MUNICH, Germany – When I was young, I used to leaf through books looking at sketches of cars of the future, which promised glass roofs and rocket engines. By the end of this decade, automobiles will have changed dramatically compared to the cars of the early 1960s.
BMW is currently setting the tone for decades to come. Showcasing the styling trends of the future, the BMW Next 100 is a prediction of where design is headed in the coming years. The Next 100 is no production model though; it’s merely a concept and will never see the light of day in a showroom.
It’s about the same size as a BMW 5 Series, with the interior space of a BMW 7 Series. When the stylists were drafting this spectacular concept, they wanted to capture the emotion of a dynamic car while integrating future technologies. The resulting design is unparalleled.
For example, the wheels are entirely covered. This created obvious difficulties with the front wheels, but they addressed the problem by covering the front fenders with a flexible membrane shrouded by body pieces that move in accordance with tire inclination—a little like snakeskin. Will this principle be applied in the next generations of BMWs? We’ll have to wait and see.
The project’s leaders were unequivocal that they wanted this conceptual marvel to be able to drive in the traditional manner. Driving pleasure remains of utmost importance. As for the engine, no details were leaked during this presentation.
The dashboard is non-existent—that is to say that all controls and indicators are displayed holographically. To manipulate the controls, just move your hand over the screen that appears on the windshield. It’s almost like being in Star Trek!
In addition, the car can detect obstacles and recognize curves and intersections in advance. And if you’re exhausted, this BMW turns into a self-driving car: the steering wheel disappears behind the dashboard and you can just relax. Of course, connectivity is an essential part of the design, too.
To sum up, the vision of BMW’s engineers is perfectly clear. The next 100 years at the beloved Bavarian manufacturer promise to be even more innovative and exciting.