Tuesday, February 3, 2009


BMW's design department has been working overtime lately. Just last month, the German automaker unveiled its M1 Homage Concept at the Villa d'Este Concours on the shores of Lake Como, Italy. Now, Munich has officially taken the wraps off of a new design study called the GINA Light Visionary Model, a creation BMW says shouldn't be thought of as "just another concept car," but rather "a whole new approach to automotive design."
With its GINA (Geometry and Functions In "N" Adaptions) model, BMW set out to explore the creative freedom that might be offered with future cars while using a traditional front-mounted eight-cylinder engine and rear-drive platform. The surface of the concept features a new fabric material that BMW says is highly resistant to expansion, durable, and flexible. Underneath the covering material is a light aluminum subframe that is moveable via electric and hydraulic controls, allowing the surface itself to be reshaped according to the owner's desire. The usual elements of production cars -- doors, wheel arches, a trunk lid, engine hood, and roof -- are not present in the conventional sense. Rather, the body consists of just four components: a front panel that leads to the edge of the windscreen, two side panels (one on each side of the car), and a rear deck panel.
BMW is particularly proud of the headlights on the GINA project. When the headlights are not active, they are hidden under the car's skin. When turned on, the metal subframe moves the covering fabric skin laterally away from either side of the trademark kidney-shaped grille, exposing the double lights. Other sections of bodywork are moveable as well: the rear panel shifts to allow a spoiler to rise when traveling over a specified speed, while the rocker panels move to narrow or widen the side air intakes and extend an additional protruding rocker panel line. Even the aforementioned kidney grille is able to be widened, adding separate distinct body lines in the process.

No comments: