Word has it that BMW’s new incoming chief executive is a fan of the idea of putting the Vision Future Luxury concept, or some derivative thereof, into production as a new flagship 9 Series.
Every year Frank Rinderknecht and his team at Rinspeed come to the Geneva Motor Show with another fantastical concept car, and next year’s will be no exception. Though the show may still be several months away, the Swiss outfit is already giving us a glimpse of what to expect.
Rinspeed’s latest project is called the Budii, and it aims to “redefine the relationship between man and machine.” As you might have guessed, that means driverless technology. Specific details at this point are limited, but the design calls for an electric vehicle with an adaptable cabin featuring drive-by-wire steering wheel. That wheel can swing out of the way to the center of the dashboard or to either side, should driver or passenger (as blurred as those rigid concepts become in this case) wish to take control.
Beyond that we don’t know much at this point, but the image above seems to indicate it’ll be based on the BMW i3. Meanwhile the long list of partners and suppliers suggest it’ll feature a design by Mansory, a Harman infotainment system and a Carl F. Bucherer analog clock embedded in the dynamic dashboard.
Controversial designer Chris Bangle, the man behind the notorious E65 BMW 7-Series “Bangle Butt,” has some rather sharp criticism for the current crop of automotive designers in an upcoming full-length interview with Automotive News Europe. The preview, posted on Automotive News, details parts of the interview, with the always vocal Bangle lamenting the state of modern automotive design.
“Even concept cars today simply anticipate the next production model coming down the line. Is this innovation? No. And at the end of the day this is what’s preventing car design from moving into a new era.” Controversial as Bangle’s design philosophy may be, we can’t help but think he has a point. His so-called “flame surfacing” at BMW and other stylistic elements had a huge influence on modern automotive design, although as the years have passed, there hasn’t been much innovation on the same scale.
Interestingly, Bangle also mentions that he’s been courted by a few manufacturers that wanted to install the American as the head of their design teams. He’s flatly rejected them, telling ANE, “It’s not something you can do part time, you have to do it with all your heart and soul or you’re going to get it wrong.”
The full interview with Chris Bangle will go live at on Automotive News Europe’s website on Monday, September 2.
From the sound of it, we’ll have to wait until the Detroit Auto Show to see the production version of the BMW M4, but spy shots show the new hi-po BMW testing recently in both coupe and convertible form. Showing a lot more skin than recent spy shots, these M4 prototypes look very similar to the M4 Concept we saw at Pebble Beach.
Carryovers from the concept car include the funky mirrors, bulging hood and the slotted front fascia vents, but the rear fascia seems to be missing the added flair of the concept and, as expected, the carbon fiber front splitter and exhaust tips are also missing from these M4s. Like the current M3 Convertible, the drop-top version of the M4 will utilize a retractable hard top.
With six confirmed public debuts scheduled for the upcoming Frankfurt Motor Show, BMW is definitely going to have its hands full. While we’ve already driven models like the 4 Series and the i3, one of the more interesting introductions is a “concept” plug-in hybrid version of the new F15 BMW X5 called the BMW Concept X5 eDrive.
As the second concept to wear the eDrive name, this X5 combines a 95-horsepower electric motor with a turbocharged four-cylinder engine to balance performance and efficiency. On the green side of things, BMW says that the eDrive system allows the X5 to reach speeds of 75 miles per hour and a range of 19 miles (although we’re guessing not at the same time) under electric power only, to go with fuel consumption of about 62 miles per gallon US (3.8 liters per 100 kilometers). For performance, this plug-in can still accelerate from 0-60 in under seven seconds, and drivers can select from three PHEV modes: one that operates the system automatically, an all-electric mode and a Save Battery mode to preserve the battery’s current state of charge.
Aside from the obvious plug port on the left front fender, the X5 eDrive is differentiated from the 2014 X5 with slightly restyled front and rear fascias, subtle blue accents tying in with the BMW i line and lightweight, aero-tuned 21-inch alloy wheels. There is no definitive word on whether the Concept X5 eDrive will make it to production, but judging by BMW’s recent commitment to plug-in vehicles, we wouldn’t be surprised to see an X5 PHEV on the roads within the next couple of years. We’ll see the Concept X5 in just a few weeks in Frankfurt, but until then, scroll down for the official press release.
Much like a real conflict, the console wars being waged between Microsoft and Sony spill into a number of different battlefields and theaters. Home to some of the fiercest fighting is the racing genre, which sees Microsoft’s Forza Motorsport series go head-to-head with Sony’s Gran Turismo series. While there’s been plenty of press about Forza, GT has just struck back with some news that we aren’t sure Turn 10 Studios and Microsoft can match.
When Gran Turismo 6 arrives on the Playstation 4 on December 6, it’s with the promise of a huge suite of free, downloadable content featuring some of the finest cars from manufacturers, design houses and brands from across the globe. The staggered release will see the free content distributed from 2013 to 2014, although it’s unclear just how many cars will be distributed in total or in each car pack.
Vision includes concepts from Alfa Romeo, Alpine, Aston Martin, Audi, BMW, General Motors, Honda, Infiniti, Mercedes-Benz, Peugeot, SRT, and Volkswagen, along with vehicles from legendary design studios like Bertone, Italdesign Giugiaro, and Zagato. Following in the footsteps of previous GT games, global brands like Nike will take part as well. Conspicuous by absence are past GT partners Citroen and Red Bull, although we doubt that this is a comprehensive list. We’re expecting plenty of surprises when DLC starts arriving.
This news is a blow to the Forza series, which while impressive in its own right (and this author’s preferred title), has seemingly struggled to have the same degree of legitimacy and exclusivity inherent in the titles from Polyphony. Gran Turismo 6 is slated for a December 6 debut. Check back here for more info and a full write-up of the new game before then. Until then, scroll down for a trailer on Vision Gran Turismo and a complete press release from Polyphony.
If you thought the BMW Gran Lusso Coupe concept that was shown at Villa d’Este a few months back was a preview of a new BMW 8 Series, prepare to be disappointed. According to a report from the UK’s Autocar, BMW officials have “rejected suggestions” that a production model based on the concept was coming. To be fair, though, would you expect them to just acknowledge it?
The Brits seem to be thinking the same, as the story went on to quote BMW research and development chief, Herbert Diess, who claimed, “We’re looking into the possibility of production, but a decision is still a way off.” Diess also points out that it’s far too early for anything to be confirmed, seeing as how the concept only debuted about 10 weeks ago.
The well-received Gran Lusso was penned by Pininfarina and motivated by a brawny, twelve-cylinder engine. If it were to enter production, it’d likely sit at the top of BMW’s gas-powered offerings, and would compete against the Mercedes-Benz CL AMG and Bentley Continental GT.