Meet the BMW i Vision Dee, the automaker's main exhibit at this year's Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas.
The mid-size sedan concept previews the styling language and tech for the brand's upcoming Neue Klasse of EVs, the first of which will go into production in 2025 in the form of a 3 Series-sized electric sedan. Mind you, BMW says the design of the i Vision Dee – where "Dee" stands for Digital Emotional Experience – has been deliberately pared down for CES to focus attention on the digital experience and the DNA of the BMW brand.
Key exterior styling features include the classic three-box sedan design and reimagined BMW kidney grille, twin circular headlights and Hofmeister kink, with "phygital" (fusion of physical and digital) icons replacing analog elements.
The vehicle is also equipped with full-color E Ink technology and can present its exterior in up to 32 colors – or combine them – courtesy of an ePaper film that covers the entire body, which is divided into 240 individually controlled E Ink segments. This is an evolution of the black-and-white BMW iX Flow Featuring E Ink unveiled at CES 2022.
Gallery: BMW i Vision Dee Concept
Inside, digitalization goes hand in hand with minimalism, with BMW offering as few materials, operating controls and displays as possible to ensure nothing distracts from the digital experience.
Another element worth mentioning is the unconventional steering wheel with a central vertical spoke and touch points that come to life when approached or touched by the driver's thumb. These touch points control selection of the content projected onto the windscreen and, together with the Head-Up Display, support the principle of "hands on the wheel, eyes on the road."
Speaking of the Head-Up Display, it extends across the full width of the windscreen, which only becomes recognizable as a display once it is activated. BMW says this feature will also be found on the models of the Neue Klasse from 2025, adding that it demonstrates the huge potential of projection technology. We would add that it's refreshing to see a new vehicle that doesn't have a giant screen on the dashboard.
The BMW Mixed Reality Slider is the central operating control of BMW i Vision Dee. Working together with the Head-Up Display, the system enables the driver to decide how much digital content they want to see on the windscreen by using shy-tech sensors on the instrument panel.
The five-step selection ranges from analog, to driving-related info, to the contents of the communications system, to augmented-reality projection, and to entry into virtual worlds. Speaking of the latter, the windows can be dimmed to gradually fade out reality, allowing passengers to experience mixed reality in an immersive way without requiring any additional tools.
Another interesting feature of the BMW i Vision Dee is the personalized welcome scenario, which combines graphical elements, light and sound effects. The headlights and the closed BMW kidney grille form a common icon on a uniform surface, allowing the vehicle to produce different facial expressions.
According to BMW, "the i Vision Dee can talk to people and, at the same time, express moods such as joy, astonishment or approval visually." It can also project an image of the driver's avatar onto the side window to further personalize the welcome scenario.
Unfortunately, we don't get to learn anything about the Vision i Dee's powertrain, but BMW says it will provide further insights and glimpses of the revolutionary vehicle concept of the Neue Klasse over the course of this year.