New BMW Vision iNext previews 2021 autonomous SUV

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The panoramic roof is designed to make the interior airier, with sharp curves down the clean sides. The iNext has opposing doors with no B-pillars, to provide unfettered access to the interior. The concept was presented with a copper paint scheme that gradually changes in shade along the length of the vehicle.

The interior features a minimalist, wood-based dashboard with digital displays and minimal switchgear, with the two front seats split by a coffee table-style centre console. The large rear seat is designed to fit up to four people.

The seats feature an unusual cloth upholstery, with the concept showcasing hidden ‘intelligent material’ touch controls built into the seats, which BMW refers to as ‘shy tech’.

While few technical details of the production car have been released, it will use BMW’s fifth-generation electric powertrain, which will make its debut in the iX3 that is due in 2020. In the iNext, Frohlich said it would offer a 0-62mph time of around four seconds, with a range of around 380 miles.

Alongside the autonomous mode, the iNext features two drive modes: Boost, which focuses the steering wheel and display panels towards the driver, and Ease. In autonomous mode, the steering wheel folds away to create more space.

Kruger added: “The BMW Vision iNext represents a new era of sheer driving pleasure. It underlines the leading role Germany plays in the future of mobility.”

While the production version of the iNext is due in 2021, the level of automony it offers will depend on regulations and infrastructure – and that could vary in different countries. While China and other Asian markets could allow such systems soon, it is likely to be much longer until level four ‘eyes off’ autonomy is allowed in the UK.

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