By on April 21, 2014

BMW-Beijing-Concept

Few companies are as competitive with each other as the German luxury brands. Now that Mercedes-Benz will be making the S600 Maybach edition of their S-Class fullsize sedan, BMW is responding wtih their own flagship, the Vision Future Luxury concept, introduced at the Beijing auto show on Sunday. Since Vision Future Luxury doesn’t quite fit BMW’s alphanumeric nomenclature, when it goes on sale in 2016, it will likely be known as the 9-Series, though some have suggested that it will revive the 8-Series nameplate or even be the basis of the next 7.  The Neuner will be the largest car that BMW offers, with a total length of about 216 inches (5,500 mm), making it about 11 inches longer than even the long wheelbase versions of the 7-Series. Wealthy Chinese prefer to be driven, one reason for the concept’s debut in Beijing.

bmw9 1

If it goes into production, the 9 series will be BMW’s largest model with a length of about 5500mm (216 inches), about 280mm more than the long-wheelbase 7 series. The extra length will boost the car’s appeal in markets such as China where most top executives have chauffeurs.

BMW is applying the carbon fiber expertise they are gaining with their electric i3 and i8 programs to the Vision Future Luxury concept, most notably where short carbon fiber bars from the room to the belt line replace the full length conventional B-pillars that normally sit between the front and back doors in four door cars.

bmw94

When the suicide style doors are opened, you can see that the pillar’s carbon fiber structure is part of a load bearing structural molding that includes the seat frame and is integrated into the door sills. The way the molding is contoured, with the doors open it looks as though there is no lower pillar and it allows easier access to the back seat. It also allows the use of lighter weight doors than on other cars with no visible B pillar, like BMW’s 7 Series based Rolls-Royce Ghost, while still providing adequate body rigidity and side impact protection. Weight savings is the rationale for using what BMW called “subtractive modeling” in the manufacture of interior parts. Thin layers of carbon fabric or aluminum are bonded with similarly thin veneers of wood or leather to create lightweight interior trim pieces.

There are separate touch-sensitive display screens for the driver and front passenger and information can be exchanged between them. That way applications like making dinner reservations or buying tickets via the BMW ConnectedDrive Luxury Concierge service can be handled by the passenger without having to distract the driver. Two more displays are in the back, mounted in carbon fiber housings with their own detachable touch command tablet. Rear seat passengers can communicate with the front seat displays and also access ConnectedDrive services like video and music streaming.

While the trick carbon fiber B-pillar will likely not make it to production, the electronic gizmos probably will.

Ronnie Schreiber edits Cars In Depth, a realistic perspective on cars & car culture and the original 3D car site. If you found this post worthwhile, you can get a parallax view at Cars In Depth. If the 3D thing freaks you out, don’t worry, all the photo and video players in use at the site have mono options. Thanks for reading – RJS

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65 Comments on “2014 Beijing Auto Show: BMW’s “Vision Future Luxury” 9-Series Concept...”


  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    The grille reminds me of the spinney disk changer thing in a juke box. Other than that, it’s pretty ghastly, so I’m sure the Chinese will love it. I do like the absurd length though, bring back huge long cars any time you like.

  • avatar
    jpolicke

    It’s all very well for a show car, but non-adjustable front seats would have zero practicality for a production model. I fail to understand why they went to all this trouble just to get people to look at the display panels in the dash.

  • avatar
    WaftableTorque

    I can imagine sales of 7-series cratering after this is released. The words “flagship” has magical Giffen good qualities that draws some buyers. Take it away and all you have is just a marketing placeholder.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      Agree, I like owning the flagship product. Makes ya feel gooooood.

      Think of how many would purchase the A8L if they came out with an A10? Nobody! (Plus the A7 is already hurting those sales.)

      • 0 avatar
        bomberpete

        Is this thing supposed to be positioned between a 7-series (already one of the worst values in luxury cars) and an R-R Ghost? Um, good luck with that.

        Goodbye Bimmer we hardly knew ye. Seriously, BMW has bifurcated itself in so many different directions. Who can tell what they’re about any more? 1-,2-,3-,4-, 5-, 6-, 7-, 8-, and now a 9-series? Jeez. On top of that, there’s the X-CUV/SUV versions, plus the neglected sports car? Egads.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          To be fair, 8 series was a specialty coupe which has been gone past a decade.

          • 0 avatar
            gtrslngr

            The Eight was one very seriously cool car and one hell of a driver especially if you had the funds to go for the V12 . Think a 2+2 Ferrari with none of the hassles and maintenance woes [ including dealing with your local Ferrari dealer/mechanic ]

            [ yes I know the 8 had its problems ... but in comparison to any Ferrari Past , Present or Future it was flawless]

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I’m familiar with the 8 series as my lot had an 850 for a time, I think it was a ’92. Hell of a car, trouble is you’d need financing for the shop bill let alone the car.

          • 0 avatar
            bomberpete

            Wasn’t BMW selling another V-8 “Coupe”-styled version of the 5 series called the 8 last year?

        • 0 avatar
          VenomV12

          Yeah, but they are selling tons of cars and that is what a company is about at the end of the day. I can’t believe anyone would buy one, but there are 3 X6Ms in my neighborhood alone, at least five 7 series and you can’t even test drive the new X5 because they have been sold out for months. The X4 will probably sell out as well. Once the 7 series is upgraded to compete with the new S Class it will be fine and the 9 series will be priced appropriately high enough I imagine that it won’t affect sales of the 7 series too much.

          If they would make a damn M7 that thing would sell out too. Hell there are at least a couple Alpina B7s rolling around my neck of the woods.

        • 0 avatar
          bd2

          The 6 Series is doing well for BMW – nice fat profit margins.

      • 0 avatar
        VenomV12

        No one who is seriously considering purchasing an A8L is looking at an A7, there are two vastly different cars. If you are seriously looking at an A8L you are looking for serious backseat space and amenities, the A7 has none of that. Other than the infotainment system and engine, there is literally nothing the A7 has on par with an A8 much less an A8L.

    • 0 avatar
      gtrslngr

      Then buy THE BMW flagship . A Rolls Royce .

      • 0 avatar
        ellomdian

        There’s a part of me that is genuinely terrified that BMW will move forward with this 9 bullshit. I would much rather see them put this into production as a $180-220k RR ‘Base’ model than screw up the cachet that the 7 has – and they REALLY need to build the next 7 to fight the W222 S.

        If the 7 just becomes a bigger 5 (instead of the other way around) I don’t see a lot of good times for the top end of the Roundel – but what do I know, MB is trying the Maybach crap again.

      • 0 avatar
        bd2

        There is room between a 7 Series and even the Ghost – which is why Mercedes is doing the Maybach S Class.

  • avatar
    JohnnyFirebird

    They finally made a Cherokee sedan!

  • avatar
    DeeDub

    The new BMW Spinal Tap Series – “these go to 11″.

  • avatar
    Stumpaster

    Is there an echo in here?

    The Neuner will be the largest car that BMW offers, with a total length of about 216 inches (5,500 mm), making it about 11 inches longer than even the long wheelbase versions of the 7-Series. Wealthy Chinese prefer to be driven, one reason for the concept’s debut in Beijing.

    If it goes into production, the 9 series will be BMW’s largest model with a length of about 5500mm (216 inches), about 280mm more than the long-wheelbase 7 series. The extra length will boost the car’s appeal in markets such as China where most top executives have chauffeurs.

    • 0 avatar
      gtrslngr

      No … seeing as how Rolls Royce is BMW . The Rollers will still be the largest BMW’s around . As to the rest … Let them [ the Chinese ] Buy Rolls Royces . Rollers having a hell of a lot more prestige in Chinese culture than any BMW can ever hope to attain .

      Summation ? Stupid and deluded move on behalf of BMW

      • 0 avatar
        Stumpaster

        I was just referring to the crappy copy riting where the same information is in two consecutive paragraphs, just written up differently. Maybe someone at TTAC was just merging two press releases together.

        As to whether some wealthy Chinese wants to be driven in a BMW or a Rolls, I could not give a damn.

      • 0 avatar
        Kyree S. Williams

        You’d think this was stupid, but for the Chinese market, it actually isn’t. Chinese well-to-do folks like being chauffeured in all manner of cars, and they usually buy extended-wheelbase versions for this. There are already extended-wheelbase versions of the 3-Series and 5-Series (the latter of which is very much just a 7-Series by another name). Cadillac sold an extended-wheelbase version of the STS, and is preparing an extended-wheelbase ATS and CTS. And I’m sure the upcoming extended-wheelbase Range Rover was primarily devised to serve a large market in China. Even the Chinese Chevy Cruze is going to have a longer wheelbase than the global version.

        • 0 avatar
          Stumpaster

          You must have missed it – I don’t give a damn what Chinese like to ride.

          But thanks for rehashing all the things you’ve read on the Internet.

          • 0 avatar
            Kyree S. Williams

            Don’t flatter yourself. Not everything is about you. I was actually responding to gtr’s comment.

  • avatar
    dude500

    Can’t wait for the 10-series Gran Coupe version of this…

  • avatar
    TMA1

    I see a lot of the Kia GT concept in this car. Especially the front end and suicide doors.

  • avatar
    gtrslngr

    OK …. BMW just trumped VW ( Phaeton announcement ) and Mercedes/Daimler ( Maybach announcement ) both combined with this moment of abject stupidity .

    At least Mercedes has an excuse for their moment of delusion in the fact that BMW has Rolls Royce covering the Big Bucks purchaser . And in all honesty VW is desperate to make amends for the Phaeton round one . Both severely deluded and utterly clueless as to the market place and the lack of potential customers therein : but both at least having somewhat of an excuse lame as it might be .

    But BMW ??? What in the _____ is their excuse ? They’ve already got as mentioned above Rolls Royce . Rolls not only having the Ultra Premium market covered … but dominating it as well

    So what in the ____ does BMW need with this ? An excuse to take their new found success and flush it all down the toilet in one fell swoop ?

    Insanity having no bounds when it comes to the auto industry of late .

    Z’at you at the helm Walter ?

    • 0 avatar
      VenomV12

      How is the Maybach announcement stupid, it is just a trim level on the S Class? If they had called it the Grosser, no one would think twice about it. As much as people like to malign the Maybach, it was a vastly larger and more luxurious car than the standard S Class with more amenities than a Rolls Royce or Bentley, it was just based on an older car and looked too much like a standard S for too many people’s liking.

      Can you recline in a private jet style recliner in a Rolls Royce or Bentley, no, and that alone made the Maybach a much better luxury limousine than those other two cars.

      • 0 avatar
        Kyree S. Williams

        The problem with New Maybach was that it had a very awkward design that didn’t age well. Even though Bentley *basically* kept its Arnage/Azure/Brooklands line going for over ten years and BMW is still using the New Era Phantom (recently updated with some new interfaces and mechanicals), things have aged gracefully for the British brands. But Maybach’s design language was very much rooted in the early-aughts, and it looked outright stale and garish by the time the W221 S-Class debuted in 2006. And yes, the resemblance to Mercedes-Benz-branded vehicles was a little more than anyone would have liked. If Daimler had bothered to update or redesign the Maybach lineup at some point, things would have perhaps been okay, but they seemed content to just let it die.

  • avatar
    krhodes1

    As usual, not feeling the anguish about this. There is a relatively large price gap between the top 7-series and the cheapest Rolls Royce. I think it makes perfect sense to have a car that fits in that gap. Rolls Royce cars are seen as a TAD ostentatious as well – I would never buy one for that reason alone. So why not have a less shouty car to compete with the top S-class? They are not going to sell many of them, but they are going to mint money on every one they do sell. Afterall, it is fundamentally just a really long wheelbase 7. I think it looks good, other than the squinty headlights.

    I swear, the B&B won’t be happy until all every car maker makes is a small and large Camry clone. Personally, if I had any need of a gigantic sedan, the Phaeton would be the very first choice on my list because it is so restrained and unassuming. The nice bits are on the inside where they belong.

    • 0 avatar
      VenomV12

      Exactly, a well loaded 7 series is about $120,000, really maxed out about $160,000 and a Rolls Royce Ghost starts around $250,000 to $300,000, there is tons of room to add the 9 series in the lineup. And the reality is you can roll around in a 9 series and some people might think you are a prick, but most will just think of you as another guy in a BMW, but if you roll around in a Rolls Royce, everyone will think you are a prick and everyone will look at you.

      • 0 avatar
        IHateCars

        “…but if you roll around in a Rolls Royce, everyone will think you are a prick and everyone will look at you.”

        Isn’t that pretty much the reason why people buy a Roller?

    • 0 avatar
      CRConrad

      @krhodes1: “…the Phaeton would be the very first choice on my list because it is so restrained and unassuming.”

      ‘Xackly. (What I would do is, order it with the no-cost no-name option, then glue on the letters “PASSAT”.)

  • avatar
    TW5

    It won’t sell in China unless it has 16 cylinders and a climate control system that can achieve subzero temperatures in summer and tropical heat in the winter.

    Nothing is more communist than stepping out of your BMW on a sweltering August day, and having your chauffeur remove your parka.

  • avatar
    Lorenzo

    “Vision Future Luxury – VFL”? I can see BMW engineers walking the halls in Munich muttering “Der Viffle?” “Was zum teufel ist ‘Der Viffle’?”

    BTW – add some port holes and it would be a nice Buick.

  • avatar
    stanczyk

    If car-producers would be smarter and less eager to indulge chinesse ignorant nouvoriche customer(they’ve changed bicycles for cars not so long ago, right? .. 10 years ago ?!?:) .. they would sell pimped-up Chevy Malibu for RR price to that chinesse ignorant nouvoriche customer ..
    .. but not anymore, now ‘chinesse bu$$ine$$man’ drives big Mercs , R-Royces and Lambos .. and they know what luxury means..:)

    But luxury is not mainstream: let’s jump to more interesting topic: ‘mass-produced-cars’..
    ‘Global product strategy’ seems to dominate corporations and that means car-producers will need to create ‘one world taste’ .. and who do You think will dictate this taste..(if corporations’ll sell more to China , Russia, India … than to traditional markets).. It’s the ‘western_customer’ rather than ‘emerging market cusomer’ is the one that will need to be ‘marketing-brainwashed’ to accept .. new (‘global’)products’..

  • avatar
    wmba

    Oh no, the Cherokee’s front end styling is proliferating on this Panzerwagen, now with added gaudy flourishes like hiding the flamethrowers behind the detachable flaps at each lower side of the facia.

    It’s official – stylists have run out of good ideas, but no matter, public taste is even worse.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      Yeah, BMW’s styling is normally impeccably-cohesive, if not necessarily attractive to some of the B&B. But this concept, hinting at an alleged range-topper, looks like a Grand Theft Auto caricature. What the hell happened?

  • avatar
    The Heisenberg Cartel

    Can’t wait for the M9 with the 7.0L V14!

  • avatar
    oldyak

    as a 740 owner it looks awesome to me!
    I just kinda wish the headlights were round…Kinda a BMW thing that I wish they would continue..

  • avatar
    stuki

    Nothing like a chauffeur driven coupe, for flaunting how much more money than sense you have……


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