BMW’s Vision ConnectedDrive Concept is one of the real show stars in Geneva. BMW’s Director of Group Design, Adrian van Hooydonk talks more about the overall strategy behind the concept here. And Head of Interior Design at BMW, Marc Girard has talked us through the interior here and here.
This car had a tough act to follow in the form of the acclaimed Vision EfficientDynamics Concept shown at the IAA in Frankfurt in 2009. Based on pictures released some weeks before Geneva, some were also questioning whether this car would live up the high standards of design and originality set by that car. In photos, some of the resolution and surfacing made this car look a little slab-like. Yet in the flesh the car has a lithe, elegant form and a lightness of execution that belies its complex technology.
There is some surprisingly poor surfacing on show on other cars here in Geneva, but the BMW is not one of them . It might not have quite the level of originality the Vision EfficientDynamics Concept displayed, but it’s still an impressive piece of design in its own right and a logical evolution of a set of ideas. Along with the Mini Rocketman, it illustrates the depth of talent within design at BMW right now. Hidden throughout the concept are a series of incredibly complex, yet ultimately quite background technology features, which we’ll explore in greater depth in a longer design review. For now though, here are some of our favourite detail elements of the car, and our flickr photo gallery.
It would have been easy to walk past the VW Bulli concept and mutter something under your breath about “just another UP! Concept, when are they going to build it etc. etc…” and if you did the above, shame on you as you missed out on one of the highlights of this year’s show – specifically its interior.
Look past the glitzy showcar colour and trim and the iPad integrated into the IP and what you would have seen is around 85 per cent production ready. The exposed screws where the door cards mate with the door shuts, the switchgear and, most importantly, its seating.
Two rows of bench seating that fold into a double bed. Ok, not entirely new in concept but beautifully executed and all fully production engineered to typically slick VW standards. The truly accessible VW Camper is back, and how.
To commemorate its 99 years as a coachbuilder and design house, Bertone unveiled a Jaguar sedan concept called the B99. The boldly proportioned car eschews Jaguar’s current trend towards a more modern design language in favor of a very traditional three-box design, with broad shoulders and unbroken lines that give the car a solid, carved-out-of-a-solid-block appearance.
The detailing is a bit less decisive however, with a very intriguing front grille design that resembles tiny jewels set behind a large piano-black plastic panel, but small slit headlamps that fight the bold curves of the wings and waste the opportunity to create a graphically strong DRG. At the rear, the powerful haunches fade somewhat awkwardly into another set of inset tail lamps which, as at the front, are rendered in a thin strip. To top it off, a Jaguar badge is set in another large black plastic panel.
Mike Robinson says he wanted to create something that was “bold in its conservatism” with this car. In a way he’s succeeded in making an impact and impressing a lot of people with his view of Bertone and Jaguar design, but the B99 is lacking the decisive detailing that we are accustomed to seeing from the nearly 100 year old design house, and ultimately lets down the powerful, classical proportions of this concept.
Walking around the Geneva show floor with Chris Bangle, we spotted a gathering over on the Saab stand that warranted attention. We arrived to find new Design Director Jason Castriota – hired through his own design consultancy to create a new design direction for the Swedish brand – on the stand. Castriota came over to say hello, and we set the camera rolling…