With a market that grows larger by the year, China is one of the most important automobile battlefields nowadays, and it’s no surprise that the 2014 Beijing Auto Show hosted so many important debuts, including Mercedes’ upcoming BMW X6 fighter , the Lexus NX or Lincoln’s MKX Concept crossover.
Likewise, BMW went to Beijing to showcase an array of vehicles, hoping to gain more leverage over its luxury competitors. But besides introducing already launched cars and a couple of special models, including the 7 Series Horse Edition , the Germans also debuted the Vision Future Luxury concept , which hints at the manufacturer’s next step in regard to large sedans .
As with most of its concepts , BMW declined to offer any information as to what to what kind of production model the Vision Future Luxury will spawn, but it makes a lot of sense for us to think about the next-generation 7 Series . Additionally, and based on previous reports, this study is also a forerunner for the upcoming 9 Series — the BMW-badged executive that will take on the Mercedes-Benz S600 Pullman .
Click past the jump to learn more about the BMW Vision Future Luxury Concept.
Although the automaker brags about a new approach on design, we can’t help but notice a number of similarities between the Vision Future Luxury and the Pininfarina Gran Lusso Coupe Concept.
Although the automaker brags about a new approach on design, we can’t help but notice a number of similarities between the Vision Future Luxury and the Pininfarina Gran Lusso Coupe Concept BMW introduced last year at Pebble Beach. Some of these similarities include the same twin kidney grille, which this time goes well down into the bumper, and the nearly identical squinty headlamps that feature the company’s new Laserlight technology. The apron, on the other hand, is more angular and lacks the lower grille seen in the Gran Lusso.
Around back, the taillights aren’t exactly a revolution compared to the previous concept, although they’re no longer tied together between the trunk and the bumper and now feature organic LED technology, which BMW refers to as OLED. The rear bumper also seems taller, due to the fact that the trunklid has lost some of its lower area and the diffuser-like piece has been removed for a clean, smooth look.
The wheelbase is longer now in order to accommodate rear doors, a larger glass area and, consequently, more legroom.
On the side, the sills remain largely the same, as do the coupe-like body lines and the trademark Hoffmeister Kink. Of course, the wheelbase is longer now in order to accommodate rear doors, a larger glass area and, consequently, more legroom. A discreet carbon strip in the door sill area reminds us that the next 7 Series is on a severe diet with a chassis expected to include both carbon-fiber and aluminum components.
Also made out of carbon, but less obvious as they were painted along with the body, are the deflectors mounted on the front bumper. These are in place to help improve aerodynamics and help with further weight loss.
Squinty Laserlight Eyes
The dashboard and the center console are nearly button-free, generating an impression of spaciousness that surpasses what we’ve previously experienced in luxury production cars.
BMW’s revolutionary approach is more present in the cabin, but it’s not exactly in sight as the leather and the wood are hiding the carbon-fiber and aluminum layers that provide strength and help cut weight. Moving on to more obvious details, the Vision Future Luxury doesn’t stray too far from the familiar BMW driver-focused cabin, but the details are evidently conceptual with the cluster consisting of three inter-meshing displays.
Thus, the dashboard and the center console are nearly button-free, generating an impression of spaciousness that surpasses what we’ve previously experienced in luxury production cars. To enhance that techy feel everyone is looking for these days, all the functions that can be accessed using this unique cluster of displays can be operated by voice command.
Another cool feature available in the cockpit is a separate information display placed on passenger side of the dashboard, allowing the rider to access data without having to use the more common central display. What’s more, BMW says information can be exchanged between driver and front passenger using "swiping movements".
Moving onto the rear seats, the vehicle comes with two displays with carbon surrounds that can communicate with the aforementioned front displays. The device will allow rear passengers to access every feature of the car and gain access to information such as speed and journey time. Additionally, a detachable Touch Command Tablet can be found in the large center console as well.
Comfort and legroom is obviously a given in the Vision Future Luxury concept, which features two, large single seats instead of the usual three-person bench. Leather surfaces, wood inserts and a silk carpet are also available, and the mood is rounded off by warm-glow lightning slats inserted in selected places.
Detachable tablet for rear seat passengers
If there really is a working engine under the hood, our guess is that BMW went with the same 6.0-liter, V-12 mill fitted in the Gran Lusso concept.
BMW didn’t provide any sort of drivetrain details, but we’re not exactly surprised, as the focus of this concept car lies in other aspects. If there really is a working engine under the hood, our guess is that BMW went with the same 6.0-liter, V-12 mill fitted in the Gran Lusso concept. As a quick refresh, the said unit is rated at 544 horsepower and 553 pound-feet of torque, which would be enough considering the next 7 Series is supposed to be much lighter than the current model. The TwinPower Turbo, 4.4-liter V-8 is another possible options, as it is more fuel efficient and has lower CO2 emissions than the massive V-12.
The eight-speed automatic transmission would be the natural choice for the U.S. market.
Just a Concept or a Glimpse into the Future?
Filing this concept under the latter category is a must, despite the fact that we won’t get all those fancy interior features and technologies or the sleek exterior design. Of course, the next 7 Series and the all-new 9 Series will be like no other BMW, with an unprecedented amount of technology and new styling up for grabs, but don’t expect anything this radical to come out of Munich.
The Mercedes-Benz S-Class, the 7 Series’ traditional rival in Europe and the United States, received a major makeover for the 2014 model year. Now sporting a more aggressive stance, like with most sedans nowadays, the new S-Class gained a larger front grille and new headlamps that comprise no less than 56 LED lights.
Although it kept the vehicle’s overall classic shape, Mercedes made some new adjustments toward the rear for a coupe-like presence, which is exactly what BMW appears to be looking for the next 7 Series based on what we’ve seen today. The interior was also improved, becoming slightly more comfortable via extra headroom, with even more luxury and convenience features added.
Priced from $92,900, the 2014 S-Class is currently available in two guises in the U.S. The S550 is offered with a biturbo 4.7-liter V-8 that delivers 449 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque that enable the sedan to sprint from 0 to 60 miles per hour in 4.8 seconds. Then there’s the almighty S63 AMG 4MATIC that comes with a heftier, $139,500 tag, but with a larger, biturbo, 5.5-liter, V-8 unit under the hood. The mill delivers 577 horsepower and 664 pound-feet of torque, which translates into a 0-to-60 acceleration time of only 3.9 seconds.
Audi conservative luxury sedans remain... well, conservative for the 2015 model year, in spite of its reworked front and rear fascias for a more crisper look. The facelift also brought the brand-new Matrix LED headlamps to the model, which we’d dare say it’s the most important change on the outside.
The interior is more of a carryover than new, but Audi ’s efforts in freshening up the offer is worth mentioning. At least for the high-grade leather and the suede and Alcantara inserts that can be ordered for an array of surfaces.
Two engines are offered on the regular wheelbase A8 in the form of the supercharged, 3.0-liter, TFSI V-6 and the twin-turbo, 4.0-liter, TFSI V-8. Both are mated to an eight-speed automatic, but the former pumps 310 horsepower and 325 pound-feet of torque, while the latter delivers 435 horsepower and 444 pound-feet of torque. Pricing starts at $75,100.
Moving up the A8 ladder into $78,800+ sticker territory, we have the A8 L, which comes with a slightly longer wheelbase and the 3.0-liter diesel (258 horsepower, 406 pound-feet of torque) aside the aforementioned gasoline units. Then there’s the A8 L W-12, powered by a 6.3-liter, W-12 engine with 500 horsepower and 463 pound-feet of torque at its disposal for a 0-to-60-mph sprint of 4.4 seconds. This one’s anything but cheap at $135,900.
The Mercedes-Benz S600 Pullman is not yet available, but it will arrive way before the 9 Series, as it is scheduled to break cover for the 2016 model year. Devel oped to serve as a replacement for the defunct Maybach 57, the S-Class Pullman is based on the new-generation S-Class and rides on an extra-long wheelbase.
The limousine is expected to be up to 12 inches longer than the regular S-Class and although it will look similar to the standard sedan on the outside, it will carry extra luxury and convenience features inside. The rear compartment will offer comfortable seating for four people, with access granted via a pair of long rear doors.
Power is likely to be provided by a twin-turbocharged, 5.5-liter, V-12 engine rated at about 600 horsepower, but a plug-in hybrid version might be offered as well. Pricing is still a mystery, but the S-Class Pullman is rumored to cost at least $270,000 and go well into $300,000 territory. Despite costing almost three time a well-equipped, standard S-Class, the Pullman will still be cheaper than the Maybach 57.
Gallery Mercedes-Benz S600 Pullman
The most impressive feature of this concept is its interior. It has a simple, yet elegant design and it comes with all the amenities required by the unforgiving luxury segment. On the other hand, the exterior design is arguable, mostly because BMW i s trying to blend sharp lines and more rounded shapes maybe a bit too hard. But beauty is definitely in the eye of the beholder and some of you might find it brilliant and exquisite.
All told, the Vision Future Luxury is and will remain a concept, although it’s a welcomed glimpse into the future. All we have to do is wait and see the way BMW chooses to materialize this study into at least two production models.
- Classy, spacious cabin
- Extensive use of lightweight materials
- Packed with technology
- Not exactly gorgeous
- No powertrain details
- Cool features likely to get lost on the way
BMW Vision Future Luxury. Modern luxury driven by design and innovation.
Beijing/Munich. The BMW Vision Future Luxury furnishes a long-term outlook on the perception of modern luxury for the BMW brand. It stands for a forward-looking fusion of exclusivity and innovation, for a driving experience that is at once emotional and exclusive. All this is conveyed through the outstanding exterior and interior design of the BMW Vision Future Luxury along with its innovative technology, a pioneering lightweight engineering concept and a seamlessly integrated user interface and driving experience that caters optimally to the needs of all occupants.
“Innovative technology and modern luxury have always been an important part of BMW’s brand DNA,” says Adrian van Hooydonk, Senior Vice President BMW Group Design. “We use visionary concept vehicles like 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.”
Heralding a new approach – the design.
“The design of the BMW Vision Future Luxury is the messenger of our philosophy of modern luxury, one in which innovative technologies play a key and vital role. These innovations deliver a new, multifaceted luxury experience that spans intelligent lightweight engineering, innovative interior design and a radically new user interface design,” says Karim Habib, Head of BMW Design, summing up the design approach to the BMW Vision Future Luxury.
This approach is particularly tangible in the interior. Throughout, the design expresses both form and function of the innovative technologies. For example, the intelligent lightweight engineering concept of the BMW Vision Future Luxury is expressed in the design principle of subtractive modelling. That is to say, the specific geometry and functions of an individual component are created from one and the same layered composite structure, comprising many different levels and materials. 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 aluminium for additional strength. Finally, the top layers comprise wood, then leather, to create a warm and comfortable ambience. In a given area of the interior, the multi-layer structure is “milled down” to the appropriate depth depending on what surface material and what function is required. Since the interior geometry is therefore always pared down to essentials, this cuts total weight substantially. This treatment also makes for virtually seamless transitions and very elegant, fluid surfaces.
The unrivalled characteristics of carbon as a material – both individually and in combination with its surrounding materials – are optimally utilised in this rigorous lightweight design concept. The carbon underlying layer is visible in the doors, under the seats and especially in the innovative, pared-down B-pillar. A full B-pillar as used in the past is dispensed with. The carbon construction allows the seat frames to be integrated into the load-bearing structure. There are also connections to the door sills and centre console, which means only a very small and unobtrusive B-pillar is required. The BMW Vision Future Luxury’s wide-opening coach doors would not have been possible without this new carbon B-pillar solution.
New-style user interface design and exclusive BMW ConnectedDrive services.
In the driver’s and front passenger’s area, precisely defined lines and surfaces create a sense of exclusive dynamism. The design of the instrument panel closely complements the design of the displays themselves. The driver is surrounded by a wrap-around cluster of three intermeshing displays, creating the typical BMW driver-centric cockpit. The three-dimensional display technology means that at the visual level the instrument panel styling appears to carry over into the displays themselves. In other words, to the eye the interior space seems to continue into the solid structures of the instrument panel, generating an impression of unprecedented depth and spaciousness.
The left-hand display mainly presents vehicle-related information, while in the centre a programmable cluster displays speedometer, rev counter and other information, as well as context-adaptive supplementary data, which is displayed as and when relevant. Meanwhile, the right-hand display – the Driver Information Display – provides additional infotainment information. The driver also has the option of controlling all these functions by voice command.
BMW Vision Head Up Display.
The primary driver display, however, is the “contact-analogue” BMW Vision Head Up Display. This display 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. This technology gives a new dimension to driver assistance functions such as Speed Limit Info, where road signs can be identified and highlighted in the driver’s field of view, or the Traffic Light Assistant, which provides real-time information about traffic light phasing.
In place of a central shared information display for driver and front passenger, the BMW Vision Future Luxury offers front passengers their own Passenger Information Display. This display is connected to the Driver Information Display via a touch-sensitive panel, where information can be exchanged between driver and front passenger using swiping movements. Applications like booking opera tickets online direct from the vehicle via the BMW ConnectedDrive Luxury Concierge service can be displayed in the Passenger Information Display, where they don’t risk distracting the driver. The relevant functions can be conveniently controlled by the front passenger using the iDrive Controller with touch-sensitive interface.
Rear Seat Touch Command Tablet.
In the back, two Rear Seat Displays set into carbon surrounds, and a detachable Rear Seat Touch Command Tablet, put the finishing touch to the integrated user interface concept of the BMW Vision Future Luxury. These displays can communicate with the front displays and also with the BMW ConnectedDrive services. Everything from trip-related information like speed and journey time to information relating to the Luxury Concierge Services can be displayed here in simple and customised form. It is also possible to use online entertainment content like internet-based video and music streaming as well as gaming. All content and functions can be controlled from the rear seats using the detachable Rear Seat Touch Command Tablet in the centre console.
Personal space at the rear.
For the occupants of the rear seats, the BMW Vision Future Luxury offers a luxurious haven of personal space. Two large, deeply contoured single seats add to the appeal, inviting passengers to retire into their own personal “comfort zone”. A retractable table, the angled Rear Seat Displays and the rigid backs of the front seats create a very private ambience, sectioning this area off from the rest of the interior. The sense of privacy is accentuated by modern, flowing geometry and the use of select materials, with lavish wood surfaces extending from the rear parcel shelf to enfold the rear seat occupants in a cosseting three-dimensional space. Strategically placed lighting slats integrated into the wood echo the surrounding styling and, with their warm glow, accentuate the modern and cosy ambience. Finest-quality aniline leather in Batavia brown and a lighter Silk shade, Silk nubuk leather and the warm brown, layered lime wood all have a natural aura which offers unique visual appeal and quality. The division between darker materials in the upper areas and light materials in the lower areas creates a feeling of warmth and a luxurious sense of space. A deep-pile pure silk carpet rounds off the exclusive array of materials in the interior of the BMW Vision Future Luxury.
Exclusiveness and elegance – the exterior design.
In side view, perfect proportions – precise, uncluttered and elegant – convey the exclusiveness of the BMW Vision Future Luxury. The long wheelbase, short overhangs and low, set-back greenhouse lend the stretched silhouette a refined dynamism. In hallmark BMW style, a finely sculpted contour line creates a taut arc along the side of the vehicle, and the opulent surfaces underneath this line have, as always on a BMW, been shaped by seasoned modellers. This hand-sculpted design gives the surfaces a special emotional appeal that would be beyond the capabilities of a computer. The effect is further enhanced by the Liquid Platinum Bronze exterior paintwork, which generates a warm, shimmering effect. An exclusive flourish at the side of the vehicle is the side mirror, which appears to grow organically out of the chrome window trim. Designed as a visual continuation of the chrome trim, its slender stalk is attached to the mirror from below, giving it a graceful and effortless appearance, almost as if it were hovering in mid-air.
BMW EfficientDynamics: honed aerodynamics and intelligent lightweight engineering.
The exterior design perfectly showcases the advanced aerodynamics and innovative lightweight engineering of the BMW Vision Future Luxury. The coupé-style roofline and sloping boot lid, for example, significantly reduce drag. Underlying the tautly sculpted exterior surfaces, equally refined solutions provide optimal channelling of the airflow. They include the Air Breather system at the rear of the front wheel arch, a C-pillar with internal air channelling, and openings in the rear apron which vent air from the wheel arches. An elegant carbon strip in the door sill area alludes discreetly to the innovative lightweight engineering concept based on aluminium and carbon. Both these lightweight materials are used in the vehicle in exactly the right places to achieve maximum effect – both individually and in tandem.
BMW Laserlight at the front.
Clean and simple in design, the traditional iconic BMW front-end design cues – the twin kidney grille and twin headlights – instantly proclaim the brand identity of the BMW Vision Future Luxury. The lean contours of the headlights also hint at the innovative technology sheltering behind them: BMW Laserlight. This new technology not only paves the way for a very flat and dynamic interpretation of the typical BMW twin round headlamps, it also sets completely new standards in terms of brightness, range and intensity. The concentrated, parallel light beam is up to ten times more intense than that of an LED system. The reduced energy consumption and packaging requirements of laser lights make this technology a prime candidate for use in future vehicles.
Underneath the headlights, the assertive multi-material front apron accentuates the elegant front-end styling. At the outboard ends of the apron, graceful carbon air deflectors conceal a range of BMW EfficientDynamics aerodynamics features. The thin-walled air deflectors are made of carbon, a further reminder of the intelligent lightweight engineering concept of the BMW Vision Future Luxury. A slender chrome strip on the air deflectors highlights the airflow system.
OLED lighting at the rear.
The horizontal lines of the side profile glide gently away at the rear in a final expansive flourish. As at the front, the body styling in this area is deliberately understated, allowing the innovative, narrow and slender lights to make a powerful statement. For the first time on a BMW the rear lighting is provided by organic LEDs, paving the way for a completely new treatment of the typical BMW L-shaped lights. The BMW Vision Future Luxury’s L-shaped rear lights comprise a large number of small, likewise L-shaped OLEDs.
An organic LED consists of wafer-thin organic semiconductor layers positioned between two electrodes. The light-emitting polymer layer is only approx. 400 nanometres thick, making it roughly 400 times thinner than a human hair. Organic LEDs are not only extremely thin, as well as flexible, they also produce very uniform illumination over their entire surface. Due to their very thin dimensions, and since they do not require reflectors in order to produce the desired broad light dispersion, they open up completely new ways of using light in and around the vehicle.