BMW Vision Next 100 concept: This is what BMW thinks cars will look like in 2116

BMW has just unveiled a brand-new car – and it’s the craziest-looking concept we’ve seen in ages. The German carmaker is calling its newest creation the Vision Next 100, and it’s designed to tackle the key trends of the next century. That means the BMW Vision Next 100 concept packs in some interesting ideas about autonomous driving, connectivity and extreme efficiency.

“Our objective with the BMW Vision Next 100 was to develop a future scenario that people would engage with,” said Adrian van Hooydonk, head of BMW Group Design. “Technology is going to make significant advances, opening up fantastic new possibilities that will allow us to offer the driver even more assistance for an even more intense driving experience.

“My personal view is that technology should be as intuitive as possible to operate and experience so that future interactions between human, machine and surroundings become seamless. The BMW Vision Next 100 shows how we intend to shape this future.”

Autonomous vs the driving experience

The most interesting thing about the Vision Next 100 concept is the way it approaches the idea of autonomous driving. BMW’s own tagline – ‘The Sheer Pleasure of Driving’ – seems at odds with our autonomous future, but the Vision Next 100 demonstrates how driverless technology might work alongside a manual driving experience.

To keep the driving experience front and centre, the BMW design team has focused its efforts on the interior, so that it fits the occupants like a glove. What’s more, the Vision Next 100 Concept can become autonomous or hands-on at the flick of a switch. BMW envisages two modes, Ease and Boost. Each mode uses technology to make getting to your destination a less stressful – or more fun – experience.

AI is the ultimate passenger

Ease is a full-autonomous mode, which transforms the car into a relaxing space, while Boost puts the driver in control – but keeps them informed at all times. When the car is manually controlled, BMW says AI software called Companion will act like a turbocharged Siri for driving, and learn from the driver’s inputs.

At the same time, the car will physically interact with the driver using what BMW is calling Alive Geometry. Simply put, the system consists of around 800 moving triangles in certain parts of the car that will physically react to the driver’s movements. When combined with a huge windscreen-spanning heads-up display, BMW thinks the car will feel like a real companion to the driver.

Super efficiency

The outside of the BMW is pretty striking too – but it’s all for a purpose. Despite being 4.9m long and 1.37m high, the BMW cuts through the air thanks to a movable aerodynamic skin. The result? A super-low drag coefficient of 0.18.

Although it’s only a concept, the BMW Vision Next 100 throws up some interesting topics for carmakers and drivers alike. With autonomous driving seemingly around the corner, it’s fascinating to see companies such as BMW already trying to set the boundaries between the two, while preserving everything we love about being behind the wheel.

Read next: Tesla Model X hands-on

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