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Geneva show: BMW showcases infotainment, eco-tech

New direction: BMW drops hints about the styling future models.

New BMW design language, interactive and eco-friendly tech to be previewed at Geneva

11 Feb 2011

BMW is planning four world-firsts for its stand at next month’s Geneva motor show, including a technology-packed roadster concept, a 1-Series EV and super-efficient diesel 3-Series.

It will also debut the recently-announced four-cylinder turbo-powered X1 xDrive28i and X1 M Sport package.

Generating the most interest will be the Vision ConnectedDrive concept, a roadster littered with clues as to the design direction BMW is taking for its next generation of products and demonstrating the Munich-based brand’s thinking in the area of how cars react with their environment and communicate with their occupants.

The ConnectedDrive system features a ground-up redevelopment of the traditional instrument pack and constantly monitors the car’s environment using cameras, sensors, antennae, inputs from the driver and the in-built navigation system.

In acknowledgement of the sea of information this system makes available to the driver, the BMW concept automatically prioritises information by layering the Minority Report style three-dimensional head-up information display.

For example, if the navigation system needs to inform the driver of an upcoming turn, this information is prioritised by placing other details, such as current speed, into the background where they remain visible.

The technology also involves the passenger, who gets their own display which they can become co-driver by planning journey routes before forwarding the information to the driver’s screen.

14 center imageThe BMW 1-Series ActiveE concept.

The concept’s styling previews BMW’s next shift in design language and drops strong hints at the look of future BMW roadsters, with its long bonnet, purposeful proportions and elegant surfacing most likely to make production reality.

Also expected to be seen on the road in the near future is the front-end styling, which carries over from the Vision EfficientDynamics hybrid supercar, including the shark-nose profile, ultra-wide interpretation of BMW’s kidney grille, gaping lower air vents and menacing deep-set headlights. The upswept corners of the tail-lights also mimic those of the Vision ED.

Less likely to make production are the side doors, which echo those of the classic Z1 roadster of the late 1980s in that they open by descending into the bodywork, enabling the car to be driven with the doors open for a truly open-air feeling.

Joining the Vision ConnectedDrive on BMW’s Geneva stand will be the ActiveE, a 1-Series Coupe-based EV motivated by a 125kW/250Nm, rear-mounted electric motor that draws power from lithium-ion batteries stored where the engine and fuel tank usually reside.

BMW is claiming a 0-100km/h time of nine seconds and a 160km range for the ActiveE, which employs – and is being used to test – technology that will go into the MegaCity EV. The Munich-based manufacturer plans to begin field trials of the ActiveE in North America mid-year.

As GoAuto has reported, BMW has recently announced intentions to extend its technology-sharing partnership with PSA Peugeot Citroen to the development of hybrid technology.

Continuing the eco-friendly theme, BMW will also show a super-frugal 3-Series in the shape of its BMW 320d EfficientDynamics Touring Edition for the first time at Geneva. Powered by a 120kW four-cylinder diesel engine, it is claimed to consume just 4.3 litres of fuel per 100 kilometres while emitting 114 g/km of CO2 while still offering a peppy 8.3-second dash to 100km/h.

Also making a world debut at Geneva will be BMW’s new 2.0-litre four-cylinder-engined X1 xDrive28i. As GoAuto has reported, this is BMW’s first four-cylinder engine to receive the TwinPower Turbo treatment, resulting in significantly reduced fuel consumption and CO2 emissions over the company’s iconic naturally-aspirated 3.0-litre six-cylinder engine.

BMW will also use Geneva to showcase its personalisation products including the recently-announced M Sport pack for the X1, diesel power upgrades, sports exhausts and performance components for the M3 range.

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