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BMW previews flagship electric SUV

Motors | Published:

BMW has unveiled the precursor to a large, all-electric SUV to rival the Tesla Model X and Mercedes EQ C. Called the Vision iNext Concept, it takes BMW’s i series design language and runs with it, creating a boldly-styled, if divisive look.

The Vision iNext certainly makes a bold statement. Though it’s similarly proportioned to BMW’s range of SUVs, the devil is in the detail – and the iNext looks like nothing that has come before it.

At the front, there’s a vast decorative grille shaped to recall the iconic ‘kidney’ grille, flanked by very slim LED headlights.

The grille is blanked off – as an electric car, there’s no cooling needed – and behind it sits a vast array of sensors.

These sensors endow the iNext with full Level 3 autonomy – the technology for which BMW claims will be ready for 2021, when the i SUV heads into production.

As befits a concept car, the iNext rides on huge 24-inch wheels, and boasts a large side opening thanks to rear-hinged rear doors and a total lack of B-pillar. The windscreen and roof form a single seamless panel, while the slightly more conventional rear sees slim LED taillights and boxy proportions combine with vast, fake tailpipes with LED rims.

The interior is similarly bold and modern, with all displays, buttons and gauges replaced by a pair of LCD screens as well as a dash made from ‘smart materials’. This essentially means controls are touch-sensitive and hidden underneath the wood veneer of the dashboard – where pinching, swiping and scrolling works as it would on a touchscreen.

BMW hasn’t revealed any specific powertrain details about the iNext, though when the production model launches in 2021 it will be one of the first models in the firm’s line-up capable of supporting petrol, diesel, hybrid and electric powertrains.

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