to drive it myself; otherwise, one is only along for a ride.