Celebrating 100 years on the market in style

Although it didn’t build its first automobile until 1928 and its first motorcycle until 1923, BMW was established as a business entity in 1916, following the restructuring of Rapp Motorenwerke, founded in 1913. As a result, the German brand will celebrate its centenary throughout 2016, starting with March 7th, the day when the company that is now known as BMW AG was first entered into the commercial register. As it is customary nowadays, BMW developed a special concept car for its 100th anniversary. It is called the Vision Next 100 and it’s supposed to predict the future.

Like most concept cars that aren’t slated to go into production anytime soon, the Vision Next 100 promises more of everything. BMW has envisioned a vehicle that delivers more comfort, enhanced safety, state-of-the-art connectivity and, of course, effortless mobility. Yup, you guessed it, this is a self-driving concept. It does have a mode that allows the driver to take control, but this Bimmer has nothing in common with the company’s current "ultimate driving machine" slogan. That’s the way things are moving and BMW is obviously looking to adapt.

“If, as a designer, you are able to imagine something, there’s a good chance it could one day become reality,” said Adrian van Hooydonk, Head of BMW Group Design. “So our objective with the BMW Vision Next 100 was to develop a future scenario that people would engage with.”

Following its unveiling at the Centenary Event in the Munich Olympic Hall, the concept car will embark on a World Tour entitled "Iconic Impulses." The vehicle will stop in China, the U.K., and the U.S. The British event will mark the introduction of Vision Vehicles from both Mini and Rolls-Royce, while the North American launch will include a new concept from BMW Motorrad, the brand’s motorcycle division. Until that happens, let’s have a closer look at the first of BMW’s four anniversary concepts.

Continue reading to learn more about the BMW Vision Next 100 Concept.

Exterior

2016 BMW Vision Next 100 Concept High Resolution Exterior
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2016 BMW Vision Next 100 Concept High Resolution Exterior
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2016 BMW Vision Next 100 Concept High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
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As with most concepts built to celebrate such an important event (that aren’t neo-retro throwbacks), the Vision Next 100 employs a rather wild design that’s radically different than the one seen on current BMWs. A sporty-looking sedan that appears to be about the size of a 5 Series, the Vision Next 100 wears a sculpted body shell with beefy fenders shaped around the wheels. These areas are made from a flexible material consisting of triangular scales that stretch and twist as the front wheels turn.

The body configuration itself is significantly different than most current vehicles

The body configuration itself is significantly different than most current vehicles. The overhangs are shorter than usual and the windscreen extends well into the front hood, creating a canopy-like front cockpit area.

Trademark BMW features are hard to spot outside the massive twin-kidney grille, the Hofmeister kick, and the blue-and-while roundels. The familiar horizontal headlamps have been replaced with twin, vertical-oriented LED strips, while the taillights feature a 3D design that reminds me a bit of 1950’s Detroit designs. Interestingly enough, the decklid shape is somewhat similar to the "Bangle Butt" 6 Series coupe.

The doors, which make out more than half of the concept’s profile, move up and out via hinges along the A- and C-pillars, a system similar to the "butterfly door" concept. This makes for easier entry and exit and it is usually seen on supercars rather than family vehicles.

All told, the Vision Next 100 employs several solutions that aren’t likely to make it to production anytime soon, but might become the norm a few decades from now.

Interior

2016 BMW Vision Next 100 Concept High Resolution Interior
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Unlike the exterior, the interior is actually defined by simpler lines. The first thing that catches the eye is the fact that it lacks a center console, which improves legroom in both the front and rear compartments. Then there’s the fact that almost the entire roof is made from transparent panels that allow sunlight to enter the cockpit.

Then there's the fact that almost the entire roof is made from transparent panels that allow sunlight to enter the cockpit

The same triangular scale pattern seen on the fenders is present in the cabin as well, on the seats, and the dashboard. While we have no clue whether those on the seats are functional or not, the scales on the dashboard are actually part of the car’s safety package and turn red to warn the driver of upcoming hazards. The controller-like steering wheel needs just a few seconds to tuck itself into the dashboard, where the instrument cluster is on a standard vehicle. That’s right, the Vision Next 100 doesn’t have an instrument cluster, as all the data is displayed via augmented reality, which also gives the driver details about the ideal driving line and steering points.

All this happens if the concept is used in Boost mode, in which the vehicle "focuses on the driver, offering the support needed to maximize the driving experience." In Ease mode, the BMW transforms into a comfortable, self-driving sedan. The steering wheel retracts, the headrests turn to the side, and the seats and door trim merge to form a single unit, allowing the driver and the front-seat passenger to turn toward each other.

BMW doesn’t give any details as to what materials were used throughout the interior, but the fit and finish looks top notch. Not that it matters much given this is a futuristic concept, but there’s not even an inch of wood in sight. Is BMW predicting that wood will no longer be used in luxury cars in the future?

Drivetrain

2016 BMW Vision Next 100 Concept High Resolution Exterior
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Surprisingly enough, BMW had nothing to say about the concept’s drivetrain. That’s not exactly unusual when it comes to concept cars, but rather awkward for a study that’s supposed to give us a glimpse of the future. And, the fact that BMW has been providing the industry with some of the most exciting and innovative drivetrains over the past three decades makes the lack of technical details that much more surprising.

Sure, it’s difficult to predict what will power our cars a few decades from now, but as one of the most important automakers in the premium segment, BMW had to take risks and promote an innovative solution. Or at least come with something wild, albeit not exactly doable, just to back the hype around the Vision Next 100’s design. If anything, Munich could’ve previewed some of its upcoming electric drivetrain and battery technology, because electrification is very likely to be part of the auto industry even 100 years from now.

Conclusion

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Like most 100-year-old automakers, BMW has had a life with several ups and down. After a successful pre-WWII period, the German brand almost went bankrupt in the 1950s and had to build a range of economy cars in order to stay afloat. The New Class model brought BMW back on its feet by 1963 and the Munich-based company began to expand. By the mid-1980s, it had become one of Europe’s most important premium car makers. From 1970 to 1993 turnover increased 18-fold, car production quadrupled, and motorcycle production tripled. Things continued to improved, with the financial crisis of 2007 and 2008 having little impact on the brand. The Vision Next 100 crowns BMW’s recent success and gives us a preview of what to expect from the company in the future. We won’t be getting fenders that stretch and twist, steering wheels that retract into the instrument panel or fully autonomous vehicles anytime soon, but we can expect BMW to build some of the most exciting and advanced vehicles on the market for decades to come.

  • Leave it
    • * No drivetrain information
    • * Not the "ultimate driving machine" you’d expect
    • * Too futuristic to find its way on the production line

Press Release

2016 sees the BMW Group celebrate its centenary under the motto THE NEXT 100 YEARS. Throughout its history, the company’s image has been defined by a future focus and pioneering action – all made possible by its extraordinary team of employees, who share a fascination for mobility which is integral to all our lives.

2016 BMW Vision Next 100 Concept High Resolution Exterior
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“At the BMW Group, we are always on a quest for the best solution. It’s part of our DNA,” said Harald Krüger, Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG, at the Centenary Event in Munich on Monday. “It’s also the spirit of our collaborations, a recurring theme that permeates our corporate and leadership culture.”

Three qualities in particular set the BMW Group apart: the capacity to learn and adapt, technological innovation, and a sense of responsibility toward society. “We have demonstrated on many occasions throughout our history that we are capable of learning fast and taking bold steps,” Krüger said.

Against this background, the BMW Group’s centenary celebrations are set to focus primarily on what lies ahead and explore how individual mobility might develop over the coming decades.

To answer this question, the BMW Group has generated a futuristic scenario with a clear vision: premium mobility by the BMW Group will be completely effortless, comprehensively available and tailored to every customer’s individual preferences. At the moment, the world is on the verge of realising automated driving; in the not-too-distant future the majority of cars will probably be completely self-driving and travel the streets of cities inhabited by far more people than today.

In the future, one thing will be in ever shorter supply: time. But connectivity will become increasingly commonplace, and technologies will learn to learn from people. “Future mobility will connect every area of people’s lives. And that’s where we see new opportunities for premium mobility,” Krüger added.

The BMW Group has now made its vision for the future a reality – with the BMW VISION NEXT 100. This vehicle combines coupé-type sportiness with the dynamic elegance of a sedan – but rather than being an anonymous transport machine, it is a highly customised vehicle that is perfectly tailored to suit the driver’s changing needs.

Driver-vehicle interactions are managed by Alive Geometry; Boost and Ease modes offer a choice of driver-controlled or vehicle-controlled operations, and the interior of the vehicle changes to suit the mode of travel. In Boost, the entire vehicle focuses on the driver, offering the support needed to maximise the driving experience – for instance by indicating the ideal driving line, steering point and speed. Ease mode sees the interior transform: the steering wheel and centre console retract; the headrests turn to the side, and the seats and door trim merge to form a single unit so that the driver and front-seat passenger can turn towards each other.

2016 BMW Vision Next 100 Concept High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
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“If, as a designer, you are able to imagine something, there’s a good chance it could one day become reality,” said Adrian van Hooydonk, Head of BMW Group Design. “So our objective with the BMW VISION NEXT 100 was to develop a future scenario that people would engage with.”

The BMW Vision Vehicle will make its world debut at the Centenary Event in the Munich Olympic Hall on 7 March 2016 – exactly one hundred years after the company that is now known as BMW AG was first entered into the commercial register. About 2,000 guests from industry, politics, research, society and the media will be present, as will selected dealers, suppliers and employees. A multi-media experience will guide them through the history of the company to this latest interpretation of tomorrow’s premium mobility, culminating in the unveiling of the Vision Vehicle.

The success of the BMW Group would not be possible without the commitment of more than 122,000 employees in 140 countries around the world. Almost all of them will be able to follow the Centenary Event in the Olympic Hall live as part of the activities happening at their site. In many markets, the live-stream will be accompanied by local centenary celebrations, and one particular highlight in Munich will be the live broadcast at the Allianz Arena football stadium, for more than 30,000 employees based in and around the Munich site.

After its world debut, the BMW VISION NEXT 100 will go on a symbolic World Tour entitled “Iconic Impulses.” stopping in China, the UK and the USA. After its Asian premiere in Beijing, it will travel to London, where the Vision Vehicles of the BMW Group’s British brands – MINI and Rolls-Royce – will be unveiled. Its last port of call will be Los Angeles, USA, where BMW Motorrad will add its Vision Vehicle to the collection to complete the quartet of brands.

Key content from “Iconic Impulses.” will also be on show in Munich as a permanent exhibition. The Future Exhibition in the ‘double cone’ structure of the BMW Welt will open to the public in spring. A further exhibition will be mounted by the BMW Museum, where a temporary centenary display entitled “100 Masterpieces” will present milestones in the history of the BMW Group. It will be open to the public from 10 March onwards.

From 9-11 September 2016, the BMW Festival – THE NEXT 100 YEARS will welcome fans from all over the world. It will take place in the Munich Olympic Park, including the Olympic Stadium and Hall. The BMW Museum and BMW Welt will also be involved, as will the entire area around the iconic ‘four-cylinder’ headquarters building.

2016 BMW Vision Next 100 Concept High Resolution Exterior
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To round off the centenary year, there will be a special publication consisting of 13 volumes. This will outline the history of the company and discuss key future topics. The books will contain a mix of essays, reports, studies and expert interviews. They will reflect the diversity of the BMW Group and its BMW, MINI, Rolls-Royce and BMW Motorrad brands.

To mark its centenary, the BMW Group is also enhancing its commitment to social responsibility. The capital of its foundation, BMW Foundation Herbert Quandt, will be increased by €50 million to a total of €100 million. In addition, annual donations will be made to support project work. In 2016 this financing will amount to another €5 million. Further financing will be provided by major shareholders Stefan Quandt and Susanne Klatten, who will support project work with an additional €30 million.

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