How BMW’s Designworks Transforms Automotive Design Using AI Tools

AI in the design process reshapes the industry, and BMW’s Designworks studio leads this transformation. AI tools like MidJourney, Runway, and Kaiber enhance how designers generate images, create animations, and develop textures inspired by nature and existing designs. This shift streamlines workflows and democratizes creativity, making it easier for designers to visualize and iterate on ideas quickly.

Designer: BMW Designworks

Revolutionizing Workflow and Democratizing Creativity

These AI tools have become essential in BMW’s Designworks studio. They allow the generation of images, animations, and textures that would otherwise require labor-intensive traditional methods. By leveraging AI, designers can explore creative possibilities quickly and efficiently, significantly reducing the time and effort needed to bring concepts to life.

Traditionally, creating a new design involves numerous steps: sketching, modeling, rendering, and iterating based on feedback. Each of these steps can be time-consuming and resource-intensive. However, with AI, designers can input parameters or a simple sketch and receive multiple fully realized design options within minutes. This rapid iteration capability allows for more experimentation and refinement, leading to higher quality and more innovative designs.

AI democratizes creativity by enabling designers with varying skill sets to contribute effectively to projects. Even those without extensive experience in animation or 3D modeling can produce compelling visual content. This inclusivity fosters a more collaborative environment where team members can present fully visualized ideas during brainstorming sessions, resulting in a more productive and innovative development process.

At BMW’s Designworks, this collaborative spirit is evident. Team members from different disciplines—industrial design, UI/UX, and creative consulting—can all contribute to the design process. AI tools bridge the gap between these disciplines, allowing for a unified creative vision. During brainstorming sessions, designers can bring AI-generated visuals to the table, enabling more effective communication and collaboration. This speeds up decision-making and ensures that the final design is holistic and well-rounded.

Inspiration, Innovation, and Practical Applications

AI-generated content provides unique sources of inspiration that traditional methods often miss. This capability helps designers think outside the box and push the boundaries of conventional design. For instance, AI can blend textures, materials, and shapes in ways that might not occur to a human designer, leading to innovative and unexpected results.

While AI tools are powerful, human designers’ creative input and oversight remain essential. AI serves to augment human creativity, not replace it. Designers at BMW’s Designworks use AI as a starting point, a source of inspiration that can be further refined and developed. This synergy between AI and human creativity ensures the final product is technologically advanced and artistically inspired.

One illustrative example is the use of AI in automotive design. AI tools are employed to design various aspects of BMW vehicles, including both interiors and exteriors, emphasizing the integration of all elements. By visualizing how different materials and textures can be blended, AI helps create cohesive and aesthetically pleasing designs. This approach enhances the vehicle’s visual appeal and aligns with BMW’s commitment to sustainability and innovation.

The practical application of AI tools is evident in various projects at BMW’s Designworks. For example, the design team often demonstrates how tools like MidJourney and Runway create design elements. They might show how an AI-generated texture can be applied to a vehicle interior or how an animated sequence can bring a design concept to life. These demonstrations provide tangible insight into AI’s capabilities and how it enhances the design process.

Technological Advancements, Competitive Advantage, and Future Outlook

AI development is rapid, with new tools and updates released frequently. This requires designers to continually update and integrate these new capabilities into their workflows. Designworks continuously explores and adopts the latest AI technologies to maintain a competitive edge.

The competitive advantage that AI provides BMW is multifaceted. First, the ability to rapidly generate and iterate on design ideas allows BMW to stay ahead of market trends and respond quickly to changing consumer preferences. This agility is crucial in the highly competitive automotive industry, where innovation and timely market entry can be decisive success factors.

Second, the democratization of creativity means that BMW can leverage the full potential of its design team, harnessing diverse perspectives and talents to create more innovative and appealing designs. This inclusive approach fosters a more dynamic and creative work environment and leads to designs that resonate more deeply with a broader range of customers.

Third, integrating AI in the design process enhances the quality and precision of BMW’s vehicles. AI tools can analyze vast amounts of data and generate optimized performance, aesthetics, and sustainability designs. This results in cars that are not only visually stunning but also technically superior, reinforcing BMW’s reputation for excellence and innovation.

The future outlook for AI in design is promising. As AI tools become more sophisticated, their integration into the design process will become even more seamless. Designers will have access to more advanced capabilities to create more complex and refined designs. This evolution will likely lead to even greater innovation and efficiency in the design process.

BMW’s Designworks studio illustrates how AI can transform the design process. By leveraging advanced tools like MidJourney, Runway, and Kaiber, the studio has improved its workflows, democratized creativity, and fostered a more collaborative environment. AI-generated content provides unique sources of inspiration, while the rapid development of AI technologies ensures that designers can continue to innovate and push the boundaries of conventional design. As AI tools become more integrated into the design process, the future of design at BMW’s Designworks looks brighter and more exciting than ever.

In embracing AI, BMW stays at the cutting edge of automotive design and secures its position as a leader in innovation, creativity, and excellence in the automotive industry.

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Reimagining elegance through the artful design of the BMW Concept Skytop

The BMW Concept Skytop highlights the blend of heritage and innovation, pushing the boundaries of contemporary automotive design. This concept vehicle features the distinctive shark-nose grille, which is illuminated to emphasize its assertive presence, and incorporates ultra-slim LED headlights mounted on milled aluminum carriers. Its side profile reveals an athletic stance with sculpted surfaces and sharp lines, further enhanced by unique gill-inspired wheels. The rear design, characterized by a prominent spline and a gradient transitioning from reddish-brown to muted silver, illustrates exceptional craftsmanship and painstaking attention to detail. Let’s explore the various aspects of this design in greater detail, focusing particularly on the interior from a top-down perspective.

Designer: BMW

Front and Side Design

The BMW Concept Skytop’s front design is dominated by the signature shark-nose grille, illuminated to emphasize the vehicle’s sleek and aggressive stance. This design choice reflects BMW’s rich heritage while seamlessly integrating with the contemporary LED headlights on milled aluminum carriers. The headlights’ slim profile contributes to the car’s aerodynamic efficiency and modern aesthetic.

The side profile reveals an athletic and muscular form, with taut surfaces defined by precise lines that draw attention towards the rear. The absence of conventional door handles, replaced by discreet winglets integrated into the door shoulders, enhances the car’s streamlined look. With their gill-like features, the wheels add a unique touch to the car’s silhouette, further enhancing its dynamic appearance.

The shark-nose grille, a signature BMW element, evokes a sense of heritage while integrating modern technology. The illuminated grille adds a high-tech aura to the vehicle, immediately recognizable even in low-light conditions. This illumination emphasizes the grille’s contours, adding depth and enhancing the car’s aggressive stance. Flanking the shark-nose grille are the ultra-slim LED headlights, custom-developed for the BMW Concept Skytop. Featuring a sleek design with milled aluminum carriers, the slim profile of the headlights contributes to the car’s aerodynamic efficiency and gives the front end a sharp, precise look. The headlights blend seamlessly into the bodywork, highlighting the design’s clean lines and uninterrupted flow.

The Skytop’s hood is another key element of the front end, featuring a pronounced central spine that extends from the grille towards the windshield. This spine directs airflow over the car, enhancing its aerodynamic properties. The hood’s tight and muscular surfaces reflect the vehicle’s performance capabilities, adding to its sporty character. Below the grille, the front bumper incorporates large air intakes essential for cooling the engine and brakes. These intakes also enhance the vehicle’s aggressive look, framed by sharp lines that give the front bumper a dynamic and purposeful appearance. Complementing the prominent grille is a lower grille that spans the width of the front bumper. This lower grille balances the visual weight of the front end and integrates with the overall aerodynamic design. Its mesh pattern adds a sporty touch to the front fascia.

The front end of the BMW Concept Skytop is distinguished by the seamless integration of its various elements. The illuminated shark-nose grille, slim LED headlights, and pronounced hood spine work together to create a cohesive and harmonious design. The sharp lines and precise detailing ensure that each component enhances the others, contributing to the vehicle’s overall aesthetic and functional performance.

Rear Design

The rear of the BMW Concept Skytop continues the theme of sculpted elegance, blending form and function to define the car’s overall aesthetic. Clean, sculpted lines emphasize the car’s wide and stable stance. The slim, horizontal rear lights extend across the vehicle’s width, creating a visual connection that enhances the perception of width and stability. These lights seamlessly integrate with the bodywork, maintaining the clean, uninterrupted lines that define the car’s design.

The pronounced spline running from the hood through the interior and onto the trunk lid emphasizes the car’s dynamic flow, creating visual continuity and guiding the eye smoothly along the vehicle’s length. The rear quarter panels extend the athletic and muscular form in the side profile. They flow smoothly from the front, tapering towards the rear while maintaining the car’s tight surfaces and precise lines. This continuity ensures the design remains cohesive, with the rear quarter panels contributing to the overall dynamic look.

The rear quarter panels extend the athletic and muscular form in the side profile. They flow smoothly from the front, tapering towards the rear while maintaining the car’s tight surfaces and precise lines. This continuity ensures the design remains cohesive, with the rear quarter panels contributing to the overall dynamic look. The subtle lip on the trunk lid and the integrated rear spoiler add sporty touches and improve aerodynamics, ensuring optimal performance. The color gradient from a reddish-brown roof to a muted silver exterior with a chrome shadow effect showcases meticulous craftsmanship and intricate paintwork, enhancing the car’s luxurious feel. Every detail, from the lighting elements to the color transitions, is thoughtfully executed to create a cohesive and harmonious design that complements the BMW Concept Skytop’s dynamic character.

Interior and Top-Down Perspective

The BMW Concept Skytop’s interior meticulously combines luxury and functionality. Its reddish-brown leather surfaces, adorned with brogue-style accents, create a unified and luxurious atmosphere. The leather-finished sports bar behind the seats, the side fins on the B-pillar, and a fully retractable rear window contribute to the car’s sporty and elegant aura.

The dashboard exemplifies modern automotive design, featuring crystal applications seamlessly embedded into the cockpit. These elements enhance the overall aesthetic appeal and showcase BMW’s craftsmanship in blending contemporary design elements. The center console, with its sleek design and intuitive layout, ensures all controls are easily accessible to the driver, further enhancing the driving experience. The steering wheel, wrapped in the same reddish-brown leather as the seats, features a modern design that integrates seamlessly with the rest of the interior. The digital display behind the wheel provides the driver with all necessary information clearly and concisely, ensuring that the focus remains on the road.

Viewing the BMW Concept Skytop from a top-down perspective offers a clear insight into the car’s cohesive design. This perspective showcases the seamless integration of exterior and interior elements, with the pronounced spline running the length of the vehicle, reinforcing the unified and continuous design language. The two removable roof parts, finished in leather, can be stored in a special compartment in the luggage space, showcasing BMW’s attention to practicality without compromising style. The retractable rear window further enhances the open-air experience, allowing for an unobstructed view of the surroundings.

Roof Design

The roof of the BMW Concept Skytop is a crucial element in its design, both when on and off. When the roof is on, it maintains the car’s sleek silhouette, with the reddish-brown tone flowing into the muted silver of the body. This color gradient, crafted by BMW’s master painters, ensures a smooth transition that enhances the vehicle’s visual appeal. The roof’s design also includes a central spine that aligns with the hood’s spine, maintaining the design’s continuity from front to back.

When the roof is off, the BMW Concept Skytop transforms into an open-top roadster, emphasizing its luxurious and sporty nature. The interior’s reddish-brown leather, visible with the roof off, complements the exterior color scheme, ensuring that the car remains visually appealing from all angles. The fully retractable rear window and the storage compartment for the roof parts are designed for practicality without compromising the car’s aesthetic.

Design Cohesion and Final Thoughts

Integrating the rear design elements with the rest of the BMW Concept Skytop is masterful. The rear lights, quarter panels, and roof design all contribute to the car’s overall aesthetic, creating a harmonious blend of traditional and modern elements. The design ensures that the Skytop maintains its elegant and dynamic appearance, whether the roof is on or off.

My final thought of the BMW Concept Skytop is that it’s a vision of the future that honors the past. With every detail precisely crafted, from the illuminated shark-nose grille to the brogue-style leather accents in the interior, BMW demonstrates its dedication to superior design and craftsmanship. The Skytop’s seamless blend of aesthetics and functionality makes it a remarkable example of automotive design. Whether admired for its innovative engineering or luxurious finishes, the BMW Concept Skytop is a realization of the brand’s enduring legacy and forward-thinking approach.

 

 

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The Art of Speed: Julie Mehretu’s BMW M Hybrid V8 Art Car

Julie Mehretu’s BMW M Hybrid V8 Art Car

In the heart of Paris, at the iconic Centre Pompidou, the air buzzed with anticipation. Art lovers, racing enthusiasts, and curious onlookers gathered, all drawn by the promise of a unique revelation. This was no ordinary exhibit; it was the world premiere of Julie Mehretu’s BMW Art Car, the 20th in a storied lineage that melds the worlds of high art and high performance.

Designer: BMW + Julie Mehretu

Julie Mehretu’s BMW M Hybrid V8 Art Car Art Car

Julie Mehretu, renowned for her expansive, intricate canvases, stood before the crowd, her excitement palpable. She had transformed the BMW M Hybrid V8, a machine of sheer power and precision, into a dynamic piece of art. This wasn’t just a car but a performative painting set to race in the legendary 24 Hours of Le Mans.

As the cover was pulled off the car, I can only imagine the gasps rippling through the audience. The vehicle’s surface was a riot of colors and forms, inspired by Mehretu’s monumental painting “Everywhen.” She had digitally altered photographs, layering dot grids, neon veils, and her signature black markings to create a three-dimensional masterpiece. This artwork was not confined to a gallery but was destined for the grueling, high-speed arena of Le Mans.

Mehretu’s painting “Everywhen”

In her studio, surrounded by sketches and digital models, Mehretu had envisioned the car as it would appear at breakneck speeds, the colors and shapes blurring into an exhilarating visual experience. “I imagined the car as if it had raced through my painting,” she explained. “I wanted it to seem like the car had absorbed the painting, transforming into something new and dynamic.”

This vision of speed and art was more than a personal achievement; it was a continuation of a legacy. The BMW Art Car series began in 1975 when French racing driver Hervé Poulain commissioned artist Alexander Calder to paint his car. Over the years, this intersection of art and motorsport has attracted legends like Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, and Jeff Koons, each artist bringing their unique perspective to BMW’s high-performance vehicles.

Julie Mehretu’s BMW M Hybrid V8 Art Car Art Car

Mehretu’s creation stood proudly among these iconic predecessors. Her Art Car showcased her artistic ingenuity and the technical brilliance of the BMW M Hybrid V8. Underneath the vibrant exterior lay a hybrid electric drivetrain capable of producing 640 horsepower and reaching speeds of 345 km/h. This blend of art and engineering made the BMW Art Car series so compelling.

In the weeks leading up to Le Mans, the car stopped at the Concorso d’Eleganza at Villa d’Este, where it was displayed alongside other historic BMW Art Cars. As Mehretu presented her creation, she spoke of the collaboration between artist and engineer, of turning a race car into a canvas that captured the essence of movement and energy.

Mehretu’s process of envisioning the Art Car involved imagining the physical and emotional experience of racing at high speeds. In her studio, she surrounded herself with sketches and digital models, immersing herself in motorsport and engineering. Her goal was to create a car that would not only perform on the track but also convey a sense of kinetic energy and fluidity through its design.

“I wanted the car to feel as if it had raced through my painting,” she said, highlighting her desire to merge art and performance. Mehretu’s artistic vision was to make the car appear as though it had absorbed the painting, transforming it into something new and dynamic. This transformation was visual and conceptual, as the car embodied the fusion of speed, art, and technology.

The car’s design elements—digitally altered photographs, layered dot grids, neon veils, and black markings—were meticulously chosen to create a sense of movement and energy. These elements, characteristic of Mehretu’s work, were applied to the three-dimensional surface of the car using 3D mapping technology. The result was a vehicle that seemed in perpetual motion, even stationary.

But the story didn’t end there. Mehretu’s involvement with BMW extended beyond the racetrack. She and the automaker had launched the PanAfrican Translocal Media Workshops, a series of events to nurture young artists across Africa. These workshops, set to tour cities like Dakar, Marrakech, and Cape Town, would culminate in a grand exhibition at the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa. The fusion of art, technology, and social responsibility would inspire a new generation of creators.

Leading up to Le Mans, Mehretu’s BMW Art Car made an appearance at the Concorso d’Eleganza at Villa d’Este. This prestigious event, held on the picturesque shores of Lake Como, brought together a collection of historic and contemporary BMW Art Cars. Here, the 20th Art Car stood alongside works by Alexander Calder, Frank Stella, Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol, Jenny Holzer, and Jeff Koons. Each of these artists had left their mark on BMW’s vehicles, creating a lineage of art that celebrated innovation and creativity.

In a special presentation, Julie Mehretu discussed her creation with Adrian van Hooydonk, Head of BMW Group Design. Their conversation delved into the process of transforming a race car into a performative piece of art, highlighting the collaborative effort between artist and engineer. Mehretu reflected on her experience at Daytona, where she witnessed the BMW M Hybrid V8 in action, feeling the power and precision that would soon bring her art to life on the racetrack.

Julie Mehretu’s BMW Art Car symbolizes artistic and technological synergy. As it sped down the track at Le Mans, the vibrant colors and dynamic forms would blur into a visual spectacle, capturing the essence of art and speed. This Art Car exemplified the power of creative collaboration and the enduring legacy of the BMW Art Car series, a tradition that continues to push the boundaries of what is possible in the worlds of art and motorsport.

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BMW uses 3D printing for German bobsleigh team’s footwear

Most sports are dictated by the skill and prowess of the athletes competing but there are also some sports where the sportswear and footwear that they wear can contribute to how they perform. But not all of these sports have customizable or flexible footwear to help the athletes out. Bobsleigh is one such sport and with the Winter Olympics a year away, Germany is partnering with BMW to give their team better footwear to help them compete at the top level.

Designer: BMW

The BMW Group is the technology partner of the German Bobsleigh, Luge, and Skeleton Federatin (BSD) and they have come up with customizable spiked shoes for the bobsleigh team using the power of 3D printing. Regular bobsleigh footwear have defined rows of nails attached to the toe area but these are not replaceable or moveable. Based on track and field shoes, which are more flexible, they came up with threads for screw spikes which are used to attach spike plates on which spike nails can be distributed.

This means that the spikes can be adjusted to a large selection of shoe styles, sizes, and other aspects to make them more comfortable and suitable for the athletes’ needs. You can also adjust the material and geometry of the plates and the placement of the spike nails, giving better acceleration according to the power transmission on the ice. And since 3D printing is used, they get to be more flexible and test out the spikes and make adjustments, without having to spend a fortune and spend so much time manufacturing.

They were able to test out the spike plates during the Bobsleigh World Cup (which ends later this month) and so far, they were able to get positive feedback from the athletes that they made them for. Of course there are still changes that need to be made but they do have 11 months to go for it before the Winter Olympics in February 2025. We’ll also see by then what effect these spikes have on the German team’s performance.

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Driving the Thrilling Evolution of BMW with the Electrifying i5 M60 xDrive

The all-new, all-electric BMW i5 represents a pivotal moment in the evolution of the BMW 5 Series, introducing two electrified variants that masterfully combine speed, cutting-edge technology, and comfort into a compelling package. For those contemplating the fully electric 5-series sedan, the choices include the i5 M60 xDrive and the i5 eDrive40, each offering a distinctive mix of enjoyment, comfort, and luxury within the electric driving realm. The optimal selection hinges on your speed requirements and budget considerations. I had the opportunity to experience both models at BMW’s 2023 TestFest, and here are my initial impressions.

Designer: Christopher Weil, Head of Exterior Design for BMW

As the Head of Exterior Design for BMW, Christopher Weil has played a pivotal role in shaping these two new additions to the 5-Series EV lineup, complementing BMW’s existing electric vehicle range, including the i4, i7, and the stylish iX SUV. After testing the i4, i7, and iX SUV, I found that the 5 series strikes the perfect balance in size, driving dynamics, comfort, and both interior and exterior design aesthetics.

The BMW i5 M60 xDrive stands out as the more potent variant, showcasing BMW’s commitment to powerful electric mobility. Boasting an impressive 593 hp and 549 lb-ft of torque, it accelerates 0-60 mph in just 3.7 seconds. The torque can be temporarily boosted to 605 lb-ft via the Boost paddle on the steering wheel’s left side. This model fuses M Performance DNA with electric efficiency, featuring an all-wheel-drive system with a second electric motor on the front axle for superior handling and grip, thus delivering an exhilarating drive on any terrain. However, its high performance slightly compromises its range, with an estimated 256 miles on a single charge.

On the other hand, the BMW i5 eDrive40 emphasizes efficiency and elegance in electric driving. It boasts 335 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque. However, a paddle on the left-hand side of the steering wheel can increase this to 317 ft-lb by activating the Sport Boost or Launch Control functions. BMW asserts that the i5 eDrive40 can accelerate from zero to 60 mph in 5.7 seconds and has an electronically capped top speed of 120mph. Its rear-wheel-drive layout stays true to the brand’s heritage, offering a balanced and engaging drive. The eDrive40 shines in its range efficiency, boasting an estimated 295 miles. It makes it the perfect everyday car for commuting or shuttling the kids between school activities and longer drives to the office.

The two models come equipped with the BMW Curved Display and the latest version of the BMW iDrive system, which enhances the digital experience of the car. BMW continues to lead the way in automotive innovation with the introduction of advanced technologies such as the Highway Assistant that allows for hands-free driving up to 85 mph, and the first-ever Active Lane Change with eye activation.

Both models maintain the sporty elegance of the 5 Series while showcasing unique features that underscore their electric character. The i5 M60 xDrive highlights its performance-driven nature with its specific design elements, like the black surfaces on the front apron and large air intakes. Conversely, the i5 eDrive40 emphasizes subtler elegance, prioritizing efficiency and grace.

The i5 is compatible with Level 2 and DC fast charging. BMW estimates that the battery can recharge from 10% to 80% in approximately 30 minutes due to a maximum charging rate of 205 kW. First-time BMW i5 owners are offered two years of free 30-minute charging sessions at Electrify America’s network of DC fast-charging stations.

Regarding pricing, the entry-level i5 eDrive40 begins at $66,800, providing an appealing entry point into luxury electric driving. With 21″ wheels, my test vehicle was priced at $77,645 due to a $650 paint job, a $3,000 M Sport Package, and a $2,850 Premium Package.

The i5 M60 xDrive starts at $84,100, appealing to those who desire high-end electric performance and the prestige of the BMW brand. However, the price can escalate quickly if you choose all the available features, reaching a maximum of $97,494. The priciest package is the Dynamic Handling, which costs $3,600. The Executive Package adds $3,350, and the Driving Assistance Pro package costs $2,000.

The BMW i5 M60 xDrive and the i5 eDrive40 represent a harmonious blend of BMW’s sporting heritage and forward-thinking approach to electric mobility. Whether it’s the exhilarating performance of the M60 or the balanced efficiency of the eDrive40, BMW offers a compelling electric option for a range of drivers in the luxury segment. With these additions, the BMW 5 Series continues to evolve, setting new benchmarks in premium electric sedans.

Regarding evolution, whether you choose an EV, a mild-hybrid internal combustion engine, or a plug-in hybrid, you’ll get the same sleek kidney grille, which looks good. It’s brilliant that BMW can manufacture all three variants on the same production line and adjust as necessary based on consumer demand. If you choose the Carbon exterior package, the i5 M60 exterior receives additional features. This package includes M High-gloss Shadowline, M Specific Diffuser, 19″ M Wheels, M Sport Exteriors, and M Side Mirrors.

The new 5 Series is more significant than its predecessor, being longer by 3.4 inches (199.2 inches total), wider by 1.3 inches (74.8 inches total), and taller by 1.4 inches (59.6 inches total). The wheelbase has also been extended by 0.8 inches, reaching 117.9 inches.

Its interior has been completely revamped, featuring a curved display screen with a 12.3-inch digital instrument panel behind the steering wheel and a 14.9-inch touchscreen above the center console. These displays utilize the new BMW Operating System 8.5, which enhances operational speed and graphics quality and introduces features like video streaming and gaming.

Additionally, the gaming platform app AirConsole enables you to use your smartphones as controllers and supports multiple players.

Electric Thrills: The i5 Drives Like a BMW

Without a doubt, both models provide a rapid response, thanks to the instant torque feature of electric vehicles. Everyday driving on surface streets and highways is stress-free and comfortable. The i5 felt stable and well-grounded during brief periods of acceleration.

The BMW i5 M60 xDrive offers more than just an additional motor for the front axle. The Adaptive M Suspension Professional package includes several features to improve the car’s performance and the driver’s experience. One feature is the electronically controlled dampers. These automatically adjust the car’s suspension to the road conditions, providing a smoother ride and better handling. In addition, the M60 has a ride height that is 0.3 inches lower than the eDrive40, giving it a lower center of gravity and thus improving stability.

The M60 xDrive also includes rear-axle steering. This feature enhances stability at high speeds by aligning the rear and front wheels. At lower speeds, the rear wheels turn opposite the front wheels, reducing the car’s turning radius. This makes the M60 more agile, improving maneuverability in tight spaces. As with other BMW models, rear-axle steering has proved to be a beneficial feature.

Another benefit of the M60 is the inclusion of M Sport brakes. These high-performance brakes provide excellent stopping power, ensuring the car can handle the power its motors offer. Additionally, BMW’s active roll stabilization system is included. This system reduces body roll during cornering, enhancing comfort and providing more precise handling.

Thanks to these advanced features, the M60’s steering excels on tight, twisty roads along the test route. BMW was able to provide an abundant amount of track time, allowing me to push the car to the best of my driving ability. I was impressed with how light and easy it was to control through tight turns, providing more than adequate feedback and road feel. This allowed me to sense the road through the steering wheel, enhancing the connection between the car and the road.

Yanko Design’s take on the electrified BMW i5 sedans

With their performance, comfort, and advanced features, BMW’s recently launched electric vehicles, such as the compact i4 sedan and midsize iX SUV, have made a significant impression. After spending some time with the all-new i5, it seems to meet, and perhaps even exceed, the high standards set by competing brands.

The i5, in line with our expectations of BMW’s renowned 5 Series, offers an unmatched combination of speed, comfort, and luxury. It seamlessly integrates these traits to deliver a driving experience that is both thrilling and comfortable. The car’s swift and responsive acceleration boosts the driver’s confidence on the road, while the plush interiors and cutting-edge features ensure a luxurious journey.

Adding to its impressive attributes, the i5 is quiet, creating a peaceful and serene driving environment. This quality is a defining trait of electric vehicles and is particularly prominent in the i5, setting it apart from its petrol-powered counterparts.

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This Apocalyptic Cyberpunk Cafe Racer has a humble BMW R Nine T underneath it

The R nine T is perhaps BMW, nay, the world’s most customized bike. Ognjen Docic remixed this versatile classic into something virtually unrecognizable but vastly more eye-catching. Dubbed the Rat Race, this cafe racer isn’t for the faint of heart. It’s skeletal yet meaty, and explores unique design directions like using transparent plastic as a part of its overall fairing. This post-apocalyptic beauty also seats just one, because if Hollywood’s taught us anything, the apocalypse always creates lone wolves!

Designer: Ognjen Docic

The Rat Race’s aesthetic explores the addition, removal, and reinforcement of its overall structure. Certain parts of the fairing are removed because they add no value. Others are given further reinforcement like the fuel tank (perhaps to deter theft), and the overall chassis gets a secondary frame to make it stronger for more aggressive riding.

“I transformed the iconic BMW R9T model into dream vision, seamlessly blending vintage aesthetics for a retro old-school vibe with futuristic elements. By merging the past and future in design, I believe it transcends a specific era, becoming timeless,” says Serbia-based designer, Ognjen Docic. “In my rendition, the bike retains its original structure with subtle modifications to the frame. Introducing “Rat Race,” this concept embodies the timeless struggle, capturing the essence of life’s rat race.”

When asked about the Rat Race’s specs, Docic mentions – “Specifications of the motorcycle are unknown! Crafted within the confines of my mind, it borrows foundational elements from the R9T model. My imagination took residence in an underground motorcycle tuning garage in the outskirts of Belgrade.”

An interesting touch is Docic’s use of transparent materials in the motorcycle’s body design. A panel around the headlight almost looks like a transparent skull for the bike, enveloping its headlight and a portion of its handlebars. The base of the automobile has it too, as does the end, where Docic cleverly implemented edge-lighting to create a rather unique-looking taillight. This use of transparent plastic adds to the structure without adding to the bulk or volume.

The result of the entire endeavor is a bike that’s practically unrecognizable, but somehow still manages to have its own distinct character (and possibly a very interesting backstory). It looks like it’s been through hell and back, and still has the willpower for handling some more. Those ridiculously chunky tires are proof that the Rat Race was built to get you anywhere you want to go – no questions asked… and the lack of rear-view mirrors is proof that where you’re going, there’s no looking back!

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BMW x TYDE reveals world’s largest foiling yacht to efficiently motorize the days above the waves

Foiling technology in yachts is not new, but it has really taken off above the waves in recent times, for its ability to add substantial efficiency and noise-free rides for the demanding, affluent patrons. Case in point, the first collaborative, “The ICON” by BMW and TYDE. Opening new frontiers, the carmaker and marine expert are back with “The OPEN,” the world’s largest foiling motor yacht with luxury unparalleled.

Some collaborations are meant to be, and that’s exactly where it is going with the two abovementioned industry leaders. It is their second partnership for The OPEN, which is meant to be a larger and refiner electric foiling yacht designed for enjoyment above the waves.

Designers: BMW and TYDE

The OPEN is, as the design team puts it, a new “perspective on electrification, sustainability, and innovation.” The inventive electric vessel is designed to measure 49 feet long and about 15 feet in width. It will be powered by a zero-emissions drivetrain, borrowing the efficacy from The ICON. The battery onboard is a BMW i3 with 400kWh capacity and twin 100kW electric motors that provide The OPEN maximum speed of 30 knots.

An interesting aspect is the integrated hydrofoils that will allow the yacht to begin gliding above the water at around 18 knots with minimum drag and utmost silence. The propulsion system further helps reduce OPEN’s energy consumption by up to 80 percent, the designers note.

Capable of cruising over the waves at 25 knots on 50 nautical miles of range, the luxury yacht also adds to the green performance with solar panels embedded in the vessel’s hardtop. The yacht has a windshield wrapped around the seating area which offers a clear yet safe vantage point to check out the surrounding panorama. The life on the deck doubles up from being a solitary sun-basking regime to a dining area, and bathing platform, if you may.

For when the day is over and you need to hit the sack, onboard you have an accommodation for two. The cabin is luxury-packed with all the amenities including a bed, workstation, TV, and ensuite bathroom.  The OPEN electric foiling yacht is likely to begin shipping toward the end of 2024 with TYDE managing the production and marketing.

 

The post BMW x TYDE reveals world’s largest foiling yacht to efficiently motorize the days above the waves first appeared on Yanko Design.

iQOO 12 Legend Edition design brings the BMW M Motorsport racing spirit to smartphones

There are very few things that can make your heart stop with their speed, and motorsport race cars are one of those. The suspense, tension, and adrenaline you feel as these four-wheeled demons pass by is enough to put people on the edge of their seats, literally. There seems to be an innate human fascination for speed and power, and race cars have long been the symbol of those aspirations. Of course, such qualities can also be found in other things, like the impressive pieces of technology that we call smartphones. It’s not surprising, then, that these two very different worlds would eventually meet, such as in the iQOO 12 Legend Edition that embodies the BMW M Motorsport spirit through its power and style.

Designer: iQOO x BMW M Motorsport

This isn’t the first time you might have heard of an automotive brand lending its clout to a smartphone, whether in name or in design. In fact, the partnership between iQOO and BMW M started way back in 2019, resulting in the gaming-oriented iQOO 7 BMW M edition as well as an iQOO-branded BMW DTM car during the 24 Hours of Nürburgring race. This year, that partnership was again witnessed at the 2023 IMSA SportsCar Championship, and 2024 will see iQOO’s presence on a BMW M Hybrid V8 Hypercar at the FIA World Endurance Championship.

Of course, BMW M Motorsport is also leaving its own mark on the iQOO 12, specifically the special Legend Edition that will bear that exclusive branding. This year’s design, however, is a bit different and actually a little more subtle. The overall motif is still predominantly white, of course, just like many race cars. But instead of tall stripes in BMW M’s iconic blue, black, and red colors, the tiny stripes are actually embossed in a Clous de Paris pattern and located off the right side instead. In a way, the BMW M Motorsport is less in-your-face, subtler, and more elegant, allowing viewers to draw the associations between the two brands through the smartphone’s own prowess.

The iQOO 12, after all, is definitely a speedster, being one of the first phones to be powered by the new Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 chipset. It has a large and powerful camera system that is designed in the likeness of ship portholes, conveying the spirit of exploration. It isn’t just for show either, boasting a team that includes an Astrography Camera with an ultra-large main sensor, a periscope telephoto lens, and a wide-angle shooter. Despite the power it holds inside, the iQOO 12 Legend Edition still exudes beauty, grace, and comfort with its ergonomic contoured glass and nano-textured finishes. The flat edges and flat display perfectly complement each other, giving the phone a contemporary aesthetic that belies its nature a smartphone equivalent of a performance car.

With first-class features and a striking design, the iQOO 12 Legend Edition perfectly embodies BMW M Motorsport’s mantra of “Fascination Meets Innovation.” It delivers the performance to satisfy users’ need for speed while subtly capturing the visual and spiritual essence of a roaring race car. Already available in China, the iQOO 12 Legend Edition is slated to launch globally by the end of this year.

The post iQOO 12 Legend Edition design brings the BMW M Motorsport racing spirit to smartphones first appeared on Yanko Design.

Infinix NOTE 30 VIP Racing Edition Review: In Pursuit of Speed and Excellence

PROS:


  • Eye-catching racing-inspired design with great attention to detail

  • Premium features like wireless charging and IP53 rating

  • Includes rare microSD card slot

  • Great price value for performance and features

CONS:


  • Odd camera combination

  • Limited availability

RATINGS:

AESTHETICS
ERGONOMICS
PERFORMANCE
SUSTAINABILITY / REPAIRABILITY
VALUE FOR MONEY

EDITOR'S QUOTE:

Excelling in both looks and overall features, the Infinix NOTE 30 VIP Racing Edition is an unexpected yet impressive surprise that is hampered by its odd camera choices and limited availability.

With so many smartphone brands and models available today, it’s not an easy task to stand out from the crowd, especially when you’re not one of the big five. Some companies employ visual gimmicks or technical buzzwords just to catch people’s attention, only for those products to fall flat once they land in users’ hands. It takes no small amount of effort and careful thought to create a design that not only looks great but also checks all the other boxes of an excellent user experience. The Infinix NOTE 30 VIP claims to be one such item, so we took its fancy Racing Edition for a spin to see if it really matches up to the expectations of a smartphone that was made to blaze a trail in the market.

Designer: Infinix

Aesthetics

As its name clearly says, the Infinix NOTE 30 VIP Racing Edition’s overarching theme is one of speed, taking inspiration from heart-pounding and thrilling street races. And when it comes to race cars, who better to know the spirit and design of speedsters than BMW’s design powerhouse, Designworks. But unlike some smartphones that boast of BMW branding, Infinix goes beyond just using themed colors or stripes to make the NOTE 30 VIP epitomize the spirit of speed that these cars exhibit, both in looks as well as in feel.

Right off the bat, this racing-inspired version of the Infinix NOTE 30 VIP is nothing like any other smartphone you’ve seen before, including those that also claim spiritual camaraderie with race cars. The way it uses a special vegan leather material doesn’t simply slap on a cover on the back of the phone but fully envelopes the surface to create a unique aesthetic and tactile experience. Even the camera bump is fully covered by the organic texture, giving the phone a more unified appearance with no metal or glass awkwardly sticking out. The embossed check-flag pattern creates a subtle nod to the racing culture, demonstrating Infinix’s meticulous attention to the smallest details.

As if the vegan leather treatment wasn’t already unique enough, Infinix and BMW Designworks go a step further by adding a feature that gives a little bit of flavor to the phone. In line with the trend of bringing decorative lights to the back of phones, the Infinix NOTE 30 VIP Racing Edition presents what the brand calls “3D Lighting Leather,” an innovative design that lets strips of light shine through the leather material when it is turned on. The three colors of these light strips not only represent BMW Motorsports’ iconic branding but also represent speed, performance, and power. It’s a small yet tasteful detail that adds to the phone’s character and cements its image as an extension of a street race car.

It isn’t just the phone’s back that catches one’s attention in a pleasing manner. The sharp red edges contrast beautifully with the softer black rear, lending it an elegance that you’d expect to find in more expensive designs. The flat screen, whose bezels gently curve to the sides, also complements this aesthetic, delivering a design that exudes both speed and class in a single product.

To really complete both the VIP and the Special Edition experience, Infinix ships the NOTE 30 VIP Racing Edition with a ton of freebies all designed around that same theme. Small gestures like these give a product that extra level of attention that truly sets it apart from ordinary, mass-produced phones.

Ergonomics

The most beautiful phone will simply be a pretty face if it turns out to be an unusable slab of glass and metal in your hand. Fortunately, the Infinix NOTE 30 VIP Racing Edition isn’t that, and it manages to look stunning while also giving you confidence when you hold the smartphone in your hand. Part of that is thanks to the textured surface of the vegan leather material that delivers a better grip, but the design also has another small yet critical detail that improves the phone’s ergonomics.

The minuscule embossed triangle in the palm grip takes inspiration from racing car steering wheels to offer the necessary traction for your hand, increasing your grip on the phone. With this anti-slip wrapping, the NOTE 30 VIP Racing Edition gives you confidence that you’ll be able to hold it in a stable and safe manner, which is probably going to be necessary considering how light the phone feels in your hand at only 190g. Just like how race car designs not only give speed but also stability, the Infinix NOTE 30 VIP Racing Edition embodies this duality in a beautiful and satisfying manner.

Performance

Of course, this special Infinix NOTE 30 VIP’s racing chops don’t stop with its looks. Infinix has stepped up its game by endowing the Racing Edition with some of the best hardware for performance, making you feel like breezing through tasks and games with aplomb. The new MediaTek Dimensity 8050 might not sound familiar compared to something that has “Snapdragon” in its name, but its performance isn’t exactly sub-par. You might find yourself adjusting settings in heavier games like Genshin Impact or Honkai: Star Rail, but for all intents and purposes, it is able to handle most mobile tasks without breaking a sweat.

The phone comes with 12GB of RAM out of the box, but it’s possible to extend that to 21GB by borrowing some memory from the 256GB internal storage. The latter might sound a bit measly until you hear about a feature that you’ll rarely find in smartphones these days. The Infinix NOTE 30 VIP actually has a dedicated slot for a microSD card slot to expand that storage, giving it an edge over other phones in both mid and premium tiers.

Uptime with the 5,000mAh battery is decent as well, which is surprising given how powerful the phone is. Charging at 68W, however, sounds a bit disappointing considering how many of its peers are already boasting 100W speeds. Then again, few of those can also boast of supporting wireless charging and fast 50W wireless charging at that. Even better, Infinix ships with a specially themed wireless charger as part of the VIP Racing Edition box so you don’t have to go hunting for one on your own.

The Infinix NOTE 30 VIP Racing Edition’s hardware selection seems almost perfect, at least until you get to the cameras, one of the things that most buyers check first. Yes, there are three cameras there led by a mighty 108MP main shooter that definitely lives up to expectations. It takes good photos with plenty of detail when there’s plenty of light around. What’s more impressive is that it can shoot 4K videos, though without OIS, something that’s still uncommon at this price point. The 32MP selfie camera is decent, but it’s made more notable thanks to dual LED flash lights that hide in the phone’s top edges, bringing much-needed lighting to your face.

Things get weird with the other two cameras on the back of the phone, a 2MP ultra-wide and a 2MP macro shooter. While the asymmetry between cameras isn’t uncommon, it’s almost unheard of to have an ultra-wide camera that low these days, even on mid-tier devices. As you might expect, they don’t produce good results, so you’re better off sticking to the main camera anyway. It might not be a deal-breaker for some people, but it does show at least one area where Infinix chose to cut corners.

The Infinix NOTE 30 VIP runs the company’s custom XOS 13 Android experience that’s thankfully already based on Android 13. It’s specifically themed to match that same racing motif, especially when it comes to the tri-color combination, and has a boatload of pre-installed apps you will have to uninstall one by one. One special feature of this Android skin is the “Magic Ring”, practically Infinix’s version of Apple’s Dynamic Island that changes the UI flanking the front camera cutout, depending on the context, like which app is being used. While not exactly original, we can expect other manufacturers to implement their own version of this UI flourish to help mask the presence of the hole at the top of the screen.

Sustainability

Although it has already started building a reputation for itself, Infinix is younger and smaller compared to other smartphone brands. So if it took giants like Samsung and Apple decades to establish their sustainability efforts, it shouldn’t be a surprise that it isn’t yet a focus for the fledgling company. That said, it’s not without any attempt at reducing its negative impact on the environment, like the use of this special vegan leather material for the Racing Edition. It might not be a 100% sustainable material, but it’s still significantly better than plastics.

More importantly, however, the Vivo V29 is designed to at least delay meeting its end from accidents. It has an IP53 dust and water resistance rating, which is almost unbelievable considering its price point. That simply means that it is less likely to die from a splash of water, prolonging its life for as long as it is still in good operating condition. The longer it stays in your hands, the longer it and its non-biodegradable parts stay off landfills.

Value

The Infinix NOTE 30 VIP Racing Edition comes as a completely unexpected surprise. The combination of premium features and an accessible price tag might be more than enough to get buyers considering this option, but it really changes the game with its high-quality design that you might have not expected from a phone on this price tier. The 3D Lighting Leather material is more than just a gimmick, delivering a luxurious look and feel with some colored light accents to drive home that street racing image.

It’s hardly perfect, of course, and there’s a list of quirks and flaws that leave us scratching our heads. One of those is the choice of cameras aside from the 108MP main shooter, which is just mind-boggling in this day and age. The biggest drawback, however, is its limited availability to very specific markets, which means fewer people will get to experience this surprisingly impressive package. That’s quite a shame, considering how everything else about the phone is worth more than what Infinix is asking for, especially with all the accessories that come with it.

Verdict

It’s not easy for a smartphone to stand out these days, especially when you consider just how many designs there are available in the market today. It’s even harder when you try to hit the sweet spot of aesthetics, performance, and price, something that even industry giants don’t get right all the time. So there’s definitely a good reason to be amazed at how Infinix managed to pull a rabbit out of its hat, with some help from BMW Designworks, of course.

The Infinix NOTE 30 VIP Racing Edition definitely embodies the spirit of street racing with intricate design details that easily remind one of the cozy interiors of sports cars. Infinix’s attention to detail leaves no stone unturned, with every side, corner, and surface matching that overarching theme. That extends inside the phone, of course, with specs that would leave you wondering why bigger manufacturers don’t follow suit. Who would have thought, for example, that we’d meet an old microSD card slot friend here, or that it would boast fast wireless charging and an IP rating at this price point? There are, indeed, some noticeable missteps, especially with the camera, but the overall package might still make you want to get your hands on one, especially for its mouth-watering $315 price tag.

The post Infinix NOTE 30 VIP Racing Edition Review: In Pursuit of Speed and Excellence first appeared on Yanko Design.