BMW Vision M Next concept revealed
BMW’s latest concept, the Vision M Next, may preview a faster and sharper i8 successor.
The Bavarian brand made big waves when it launched its i8 plug-in hybrid vehicle in 2014 – which is now available in Coupe and Convertible forms – appealing to both its environment-conscious and enthusiast customer base.
In the absence of a sportier M option for the i8, the vehicle is coming under strong competition from other electrified sports cars on the market, and so a more powerful BMW hybrid may be on the cards.
BMW unveiled its Vision M Next concept at an event in Munich this week, sporting a larger battery, a new four-cylinder engine, and a more powerful electric motor compared to the current i8.
Combining a four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine with an electric motor, the vehicle produces 441kW of power, and will launch from zero to 100km/h in just three seconds.
The plug-in hybrid setup allows for both all-wheel-drive and pure rear-wheel drive.
Depending on the driving scenario, the Vision M Next can run as a pure combustion engine vehicle, or utilise the electric motor alone for up to 100 kilometres of driving range.
When both the electric and petrol motors are working together, a Boost+ button can be engaged to deliver extra power.
A display inside the cabin shows how much Boost+ is available, and will prompt the driver as to the optimal time to push the button.
Alongside the Boost+ mode, the Vision M Next also features the brand’s Ease autonomous technology, which allows the vehicle to “assume the task of driving”.
The 'Ease' and 'Boost' technologies were first used in the Vision iNext concept from 2018.
Read More: BMW Vision iNext concept revealed
BMW has yet to confirm production plans for the Vision M Next, saying instead that its “revealing its take on how driving pleasure might look in future for those who enjoy taking the wheel themselves”.
According to BMW Group Design senior vice president Adrian van Hooydonk, where previous BMW concept vehicles focused on comfort and autonomous mobility, the Vision M Next is aimed towards the actively engaged driver.
“The BMW Vision M Next provides a glimpse into the future of sporty driving,” he said.
“Where the BMW Vision iNext illustrated how autonomous driving is set to transform life on board our vehicles, the BMW Vision M Next demonstrates how state-of-the-art technology can also make the experience of driving yourself purer and more emotionally engaging.
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“In both models, the focus is firmly on the people inside.”
The exterior is reminiscent of the i8, but with sharper, more angular body lines and futuristic design cues.
The body is painted in Cast Silver metallic paintwork, with the rear half of the car sprayed in Thrilling Orange.
BMW designers continued the orange theme with highlights on the front bumper, rear wheels and upholstery stitching.
As to be expected from a modern BMW, a large kidney grille dominates the front-end, however, the Vision M Next debuts a new headlight system using Laser Wire light technology. The result is two wafer-thin lamps on either side of the nose.
The cabin takes a minimilistic approach, with a driver-oriented cockpit which features an augmented reality head-up display, and Curved Glass screens in lieu of a conventional digital cluster.
According to BMW, the Vision M Next takes inspiration from the 1978 BMW M1, the first-and-only M-specific model in the brand’s history.
Fans of the Bavarian marque have speculated that the Vision M Next’s connection with the historic sports car could be a hint towards the return of the M1.