Ahead of the Beijing Motor Show, BMW has unveiled its Vision Future Luxury concept. Described by the Bavarian manufacturer as a “long-term outlook on the perception of modern luxury for the BMW brand,” this could very well be a sneak peek of what the next generation 7 Series might look like.
The other possibility bandied about is that the Vision Future Luxury could be the precursor to a new 9 Series model that would slot in above the 7 Series as BMW’s luxury flagship.
BMW’s senior vice president of design, Adrian van Hooydonk, wouldn’t give the game away but he did say this: “We use visionary concept vehicles such as the BMW Vision Future Luxury to show where we may be going with these themes in the future, and to give us new inspiration and motivation. The BMW Vision Future Luxury – with its innovative technologies and with meticulous precision and quality in every detail – takes our thinking on modern luxury a logical stage further.”
Seemingly inspired by last year’s Pininfarina Gran Lusso Coupe, the concept features perhaps BMW’s biggest kidney grille design to date, flanked by laserlight headlights and finished in a “Liquid Platinum Bronze” colour. Strikingly thin organic LED (OLED) tail lights and exaggerated aero vents accentuate a muscular rear, which is trimmed with a chrome accent and a carbon strip that hints at the car’s carbon fibre and aluminum chassis.
Carbon fibre interior
Carbon fibre is also used in the construction of the car’s interior in what BMW describes as subtractive modelling: “An initial base layer of fine carbon fabric is followed by a functional level featuring user interface components, control and display interfaces and lighting functions, which in turn is followed by a further structural, load-bearing layer of aluminum for additional strength. Finally, the top layers comprise wood, then leather, to create a warm and comfortable ambience.”
This, says BMW, substantially cuts the total weight of the vehicle.
The carbon fibre construction – a technology that the Munich manufacturer has swiftly added to its list of expertise following the i8 (its tech explained here) and i3 (read our driving impression) – means the the Vision Future Luxury concept has small and “unobtrusive” B-pillars that help to create an airy cabin ambience. Their carbon fibre construction also means the car’s seat frames are integrated with the load-bearing structure.
3D interior displays
The Vision Future Luxury concept’s driver is surrounded by a wraparound instrument cluster that comprises a trio of interlinked displays that utilise three-dimensional technology. The left display shows vehicle-related information, while the central display shows a programmable speedometer, rev counter and “context-adaptive supplementary data” that appears as and when the readouts are required. Lastly, the right display shows infotainment information.
A “contact-analogue” BMW Vision Head Up Display is also part of the package which, says BMW: “augments the driver’s view of the real world by projecting information directly in the driver’s line of sight onto the road… buildings, traffic signs or hazards can be highlighted directly in the real-world environment, selectively directing the driver’s attention to specific information which is particularly important at any given time.”
The connected rear
For those sitting at the back (where, in all likelihood, owners will spend most of their time), there are two rear displays and a removable Touch Command Tablet. They allow the rear passengers to view “everything from trip-related data to information relating to the Luxury Concierge Services” and access online entertainment (video, music and games).
There are no details available on what the Vision Future Luxury is hiding under that long, deeply scalloped bonnet, but the Beijing showpiece sports an eDrive badge on its rear, which suggests some form of plug-in-hybrid propulsion’s on the cards.