March 9, 2016
During their centenary celebration, BMW released a concept car that is designed for the Bavarian Motor Workers’ idea for the future. The concept was fascinating and an apt example of their prowess in the market. Though, in accordance with a common critique of the brand as of late, they did not take it far enough. First, an explanation. I was referencing a complaint that the ultimate driving machine is no longer ultimate enough. Ever since the replacement of the E46 (produced from 2000-2006) M3, people have claimed that BMW has watered down its brand. That may or may not be true to an extent, I have mixed opinions on that matter. Yes, they have further assimilated to the trends permeating the automotive industry. Most noticeably, the BMW shape has strayed away from their planned-with-a-protractor past. However, that is a direct result of CAFE (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) regulations. All manufacturers (except (to an extent) Cadillac who is still rather angular) have had to tend towards a tear-drop trim to meet fuel economy mandates. I do not like that BMW changed its traditional form, but I understand why they had to do it, so I can not fault them for it. Another complaint revolves around them losing their edge, I understand that to be a complaint about how there are more electronic police, (as I characterized it when describing the 2015 Camaro 2SS). BMW has had to target a broader demographic to survive, so even those grievances are unfounded. BMW has done a splendid job in appeasing both boring/bad drivers and petrolheads alike (I will disavow them when/if they get rid of manual transmissions (as Audi did)). Former paragraph notwithstanding, it is my assertion, that BMW should have taken the publicized 2116 automotive art exhibit further. On a soapbox-esque note, I admire their steadfast devotion to the road in general. By most scientists’ projections, we will be having major issues with rising tides well before 2116. Granted, BMW being in the business of burning fossil fuels, admitting that could be considered a taboo. However, people love honesty. Simply suggesting that future automobiles might be considered more efficacious if they were also able to float rather than ford; would not necessarily be auto-incrimination. Furthermore, their active geometry system could feasibly make the car into a hydrofoil without any extra work (other than a computer generated video of efficacy). They demonstrated their active geometry moving parts on the table-sized dash, and serving as housing (or a replacement?) for the wheels. To make the car a hydrofoil all they would have had add is the active geometry was also all along the undercarriage protecting the battery packs. When in (or approaching) water, the active geometry already replacing (or at the very least around) the wheels could easily be made to resemble a hydroplane hull, namely a catamaran hull. This is (as mentioned before) a mass broadcast thought experiment. The whole point is marketing, no one there has worked at BMW for 100 years, this was just an excuse to have people look at their badge. It is not even like they had to produce a productive prototype or even show their work. Showcasing a hydrofoil would have made a superior splash. Riding a wave of that magnitude would have been BMW’s best case scenario.