Unveiled as a concept earlier this month, the striking BMW Vision M NEXT serves to show us that the future of BMW isn’t all about electric cars and autonomous driving; instead they aim to always remember their passion for driving. Possibly following in the footsteps of the i8, BMW have teased that a BMW M car much like this concept could be with us in the next couple of years.
That’s right, much like how the Vision EfficientDynamics evolved into the iconic BMW i8 supercar, there’s a slither of a chance that the Vision M NEXT could become a real road car that remains reminiscent of this futuristic looking hybrid supercar. Don’t quote us on that … but if the ground-breaking i8 is anything to go by, it’s exciting news.
Power comes from an electrified turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine that creates a total of 441kW (600hp). Named by BMW as the Power PHEV drive system, this collaboration between old and new promises to take the Vision M NEXT from 0-62mph in just three seconds and on to a top speed of 186mph. Thanks to the hybrid setup, the concept can be driven in either all-wheel or pure rear-wheel drive modes.
As well as extreme power, the hybrid system means that the Vision M NEXT can drive in all-electric mode for 62miles, meaning that it’ll cover the majority of journeys emission free and would comply with proposed zero-emission zones in various city centres across the world.
Increasing convenience and reducing the need for petrol station visits, the Vision M NEXT is a plug-in hybrid that can be charged easily on the move (through energy recovery), at a charging station or overnight at home.
As with every BMW, driving experience has formed the pillars on which the Vision M NEXT is based and the result is three very distinct driving concepts: EASE, BOOST and BOOST+. Designed to cover every aspect of a journey, the first of these concepts – EASE – is all about occupants being able to relax. Turning the cabin into a ‘living space on four wheels’ (BMW’s words), the mode revolves around the needs of the occupants and promotes rest and relaxation.
As the names suggest, the latter two modes – BOOST and BOOST+ – are very much the opposite. These modes are all about ‘the ultimate active driving experience’ through increased driving dynamics and access to all of the Vision M NEXT’s hybrid power. BOOST+ is the more extreme of the two modes, even changing how the cabin manifests itself; adding augmented reality to the entire windscreen that shows cornering lines and braking points.
Talking of the interior, it’s something very special. Whilst it may be fairly sparse, it’s a stunning art piece that appears as if carved from one giant chunk of carbon fibre. In front of the driver is a striking butterfly shaped steering wheel and behind that is an instrument cluster that is actively projected onto a curved glass display.
Both seats are built into the structure of the car – to save weight – and are made from memory foam which is, much like the rest of the cabin, covered in blue microfibre. Highlighting the detail that BMW have put into this concept, they’ve even made the cup holders gyroscopic; meaning that even high-G turns won’t cause drinks to spill.
Externally, the BMW Vision M NEXT has been described as a combination of the legendary M1 and the futuristic i8. We can see why. The car is all about bold lines and angles but with the elegance of futuristic materials and an i8-esque silhouette. The most notable features are arguably the ‘Laser Wire’ headlights and taillights, a 3D laser-etched grille and the stunning new, bespoke, Electric Orange paint.
As with many concept cars, the Vision M NEXT is equipped with a whole host of incredible future technologies, highlights for us have to be: central locking controlled by facial recognition, the aforementioned augmented reality windscreen and an Intelligent Personal Assistant that can be communicated with at all times.
We have to say, the new BMW Vision M NEXT concept has us excited; it feels very much like when they unveiled the i8’s concept predecessor. There’s currently no official confirmation from BMW that the Vision M NEXT will feed into a road-going vehicle but we live in hope.