Following its debut at the Shanghai auto show, the Vision Future Luxury concept traveled to Italy’s Lake Como, where it took its place on the concours lawn at Villa d’Este near the MINI Superleggera Concept. To find out what this new concept portends for the future of BMW, we spoke with automotive design chief Karim Habib, who penned 2007’s influential Concept CS (which debuted at Shanghai that year) and the current F01 7 Series, among other projects.
Bimmer: The Vision Future Luxury made its debut in Shanghai seven years after the Concept CS. What’s changed since that time?
Karim Habib: The exercise is a bit different. With the Concept CS, we very clearly wanted to create a four-door coupe, and it was our first foray into the four-door coupe idea. This is a little more about elegance and definitely a lot more about luxury. The CS was more about sport and power, a V12 sports coupe idea. The statement the Vision Future Luxury is making is a bit different. I think you can see it not only in the interior, but also in the exterior. For example, you can see that it’s one continuous line from front to rear. The CS put more focus over the rear haunches.
Bimmer: Does this car emphasize a newfound emphasis on technology and construction at BMW, and is that part of the overall corporate zeitgeist?
Habib: Yes. It is definitely part of the corporate zeitgeist. We’re an engineering company, and I think what we’ve done with the BMW i cars is pretty gutsy, pretty risky, betting on carbon fiber for such big numbers. There is that mentality that we should do things because we can, to a certain level of technology.
There are three elements. There’s technology and the desire to push technology. There’s the fact that we have a portfolio that’s been recently expanding at the lower end, if you will, of the bandwidth. And then there’s the fact that you can now start talking about luxury at BMW, something we haven’t done very openly in the past.
Bimmer: What made that possible?