BMW has revealed the Vision iNext concept, which previews an electric SUV with advanced autonomous systems that will go on sale in 2021 and will provide the “building blocks” for the BMW Group’s future.
The Vision iNext, which is similar in size to the X5 SUV, is a showcase for BMW’s autonomous, electric and connected vehicle technologies. It is referred to by the firm as ‘Project i 2.0’, a reference to the firm’s original 2007 electric concept car that previewed its electric i range.
BMW says the Vision iNext was developed to address key questions for the future of motoring, with a focus on electrification, connectivity and autonomy. BMW Group chairman Harold Kruger said: “The iNext project will provide our building blocks for the future, from which the entire company and all of its brands are set to benefit.”
The Vision iNext was described by BMW development boss Klaus Frohlich as a “brand leader” that will sit outside the growing i range. It is an SUV roughly similar in size to the BMW X5, although it is substantially bigger inside due to its EV architecture, with front and rear motors and underfloor batteries.
The iNext features slim headlights and a bold version of BMW’s kidney grille, which is used as an ‘intelligent panel’ to house many of the sensors required for autonomous driving. Up close, the panel features a 3D-printed pattern, with a semi-luminescent covering designed to hint at the systems it contains.
The panoramic roof is designed to make the interior airier, with sharp curves down the clean sides. The iNext has opposing doors with no B-pillars, to provide unfettered access to the interior. The concept was presented with a copper paint scheme that gradually changes in shade along the length of the vehicle.