The BMW M1 of the future!

The 2019 BMW Vision M Next is a concept car that shows the company’s take on how "driving pleasure might look in the future." It also previews the future of BMW’s M-badged models and also gives us a glimpse at the company’s upcoming hybrid drivetrain.

Inspired by the BMW Turbo concept from the 1970s, the Vision M Next has a surprising amount of wedge-inspired design cues. It also borrows features from the iconic M1. BMW also claims it used the i8 as an inspiration, but it’s like the German firm went back to the 1970s to design this concept car. And that’s precisely what makes it cool. On top of its 600-horsepower drivetrain, that is! Find out more about that in the review below.

Exterior

  • Vintage wedge-style cues
  • Inspired by old Turbo concept
  • Reminds me of the M1
  • Sporty looks
  • Minimalist design
  • Cool paint job
  • Recycled carbon-fiber parts
2019 BMW Vision M Next Concept
- image 846514

The Vision M Next concept is a pleasant surprise design-wise, in the sense that it’s a big departure from BMW show cars we’ve seen in recent years. Its low-slung, wedge-shaped silhouette reminds me of angular Italian concept cars from the 1970s (think Lancia Stratos Zero, Maserati Boomerang, and Alfa Romeo Carabo), as well as the iconic BMW M1.

left right
The raised center section of the hood is reminiscent of the BMW Turbo, a concept from 1972

Granted, the front fascia isn’t as flat as wedge-shaped concepts from the 1970s, but that’s because BMW had to accommodate some of its modern styling cues, including a massive kidney grille. But this element is placed unusually low in the fascia and it has a slightly different shape, with narrower lower frame. The grille is flanked by triangular headlamps, a first for BMW, which feature thin LED strips. The triangular theme continues below with massive panels on each side of the central vent. Unlike modern production cars, this concept doesn’t have side vents. The only intake is in the center, right below the grille, and it’s really big.

The front hood is heavily sculpted and features a V-shaped enter section that reminds me of the BMW 507 from the late 1950s. This raised center section is also reminiscent of the BMW Turbo, a concept from 1972. BMW quotes the Turbo as an inspiration for the M Next, alongside the i8. The Turbo’s design also inspired production models like the M1, the first-generation 8 Series, and the Z1.

left right
As we move toward the back, we can see more influences from the Turbo concept and the M1

The simplicity of the M Next concept continues onto the sides. Here we can also notice that the front overhang is extremely short, while the front hood is as short as on mid-engined cars. The A-pillars connect to the top of the front wheel arches, yet another feature that reminds me of supercars from the 1970s and 1980s (or even the Lamborghini Diablo). The door panels are as simple as they get, while the side skirts are taller than usual. The big vent sculpted in the rear section of the side skirt also pays tribute to old designs from the 1970s.

As we move toward the back, we can see more influences from the Turbo concept and the M1. The C-pillars are thick and extend all the way back toward the deck lid, and they also feature small vents just above the waistline, just like the M1. The rear fenders are rather flat, but the diagonal character line that’s marked by the two-tone paint scheme makes it look a bit more interesting.

left right

It’s the rear section that bears a closer resemblance to the Turbo concept. The upper sections of the fenders rise above the deck lid, just like on the Turbo, but the rear hood features panels that mimic the louvers seen on the old M1. The C-shaped lights are extremely thin and include small round lights at the upper corner. These lights mimic the BMW roundel in a tribute to the Turbo and M1, the only Bimmer that had two rear emblems up until now. The upper fascia is clean, while the bumper is basically a massive diffuser with heavily carved "tunnels" on each side of the license place.

2019 BMW Vision M Next Concept
- image 846581
The side skirts are made from recycled carbon-fiber

The M Next concept also features new and experimental technologies that BMW tested for production purposes. The front grille, for instance, is covered by a transparent layer made from laser-etched, illuminated material that seems to be floating inside. The headlamps and taillight debut a new technology called Laser Wire lighting. The lights are made from glass fibers coated with phosphorous, a material that allows them to be molded in very small and precise shapes. The side skirts are made from recycled carbon-fiber. And although this material doesn’t look as authentic as carbon, it has an interesting pattern.

The Vision M Next concept boasts a tri-tone finish. The upper section is finished in silver, the front bumper, rear fascia, and rear fenders are painted in a bright orange that BMW calls Thrilling Orange, while the side skirts and diffuser are almost black from the recycled carbon-fiber. The rear wheels also feature orange accents.

Interior

  • Futurist design
  • Minimalist and drive-oriented
  • Big head-up display
  • Clean dashboard
  • No infotainment screen
  • Flat steering wheel
  • Curved instrument cluster
  • Woven synthetic fibers
  • Sports seats
2019 BMW Vision M Next Concept
- image 846532
The dashboard is almost flat and devoid of all the features you find in modern cars

The M Next’s interior is as futuristic as they get. The cabin unlocks automatically as you approach the car thanks to facial recognition technology, while the doors swing open when you press the touch sensor. The interior is minimalist and driver-oriented, just as you’d expect from an M-badged vehicle from the future.

The dashboard is almost flat and devoid of all the features you find in modern cars, like A/C controls or an infotainment display. All the important data is displayed right in front of the driver through a new interface called Boost Pod. This interface contains three distinct visual layers, starting with the wide and flat steering wheel that features two small display. The second tier is a curved glass display that looks like a visor stretching around the steering wheel. The third layer is the augmented reality head-up display in the windshield.

The curved display includes five clusters that display information like revs, speed, energy management, driver heart rate, and the availability of the car’s Boost+ mode. The latter can be engaged at the touch of a button on the steering wheel and releases extra power from the drivetrain. A sensor alerts the driver when the Boost+ power is available.

2019 BMW Vision M Next Concept
- image 846543
The seats are upholstered in a special foam material with shape memory

Two sports seats flank the wide center console that contains only a couple of touch control features. The seats are upholstered in a special foam material with shape memory, while the headrests seem to float above the shells. The M Next’s interior also brings together materials that aren’t usually used in production cars. It features woven synthetic fibers, anodized titanium, while painted surface replaces the leather usually found in premium cars. Leather hasn’t been eliminated completely, but it was kept deliberately to a minimum, covering only the steering wheel and door pull handles. Some surfaces are covered in a blue microfiber fabric that looks and feels like leather. Details and piping in Thrilling Orange round off the design.

2019 BMW Vision M Next Concept
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Another interesting feature is the red accent line that runs forward from the seating surface onto the steering wheel and then on the Boost Pod, indicating the ideal line of sight over the road. The M Next also has metallic surfaces in Titanium Bronze and a gyroscopic cupholder. The roof structure is made from recycled carbon-fiber, just like the side skirts and the rear diffuser.

As cool as it may look and sound, this interior won’t make it in production anytime soon.

Drivetrain

  • Four-cylinder gas engine
  • Electric motors
  • 600 horsepower
  • 0 to 62 in 3 seconds
  • Top pseed at 186 mph
  • 62-mile EV range
2019 BMW Vision M Next Concept
- image 846549
The hybrid drivetrain generates a whopping 600 horsepower

The Vision M Next is a hybrid vehicle that features a new drivetrain called the Power PHEV. It pairs turbocharged four-cylinder engine and an unnamed number of electric motors. What we do know for a fact is that the Vision M Next is all-wheel driven when both are in use, but it becomes a rear-wheel drive vehicle when it’s relying solely on gasoline power.

BMW also mentions a total system output of 600 horsepower. That’s a notable increase over the BMW i8, which generates 369 horses from a 1.5-liter three-cylinder and an electric synchronous motor. The M Next is almost as powerful as the M8, which gives hope for a high-performance hybrid future with an M badge.

When it comes to performance, the M Next is quite quick, as it needs only three seconds to sprint from 0 to 62 mph. This figure makes it a full second quicker than the i8. Its top speed is also rather high for a hybrid, being rated at 186 mph, 31 mph more than the i8.

2019 BMW Vision M Next specifications
Motor Four-cylinder + electric motors
Horsepower 591 HP
0 to 100 km/h 3 seconds
Top Speed 300 km/h (186 mph)
Electric range 100 km (62 miles)

When driven in all-electric mode, the M Next has enough range to travel for 62 miles. That’s far from impressive compared to other EVs on the market, but it’s notably more than all hybrid supercars available today. It’s also far superior to the i8, which has enough battery for just 18 miles.

NOTE TO FORMATTER: add table to compare drivetrain specs vs. the i8. mention layout, hp, 0-60, top speed, and EV range

Final Thoughts

2019 BMW Vision M Next Concept
- image 846512

Needless to say, the Vision M Next is a very appealing concept in terms of design and performance. It’s also a cool preview of things to come from the BMW M department. Sadly, as appealing as this wedge-style design may be, it won’t go into production as is. Actually, BMW’s future sports cars won’t even look similar, but there’s good news coming from the drivetrain department. A 600-horsepower hybrid drivetrain is exactly what the M division needs. High-performance cars need to take the electrification route in order to survive, and hybrid drivetrains are the best option now. The problem with hybrid is that they’re very expensive to make when power is high and the powertrain complex, but this might not be an issue in a few years. That’s when the M Next might become the new M4, M8, or even a stand-alone performance vehicle. It might even become the supercar that BMW said it doesn’t want to build when it launched the M8 in June 2019.

  • Leave it
    • Don’t get you hopes up for a production model

Further reading

2020 BMW i8 Computer Renderings and Photoshop Exterior Exclusive Renderings
- image 745544
2020 BMW i8

Read our full speculative review on the 2020 BMW i8.

2019 BMW i8 Roadster Driven
- image 840986

Read our full driven review on the 2019 BMW i8 Roadster.

1978 - 1981 BMW M1 High Resolution Exterior
- image 725114

Read our full review on the 1978-1981 BMW M1.

n future, drivers will be able to choose whether they wish to be driven or do the driving themselves. With the BMW Vision M NEXT, the BMW Group is revealing its take on how driving pleasure might look in future. It offers a foretaste of the BMW M brand’s electrified future by placing the focus squarely on the actively engaged driver. Intelligent technologies provide comprehensive yet carefully targeted assistance to turn them into the ultimate driver.

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BMW Group

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Munich. In future, drivers will be able to choose whether they wish to be driven or do the driving themselves. With the BMW Vision M NEXT, the BMW Group is revealing its take on how driving pleasure might look in future for those who enjoy taking the wheel themselves. It offers a foretaste of the BMW M brand’s electrified future by placing the focus squarely on the actively engaged driver. Intelligent technologies on board provide comprehensive yet carefully targeted assistance to turn them into the ultimate driver.

Hosting the exclusive world premiere of the BMW Vision M NEXT is the new #NEXTGen infotainment platform at BMW Welt. This standalone event concentrating on personal mobility solutions “made by the BMW Group” adds another regular fixture to the calendar of car shows / technology & future-focused trade events around the world which the company already attends. The Group’s latest technological advances in the fields of design, autonomous driving, connectivity, electrification and services will be showcased here, alongside spectacular world premieres such as that of the BMW Vision M NEXT.

“The BMW Vision M NEXT provides a glimpse into the future of sporty driving,” says Adrian van Hooydonk, Senior Vice President BMW Group Design. “Where the BMW Vision iNEXT illustrated how autonomous driving is set to transform life on board our vehicles, the BMW Vision M NEXT demonstrates how state-of-the-art technology can also make the experience of driving yourself purer and more emotionally engaging. In both models, the focus is firmly on the people inside. Design and technology make the ‘EASE’ and ‘BOOST’ experiences more natural and more intense.”

The EASE and BOOST experience concepts.

The BMW Vision iNEXT and BMW Vision M NEXT Vision Vehicles represent prototype versions of BMW’s future experience concepts “EASE” and “BOOST”. EASE encompasses all the experiences during a journey when the vehicle assumes the task of driving. Here, the vehicle is transformed into a living space on four wheels, where the passengers can feel safe and secure. From rest and relaxation, via talking, interacting and enjoying in-car entertainment, all the way to maximum concentration – the experiences on offer with the EASE concept are as varied as the occupants’ needs. BOOST, meanwhile, stands for the ultimate active driving experience. The EASE and BOOST concepts are underpinned in equal measure by the building blocks for the BMW Group’s future, comprising the innovation areas of Autonomous driving, Connectivity, Electrification and Services (ACES). The Design lends these areas visual expression and makes the underlying technology something you can engage with (D+ACES).

Exterior exudes BMW sports-car DNA.

“The BMW Vision M NEXT is a progressive hybrid sports car that makes a very clear and confident statement, in terms of both appearance and interaction,” says Domagoj Dukec, Vice President BMW Design. The emotion-stirring exterior design clearly announces the BMW Vision Vehicle’s performance potential, borrowing styling cues from both classic and contemporary BMW sports cars in the process. The BMW Vision M NEXT draws its inspiration from the iconic BMW Turbo and groundbreaking BMW i8 plug-in hybrid and adopts a future-focused interpretation of design elements such as the low-slung, wedge-shaped silhouette, gullwing doors and striking colour scheme. The unmistakable sports-car proportions are composed of surfaces characterised by clarity and pared-down styling. The front and rear ends are finished in the matt-neon shade Thrilling Orange, producing a vivid contrast against the exterior’s otherwise silk-matt Cast Silver metallic paintwork. This use of colour blocking gives the Vision Vehicle an added air of modernity and emphasises its inherent dynamism.

The actual driving experience in the BMW Vision M NEXT is every bit as captivating as its exterior looks. The Power PHEV drive system in offers the choice between electric all-wheel drive and pure rear-wheel drive, with either all-electric propulsion or the power of a turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine. System output of 441 kW (600 hp) produces a top speed of 300 km/h (186 mph) and enables the BMW Vision M NEXT to sprint from 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in just three seconds. There is also a BOOST+ mode that puts extra power on tap at the push of a button. The maximum range when driving in all-electric mode is 100 km (62 miles) – more than enough to complete the majority of journeys purely on electric power. This means the BMW Vision M NEXT is a sports car that would also be suitable for use in city centres where zero-emissions zones may come into force in the future.

Incorporating a modern take on classic design icons: the front end.

The expressive front-end design serves up a confident and modern interpretation of classic BMW icons. The signature BMW kidney grille is flanked on either side by triangular elements in Thrilling Orange, which serve to accentuate the air intakes at the sides and the integral headlights. These elements combine with the blade-shaped air intake below the kidney grille to create a cutting-edge racing aesthetic.

The soft outer curves of the kidney grille openings are reminiscent of a turbine’s air intake and give the front end added dynamic impact, while the colour gradient used for the inside of the two kidney elements creates a sense of depth. The grille openings are each blanked off by a transparent layer with a laser-etched, illuminated pattern that seems to be floating inside – a highly sophisticated touch that gives added emphasis to this section of the car.

The BMW Vision M NEXT headlights are positioned on the outer edges of the front end, higher up than the kidney grille. Arranged one above the other rather than side by side, their constituent elements represent a highly distinctive interpretation of BMW’s classic four-eyed front end. The headlights hand a debut to Laser Wire lighting technology, whereby glass fibres coated with phosphorous are used to produce headlight elements with a new, super-slim and extremely precise form. All of which further underscores the Vision Vehicle’s future-focused character.

Trailblazing dynamism: the flanks.

The low-slung, wedge-shaped sports-car silhouette of the BMW Vision M NEXT, the reward climb of its flank lines and the diagonal splash of contrasting orange colour endow it with dramatic forward-surging intent, even when standing still. The black side skirts made from recycled carbon fibre make the car look even lower on the road. The sports-car silhouette frames a small number of crisp lines running along the clearly sculpted surfaces. The lines of the powerfully contoured shoulders are also used to create the effect of the iconic Hofmeister kink, instead of incorporating it into the window graphic in the usual BMW fashion. The design is broken up by a gill-like aperture that narrows as it sweeps back from the window surface towards the tail, giving the car a more elongated appearance. A second look reveals another highlight in the form of the Air Flow. This opening located just in front of the rear wheels is designed to carefully channel the onrushing air towards the rear end in a way that further improves aerodynamics.

Precisely engineered gaps in the wheels’ intricate, three-dimensional multi-spoke design result in low weight, maximum rigidity and reduced drag and so optimise the transfer of power to the road. The spokes’ open, three-dimensional architecture maximises cooling of the large brake discs at the front, while inserts optimise aero efficiency at the rear. The rear wheels on the BMW Vision M NEXT measure 22 inches in diameter, making them one inch larger than the front wheels (21 inches) and further emphasising the car’s wedge-shaped appearance.

Low-slung, broad and extremely dynamic: the rear end.

The broad, low-slung rear end makes a stylistic statement with its distinctly sporty tone. Its colour scheme divides the car’s sculptural tail into two sections. The top section in Thrilling Orange creates a visual link between the coloured areas of the flanks, further adding to the impression of width. The area below it is made from recycled carbon fibre and incorporates an aerodynamically optimised diffuser. The design of the rear window takes its cue from the BMW M1. The three-piece louvres are made from glass and emphasise the horizontal focus of the rear-end styling.

The rear lights feature the same Laser Wire technology used for the headlights. Their glass lenses frame the rear end in a sweeping flourish on either side, bringing its width and sporting presence to the fore. Inside each light unit, a single wafer-thin glass fibre produces an abstract ECG trace of a heartbeat fashioned with pin-sharp precision. The two-dimensional reinterpretation of the distinctive pair of BMW roundels from the BMW Turbo and BMW M1 – a gift to BMW aficionados – gives them the impression of floating in the rear lights’ transparent lenses.

Focusing on the driver: the interior.

Facial recognition technology allows the car to unlock automatically as the driver approaches. Pressing the touch sensor on the gullwing doors prompts them to swing open, revealing a cabin that merges the driver and vehicle into one. The classy, minimalist interior revolves entirely around the actively engaged driver, both stylistically and technologically. The interior appears as if cut from a single mould, with functional elements such as the air vents integrated almost out of sight. Its geometry is deliberately restrained in nature so the driver can devote their attention entirely to the driving experience. The seat shells form part of a seat sculpture with a flowing design. They are upholstered in a foam material with shape memory properties that moulds itself to, cushions and supports the body to optimum effect. The head restraints seem to hover above both seat shells, increasing the sense of lightness. The extremely comfortable seating position immerses the driver in the driving experience.

Eyes on the road, hands on the wheel: the BOOST Pod.

“The entire interior is focused on the BOOST Pod. The geometry has a deliberately low-key feel so that the driver can concentrate fully on the driving experience,” explains Domagoj Dukec. Taking pride of place in the interior, the BOOST Pod forms the interface between driver and vehicle. It brings together all the control options and information across three distinct visual tiers in the driver’s direct field of view. The first plane is formed by the horizontally arranged steering wheel featuring two small displays. Following this in the driver’s line of sight is a Curved Glass Display, a new addition whose transparent surface stretches around the steering wheel like a visor. The full-surface Augmented Reality Head-Up Display in the windscreen constitutes the third plane. Everything therefore happens directly in the driver’s line of sight. The driving settings can be modified on the steering wheel, while information such as revs, road speed, energy management, the driver’s heart rate and availability of BOOST+ mode is spread among a total of five clusters in the Curved Glass Display behind. BOOST+ mode can be engaged at the touch of a button to release extra power. The car alerts the driver when the ideal moment arrives to activate BOOST+.

Taking driver focus to the next level: focus logic.

“In the BMW Vision M NEXT, intelligent technologies help the driver and deliver the right content at the right time. Operation is clear and intuitive, with all information presented in the driver’s direct field of view. This is a deliberate counterpoint to the BMW Vision iNEXT, which focused on multimodal operation from every seat,” continues Dukec.

The BMW Vision M NEXT therefore shows the way ahead for BMW’s fabled driver focus. The cabin’s geometry and technology have both been devised to help focus attention on the task of driving and prevent distractions. To this end, the information displayed is adapted to the current speed – based on the principles of focus logic. As the vehicle speeds up, the information centres increasingly on driving-related data and moves into the driver’s eye-line. It is possible to communicate with the Intelligent Personal Assistant at all times while driving – if drivers wish to book the visionary Valet Parking Service for their destination, for instance. Here, a concierge is on hand when they arrive to take the vehicle, park it and bring it back again at the desired time. All done simply and seamlessly using the MyBMW App.

Innovative materials for a luxurious ambience and optimum performance.

“We have designed a modern and luxurious interior with the help of innovative materials. Whereas its geometry is clear and restrained, individual details are showcased like top-class accessories,” says Dukec. The pioneering mix of materials employed in the BMW Vision M NEXT, including woven synthetic fibres, anodised titanium and painted surfaces, has never been seen before in a vehicle in this form, which is why it brings out the car’s character to such stunning effect. Use of leather has been kept deliberately to a minimum, which is why it only adorns the design details that the driver’s and passenger’s hands touch directly, such as the steering wheel and door pull handles. Instead, the interior is dominated by a Midnight Blue microfibre fabric whose look and feel are akin to leather, but is also highly distinctive. Judicious use of Thrilling Orange contrasts injects additional sporting flair.

A particularly striking touch here is the accent line in the driver’s area that runs forwards from the seat over the BOOST Pod, indicating the ideal line of sight over the road. A light element in the BOOST Pod further strengthens this line.

The metallic surfaces in Titanium Bronze have a warm, shimmering tone, adding to the exclusive ambience in the car’s interior. Neat design touches such as the barely visible pockets in the door and centre console allow everyday essentials to remain securely stowed away even when cornering at high speed. The gyroscopic cupholder is able to compensate for strong lateral and longitudinal dynamic forces. A glance upwards reveals both the visible roof structure made from recycled carbon fibre and the headliner, whose tone-in-tone paint finish with mild sheen effect blends in perfectly with the rest of the interior’s colour scheme.

The past and future of dynamic driving.

With its enthralling blend of design and driving experience, the BMW Vision M NEXT fuses BMW’s sporting heritage with the possibilities of tomorrow’s world, and illustrates how the D+ACES building blocks for the future will be able to enhance how the driver experiences a car’s dynamics.

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