If we invited you to a magical world where the BMW M8 and i8 were mashed together, you’d surely come along with us. Imagine the i8’s planet-saving disposition, and its exotic looks, construction and layout. And the M8’s thundering performance.
Sadly at the moment it exists only in concept-car form, but for now we’ll take that. Meet the Vision M Next.
It’s a mid-engined wedge, futuristic as you like. But at the same time it’s slyly looking in its rearview for some very fine design references: we’re seeing the 1978 M1, and come to that the 1972 Turbo concept, as well as the i8.
When it’s in full angry mode, there’s a strongly turbo’d four-cylinder behind the seats. That’s assisted by an electric motor at each end. Totalled up, BMW is talking 442kW.
The top speed is claimed to be a nice round three hundred kays, The zero to 100 time is more impressive, at three seconds dead. We suspect those numbers are purely theoretical rather than test-track verified, mind. Unless a certain tame racing driver has swapped his all-white overalls for a set of diagonally divided grey-and-orange ones.
But the M Next is also friendly: plug it in and charge the battery and you’ve got a claimed 100 kilometres in electric drive. And unlike the i8 there are strong electric motors front and rear so it’s true electric AWD.
Approach and face-recognition tech lets you in. What if you’re in a helmet? Oh never mind.
The gullwing doors admit you to a spare interior, scooped as if from a solid block. The steering wheel’s a butterfly shape like a dragster’s. Mounted on the skeletal column is a curved glass display covering all the usual instruments and infotainment, plus a heart-rate display.
Switch to Boost + mode in the M Next and much of that distraction goes away from the instrument pod. As with previous BMW Vision concepts, the entire windscreen becomes an augmented-reality device. The advanced navigation and driving assistance computers effectively project cornering lines and braking points over the road. Like your built-in race instructor.
The two seats are integral in the cockpit, made of memory foam so they don’t need a heavy structure. Oh and when you’re pulling big Gs, no need to fret about spilling drink over the lovely blue microfibre. Because the cupholders are gyroscopic. We say that again… Gyro. Scopic. Cup. Holders.
Details outside the M Next include slit-like laser eyes for headlights, a 3D laser-etched grille, and daubs of what is called, justifiably, Thrilling Orange paint. That contrasts with the matte grey and a lower section of brooding black recycled carbonfibre. The upper air intake’s outline suggests the Hofmeister Kink, so it doesn’t actually appear in the glass shape.
The name Vision tells you it’s a far-fetched idea for the future rather than a near-showroom tease. Boo. You’ll notice also that ‘i’ doesn’t appear in the name. It’s not an i8 M. There aren’t any significant parts from the i8, and indeed the i8 is built with its own drivetrain in mind, so subjected to the 442kW of this new concept it’d probably bend like a choc-ice in the sun.
Original source: BMW M Vision Topgear