The Geneva Motor Show is one of the highlights of the international car show calendar, and BMW made a strong showing at the 2011 event, showcasing several of its upcoming automotive designs and concepts.
One of the major components of BMW’s 2011 Geneva Motor Show presence was the unveiling of the BMW i sub-brand. BMW i is focused on bringing the greener side of the German automaker to drivers around the world, and the first two members of the BMW i family – the BMW i3 and the BMW i8 – illustrate how the company is moving to take the lead in building luxury electric and hybrid automobiles. Also present at Geneva was the BMW ActiveE concept, a battery-powered version of the BMW 1 Series coupe that features zero emissions and a system that is designed to mitigate the range-sapping effects of extreme hot and cold environmental temperatures.
BMW also unveiled the fruits of its engine development program at the show. Front and center at the BMW display was a new four-cylinder design that is intended to take up the mantle of BMW’s entry-level powerplant. The twin-turbo four maintains excellent power production (240 hp and 260 lb/ft of torque) while also delivering on the promise of improved fuel economy and reduced emissions. The engine is slated to begin appearing across the BMW lineup toward the end of 2011.
In addition to its designs that are almost ready for production, BMW provided those attending the 2011 Geneva Motor Show with a glimpse into the future of the luxury performance brand. The BMW Vision ConnectedDrive concept vehicle attracted plenty of attention thanks to its combination of eye-catching styling, forward-thinking technology and detailed integration of mobile networking and lifestyle features. The roadster draws from the same styling language currently seen on many BMW automobiles, but enhances it through the use of cutaway doors, sharper creasing and harder angles, and the adoption of a substantial tonneau cover, a flat nose and chopped windshield.
The centerpiece of the Vision ConnectedDrive concept is an integrated head-up display that projects three-dimensional information directly in the driver’s line of sight to create what BMW calls an “augmented reality” environment. For example, the display can position navigation guidance directly on top of actual environmental landmarks, which means that turn arrows and exit numbers are overlaid on the road ahead in place of being displayed on the vehicle’s navigation screen. Passengers also benefit from a feature-rich information display that allows them to interact with and fine-tune navigation instructions and then send them to the driver’s display. The concept car also makes use of an “Emotional Browser,” which analyzes the environment surrounding the vehicle and transmits information about it to the driver based on a set of previously defined filters.
BMW’s tour-de-force display at the Geneva Motor Show illustrates the brand’s dedication to environmental concerns, its willingness to innovate existing gasoline engine designs to further enhance efficiency and reduce emissions and its constant efforts to push the envelope of automotive design as far into the future as possible.