BMW turned 100 this year and as part of the celebrations it has been unveiling forward-looking concepts – today it’s the Vision Next 100, a future Rolls-Royce.
A personal experience, effortless travel, a relaxing sanctuary and a grand arrival.
So go the four tenets that Rolls-Royce designers through the ages have always given consideration to.
The British snob brand, now part of the BMW empire, assure all have been considered with the incredible design study the brand has unveiled in the United Kingdom today.
The Vision Next 100, code-named 103EX, is a massive effort in every sense, including – at 5.9 metres long and 1.6m high – its dimension, that looks not to a dentury from now but the next 20 to 30 years.
It is, at genesis, a stately coupe, but it’s also a grandiose statement that blends old with the very new: It still has a steering wheel but it’s there as a decorative back-up. This is Rolls’ first driverless car, so no need for a physical chauffeur. Sorry James, you’ve been put out to pasture for … Eleanor.
Occupants lay back on a silk throne – and that’s the correct description - and simply watch the world go by.
An interior made only of “the most precious and contemporary elegance” allows the owner to be “encircled by the most modern handcrafted fine-line Macassar wood panelling” as they gaze at a “generous” high-definition television screen or, alternately, up through the glass roof “that provides privacy while allowing them to contemplate the majesty of the stars in the firmament above as they glide through the night”.
In a statement described by The Guardian newspaper as being “short on technical specifications but packed with florid description” Rolls-Royce says its proposal “rejects the notion of anonymous, utilitarian and bland future modes of mobility”.
As for Eleanor? It’s a ‘what’ based on a ‘who’, being a virtual assistant named after the actor Eleanor Thornton, always said to have inspired the car’s Spirit of Ecstasy bonnet ornament.
Eleanor will act as a concierge “imbued with her own artificial intelligence”. Capable of reminding the owner not to miss meetings and even bringing the car around to the front of their house at the start of a journey she will progressively learn about you over time, remembering your preferred routes, restaurants, and apparently even your taste in art or … erm … more personal stuff.
If she’s the brains, what about the heart? Rolls-Royce didn’t go into too many details, but there’s no place for an engine as such.
Because it serves to underline BMW’s experessed believe that electric drive is the future, the Vision 100 is a fully autonomous, zero-emissions vehicle, and it serves to underline BMW's expressed belief that electric drive is the future.