17.9.2018BMW showcases Vision iNext
BMW has unveiled the Vision iNext, a large all-electric SUV with autonomous driving technology, and a production version due to become the i Division flagship in 2021.
No figures for performance, range, or price have even been murmured since this is very much a concept. However, large and premium production EVs currently have more than 300 miles of range on a single charge, so that's a worst case scenario - 400-500 would be a better guess.
Certain elements from BMW's forthcoming X7 can be seen in the Vision iNext's design, so expect a production version to be recognisable from this concept, even if it isn't identical. Elements such as the grille are likely to be toned down a bit, and the rear-hinged rear doors may be ditched for conventional openings, but it should be familiar. The interior will be very different though.
The front looks like an advanced version of current BMW cabins, but the back seats - well bench - is more like a sofa that encourages a relaxed transport experience. How this will get around crash and safety regulations is anyone's guess, though one suspects that the designers weren't thinking about the regulations at all.
As such, back seat occupants can control elements of the infotainment systems by using gesture and drawing controls. To hear music, they simply draw a musical note on the seat, and then swipe, pinch, and tap, to change the track, volume, and mute everything.
The materials used are cloth, unvarnished wood, and crystal glass, and the steering wheel folds into the dashboard when in fully autonomous mode. Intelligent Beam technology replaces traditional screens in for passengers, with information projected to books for example, where text is supplemented by images and interactive graphics.
Most crucially though is the Vision iNext's place in BMW's electrification plans. With at least 12 pure-electric EVs - and 25 plug-in models - due on sale by 2025, this latest concept ticks another model off the list, joining the likes of the already available i3, and soon to arrive iX3 SUV.