BMW leans towards the pleasure of not driving

While it has always advocated active participation behind the wheel, BMW sees the future in a different light by removing the driver from external reality.

Through Jacques Knight

The three-volume Vision Dee revives a rather elegant neoclassical design, but the novelty promises many practical aspects

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ifthere is one territory that BMW should not leave, it is driving, which has generated a real passion among brand lovers for decades. But it seems that in Munich we feel the growing pressure for alternative energy and the automation of individual journeys. This is what shines at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2023 in Las Vegas, where the brand with a propeller reveals an impressive concept. This one, supposed to prefigure a car of the future for its embedded technologies, looks like a fairly conventional compact sedan with its three volumes. But these are only appearances.

i Vision Dee, for “Digital Emotional Experience”, is mainly used as a support for some futuristic demonstrations that the series model, from which it borrows lines, should not be taken immediately. This body is consistent only in that it differs from the rather disturbing design for some of the later BMW models equipped with grilles in the shape of large nostrils.

The electric motorization with a low need for cooling makes it possible to return to a fairer scale reminiscent, for the profile, of the Alfa Romeo 164, among others. But this neoclassicism changes completely when you open the door to reveal the inhabitants of a completely different universe. “This is the future of the automobile, and also of BMW: the fusion of virtual experience with real driving pleasure,” said Oliver Zipse, Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG.

The latter also speaks of the “Neue Klasse”, this generation that is supposedly heading towards the digitalization of travel. And therefore putting the driver to sleep, who can, like his passengers, devote himself to work (a little) and to entertainment (a lot). Behind the steering wheel with a vertical center branch that a Citroën might use, nothing. The dashboard is empty and is a head-up display that comes from the reflection in the windshield, according to five levels until it is fully occupied.

An avatar in the driver’s seat

This ranges from simple analogue, as we know in a car of yesterday, to digital information related to driving, to the content of the communication system, to the projection of augmented reality, to entering virtual worlds. The projection is then full width and, to add to the immersive experience, passengers can also use the dimmable windows to gradually dim the real world around them. Even better, when “conversing” with pedestrians, an image of the driver will be displayed in the corresponding window!

No one has come as far to be put into driving as the BMW i Vision Dee. What shakes the reassurances of BMW sports lovers who do not confuse driving and cinema. As far as the Motorsport division goes, there is no betrayal, but then… The digital experience is aimed at 100% electric models and will undoubtedly be complete with fully robotized driving, the cabin with very enveloping seating that invites you to relax. .

Molded in one piece, we see that their central armrests are superimposed on the front. They slide on the central monorail, a solution seen in the Renault 14 in the past and abandoned because it exerted too much force on the floor when the rider tried to reach something in his pocket. “Implemented in the right way, technology will create rewarding experiences, make you a better driver and simply bring people and machines closer together,” said Adrian van Hooydonk, BMW Group Design Director. There is.

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