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BMW can change color while waiting. The new concept is also inspired by a lost car

BMW believes that there will be no need for large screens in the future. It came with its simpler, but still driver-oriented interior concept. The main ones are the steering wheel and the large head-up display, which has several levels of display. It is also presented in the Vision Dee concept, which follows from a number of angles the iconic cars from the brand’s history with its blue and white fan.

Although the i Vision Dee concept (Dee is an abbreviation for Digital Emotional Experience – it translates as “digital emotional experience”) concerns primarily the interior, BMW designers seem to have done everything to talk more about the body of the car. First of all: it is not an SUV, as is customary today. The car company’s conceptual modeling department opted for a classic three-chamber sedan-type body, the most suitable for the Munich car company, even from a historical point of view.

Surely anyone familiar with the shapes of classic BMW cars cannot miss the similarity of some details of the concept to famous models from the past. After all, even one of the designers, Maximilian Reich, admits he was inspired by history when he gave us the car ahead of its premiere at CES in Las Vegas. The influence of the BMW Garmisch concept from 1970, whose shapes were designed by Marcello Gandini and for which the Munich brand was rebuilt three years earlier, is clearly recognizable. The original copy was lost immediately after the premiere.

Whether it’s the negative slope of the front part, the line of the windows (the Hofmeister curve shouldn’t be missing here, of course), or the shape of the headlights – small allusions to it appear everywhere. For example, the aforementioned negative slope of the front bumper is typical for BMWs of the 60-70s, see for example the cars of the Neue Klasse series of the early 60s, which practically saved the brand from bankruptcy.

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This is actually indicative of the new concept, as it can at least remotely foreshadow what the cars of the expected new Neue Klasse series will look like. We know that it will be exclusively electric, BMW would like to fill all the parts with it and the first part will be shown in 2025.

It probably wouldn’t, at least not immediately, be a discolored body. This is possible with the Concept and the Vision Dee thanks to E Ink technology. The automaker has already experimented with the iX Flow concept, changing only two shades. Now each part can have a different color thanks to electrophoresis. According to BMW, the choice includes 32 different colors, and then the body of the sedan is divided into 240 individual sections, each of which is individually controlled and therefore can have a different color.

According to Stella Clark, who works on E Ink technology at BMW, changing the color of a car’s bodywork is music for the distant future. On the contrary, according to her, various individual elements – for example, mirror caps – could appear on production cars within a few years. For now, however, it will most likely only be two color alternations.

However, both Reich and Clarke claim that it wouldn’t be a problem to add, say, several personal inscriptions to E Ink surfaces. Instead of the stickers in use today, which Maximilian Reich compared them to, the trunk lid can be digitally illuminated with, for example, “Baby on board” or “Just married”. There will be no limits to imagination.

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Sports team logo? They say no problem. The country’s flag as a support in sports tournaments? Again, no problem. BMW then adds that the car can use these changing surfaces to communicate with its surroundings and express different emotions.

Yes, the steering wheel, but there are almost no classic buttons. This is the interior of the BMW i Vision Dee. | Image: BMW

In the case of the Vision Dee concept, it’s more interior design than exterior. Stefan Durach, BMW Vice President for Communication and Technical Development, calls it “sound centrality.” Forget the classic controls or the large central touch screen. Most functions are controlled by voice (even outside the car can be communicated by voice), and then touch control replaces the display, which stretches across the entire width of the windshield.

It operates in a total of five levels, which are set using the touch surface on the center panel. In the first, it displays only the most important details in front of the driver, basically the same as today, in the latter it already uses mixed reality and can transfer the driver to virtual reality (for this, the concept can, for example, darken the side windows). Of course, there are many other functions between the extreme levels: it is possible to see on the windshield, for example, a music player, or navigation with augmented reality, or an application for communication with family or friends.

Although mixed reality is also the music of the future, BMW is really preparing a head-up display across the entire width of the windshield. It should debut in 2025 in the aforementioned Neue Klasse models.

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But back to the concept, where there are controls in the form of touch surfaces at least on the steering wheel. Why? “Our principle is ‘eyes on the road, hands on the wheel’,” stresses Durach. Interior designer Eric Meldal noted that BMW is still a driver’s car and would like to continue to be that, even in a more digital age. Therefore, the center console, even without a display Large, still directed towards the driver and apparently surrounding him.

Although the concept is radical and there will certainly be more than one driver who would welcome the absence of a screen, BMW has not yet considered completely abandoning this control concept.

Durach even claims that the classic screen is still needed to control many functions. However, according to him, the future lies with voice control, which will get better and better and understand more languages. In an interview with journalists, Stefan Durach also hinted that future BMWs of the Neue Klasse series could understand Czech as well, which today’s blue-and-white fan models cannot: “If you want to create a product focused on voice control,” he said.