Let’s get this out of the way up top: we’re sorry, folks, but apparently flying cars still won’t be a thing by 2116. That said, BMW’s Vision Next 100 Concept — a futuristic lookahead unveiled yesterday as part of the German automaker’s ongoing 100th anniversary celebrations — is loaded with enough mind-boggling tech to make the engineering room of the Enterprise feel like an Amish village.
For starters, the fully electric sedan’s wheels are covered in a “flexible skin” that moves as they do. The windshield is actually an augmented reality display that replaces all of the dashboard instruments. And the dash is covered in 800 triangles that communicate messages to the driver through what BMW calls “Alive Geometry” — which is either a futuristic technology or the name of the next Daft Punk album.
In terms of actual driving, the Next Vision 100 gives you two options: there’s “Boost Mode,” where you handle the wheel yourself and the car lays out the optimal driving line on the windshield, and “Ease Mode,” in which the onboard computer takes over as the steering column retracts and your seat reclines.
The craziest thing of all, though? BMW also outlined its vision for the “Companion,” a HAL 9000-esque personal assistant housed within a gemstone that will constantly observe and monitor the passengers, learn their habits, and eventually begin to offer them what they want before they even know they want it.
Whether or not any of this stuff is actually plausible, it’s a pretty damn awesome-looking ride — one we’d happily accept with or without the somewhat portentous-sounding onboard A.I. We gotta say, though, BMW: cool car and all, but what’s up with all the weird open-air structures made from Dr. Octopus’s leftover robot arms? Maybe stick to the concept cars and leave the futuristic architecture to someone else.