BMW Vision iNext Shows The Way Forward For A New Electric SUV

Want to know what the BMW of the future will look like? Here it is. It’s called the Vision iNEXT, and after months of hints, teasers, and leaks, it’s finally been unveiled in full.

The autonomous electric crossover concept both represents the broad direction in which the Bavarian automaker is headed moving forward, and directly previews a production model to follow.

Designing the Future

The show car cuts a futuristic silhouette, rendered in copper with suitably conceptual, oversized 24-inch wheels. Blue accents hint at the electrified powertrain, visual carbon fiber its lightweight construction, and with no internal-combustion engine to keep cool, the big merged twin-kidney grille is blanked out, housing only sensors for the vehicle’s self-driving capabilities.

“BMW i exists to generate creative, pioneering ideas which transform the way we think about mobility,” said design chief Adrian van Hooydonk. “The BMW Vision iNEXT marks another next big step on that journey of transformation, showing how more intelligent vehicles can make our lives easier and more beautiful.”

Rolling Lounge

A big panoramic glass roof lets the sunshine into the interior that’s designed to look and feel as much like a living room as it does a conventional automobile’s cabin space. Inside it’s all warm earth tones, with open-pore wood and jacquard cloth upholstery. The big glass monitors typical of such concepts are noticeably absent, replaced by projectors that can turn any surface into a display, controlled by pinpoint three-dimensional motion sensors.

“The possibilities opened up by autonomous driving and ever-expanding connectivity enable a whole new range of experiences and ways of shaping a journey,” adds R&D boss Klaus Fröhlich. “With this in mind, we have designed the all-electric BMW Vision iNEXT as a mobile environment that enhances quality of life, a new ‘Favourite Space’ in which we can be ourselves and relax. Indeed, all of BMW’s endeavours will continue to revolve around people – and their needs and desires when it comes to mobility – in the future.”

Drive or Be Driven

The concept’s designed to work (at least theoretically) either in fully autonomous “Ease” mode or in driver-operated “Boost” mode, with the steering wheel and controls retracting out of the way when not in use. That (along with the self-driving capabilities) likely means entirely drive-by-wire controls, with no direct mechanical link between driver and machine. But the Bavarian automaker hasn’t released any technical details as to what actually powers the thing.

What it has said, though, is that the Vision iNEXT will (in some form or another) be put into production at its Dingolfing plant – where it already builds over a third of a million vehicles every year – starting in 2021. We can expect some changes to be made on the road from showpiece to showroom. But by and large, what you see here is more or less what we’ll be seeing on the street three years from now.

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  • Finkployd

    ok so it was designed on post-its, I get it now

    • assassingtr

      Lol I get the sentiment but actually most of their cars are sketched initially first phase on post-its. It’s best to just fire out hundreds of different themes and work downwards.

  • AJJB

    Is this a joke?

    • Bo Hanan

      “THAAAAANK YOU!”

  • ace_9

    Isn’t the front “grille” a little bit too tall for a KIA?
    Oh, wait…

    • Rivaldo

      The vertical grille was Bmw signature 50 -60 years ago, long before Kia was born.

      • C Noi

        Kidney grille belong to bmw, but this is stretched kia grille

        • Knotmyrealname

          This is a variant on the twin kidney BMW grille that Kia bastardised.

      • ace_9

        I know, but it was in times when all cars had big vertical grilles, so are we actually going to pretend, that it is only a BMW heritage? Later, BMW like many others, naturally reduced the grille size and the original kidneys were miniaturized and put in the middle with the original vertical fins. Then in the last 30 years or so, the kidneys became functional as the upper main radiator opening once again, but also in smaller form and mostly horizontally stretched with signature vertical fins. The two separated kidneys with vertical fins are actually the significant design element for modern BMWs. KIA in recent 10 or so years adopted a grille resembling a tiger nose with usually diamond shaped openings inside. In latest BMW prototypes the kidneys are present only in symbolic form, they are oversized and not separated, furthermore, the vertical fins are also gone, replaced by diamond shaped design elements. This is why I’m suggesting that it looks more like a KIA (other elements are also resembling korean cars design). It has nothing to do with history. KIA is not copying BMW, it seems to be the other way around. And BMW seems to be throwing their signature look away and it just happens that their cars are starting to look more like KIAs.

        • 101st ABN

          Dude, too many words. Brevity is a virtue .

  • AxlRock

    Is there an unwritten rule somewhere that says you have to make EVs ugly?

  • TheBelltower

    Man this sure is messy. Most EV’s are designed the way they are because of airflow. But there is no reason for some of the odd detailing on this thing.

    • assassingtr

      They’re made to look like they have good airflow but if you really look into it; a Prius has a better drag coefficient than a BMW i8. They just try to fool people with aero bits.

  • Bash

    The design committee shown be show the way forward to the out of the building. Seriously BMW!!??

  • Ruel Lewis

    Should be called BMW Vision Swine with that face.

  • Finkployd

    That’s a giant stretch lol

  • Nice car with giant grille.

  • atomicbri

    No, no, no, no, no, no & no…. This is hideous. THAT GRILLE! I just can’t with this. I don’t mind the idea of BMW going back to their past and making a long set of kidney grilles…But this is just one gigantic silhouette of the grille and missing its “inside” kidney parts. It’s just plain ridiculous. If it goes into production with a grille like that, it will have successfully taken the Aztek’s crown of being most ugly vehicle.

  • S3XY

    Lol why did they take so many pictures

  • D3X

    Look at the front long enough, you realize that the pig nose is now buckteeth at the same time. Bizarre!

  • It’s something alright, what that is I don’t know but hopefully not the future of the car.

  • Juan Carlos Eme

    This must be the ugliest Concept SUV ever built. The 2001 Pontiac Aztek has now been surpassed

  • Juan Carlos Eme
  • Daniela Wolf

    Something feels kinda wrong with this one….

  • KidRed

    Hmmmm, not feeling the front end. The profile looks interesting enough, but that front…

  • Harry_Wild

    Looks like BMW hired a Lexus design team to do the iNEXT electric crossover. It really ugly looking just like the current Lexus models with sharp angular lines and an ugly front end. Oh my!

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