BMW has this past weekend revealed a self-driving EV concept car which previews a production model that is slated to enter production in 2021.
Describing the design study as a “Vision Vehicle”, the German manufacturer says the concept aims to explore the question of what a vehicle that no longer needs to be driven by a person will look like in the coming future.
Sitting on 24-inch wheels, and finished in a special “Liquid Greyrose Copper” colour, the “Vision iNEXT” is effectively an SUV version of last year’s BMW i Vision Dynamics saloon concept car.
Design details include a large, upright kidney grille – complete with a 3D-printed pattern – that serves as an “intelligence panel” housing various sensors. Ultra-slim headlights also form part of a modern interpretation of BMW’s signature four-eyed front end.
Moving to the side there are two large opposing doors with no B-pillar or conventional door openers. Instead, touch-sensitive illuminated graphics are used to grant access to the vehicle’s interior. As another tech feature, cameras replace exterior mirrors.
On the inside, two individual seats in the front plus a one-piece bench in the rear mean there is room for up to four people.
The driver’s area is defined by the two visible digital display panels and a retractable steering wheel. The flat dashboard with beige cloth covering teams up with touches of wood and a clearly patterned wooden floor to create a “homely ambience”.
While a mix of nude shades are mainly used for the colour scheme up front, complete with metallic “Mystic Bronze” accents, the rear compartment is dominated by a chiefly petrol-coloured cloth upholstery, which runs asymmetrically across the seat area and extends into the side panelling and parcel shelf.
“BMW i exists to generate creative, pioneering ideas which transform the way we think about mobility,” says Adrian van Hooydonk, BMW’s senior vice president of design. “The BMW Vision iNEXT marks another next big step on that journey of transformation, showing how more intelligent vehicles can make our lives easier and more beautiful.”
“Personal mobility is set to experience significant change,” adds BMW development boss, Klaus Fröhlich. “The possibilities opened up by autonomous driving and ever-expanding connectivity enable a whole new range of experiences and ways of shaping a journey. With this in mind, we have designed the all-electric BMW Vision iNEXT as a mobile environment that enhances quality of life, a new ‘Favourite Space’ in which we can be ourselves and relax.”