On March 7, BMW celebrated their 100th anniversary with a celebration of the past and a look to their future. At an event with over 2,000 invitees, BMW highlighted their history and influential vehicles on both two and four wheels. From the R32 motorcycle (launched in 1923, it was the first bike to wear the BMW roundel) through the first 328 in 1936, and to the origins of BMW M in 1972 through to their current lineup.
Revealed at the party was the BMW Vision Next 100 concept. A look at how the second 200 years of BMW could progress. It's always tough to predict the future, especially with cars, but this is an interesting look at what could happen, and what BMW currently expects.
First off this is an autonomous concept but it doesn't ignore the driver. There are two modes. The first is Boost, this is where the driver is in control. The car is doing things to boost awareness and experience. It will warn you of other cars, use the display to show you the best route, but it will still drive like a BMW. It will tell you optimal cornering speeds and line. The second mode is Ease. This goes so far as to move the wheel out of the way. Giving you more space, and a more relaxing environment. There are lights in the grille, head and tail lights that let other vehicles know which mode you are in. BMW has even considered the cues that a driver would normally give to the people around. Things like eye contact with a pedestrian, a wave to a merging driver, and has imagined features that would monitor and replicate these cues using lights and notifications.
Much of the body is like a fabric. It can stretch and move to improve aerodynamics and keep the wheels covered. The future calls for fancy doors, so scissor doors are present on the concept.
Inside there is a very futuristic concept dashboard display. Dubbed Alive Geometry, it has 800 moving pieces that shift and transform the entire dash into a blanket of information, displays, and recommendations. BMW says it will shift like a flock of birds in flight to provide ideal and optimal information to the driver and passengers.
Not mentioned was the choice of engine. Which likely means BMW is just as uncertain as the rest of us if the future will mean internal combustion, fuel cell, electric, or things not yet invented.
The BMW Vision Next 100 concept is not something you'll see at your local dealer, but it will be touring the US, UK, and China before featuring at the BMW Festival in Munich in September.