Friday 23 March 2018

BMW look towards the future as they unveil VISION 100 in Munich

Eddie Cunningham

Eddie Cunningham

IN the town where it all began, BMW today began their celebrations of the past 100 years.

But the emphasis was much more on the future than on the past here in Munich today.

And to mark the occasion they rolled out one of their visions of the future – with three more to come before the end of the year.

The BMW VISION 100 is a coupe for tomorrow – way, way into the century.


And there will be a concept for each of their brands over the coming months.

They are developing them to help focus on what the core individual look and capabilities will be.

For example, they say customisation will be so varied that the MINI could have so many variations it might be the case that few are alike.

They will also have a ‘vision’ for Rolls Royce – the theme will be Grand Sanctuary. That will be in June.

And in October they will have a motorcycle with the theme of ‘The Great Escape’

But the BMW VISION 100 is the one we see today.

It is conceived against a backdrop of the company speaking about how most cars of tomorrow will be ‘completely self-driving’.

You will tell the car what to do with communication between you and it managed by modes such as ‘Alive Geometry’, ‘Boost’ and ‘Ease’ so the cabin changes to suit the mode of travel. For example ‘Boost’ helps choose the best driving line, steering point and speed.

The steering wheel and central console retract in ‘Ease’ mode with the headrests turning to the side and you can end up with the driver and front passenger seats turning towards each other.

The entire windscreen has all the information so there is little on the dashboard. Information and images come up on the windscreen. Cars will be equipped to ‘see around the corner’ to avoid hazards. However, there was no clear answer on what would power these concepts – understandable I suppose considering the potential timespan involved.

However, Harald Kruger, chairman of the BMW board, paints a picture when he says: “Our cars will soon be our digital chauffeur and constant companion.” Interesting concept that.

The new VISION 100 will now go on what they are calling a ‘symbolic world tour’.

They are not sure, of course, when it will be on the road. Elements of it could be in use over the coming years but they are looking a long way away before all the elements of the concept come together.

And so to the present.

Details about a lot of things were scant at this morning’s press conference. Most questions about the present or near-future were referred to next week’s annual report and strategy press conference.

They didn’t really want to talk much, for example, about the threat from Google and Apple who are developing self-drive cars. Or sales of electric vehicles. Or . . . well a lot really.

So we’ll know more next week, hopefully.

Next week?

Against 100 years of looking back and forward sure that’s only the wink of an eye.

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