BMW GINA - Design Feature

Written by Thomas Baekdal | 2008-06-11 00:54:41

BMW has created a new concept car, and it is unlike anything you have ever seen before. It is a shape-shifter, has a textile skin, and it challenges our perception of what a car should look like.

Before we dive into the details, take a look at this video:

It's alive!

The very thing you will notice is of course the overall design. It looks like a cool two-seater roadster. But you also notice that there is a big difference. It changes the way it looks. You can make the car bold and big when e.g. it is standing still, and change it to a sleeker and more aerodynamic version when you are cruising the high-way.

The back end rises into a spoiler when you are driving fast or when you need extra down-force, and unlike traditional raising spoilers this one appear as an organic part of the car itself.

My absolute favorite feature is the headlights. In the normal position, when the headlights are not active, i.e. when there is no necessity to illuminate the road, they are hidden under the special fabric cover. As soon as the driver turns on the lights, the contours of the front end changes. Activated by the metal structure that lies beneath it, the previously closed fabric cover opens to the right and left of the BMW kidney grille and reveals the BMW double head-lights.

It is like having eyes on your car.

If you need to do repairs or just look at the motor, the hood splits in two and opens like a jacket.

And then you got the doors. They are sleek and straight when they are closed. But, you open them by bending the surface of the car, which makes for a rather stunning. The "wrinkles" are confined to the area between the front door edge and the side panel. Once the doors are closed, the folds in material disappear completely, leaving a perfectly smooth, stretched material surface.

But the shape-shifting behavior doesn't stop at the outer skin. You can change the interior as well.

When the car is parked, the steering wheel and the round instruments - rev counter, speedometer and fuel gauge, which are vertically arranged on the centre console, are in idle position. This provides the driver with maximum comfort upon entering the car. Likewise, the seat only assumes its optimized functional position and shape if and when the driver sits down on it.

At that point, the headrest, previously firmly integrated into the seat's backrest, rises up automatically. At the same time, the steering wheel moves towards the driver and the instrument panel moves in the same direction.

One the whole, this is a spectacular car. But don't expect to see it on the road anytime soon - or ever. It does drive, but it went directly from BMW Group Design to their Museum in Munich, Germany. Here it will "live" for the rest of its amazing existence.

More photos:

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(via Wired and BMW Group)

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