“If, as a designer, you are able to imagine something, there’s a good chance it could one day become reality,” said Adrian van Hooydonk, Head of BMW Group Design.
As BMW Group celebrates its Centenary, the company released a vision of the future for each of its brands. It’s clear each will remain true to their heritage, but there’s a fabulous future of autonomous driving, electric powertrains, and connectivity.
BMW Vision Next 100
The coming age of autonomous driving is a given, but only when the driver desires. Hidden beneath the recognizable silhouette of a BMW sedan with quad headlamps, twin-kidney grille, i8-derived wing doors, and flexible skin wheel covers is an electric car with two driving modes. In “Boost” mode, the driver takes control as the seat and steering wheel move toward them. Gesture controls accompany a full-windscreen head-up display that highlights an ideal driving line or upcoming turn. “Ease” mode is fully autonomous so the steering wheel retracts, center console moves away, and the head-up display provides infotainment.
Mini Vision Next 100
Imagine an electric Mini that’s fun to drive, but focuses on the needs of urban drivers while anticipating the continued rise of point-to-point ride sharing. Mini envisions a car that’s connected digitally and able to pick up drivers wherever she is. How to personalize shared rides? Drivers can customize the interior lighting mood, roof color, and dash graphics/content. Hard-wearing interior materials include brass, basalt, and cellulose. Mini’s trademark center-mounted circular instrument helps adjust entertainment, communications, and autonomous driving mode. Go cart feel is enhanced with a glass front to give a better view of the road.
What is the future of luxury? Rolls-Royce envisions a “grand sanctuary” with mixed wool and silk fibers upholstery, Macassar veneers, and wool carpeting. Autonomous and electrically-driven, there’s no need for a front seat or steering wheel. Instead, there’s an OLED screen to house a personal assistant named “Eleanor” that honors Spirit of Ecstasy model Eleanor Thornton. With an electric powertrain, a long hood isn’t necessary, but it commands presence and contains space for luggage aft of the front wheels. A lighted glass hood ornament, chrome Parthenon grille, fastback roofline, and partly shrouded chrome wheels define Rolls-Royce’s future.