BMW celebrates 100 years by birthing a futurist concept

Older, wiser and ready for the next century

BMW is celebrating its big centennial with a brand-new concept: the BMW Vision Next 100.

The Vision Next 100 showcases BMW's vision for a driver-focused car of the future, one that still lets you drive-it-yourself when you want to, or relax and let the AI take over.

While autonomous cars will eventually happen, BMW's concept places emphasis on making the driver better through technology. When the Vision Next 100 is in boost mode, which is the car's driver-oriented mode, the car's head-up display (HUD) projects the perfect driving line, tells you when to turn and what speed you should travel to hit that apex perfectly – like in Forza Motorsports or Gran Turismo, except with physical repercussions if you mess up.

Speaking of HUDs, BMW wants to replace the entire windshield with a display that not only makes driving seem like a video game, but projects a digital image of the environment around you. The projected image would let drivers see other cars, objects or people, in difficult conditions, like fog or a torrential downpour.

BMW Vision Next 100

If driving isn't your thing, the Vison Next 100 has an ease mode, which makes it autonomous. In ease mode, the interior changes for a relaxed seating position and the HUD becomes a display for entertainment, so you can let the car do its thing while you binge watch Daredevil on Netflix and catch up on work emails.

To help create a more relaxing ambiance, the interior completely changes in ease mode. The steering wheel and center console retract so the seats and door panels can merge to transform into Devastator, err, I mean a more relaxing environment for face-to-face conversations.

The Vision Next 100 isn't just about the interior experience either. BMW claims the concept has gratuitous use of recycled materials with plenty of carbon fiber. Even the residues leftover from the carbon fiber creation process are recycled and used for the concept's side panels.

BMW Vision Next 100

On the outside, the Vision Next 100 sports the trademark BMW kidney grilles. A compilation of triangles covers the wheel area to expand and contract as the car turns. BMW calls this its 4D printing process, which makes components functional, but it reminds me of the microbots from Disney's Big Hero 6.

Ultimately, the Vision Next 100 is a long shot for mass market production. However, I'd love to see the boost mode HUD features implemented in the next BMW M model, especially for track use.