Updated USA Debut – 2014 BMW Vision Future Luxury Concept – Design Analysis



Updated 8.27.14

BMW vfl gif1

The fact that the BMW Vision Future Luxury concept headed to Beijing this Spring instead of to the concurrent New York show says quite a bit about its market-makers.

This machine needs to be successful in China. Period.

As the biggest growth opportunity, China represents perhaps the only non-American and non-German (domestic) volume market for ultra-luxury sedans in the coming decade.

But while the Chinese limo shopper has whole-heartedly adopted the Audi brand, BMW and Mercedes-Benz find themselves playing second fiddle.

At the same time, the VFL concept needs to revive the unpopular current 7 series in the US market. This 7 series has been a consummate flop — and is perhaps BMW’s biggest single mis-fire in the last few years when redesigning a core nameplate.

So, is it successful in these missions, while also forging new market room above the current 760Li? Will this design be a hit with those who have yawned at the current 750?

Karim Habib, Head of BMW Automobile Design for the BMW Group, presented the VFL to a private group in his own words, illuminating the design objectives and the unique design solutions this concept embodies. Overall, Habib will lure you into the design from functional, emotional and consumer perspectives. A real charmer, his design vision and talent is clearly a huge asset to the BMW Group.

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But stepping back from the official presentations, would this VFL deliver the goods on its own? In isolation and on crowded highways of the globe?

Yes and no.

 

NOSE

The detailing of the VFL’s nose and profile, as well as the surfacing of the door panels, are extremely fresh and almost intoxicating in their posh, super-lux status.

The headlamps and the lower intake elements both allow the car to breathe deeply for mechanical reasons, while also presenting a solid, strong and one-piece sheer faceplate to the world. These lower bumper elements are definitely favorite parts of the VFL design, along with the open-layout laser lighting that is not shrouded behind any glass. This brings a deep and three-dimensional appeal to the super-slim light apertures up front.

VFL thb gif1

TAIL

In back, the lighting for brakes and night-time side lamps are now fully OLED — allowing individual light elements that are slimmer than a human hair. Inside the slim lamps, these slivers of light are fascinating up close. The least desirable part of the design, subjectively, is the extremely chamfered rear corners of the trunk.

This touch creates a very blob-like mass that is quite different from the fabulous nose of the VFL as well as the BMW luxury sedan ideal.

This tail over-rounding is easily altered, and the entire VFL is a very forward-looking idea. If many concepts are next-year’s model in a fancy paint — that is not the case with this highly advanced Vision Future Luxury.

But the VFL’s influence is also a sure thing on the forthcoming 5 and 7 series replacements, as well as the 6 series and possibly the 8 series in 2017.

2014 BMW Vision Future Luxury Concept

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