BMW's i Vision Dee Sedan Is a Chameleon-Like Concept with Mind-Bending Traits

3 weeks ago 115
  • The BMW i Vision Dee is a color-changing concept car revealed today as part of CES 2023.
  • Inside, the i Vision Dee's entire windshield can act as a screen, offering different levels of augmented reality.
  • While most of the car is conceptual, BMW said some features will start arriving in 2025.

The BMW i Vision Dee concept debuting at CES 2023 bears little resemblance to anything in the automaker's current lineup. That's by design, as the small sedan's simplistic styling aims not to distract from the myriad digital and virtual elements that make it so innovative. From body panels that change colors to an interior where the entire windshield acts as a display, the i Vision Dee concept previews the road ahead for BMW's future technology offerings.

A Chameleon-Like Concept Car

The i Vision Dee isn't the first BMW that can change colors. At CES last year, the company revealed the iX Flow, which was wrapped in a material used by e-readers. It's called E Ink. Unlike the iX Flow, though, the i Vision Dee can shift beyond shades of gray. In fact, BMW says the chameleon-like sedan offers up to 32 different colors with essentially endless possibilities for different patterns, each of which can be controlled on the car's 240 individual E Ink panels.

If the i Vision Dee's color-changing abilities weren't interesting enough, the car can also make faces on its digital interpretation of BMW's kidney grill. This lets it make expressions of astonishment, visual approval, and more. It reminds us of characters from the Pixar franchise Cars, but we'll leave it for others to decide whether it's cute like Lightning McQueen or creepy like Mater.

Along with a new take on its trademark grille shape, the concept incorporates a version of the Hofmeister kink, albeit with a digital twist. While the i Vision Dee's appearance is otherwise pretty plain when it's not wearing a crazy color, BMW says the sedan was inspired by the 2002 model that was so iconic, and we can see hints of it in the sedan's proportions.

When people approach the concept, it's designed to display an image of the driver's avatar on the side window. That sounds silly to us, but it's part of a greater plan to make the car more personalizable. The doors will even automatically open and greet you when the car senses that the driver is approaching.

See Inside Dee

Dee stands for Digital Emotional Experience, which BMW says is its new philosophy for the development of future models. It's about forming a closer connection between people and machines. With Dee—as BMW likes to call its concept—this is accomplished through visual elements and verbal communication such as voice commands.

The i Vision Dee's interior is virtually void of physical switchgear, which is meant to put an emphasis on using voice commands and keeping your eyes on the road. Sure, there's a steering wheel with vertical spokes and dual touchpads, but BMW focuses most of the attention on the windshield, which acts as an enormous digital display. All the information that would normally be shown on a traditional gauge cluster or center touchscreen is now projected onto the entire width of the front glass.

Essentially, the i Vision Dee's windshield is a huge head-up display. However, there's more to it than that. The amount and type of content that appears can be chosen by the driver through touch-sensitive controls on the dashboard. BMW calls it the Mixed Reality Slider. It includes five different levels that include analog, driving information, and more.

bmw i vision dee concept steering wheel

BMW

bmw i vision dee concept interior toggle

BMW

The more immersive levels venture into augmented reality, with the top setting dimming all the windows and transforming the interior into a fully digital environment. Think of it like virtual reality, but without the clunky headset.

Coming to Cars in 2025

While it's obviously important to remember that the i Vision Dee is merely a concept car, BMW says some features will become available on production models as early as 2025. For example, that's when customers can expect to see the first production version of a head-up display that runs the entire width of the windshield (just don't expect anything near the concept's full virtual mode).

That's going to be cool, but we're still more excited for the day when we can create our own custom liveries on a brand-new Bimmer.

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