BMW Looks to Future, Hopes Predictions Don't Instantly Become Dated

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
bmw looks to future hopes predictions dont instantly become dated

It’s BMW Group’s centenary — and except for some problematic stuff in the late 1930s and early ’40s, it’s been a great 100 years.

Rather than gaze wistfully at the past, BMW is spending its birthday looking into the future and imagining what marvelous things might lie ahead. Naturally, one of those things will be a BMW, and, lo and behold, here’s a futuristic concept!

The BMW Vision Next 100 concept was unveiled in Munich on March 7 and was designed with an autonomous future in mind, one where individuality remains a selling point with buyers.

Adorned with the brand’s signature double kidney grille, the Vision Next 100 uses the vaguely Tron-like term “Alive Geometry” for its vehicle-driver interface, with two driving modes — “Boost” and “Ease” — to allow for fully autonomous driving or (gasp!) human control.

Ease mode sees the interior of the scissor-door vehicle reconfigure to make maximum comfort and room for the non-needed driver and their occupants. The steering wheel and console retract and the seats turn inward to face each other.

Couples going through rough times would be wise to keep their future BMW in Boost mode.

BMW board chair Harald Krüger said that in the near future the automaker would like to tailor every aspect of the driving experience to the individual tastes of the driver (or chauffeured occupant, if you will). What the company calls “premium mobility” would include advanced digital connectivity, something BMW plans to make a key part of its focus.

BMW will be taking its Vision Next 100 on a birthday bash world tour named Iconic Impulses, stopping in China, the UK and U.S.

A permanent exhibition, creatively named “Future Exhibition” will remain in Munich, with a further exhibition scheduled at the BMW museum.

Not wanting to be left out of the centenary fun, German rival Mercedes-Benz offered a passive-aggressive present to BMW employees that contained plenty of thinly-veiled taunts.

In a press release, the Daimler offered BMW employees free admission to the Mercedes-Benz Museum, where they could learn “the complete history of the automobile,” as well as enjoy great parking spots.

As a special gesture, all those guests from the BMW workforce who turn up in a vehicle produced by the Munich-based company will be allowed to park on the hill directly in front of the museum in the scheduled week. This will not be such a rare spectacle, as numerous classic BMW vehicles also visit the Mercedes-Benz Museum at the popular “Cars & Coffee” classic car meetings which are open to all brands.

Still, if any BMW employees can swallow their pride, more perks await:

Finally, on the culinary front the Stuttgart museum is rounding off its birthday greetings with a special invitation to the first 50 BMW employees: following their tour of the exhibition, they are cordially invited to partake of a Swabian speciality citing the double kidney shape of the signature BMW radiator grille.

When you built the first car — literally, the very first gas-powered car — it’s probably really hard to hold it all back.

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2 of 16 comments
  • Brett Woods Brett Woods on Mar 10, 2016

    Hmmm... Nothing futuristic about that. I think if imagination has free reign, it would be a more simplistic human oriented conveyance, like a soap bubble (with kidney grille of course). Not wheels and hood and radiator. Not a rock crushing roller skate with minimal human accommodation. Already got the M6, how are you going to get better than that? The real future a 100 years from now will be more 13th Century ox-cart in reality. That image is like the jokey 50's view of the future. Buck Rogers' rocket fins and all.

  • Webbrowan Webbrowan on Mar 30, 2016

    Congratulations to BMW on its centennial! It's a huge milestone for any brand, much less a pioneer in the industry such as themselves. I've even seen Audi and Mercedes take their hats off to BMW on national newspaper to wish them happy birthday too no less and if that's not a mark of respect for a highly regarded company then I don't know what is!

  • EBFlex Such insane demand for government cars yet companies are laying people off and others are losing billions upon billions. Crazy Oh and the garbage fake lightning? Yep price increases again. Now up over 50% from the initial starting price. Government cars are such a joke.
  • Chuck Norton I don't see anything wrong with the name. It's an impressive little motor-and despite the fact that it has been hammered on every vehicle forum-including this one it seems to be gaining market acceptance.
  • Spookiness Other non-US markets get the Forte5 "liftback" version of this. That would be a perfect size for me and I'd consider it if it were available. I think they're good looking and good value.
  • 28-Cars-Later We have arrived.
  • MrIcky Unimogs