Stunning BMW R nineT custom with a curved aluminum body looks like something out of an alternate reality

Designed to look like the kind of motorcycle Robocop could ride, this custom BMR R nineT comes with a bespoke hand-crafted curved metal fairing.

This majestic curvilinear beauty is courtesy of Wayne Buys, better known by his internet moniker FabMan Creations. Wayne, who works out of his home and garage in South Africa, designed this piece for a client who commissioned the project and even supplied him with an R nineT to work with. The final build, which he refers to as ‘Storm’ takes inspiration from the aerodynamic forms seen on aircrafts. While the Storm can’t fly like its inspiration, it evokes a feeling of weightlessness in whoever rides it, thanks to its form that slices through the air the way an airplane would. The custom R nineT even sports two massive air scoops on its base that keep the motorcycle’s boxer engine cool and breezy.

Designer: Wayne Buys (FabMan Creations)

Wayne’s build has an undeniable organic appeal, akin to something from the mind of iconic designer Luigi Colani. There isn’t a single straight line on this bike and that’s honestly refreshing after the Cybertruck copycats we’ve been seeing for the past 3 years. It’s worth noting that the bike’s aluminum fairing was built entirely by hand, but more importantly, it was built freeform, without any prior sketching, modeling, or template-building. If that wasn’t impressive enough, Wayne’s metal-forming skills are also entirely self-taught.

Designing and building the bike was an eight-month-long endeavor from start to finish. The client provided Wayne with a low-mileage R nineT, and for the most part, the entire motorcycle uses pretty much all the original stock parts on the inside, although Wayne had to make a few customizations and rearrangements to bring his design to life.

In keeping with the Storm’s aeronautical theme, Wayne built the entire bike out of aluminum sheeting, with multiple parts coming together and screwing on to look like panels on an airplane. The various body panels interlock with one another, connected via small Allen head fasteners that resemble the rivets you’d find on aircraft. A silver coat of paint gives the Storm its raw appeal, looking like an aircraft sans the aerospace paint.

The custom R nineT has a rather interesting front and side profile, and chances are you’d never guess that there’s a BMW underneath that Iron Giant-esque aluminum fairing. The bike’s front boasts a dome-ish cover that is only punctuated by a single headlight located at the center, almost like a plane’s nose. In keeping with the airplane-inspired enclosed design, Wayne also covered both the front and rear wheels, and also modified the exhaust to make it less prominent. The exhaust now sits right below the boxer engine, with three holes to eliminate hot air instead of having it trapped inside the aluminum body. That scooped air intake on the back? Well, Wayne added that (along with an inner fan) to keep the repositioned oil cooler at a lower temperature.

The Storm also boasts of a unique dashboard, with buttons to control specific functions of the bike, and a central speedometer, looking a lot like something you’d see in a vintage cockpit. There’s also a stealthy seven-segment display hidden under the mesh panels below the dashboard. The Storm also boasts of a keyless ignition, with a remote-controlled start.

While it seems like Wayne has a talent for building custom motorcycles (make no mistake, he definitely does), his original training is as a millwright (designing/building/maintaining grain mills). After spending 15 years in Canada, Wayne moved back to his homeland in South Africa, but found himself without a job. It was around that time that he took to custom bike-building, carrying his prior skills in welding, machining, fabrication, and electrical and mechanical work to his new hobby. The one skill Wayne found himself without was shaping aluminum sheets – something he picked up with relentless practice, hammering the panels out on a tree stump and then finishing them by hand.

Wayne now is the founder and sole proprietor of FabMan Creations, with an upgraded garage and workshop that he uses to build custom bikes and fabricate parts like fuel tanks, fenders, and exhaust systems.

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This origami-inspired BMW steering wheel is made for the Minimalistic lounge interiors of future sedans

A folding BMW steering wheel that brings back the nostalgic memories of creating those articulated figures from a piece of paper in my later childhood days. A very practical concept design indeed for the future of automotive.

The automotive industry is steadily shifting towards a landscape where semi-autonomous and ultimately fully autonomous driving in electric cars is the next horizon to look for. Even more, so is the shift in vehicle interior preference which is trending towards a comfortable and minimalistic lounge set up on a whole. This is when the need for a foldable steering wheel will be felt.

Designer: Lars Welten

Keeping this future-forward vision in mind, designer Lars Welten has ideated an origami-inspired steering wheel. This design comes with the modular freedom of folding into itself and retracting back into the dashboard when not required. For times when the vehicle is put in completely autonomous mode or parked for some fun time watching the setting sun. The steering wheel has a folding structure that immaculately collapses into itself.

The folding action is supported by the strong fiber threads running along the face of the wheel. Those sci-fi aesthetics of Lars’ proposed design are matched with the cool dual-color fabric inserts. The minimalism of this BMW steering wheel trickles down to the number of buttons available upfront. Only two knobs on each side are available to tweak the driving modes, and everything else is ditched. This hints at the use of this wheel in a BMW vehicle that has trimmed down interiors for complete relaxation. Interiors where simplicity and ambient visual appeal take precedence.

The execution of this concept steering wheel is practical and not something beyond the reach of automotive companies. Just look at that folded-down position, how little space it would take in the vehicle’s dashboard. Also, the folding ergonomics are on point to attract attention.

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BMW iX xDrive50 (electric) REVIEW

When you think of BMW’s signature cars, most people immediately conjure up images of high-performance ‘M Division’ stars like the stonking M3 and M5. Now while this very German brand makes brilliant internal combustion-powered vehicles, the world is going electric, and rather quickly. And to cater to the winds of change, the company needs a different style of flagship car. It needs a totally new signature model that stands head and shoulders above its rivals, a flagship that’s pure electric SUV and futuristic. The BMW iX is such a car.

That polarizing new kidney grille dominates design chatter

Looking like an SUV that Ironman might use to drive his kids to school in 2030, the iX boasts next-generation styling that makes this Tesla Model X rival stand out from the crowd. BMW claims that with the iX, they will gain over 50% market share of all-electric vehicles by 2030. Totally new from the ground up, the iX boasts 516-hp twin motors, over 300 miles of range, and quick charging from 10% to 80% in around 30 minutes. It is certainly a bold and ambitious move, but just how good is this techno tour de force battery electric vehicle (BEV)? We got behind the wheel of the iX xDrive50 to find out.

The iX’s exterior looks like nothing we’ve ever seen from the Munich-based carmaker. And it’s big too, eclipsing the Tesla Model Y, Audi e-tron and Ford Mustang Mach-E in the dimension department. To be honest, when we first saw the edgy, muscular iX silhouette with its new bolder interpretation of the 4-Series’ controversial kidney grille, we had more question marks than compliments. Many readers will recall the radical, polarizing, vertically-enhanced design on the 2020 4-Series grille that seemed to dominate industry chatter for a whole year. Some said it looked like a koala nose, while others likened it to rabbit teeth, a la Bugs Bunny. I can’t argue with either of those descriptions, although after several hours with the car, I started to like the exterior styling as I found this grille blends in better on the iX than the 4-series.

BMW’s head of design, Domagoj Dukec, said last year, “if you want to create something that stands out, it must be distinguishable and it has to be different. It’s not our job to please everyone, just our customers.” With the new grille, BMW has definitely created something that stands out, and yes, it does not please everyone. But it has certainly made its mark among customers with strong sales in its younger target audience. And at the end of the day, that’s what counts. Right?

It’s magic! The BMW grille repairs itself?!

But this new grille is not just pushing the boundaries of contemporary design norms. It also offers some unique innovative features which deserve a special mention. In fact, the grille is not even a grille. From a distance, this space almost looks like it’s full of intricate metallic and piano black elements shaped into a multi-layered diamond-like pattern. However, when you get up close and personal and rub your fingers over it, you discover that the grille is made of a material that feels like plastic. According to BMW, this plastic surface is actually covered with a thin layer of polyurethane coating which gives it the power to heal itself if it gets scratched or damaged — kind of like well-known superhero Wolverine.

Why fit such a feature? Say you’re parked in a shopping mall and someone accidentally bangs their shopping trolley into your new kidney grille. No problem because the polyurethane automatically ‘repairs’ light scratches within 24 hours when left at room temperature, or even in under five minutes under hot air from a hairdryer. And why is protecting the grille so important? Behind that enormous grille, you’ll find a set of sensors that allow the iX to see the world in front of it and relay that information to the onboard safety systems in real time. So if the grille has scratches, then the forward visibility and sensor operation could be compromised. That’s not the only feature to stand out on this next-generation grille. Behind it you’ll find a heated element that allows the grille to melt away ice and snow to—you guessed it—allow those hidden sensors to be able to see the road ahead in wintery conditions.

One feature that will certainly raise a few eyebrows is that you cannot open the hood on an iX. According to BMW engineers, there will be no need for owners to ever open their hood. In fact, if you see one with its hood up then that’ll mean something has gone horribly wrong with the mechanicals requiring instant dealer rescue. The fact that you can’t open the hood is a shame because it means that you don’t have a ‘frunk’ (front trunk), a feature found so often on BEV’s these days. You may also wonder how does one fill up the washer fluid? Easy. Just push to open the BMW logo above the grille and top up your washer fluid. Necessity is the mother of invention, so they say. That washer fluid logo feature is a clever, elegant solution to a potentially problematic design conundrum. Thumbs up to BMW designers there.

The sleek upslanting ‘Laser’ headlights and practical bumper integrated brake vents complement the grille design to give the iX a unique futuristic look necessary to make an impact in the market. While not quite as dramatic as the front end, the side view is highlighted by flared fenders and huge 22-inch wheels as well as hollow copper-colored door handles that perfectly matched the rather classy Aventurine Red body color on our iX test car. The floating C-pillar, with a gloss blacked-out section to match the tinted rear windows, connects subtly with the roof spoiler to complete a stylish, sporty silhouette.

Far more appealing however is the rear end. This is by far my favorite angle of the car to look at. The sharply angled rear window leads down to a narrow wraparound taillight treatment that sits in amongst some of the most beautifully contoured surfaces and lines you’ll ever see on an SUV.

There is one problem though. With most SUVs, the taillights are normally split across the tailgate and the rear body panel. With the iX, however, it’s all integrated into the tailgate. So when you raise the tailgate your brake lights disappear into the air meaning that people behind you cannot see your car clearly at night. The solution? BMW has had to design a second set of lights and integrate those into the rear corner bodywork. Form has unfortunately won over function here. This I feel is extremely wasteful as it means customers are paying extra money to have this ‘backup’ set of tail lights. This design also eats into luggage space with the iX only offering 500 liters of space in contrast to the BMW X5’s 650 liters, which is a similarly sized car.

Stunning! The iX’s cockpit is next-level design and functionality

So what’s the iX like inside? Stunning. No matter what you might think about the exterior, especially that grille design, the interior is simply breathtaking. The caramel tan-colored leather seats and dashboard, aluminum accents and huge cockpit-wide curves touchscreen instrumentation set the mood for BMW’s signature BEV. The result we see in the iX’s cabin is what happens when a carmaker gives its design team free rein to design something new, innovative, and cool.

Where to start? I adore the high-quality luxurious materials used inside. I adore the shape and feel of the seats and their special stitched inlays. I like the shape and feel of the curved 12-inch touchscreen for driver information and a massive hi-definition 15-inch display for all of your infotainment features. It feels like 2030 in here! I even adore the shape of the octagonal steering wheel. The floating center console with its next-generation i-Drive system boasts a gorgeous new design highlighted by a crystal dial and intuitive touch sensors. It also has a crystal gear shift lever as well as crystal knobs on the doors. The only downside, if you can call it that, is the fact that the crystal knobs and dial can cause some glare to shine in the driver’s face when direct sunlight hits it.

Interestingly the iX is packed with lots of sustainable materials. The olive leaf logo on the dashboard indicates that the dye used to color the leather inside the iX is sourced from olive leaf extract rather than non-biodegradable chemicals found in so many other cars. Apparently, the leather is sustainable as well, although we are not quite sure what that means.

In the back seats, you get loads of legroom and headroom and comfortable leather seats. This ample amount of headroom is aided by a clever panoramic glass sunroof design with electrochromic shading that allows occupants to merely press a button and either allow the sun in or shut it out. Apart from the good visibility, there are also two USB-C ports in each back seat and dedicated climate controls for both seats. There’s no doubt that the rear seats are just as comfortable as the front seats.

The Driving Experience

What’s it like on the road? There are two versions of the iX — the entry-level iX xDrive40 and the flagship iX xDrive 50, which we are testing. Both cars a very similar with 4WD, the main difference being the size of the battery packs, the power of the electric motors, and the amount of range.

Two electric motors and a dual-motor system provide all-wheel-drive through a gutsy 516 horsepower powertrain. It will jump from zero to 60-mph in 4.2 seconds and a top speed of 124-mph. This version packs a large 106.3-kWh battery pack that BMW says will deliver over 300 miles of range, and from the time we spent in the car, our estimates put that car’s real world range at around that figure. 200-kW DC fast-charging capability is standard and the iX can gain more than 75 miles of range in 10 minutes, or can be topped up using a quick charger from 10% to 80% takes around 30 minutes.

The first thing you notice about the driving experience is just how comfortable and quiet this car is. Of course, BEVs are generally quiet, as they don’t have gasoline engines, but the iX is a level above the rest. We could hardly hear any noise at all traveling at normal city traffic speeds, perhaps just the faintest of tire and wind noise and maybe a slight whir of the electric motors, but that’s about it. The air suspension, which comes as standard, is perfectly set up for this rather heavy 5,380 lbs SUV, delivering a buttery-smooth ride across most surfaces. Even on twisty roads, the instantaneous acceleration and pinpoint steering make this big, heavy SUV feel smaller than it is. Brakes are strong too with beefy six-piston calipers and large rotors offering ample stopping power.

As you’d expect the iX also comes with the latest safety features including autonomous emergency braking, parking sensors, automatic high beam headlights, and lane-keep assist systems. It also comes standard with a 655W, 18-speaker Harmon Kardon Surround Sound System or an optional Bowers & Wilkins Diamond Surround Sound system packing 30-speakers and 1,615 watts with a 4D function that vibrates speakers in the seats.

Pricing and Options

Pricing according to BMW will start at $84,195 in the U.S. However as prices for options were not available at the time of publishing, we are giving readers a reference of option pricing in Japan. The base xDrive50 starts at 11.16 million yen in Japan although our test car, with options, was priced at 13.89 million yen. In Tokyo, where I’m based, buyers can add the following options that will push the price up to 13.89 million yen. For the Aventurine Red metallic paint, you’ll pay 310,000 yen, 650,000 yen for the Lounge Package (including the special sunroof), 750,000 yen for the Technology Package, 158,000 yen for the Aerodynamic Wheels, and 220,000 yen for the Sports Package.

BMW has done a truly sensational job with its next-generation iX. If you can live with the grille, have the $85,000 in hand, and you’re looking for the next best thing in luxurious, quick electric transportation, then we highly recommend the iX xDrive50. As far as rivals, the iX really has none at present. Sure there are the Mercedes EQA, Audi e-tron, Jaguar I-Pace, and Tesla Model X, but when it comes to next-generation design, power delivery, ride and comfort levels, and an interior to die for, the iX wins the electric SUV battle hands down. For now, at least.

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BMW 8 x Jeff Koons Edition is like a superhero comic book on wheels

Some cars are designed to be speed demons, both in their engines as well as in their forms. Every part of a car, of course, is designed not just for looks but also for aerodynamics. That doesn’t mean you can’t find other ways to express that idea of speed in other ways, from colors to decals. And if you’re going to express speed with something that will really turn heads, you might as well do it in one of the most expressive media available: comic books.

Designer: Jeff Koons

Comic books have experienced a renaissance period in the past decade or so, partly thanks to the almost maddening number of films and TV shows made around them during that period. While there will be many who will remain unfamiliar with the characters from Marvel’s and DC’s fictional universe, almost everyone is familiar with the sequential art of comics, or at least the visual idioms used in the medium.

That familiarity and popularity is perhaps what inspired famed artist Jeff Koons’ to take a stab at mixing comics and cars to convey that idea of speed. Not that the 2023 BMW M850i Gran Coupe needs any help in sending that message, especially when it’s already burning rubber. This special collaboration, however, is almost just as over the top as popular comics are in getting the message across, combining specially chosen lines, colors, iconography, and even sound effects in words.

On the outside, you are treated to a sea of blue broken by patches of yellow on the front and back. Koons chose the color to give the impression of space where a speedster would be traveling at the speed of light, or something like that. The car’s sides are decorated with white bursts, a poof, and a loud POP!, common devices used in comics to denote an explosion of action and speed. And if that weren’t enough, the BMW 8’s trunk depicts a really big bang, almost reminiscent of the 60s Batmobile’s exhaust.

The interior colors contrast sharply with the ones outside and have a stronger superhero vibe. The alternating blue and red might immediately bring to mind those characters that embraced the same motif, from Superman to Spider-Man to Wonder Woman. Sitting inside might make you feel like such a superhero rolling into action, traveling at speeds most mortals can’t even experience.

That said, most mortals probably won’t even be able to experience this 8 x Jeff Koons collab. Just like a limited edition comic book, this specially-designed comic book car will be “printed” only 99 times and will fetch a six-digit price tag when it finally rolls out.

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BMW iX Flow Concept is a chameleon of the automotive world destined for a sci-fi movie debut

In 2021 BMW announced that they’d been working on a color-changing car, and now at CES 2022 the crazy idea is finally a reality, in the form of a chameleon-like electric vehicle. This is one of the most eye-catchy things seen at the Omicron inflicted show in Las Vegas this year. BMW calls it the iX Flow Concept and although it seems like any other iX crossover prototype, what it has got is something straight out of a Transformers movie plot. A futuristic car that can blend right into its surroundings to go invisible magically!

Well, that is a far-fetched dream for now, as the EV for now uses E Ink technology (much like the Amazon Kindle series’ display) to put forth a hypnotic show of color-changing skin. The implementation is in its infancy stage right now, as the iX Flow Concept can switch between the hues of white, dark gray and black only. According to BMW the E Ink is sandwiched in a wrap that conforms to the “contours of the all-electric Sports Activity Vehicle.” Millions of microcapsules (the diameter of a human hair) are etched in this wrap containing the negatively charged white pigment and positively charged black pigment. Based on the amount of pigment needed to collect on the surface, the electric field is applied to do the trick – something known as electrophoresis technology.

Designer: BMW Group

The color-changing pallet is draped all over the body, as one can customize the look of the car depending on the needs and of course moods on a particular day. This is useful in maintaining the cabin temperature too as, on hot days, the color of the vehicle could be lighter to reflect more light and darker on colder days to absorb more heat. This will also result in lesser energy requirements to maintain the optimum inside temperature Munich-based premium car manufacturer says, the future versions of the car could follow the color-changing aesthetics to the grille and wheels too. Thereby, resulting in complete customization of the ride with the touch of a button on a compatible app.

The production version of the iX Flow Concept is far from meeting fruition as the color-changing skin is temperature sensitive and works only in certain conditions. Once that bit is sorted, we are staring at limitless options when it comes to displaying custom graphics, messages, or even color flow actuated by the music being played inside. Of course, we expect BMW to evolve this color-changing EV into one that can display millions of colors like current-gen OLEDs. For now, this concept could very well make it through to sci-fi or in fact Bond movie plot!



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LEGO’s BMW M 1000 RR set is functional design destined for every bike lover’s garage shelf

The LEGO M 1000 RR scale model is the next best thing to the real bike, and also a gesture of honor for this cult favorite model that the biking community respects so much!

BMW Motorrad launched the first-ever M series motorbike, the road-legal homologation M 1000 RR powered by the 212 HP engine last year. Only 500 units of the limited edition motorcycle were produced, and that speaks volumes about its exclusivity in the BMW Motorrad line-up. Most certainly, this is not the easiest bike to lay your hands on (that’s if you have a fat bank account and the willpower to acquire one) so Berlin-based automotive giant joined forces with LEGO Technic team to create a highly detailed 1:5 detailed model of the BMW M 1000 RR.

The sizeable LEGO interpretation of the M 1000 RR measures a little under 18 inches long and 10 inches tall. The set is made up of 1,920 individual LEGO pieces which in itself will be a satisfying exercise to put together. This LEGO Technic set – the largest ever bike set – will be nirvana for model building enthusiasts and biking affectionate owing to the extent of realism that’s mirrored. There are functional intricate components, including the 4 piston engine, three-speed gearbox, steering wheel, upside-down fork with the rear swingarm suspension, and the dashboard with three display options. That’s further honed by the red, white and blue color scheme and iconic BMW branding, gold-colored drive chain, paddock stand and a pit board for the genuine racing flair. This LEGO model is a clear testament to the two companies’ state -of the art vision.

According to Samuel Tacchi, designer at the LEGO Group, they had fun getting under the skin of the BMW M 1000 RR and what they finally achieved will be a “ winner like its real-life namesake.” The LEGO Technic BMW 1000 RR is going to be available in LEGO stores worldwide and can be purchased online too starting 1 January 2022. The LEGO set will be up for grabs at other retailers from 1 March 2022. It’s cost $300 which will be anyways minuscule to the price of the real BMW 1000 RR. We’ll be buying this LEGO set for sure, how about all you motorheads?

Designer: LEGO Group

Click Here to Buy Now!

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BMW Motorrad R9T iD:2 stylized for the Gen-Z uses matte black to raise the bike’s aesthetic appeal!

A true testament to the BMW Motorrad brand, this is the R9T iD:2 – based on the iconic R nineT which is an example of a classic motorcycle build combined with sublime craftsmanship – all set to turn eyeballs.

The BMW Motorrad concept envisioned by Jeroen Claus, Design Director at FRANK Industrial Design, this racing beast shaves off the fat muscle (nothing demeaning though) for a sleeker look apt for the Gen-Z riders. As Jeroen himself defines it as a chopped-off BMW R9T custom motorcycle design. The side fenders flow into the front of the bike, covering off the headlight section, giving it a stealth bomber-like persona.

The original BMW R nine T has a bit exposed side profile to show off the intimidating firepower inside. This remake though drapes some of that with the side body kit that flows elegantly with the aerodynamic build of the motorbike. Right where the bike’s saddle ends on the rear there is a peculiar array of lights right above the brake lights. That’s most probably to add another braking light section to grab the attention of motorists behind on a busy highway. The old-school tachometer display gives way to a more modern digital display, and Jeroen has flattened the fuel tank area to go with the slimmer theme.

The sleek profile of the R9T iD:2 flows in balanced proportions from the front to the rear with an almost edgy-lined aesthetic that young riders will take note of. The sexy body is matched with the perfectly tuned color balance done right in black, grey and blue hues. And of course, the shiny metal rod frame on the sides to protect the shell from damage. Add to this upmarket personality, the BMW Motorrad and R9T Aero branding, and we’ve got a machine that automotive enthusiasts will appreciate from the bottom of their hearts!

Designer: Jeroen Claus

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This muscular BMW R 18 is a design destined for the dystopian future!

Just imagine a tech-infused world (if it already isn’t) where minimalism is the core essence and a bike whizzes past you with a body that is a perfect mix of past and future. A mean machine that reclaims its space on the tarmac, making any other automotive look ordinary!

This custom BMW R 18 cruiser motorcycle has the right elements to be the eye-candy of motorbike enthusiasts. Designed by the seasoned bike tuner workshop, Zillers Custom Garage, the badass cruiser is one of their best (if not the best) custom-designed two-wheelers. BMW commissioned four custom workshops – Rolandsandsdesign, Bernhard Neumann, Kingston Custom and Zillers Custom Garage – to create their own versions of BMW R18 custom bike.

Zillers tweaked the architecture of the original bike with the support of BMW Motorrad Russia. In fact, they dedicated this creation to them. The design we see here is made in the custom garage’s signature graphite gray in three different color variants.

The bike’s engine gets new covers, caps, and mesh screens for a slightly visible look of the 1,802 cc two-cylinder boxer engine. Zillers opted to replace the sublime rear sub-frame with the unique taillight design to lend a touch of style to the rear. For this tweak the gas tank got new brackets to make way for this subframe. The massive swingarm and extended wheelbase contrasted by the short exhausts give this custom R18 a rare charm. For the wheels, the custom workshop replaced them with large metal disks.

If you are looking for the big exhaust pipe of the stock BMW R 18 hidden somewhere, well, it is totally replaced now with an angular telescopic silencer, giving it a flowing fin-like form. The seats and the rear portion of the bodywork now have a thick metal wrap to go with the matte silver gray paint job. In the end, I’ve got to say, this custom R 18 has the reminiscences of the original bike with a high-quality remake that Zillers can take pride in!

Designer: Zillers Custom Garage

Why the BMW i Vision Circular Concept looks so unique and attractive, and what automotive designers can learn from it

BMW i Vision Circular Concept

Nobody ever designed anything iconic by following the rules. The BMW i Vision Circular Concept works on the same principle – it has an appearance that’s car-like enough to not be mistaken for anything else, yet the design team takes deliberate decisions to deviate from certain norms, creating a car that looks and feels really refreshing. Here are a couple of my takeaways that could become design lessons in the future… and yes, I’ll be bringing up the Tesla Cybertruck.

Just to cover the basics, the i Vision Circular Concept debuted at the Munich Auto Show as BMW’s first-ever ‘100% recyclable’ car. Designed for the year 2040, the i Vision Circular Concept comes with a design featuring parts that are completely detachable (thanks to the use of intelligent fasteners like cords and press-fit joints instead of glue and welding) and easy to fix/repair. The car’s body is made from recycled aluminum, its interiors use fabric made from recycled plastic, and even the tires are made from a “sustainably cultivated” natural rubber. As one would expect with any eco-conscious automobile, the i Vision Circular Concept runs on an electric powertrain too… and while managing to balance all those bits of innovation, the i Vision Circular Concept looks like an absolute stunner. It’s unconventionally shaped, looks decidedly modern, makes incredible use of volumes, surfaces, edges, continuity, and lighting, while still ensuring that the car follows BMW’s brand DNA and retains its iconic design language… and if that wasn’t impressive enough, the car also doesn’t use a single drop of paint.

BMW i Vision Circular Concept

A futuristic form that’s edgy, but friendly.

Angular straight lines play a dominant role in visual futurism – a theory that the Cybertruck has pushed to its very limits. Straight lines can never be found in nature, so the use of them automatically makes something look artificial or man-made. Play with those parameters enough and you’ll arrive at something that looks so artificial it feels like it’s from the future. While that may have played to the Cybertruck’s strength (because the ultimate consensus, whether you liked the pickup truck’s design or not, was that it looked hyper-futuristic), it isn’t necessarily what the i Vision Circular Concept is going for. Sure, the use of sharp edges and angular lines play a major part in allowing the car to look futuristic, but the gentle use of curves give it a more friendly, relatable appeal, making it look appealing and warm instead of robotic and cold.

As far as form and surface treatment goes, the i Vision Circular Concept doesn’t really go by the book. For starters, it has a panoramic windshield that extends all the way from the front to the top and the back, and even to the sides. The front is a continuous curve too, highly reminiscent of Lamborghinis, and gives the car a wedge-shaped silhouette that’s wider than the kind seen in Lambos, but is still unmistakably different from almost every other car. It even comes with a chasm or a valley running down the bonnet, creating that bit of drama by breaking the surface, while providing a neat area to house the BMW logo. There’s also an incredibly low overhang over the front and rear wheels, resulting in a car that looks incredibly tight, yet with curves in the right places.

BMW i Vision Circular Concept

BMW i Vision Circular Concept

Eyes so pretty, you can’t stop staring at them.

Chances are that the first thing you noticed about the BMW i Vision Circular Concept was its headlights. Over time, cars have anthropomorphized to form faces, where the headlights look like eyes – a feature that’s allowed car brands to give their automobiles character and emotions, which is why the slim headlights of an Audi make it look aggressive, and the round headlights of a VW Beetle make it look fun and friendly. The i Vision Circular Concept’s eyes rely on an incredible contrast created by angular white lines on a black background. The angular lines give the car a discerning appearance without necessarily looking mean or angry, and the headlights aren’t simply relegated to a bulb and reflector located on either side of the car’s front… instead, the angular lines travel all the way across the front from left to right. BMW’s designers even used this genius move to turn the headlights into a makeshift kidney grille, fulfilling a design detail that can be found on every single BMW car from the very beginning. Since the i Vision Circular Concept doesn’t have a gas-powered engine (and therefore doesn’t need a grille on the front), the angular lines take its place, making the car concept equal parts path-breaking yet true to BMW’s legacy.

BMW i Vision Circular Concept

BMW i Vision Circular Concept

BMW i Vision Circular Concept

Not a drop of paint.

Easily one of the most wasteful processes in a car’s manufacturing, the paint-job needs to be conducted in a highly controlled environment by specialized robots with highly expensive equipment. The process can take days at an end, result in a massive amount of wasted resources and paint, and if gone even fractionally wrong, needs to be done all over again from scratch. Cleverly enough, the i Vision Circular Concept dodges this process entirely, saving resources and energy, but also potentially millions of dollars in the process.

The car’s eye-catching matte gold finish is the result of a process called anodizing, which involves electro-chemically layering a thin film of color on top of the car’s metal body. It’s time-saving, foolproof, and adds a thin layer of color over the metal, as opposed to multiple layers of paint. The gold color transitions to a wonderful blue-ish hue at the back that’s achieved through heat-treatment, a process often employed with steel. BMW wasn’t clear about how laborious or expensive these processes are, but just on paper, they seem quicker and more cost-effective than spraying on 7-8 layers of automotive paint onto an entire car.

BMW i Vision Circular Concept

The i Vision Circular Concept ultimately aims at showcasing BMW’s vision for the future, while also giving us a glimpse of what technologies they’re developing to make that future a reality. It’s pretty likely that BMW won’t ever release this car, because its purpose is more demonstrative in nature than anything else – which just makes it a perfect example of what trends automotive designers can expect to see moving forward in the industry. There’s a fair bit to learn from the i Vision Concept – from its different design decisions to how it manages to perfectly balance sustainability with style. More importantly, the fact that BMW’s designing recyclable cars is, in itself, a massive flex for the company and is definitely a direction that more automotive companies should be taking in the future.

Designer: BMW

BMW i Vision Circular Concept

The post Why the BMW i Vision Circular Concept looks so unique and attractive, and what automotive designers can learn from it first appeared on Yanko Design.

Meet BMW and BMW Motorrad’s Vision AMBY models and their thoughtful design process

BMW is on a path to redefine our vision of what automotive design looks like with their BMW Group keynote 2021. Focusing on their two-wheeler concepts that blur the boundary between bicycle and motorbike, meet the BMW i Vision AMBY and the BMW Motorrad Vision AMBY.

These are two of five different concept vehicles that the BMW Group will use at the IAA Mobility 2021 in Munich to showcase its vision of individual mobility in and around the urban setting. The theme of the event focuses on electric mobility, digitalization, and sustainability, these concepts provide a diverse range of solutions designed to encourage every type of user.

Sleek, modern, and distinctly edgy (the battery pack seems to take a suspicious inspiration from the angular design trend made popular by Tesla Cybertruck) – the BMW i Vision AMBY takes its role to inspire the design world seriously. The pedelec defies the standard dominant hues of black, blue, and silver for a refreshing metallic gold finish that is sure to turn heads.

AMBY stands for ‘Adaptive Mobility’ and each of these designs has its own interpretation of the adaptive user behavior. Both vehicles are electrically powered with three-speed levels for different types of road. The drive allows up to 25 km/h on cycle paths, up to 45 km/h on inner-city roads, and up to a top speed of 60 km/h on multi-lane roads and out of town. A helmet, insurance license plates, and a relevant driving license are required when you want to travel at higher speeds.

BMW i Vision AMBY

Speaking of the design of the BMW i Vision AMBY, the team explains, “The design of the BMW i Vision AMBY is defined by visual lightness and powerful athleticism. And every detail promises that it is capable of more than a regular e-bike. The frame structure is larger and the impression is one of greater strength and stability in every respect. The modern frame geometry feels like a mixture of a racing bike and a sporty e-bike. The upper frame tube, crafted from four sculptural aluminum profiles, represents an expressive and modern statement of intent – and not only in visual terms. A slightly rising sweep to its design underscores the dynamic intent. The space between the profiles also offers a storage room for a backpack or laptop bag. Located just before the handlebars is the smartphone integration pad, which holds the device safely in place using magnets and ensures it is highly visible.”

The battery is positioned in the center of the bike frame with its 2,000 Wh capacity enabling a range of up to 300 km (186 miles). The design of the handlebar stem includes a slim, horizontal LED light strip that is integrated into the wide handlebars and underscores the cutting-edge, technical look of this frame section. Being a pedal-driven device, the design automatically becomes a zero-emissions design, keeping in tune with the circular economy messaging for the BMW i Vision Circular.

“The frame can be clearly recognized as being made from the same anodized secondary aluminum as the main body of the BMW i Vision Circular. Added to which, parts of the handlebars and battery cover are manufactured from “floating grey polymers”, a recycled plastic also employed in the bumpers of the Vision Vehicle. These materials can be fed back into the BMW Group materials cycle more easily once the product has reached the end of its life. An oil derived from rapeseed is used as brake fluid. And the BMW Group was also careful to ensure the components of the BMW i Vision AMBY were produced locally in Germany and – with the supply chain in mind – transportation distances for them were kept to a minimum.”

BMW Motorrad Vision AMBY

A completely new concept between bicycle and motorbike, the concept focuses on the emotional connection between the user and the vehicle, taking it beyond a simple machine to a ‘partner in crime’. With its graphic yet dirtbike-like design, the sleekness of the concept focuses on the bicycle-like aesthetics with the functionality and soul of a BMW Enduro motorbike. It is this balancing act that makes it the perfect urban bike as well as a design that can go farther/longer ahead with you when you need it to.

“The BMW Motorrad Vision AMBY takes us into new territory. For us, the focus is on user behavior – the question is: how will customers want to get around in the future? What will they expect their vehicle to be capable of? This was precisely the starting point of our deliberations. Our aim was to develop an extremely emotional vehicle for smart mobility in and around the city that offered maximum freedom. The BMW Motorrad Vision AMBY really does enable our customers to experience urban life in a whole new way, cover distances more flexibly and “break free” of the city from time to time, too. At the same time, BMW Motorrad is consistently pursuing its electromobility strategy for urban conurbations. It’s a fascinating introduction to the world of BMW Motorrad that also promises maximum riding pleasure,” explains Edgar Heinrich, Head of Design BMW Motorrad.

“In keeping with the unexpected, self-assured character of the BMW Motorrad Vision AMBY, its two sides have deliberately been designed distinctively. On both sides, the white “AMBY” lettering catches the eye above the light-colored drive unit, making a striking statement as a stylized graphic on the trim of the energy storage unit. While the lettering on the left gains additional visual depth from a colorfully shimmering, iridescent drop shadow, the inscription on the right appears deliberately without a drop shadow. Below the energy storage unit, there are two iridescent elements that add a further accentuation. On the right-hand side of the vehicle, three small turquoise blue tubes visibly emerge from the silhouette, clearly alluding to the electric heart of the BMW Motorrad Vision AMBY. Next to this is a quote by Markus Schramm, Head of BMW Motorrad: „Electro-mobility will be very significant for the future of motorcycling.

Both the designs focus on using your smartphone as a Digital Key and geofencing to keep your rides safe. The focus on this entire experience is to cement BMW’s position as a game-changer, as a design brand that is staying true to its promise to sustainability and also shows that being sustainable is not a compromise. We are eagerly awaiting to experience these designs!

Designer: BMW and BMW Motorrad