Today’s the day the Bavarian Motor Works kicks off perhaps the most special event in its entire history – its centenary. BMW was created on 7 March 1916.
A host of special events take place in Munich this week, with more to follow in the weeks and months ahead, and in every country around the world where BMW cars and bikes are sold. And while plenty of activities are aimed at honouring a century’s worth of achievement, the main thrust of the celebrations is very different.
BMW’s chosen centenary theme? The next 100 years. ‘First and foremost,’ says the firm, ‘we want to shine a light on what lies ahead.’
It’s a future that will include something like the car shown here, the first of BMW Vision concepts for its second century and unveiled today in the Munich Olympic Hall. Designed by BMW’s group design chief Adrian van Hooydonk, BMW Vision contains everything BMW knows about where motoring is going – but without forgetting while we all enjoy driving.
Says the firm: ‘In the not-too-distant future, most vehicles will probably be completely self-driving – people will get around in robots on wheels. So, how will we justify the existence of vehicles by BMW, a brand for whom the individual and Sheer Driving Pleasure are the focus of everything?’
The answer, it says, is to retain the ‘very emotional connection between a BMW and its driver’ and turn the driver into the ‘ultimate driver’ through digital intelligence.
After its Munich debut the BMW concept will be embarking on a world tour first to China and then on to the UK where it will be joined by more Next 100 Years concepts from Mini and Rolls-Royce (the dates to remember here are 16-26 June, which might ring a bell with people…). The show then heads to the USA for the unveiling of a BMW Motorrad concept bike in Los Angeles, completing the four visions of the group’s future.
From the end of this week, the BMW Museum in Munich opens a temporary exhibition entitled 100 Masterpieces, where all the BMW group brands will present milestones from their past. There will also be a BMW Festival in the Munich Olympic Park between 9-11 September.