The color-changing concept car previews the brand’s 2025 Neue Klasse, in ways, inside and out.
BMW late Wednesday unveiled the i Vision Dee concept in Las Vegas, ahead of the 2023 Consumer Electronics Show (CES). The name “Dee” stands for Digital Emotional Experience, and as such, the concept features a whole bunch of new technology aimed at improving the user experience—and some of it is already confirmed for production.
Before we talk about any of that, though, let’s talk about the bursts of color. BMW has continued work with E Ink to advance its wicked-cool ePaper film tech, which resulted in a black-and-white iX at CES 2022. Now there’s 32 colors, to choose from, which makes for a whole heap of design options. The entire exterior is made up of 240 E Ink segments, and all of them are controlled individually. To that end, the traditional BMW kidney grille can also be animated. The Bavarian brand says the Dee can even talk to people, while expressing “moods such as joy, astonishment, or approval.” BMW calls these part-physical, part-digital experiences “phygital,” but we’re only going to use that word if we’re going for a high score in Scrabble.
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Separate from the car’s newfound emotions, the Dee can utilize unique welcome animations for drivers as they walk up to the car. This includes beaming an image of the driver’s avatar directly onto the side window.
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Inside, the i Vision Dee takes BMW’s recent move into “Shy Tech” to its logical endpoint. A textured fabric covers the entire dashboard, with only a five-point slider visible. This Mixed Reality Slider affords drivers the ability to tailor the digital content they see ahead of them. The first step is full analog (read: nothing); the next brings in pertinent driving info, followed by communications, then augmented reality projection, then finally, in BMW’s words, “entry into virtual worlds.” This last option pairs with dimmable windows, allowing owners to really treat their car as a refuge.
Where exactly does this info display, then? Well, on the windshield of course. The entire windshield. BMW debuted its first head-up display in 2003, and 20 years later, the latest iteration is pillar-to-pillar. This goes hand in hand with BMW’s stated goal of “hands on the wheel, eyes on the road,” after all.
More than that, it’s production-bound, too. BMW has confirmed that the full-width HUD will be available on the Neue Klasse of 2025, the brand’s next-generation all-electric vehicle platform. Don’t expect all of the modules from this concept to be there from launch, however.
While we don’t expect the first Neue Klasse models to exactly match the i Vision Dee’s exterior design, this concept should offer a few clues nonetheless. BMW is serious about moving to a more simplified, organic design language, with full, curved flanks and a chopped tail. A minimalist, linear take on the traditional twin-circle headlight treatment, enclosed within the kidneys, offers a sort of futurist-muscle-by-way-of-Bavaria vibe. We’re calling it now: any M models would have three lines per side, right?
We’ll be able to poke around the BMW i Vision Dee live from the show floor over the course of CES 2023. Stay tuned for more updates.
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