In the absence of a dedicated concept car just for this year’s Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este, BMW decided to bring over their last three electric concept cars. The BMW Concept i4 and Vision iNext have been around for years, so it was only fitted that the star of the show was the new BMW i Vision Circular.
The Newest BMW Concept
The visionary and 100% sustainable concept was introduced last month at the 2021 IAA in Munich and aims to paint a new future for BMW. At the core of the brand’s transformation is the topic of sustainability, and the i Vision Circular excels in that area.
The i Vision Circular is made entirely from recycled materials. For example, all of the aluminum and steel are secondary materials, meaning they’ve already been used elsewhere, were recycled, and then used again in the i Vision Circular. Which is where it gets its name, as it helps continue the circular life cycle of recyclable materials.
Even the manufacturing process is different; no bonding or composite materials are used in the manufacturing of the Vision Circular. Instead, clever fasteners such as cords, press-studs, and quick release fasters are used. Even the wheels get center lock fasteners, with a specialized socket wrench remove them, thus reducing the amount of materials needed to secure the wheels to the hubs. More than that, the same socket wrench can be used to remove several other components of the vehicle, again reducing the materials needed.
The BMW i Vision Circular’s body isn’t even painted. Instead, the secondary aluminum that makes up the main body shell gets a light gold anodized finish, dubbed Anodized Mystic Bronze. The back end of the body is made from a heat-treated steel, called Temper Blue Steel, to give a contrasting color at the back.
BMW Concept i4
The electric i4 Concept is a stunning product, but which unfortunately has changed quite a bit for the production series. Long gone are the sleek headlights and taillights, along with the very slim side mirrors. Even the kidney grille was changed for the production model. One little design touch that might go overlooked to some is its door handles. For the first time in a very long time, BMW has ditched extruding, outward door handles, in favor of flush ones that pull upward.
Inside, the spindly steering wheel is gorgeous and the seats look both supportive and minimalist. The dual screen layout is is a piece of art, and, of course, they are angled toward the driver, like a proper BMW. Those screens, along with the interior’s plentiful ambient lighting, change colors depending on the car’s drive mode.
The BMW i4 is shaping up to be the brand’s best selling electric vehicle in the next few years and we should see it on U.S. roads in Spring 2022.
BMW Vision iNEXT
BMW iX is another model that looked great in concept form. The BMW Vision iNEXT is sleek, high-tech and most importantly, unique in the segment. The entire idea of the BMW Vision iNEXT is to envision what a car that sports highly advanced autonomous driving capability but can also be driven by the driver if desired.
One interesting aspect of the interior is its technology. BMW very much wanted the tech to work in the background and not be too intrusive. So, aside from the massive screens on the dashboard, the interior is pretty devoid of any other controls. BMW calls this design style “Shy Tech” and it breaks that down into three different aspects to make it work: Intelligent Personal Assistant, Intelligent Materials and Intelligent Beam.
The Vision iNEXT eventually led to the BMW iX which we just had a chance to test in Germany.