If we invited you to a magical world where the BMW M8 and i8 were mashed together, you’d surely come along with us. Imagine the i8’s planet-saving disposition, and its exotic looks, construction, and layout. And the M8’s thundering performance.
Sadly, it exists only in concept-car form at the moment, but for now we’ll take that. Meet the Vision M Next.
It’s a mid-engined wedge, futuristic as you like. But at the same time it’s slyly looking in its rearview for some very fine design references: We’re seeing the 1978 M1, and come to that the 1972 Turbo concept, as well as the i8.
When it’s in full angry mode, there’s a strongly turbo’d four-cylinder behind the seats. That’s assisted by an electric motor at each end. Totaled up, BMW is talking 592hp.
The top speed is claimed to be a nice, round 300kph. The 0-100kph time is more impressive, at 3sec dead. We suspect those numbers are purely theoretical rather than test-track verified, mind. Unless a certain tame racing driver has swapped his all-white overalls for a set of diagonally divided gray-and-orange ones.
But it’s also friendly: Plug it in and charge the battery, and you’ve got a claimed 100km in electric drive. And unlike in the i8, there are strong electric motors front and rear, so it’s true electric AWD.
Approach and face-recognition tech lets you in. What if you’re in a helmet? Oh, never mind.
The gullwing doors admit you to a spare interior, scooped as if from a solid block. The steering wheel is a butterfly shape like a dragster’s. Mounted on the skeletal column is a curved glass display covering all the usual instruments and infotainment, plus a heart-rate display.
Switch to Boost + mode, though, and much of that distraction goes away from the instrument pod. As with previous BMW Vision concepts, the entire windscreen becomes an augmented-reality device. The advanced navigation and driving-assistance computers effectively project cornering lines and braking points over the road. Like your built-in race instructor.
The two seats are integral in the cockpit, made of memory foam so they don’t need a heavy structure. Oh, and when you’re pulling big G’s, no need to fret about spilling drink over the lovely blue microfiber. Because the cupholders are gyroscopic. We say that again: Gyro. Scopic. Cup. Holders.
Details outside include slit-like laser eyes for headlights, a 3D laser-etched grille, and daubs of what is called, justifiably, Thrilling Orange paint. That contrasts with the matte gray and a lower section of brooding black recycled carbon fiber. The upper air intake’s outline suggests the Hofmeister kink, so it doesn’t actually appear in the glass shape.
The name Vision tells you it’s a far-fetched idea for the future rather than a near-showroom tease. Boo. You’ll notice also that ‘i’ doesn’t appear in the name. It’s not an i8 M. There aren’t any significant parts from the i8, and indeed, the i8 is built with its own drivetrain in mind, so subjected to the 592hp of this new concept it’d probably bend like a choc-ice in the sun.
NOTE: This article first appeared on TopGear.com. Minor edits have been made.