What do you do if you're a car company whose most famous slogan is “The Ultimate Driving Machine” and the industry is moving towards autonomous cars in which people are driven? Well, BMW already showed us their perspective of our autonomous future last fall in Los Angeles with its Vision iNext concept. Today the Bavarian automaker revealed a conceptual counterpoint to the iNext with the Vision M Next concept, an electrified sports car that gives us an idea of what the future may hold for its M performance sub-brand.
The reveal took place at the premier #NextGen event, what BMW is calling “a new standalone infotainment platform for personal mobility” that will be organizing special events like BMW's private car show at the BMW Welt museum and display hall in Munich this week. As traditional auto shows lose their luster, automakers are looking to other events for reveals and introductions.
The idea behind the Vision M Next is to use BMW's D+ACES (Design + Autonomous driving, Connectivity, Electrification and Services) concept to enhance the driving experience, what BMW is calling the “BOOST” experience, in contrast to the “EASE” experience of being driven in the iNext.
As a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle, the Vision M Next has an electric motor on each axle that gives up to 62 miles of battery-only range, along with a four-cylinder gasoline-powered engine that drives the rear wheels. Total output for the all-wheel drive sports coupe is stated to be 600 horsepower, with a 0–60 mph time of under three seconds.
Perhaps borrowed from video games' “beast mode,” the Vision M Next has a BOOST+ mode that gives more power at the press of a button. The vehicle's artificial intelligence and connectivity are used to let the driver know when best to activate that switch.
Said to evoke the BMW Turbo and i8, the Vision M Next is low to the ground, with a wedge-shaped silhouette, gullwing doors, and a dramatic use of contrasting color. Panels on the front and rear are painted in matte finished neon called Thrilling Orange, which sets off the matte metallic Cast Silver finish on the rest of the car.
From the front, the Vision M Next is obviously a BMW, with a kidney grille and “four-eyed” lighting, though in this case, the use of Laser Wire light technology reduces the size of those lamps to their bare minimum. Large air intakes and a front spoiler accentuate the car's sporting intent. Laser Wire tech is also used for the taillights, which incorporate a pair of BMW roundels as a tribute to the BMW Turbo and M1.
The interior has fluid, flowing shapes, including integrated seat shells with memory foam surfaces. Upholstery is in a Midnight Blue synthetic said to mimic the look and feel of leather, along with titanium and Thrilling Orange contrast trim.
Driver information is provided by what BMW is calling the Boost Pod, a three-level display that includes screens on the steering wheel, a curved glass display behind the wheel, and an augmented reality head-up display on the windshield. As speed increases, the display adapts, focusing information into the driver's field of vision.
The Vision M Next is not entirely about the driving experience. When you arrive at your destination, BMW's digital Visionary Valet Parking Service will park the Vision M Next by itself and bring it back when beckoned via the MyBMW app on your smartphone.