The new class. BMW is officially reviving an old name, the one that marked the rebirth of the brand in the 1960s with the predecessor of Series 5, about a future electric car… which isn’t the one in front of you. At least not yet: this BMW i Vision Dee concept is the second in a triptych initiated in 2021 with i Circular vision.
The latter explored above all the notion of sustainability. The BMW Vision Dee goes further and rethinks the very philosophy of the automobile. In any case, according to BMW: “Whoever excels at integrating the digital world of passengers into the car, at all levels, will succeed in mastering the future of car manufacturing,” believes Frank Weber, head of development at BMW.
By now, you will have noticed that it is no longer a single body, but a classic three-box sedan. This is for the silhouette, because the style itself remains just the same… distinctive. Like almost everything that has come out of BMW in five years, of course, but different. This silhouette, “is the very heart of BMW”, underlines style chief Kai Langer, who wants to reinterpret the “icons” of BMW heritage for a new generation of customers.
The Hofmeister side is there on the rear quarter panel, the dual grille bean is there. As in Vision Circular, it integrates optics, forming “figital” blocks capable of displaying different “expressions”. On the other hand, the Vision Dee benefits from E Ink technology, released last year at CES byiX Flow. This type of digital paint that allows the car to change color at will in 32 colors (when the iX Flow was condemned to shades of gray), individually applicable to 240 different body segments. How does it work? A bit like a Kindle-type reader, but in an “ePaper” film coated with microcapsules that cover the entire body. How to do it yourself art car without putting paint everywhere…
Glass surfaces are not forgotten. BMW Vision Dee recognizes you as you approach and projects your chosen avatar on the driver’s window to greet you. On board, we definitely move to the Matrix with furniture reduced to its simplest expression. Now it’s the entire windshield — but only the windshield — that’s used to display augmented reality information, whether it’s driving or infotainment. We can even go as far as full virtual reality in line with prototype M2 “Mixed Reality” of last year.
Or just “fade out the real world” to sleep better. The ultimate sleeper car… An option that would have been very useful between 2020 and 2022. The head-up display of augmented reality on the entire windshield will see the light of day by 2025 in the “Neue Klasse” standard.
There are no details on autonomous driving (it’s out of fashion, even at CES), but we can imagine that this Vision Dee is designed for a world in which it’s possible. The car, however, leaves you free to choose the degree of assistance and display configuration in five levels, even if that means opting for a refined old-fashioned version when you feel like driving. It’s very kind of her. “Overload [le conducteur] information is probably not the right solution, you have to find the right balance, agrees Kai Langer. But it should also be taken into account that in the daily life of the customer there will be situations where the car may be able to drive itself. »
Nothing in the engine, nor in the battery, nor in perf or autonomy, it remains a concept in the most conceptual sense. The driving pleasure is not forgotten, however, even buried under layers and layers of assists. “It’s not that technology controls you, but it can help you a lot. »
Adrian von Hooydonk, BMW Group’s head of design, goes further. “Smartly integrated, technology will create rewarding experiences, make you a better driver and simply bring man and car closer together. So don’t worry, Joy will always be on the menu. “We have been dynamic and we will always be. »