By David Cohen
Highlights will be shared on the Shorty Awards site following the event.
The winners of the Fifth Annual Shorty Social Good Awards are:
Read the story at adweek.com
By David Cohen
Highlights will be shared on the Shorty Awards site following the event.
The winners of the Fifth Annual Shorty Social Good Awards are:
Read the story at adweek.com
Oct. 14, 2020 – Mirrored Media has been selected as a Shorty Social Good Award Finalist for BMW IconicSounds Electric in the Energy category.
The Shorty Social Good Awards honor the social good initiatives brands, agencies & nonprofits are taking to make our world a better place. While the Shorty Awards have long-honored the best of social media and digital, this competition includes efforts made by organizations to improve sustainability and diversity internally, foster globally-minded business partnerships and increase employee community and civic engagement.
Finalists were selected by members of the Real Time Academy of Short Form Arts & Sciences, comprised of luminaries from advertising, media, entertainment and technology. The group includes Ogilvy Vice President of Social Change Kate Hull Fliflet, Owner and CEO at Black Girls Run Jay Ell Alexander, Director of Social Impact at MTV, VH1 and Logo Maxwell Zorick, Founder and CEO at The Phluid Project Rob Smith, and more. Social Good Award winners will be announced and honored at a digital ceremony on Thursday, November 12th, in New York City.
ABOUT THE SHORTY SOCIAL GOOD AWARDS
The Shorty Social Good Awards are presented by the Shorty Awards and produced by Sawhorse Media (http://sawhorsemedia.com/), a New York-based technology company. Sawhorse also created and runs Muck Rack (http://muckrack.com/), the leading network to connect with journalists on social media.
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Mirrored Media is proud to have been named a finalist in the 2020 OMMA Awards in the Automotive category for our work on BMW’s IconicSounds Electric.
The OMMA Awards is an annual awards event that honors the best campaigns in Online Marketing Media and Advertising (OMMA) by agencies and advertisers that push the potential of digital advertising.
The BMW IconicSounds Electric initiative is a groundbreaking partnership between the mobility brand and composer Hans Zimmer to design the sounds of the future for the BMW electric fleet.
See the full list of finalists and vote for us in the Members’ Choice Awards by visiting the OMMA Awards website.
The Mirrored Media team is proud to accept the 2020 Pro Award for Best Entertainment Sponsorship or Tie-in for the #RoadtoCoachella 2019 campaign with BMW and Khalid. Thank you so much to Chief Marketer and the Pro Awards for the recognition and virtual experience and so glad our artist partner Khalid could join us to celebrate virtually!
You can watch the category announcement as well as our acceptance speech in the video below.
Hans Zimmer is the man behind the music. Having written film scores for hits like The Lion King and Interstellar, the German composer is now working on a series of mini-soundtracks to feature in the 2021 all-electric BMW i4. The electric car is anticipated to be the first genuine rival to Tesla’s Model 3. Zimmer’s soundtracks will not only be exclusive to this model, they will set the tone (quite literally) for the sound of all future electric BMWs.
What do electric vehicles (EVs) sound like? At low speeds, EVs and hybrids can be near-silent. This has led experts to believe that, compared to their gas-guzzling counterparts, they are 37% and 57% more likely to cause low-speed accidents involving pedestrians and cyclists, says a 2011 study by the US National Highway Traffic Safety and Administration.
As a result, currently new models, and by July 2021 all new electric cars, must now be fitted with Acoustic Vehicle Alerting Systems (AVAS) in the EU. These systems emit a continuous noise when moving 20 kilometres per hour or slower or when reversing, helping to alert pedestrians.
Well, safety is the primary purpose, “but there is still room to inject the brand personality and differentiate it from others in the competitive space,” says sound designer Connor Moore, who has worked on the audio branding for Tesla and Google/Waymo cars. While early approaches to AVAS sounds opted for either emulating Internal Combustion Engines (ICE) or a plain and simple electric motor noise, we are now starting to see more creative approaches. “We have an opportunity to take an atonal ICE tone and craft something  to create a very specific emotion – which is powerful,” says Connor.
When it comes to an engine-emulating AVAS system, there are pros and cons. Kota Kobayashi, design lead at EV manufacturer Arrival, tells Euronews Living, “people already recognise the sound, so there is no need to educate the meaning of the sound. But if we were to communicate various levels of risk to pedestrians, it may be difficult to do so by the sound of the combustion engine alone.”
BMW is certainly breaking away from legislation-imposed sounds, with Zimmer and collaborator Renzo Vitale composing what the manufacturer refer to as “sound worlds”. These will apply to the exterior, the AVAS, as well as the opening of car doors, and a special start/stop musical theme will apply to the concept version of the i4. Maybe we can even expect an Interstellar-esque docking theme to sound out as you connect the electric BMW to a charging station? Connor says “simplicity” is key when composing these sounds.
“We don’t want to be heavy-handed or overly rich or complex for a turn signal or seatbelt chime. To me, good sound design is almost transparent. It should be something you notice and love, but should live more in the subconscious.”
One might assume that it would be cutting-edge EV brand Tesla choosing to go leftfield and employing the skills of a film composer, rather than BMW, the German car manufacturer steeped in history. While the Tesla Model 3s were fitted with an AVAS system in the US from September 2019, it is one of the only EV manufacturers that is yet to experiment sonically.
Every year 1.6 million ‘healthy life’ years are lost in European cities due to environmental noise, primarily traffic, states the World Health Organisation. Increased risk of heart disease, stress-related mental health issues, tinnitus and cognitive impairment among children are some of the main health risks. An adaptive AVAS system could be used to emit noise at a quieter level when in a suburban area at night time, where the sound level is often 40dB or lower.
What’s more, researchers at the Danish Road Directorate found EVs to be 4-5dB less noisy at low speeds than the equivalent petrol-powered car, proving a switch to electric would still have a significant impact in reducing noise pollution.
“We have an opportunity here to potentially design a quieter world,” says Connor.
At this rate, cities of the future could end up sounding like the sci-fi clamours from Blade Runner 2049, but will other manufacturers choose to follow in BMW and Audi’s creative footsteps?
Read the full article at euronews.com
When General Maximus — that’s Russell Crowe in “Gladiator” — leads his Roman legions into battle, Hans Zimmer’s bombastic, percussive score propels them to victory.
As hundreds of bedraggled British troops waging World War II await a tenuous evacuation from the beaches of “Dunkirk,” Mr. Zimmer’s tick-tock effects mirror their anxiety and urgency.
As the 1976 Formula One championship roils toward a climax in “Rush,” Mr. Zimmer’s synthesizer is there on the rain-soaked track in Japan, fueling the fight.
And when a driver starts up his or her electric-powered BMW i4 sedan later this year or next, Hans Zimmer will be riding shotgun, so to speak, creating a sonic signature for the car, because electric motors make little sound.
“I can sum it up, from Day 1 to now: It’s never finished, it’s always an experiment,” Mr. Zimmer said recently in a phone interview from London. “We’ve been trying to create sounds which are aesthetically pleasing and calming — sort of anti-road rage.”
So don’t expect to hear the growl of an overtuned V-8, the bark of an amplified exhaust, the screech of tires digging for grip. Mr. Zimmer wants to take you to a different place. “It’s something that transports you in the most elegant way possible,” he said. “We are trying to make your life less chaotic, more beautiful.”
But beyond aesthetics and marketing, enhancing an electric car with sounds is a legal issue as well. In the United States, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration adopted rules in 2018 that say electric cars must make some artificial sounds. Congress made it a requirement that light-duty hybrids and electrics emit noise as a safety measure for pedestrians, bicyclists and people with a visual impairment.
The European Parliament has mandated that electrics sold in Europe will have to “sound similar” to cars with combustion engines at speeds below 20 kilometers an hour. The rule is to take full effect in 2021.
So far, BMW is alone in hiring a composer with Mr. Zimmer’s repertoire, and this work is a labor of love for the 62-year-old, German-born musician. He said the Bavarians “came to me” to accept the work, “although a half-hour later I had an email from another company to create something for an electric car.”
“But I grew up with BMW. My family always drove BMWs,” he added. “There was an emotional connection there.”
Certainly, the German carmaker isn’t alone is seeking ways to fill in the sonic voids that are inherent in electric cars. Mercedes-Benz and Volkswagen have assigned development teams to work toward similar ends for their electrics, as have Jaguar, Nissan, General Motors and others.
“The electric vehicle sound is its identity,” Frank Welsch, responsible for technical development at Volkswagen, told Reuters last year. “It cannot be too intrusive or annoying. It has to be futuristic, and it cannot sound like anything we had in the past.”
BMW’s soundtrack is very much a work in progress for Mr. Zimmer and his partner in the project, Renzo Vitale, the automaker’s sound designer. Mr. Zimmer, who maintains an exotic sound laboratory in Santa Monica, Calif., is fitting it in between his film work: He was putting the finishing touches on his score for the new James Bond movie, “No Time to Die,” (which has been delayed until November) when we spoke in mid-March.
He explained that, in his view, the “BMW IconicSounds Electric” commission was more about deleting than adding. “Too much information would automatically be distracting,” he said. “If you look at the great pieces of art, it’s usually the simplicity that makes them great.”
Mr. Zimmer was asked if the rather chaotic soundtrack he created for “Rush” might somehow translate to excite the experience of an electric car, much the way a loud, vibrating exhaust might affect a driver’s senses.
“‘Rush’ is not about your normal day of enjoying your car,” he said. “We’re not building racecars here. We’re taking you on a different journey.”
Some of the created sounds released so far by BMW have been described in rather esoteric terms. One white paper from the company calls out a “liminal threshold” with sound that is “manifold” and “chameleonic” with “presence that is subtle but unavoidable.” Among the tones to reach the listeners’ ears are those with mid- to high frequencies, low frequencies and a “dynamic pulse train” that provides a “throbbing sensation.”
Mr. Zimmer, who doesn’t try to describe these “compositions” in sentences (he is the first to allow that it’s nearly impossible to describe music with words), has a somewhat more ethereal view.
“A car can be the most beautiful form of solitude, yet there’s the companionship you get from the engine,” he said. “Part of what we’re trying to do is to create sounds which are aesthetically rather pleasing and calming.”
At the same time, said Mr. Vitale, the sounds that may be used to identify the car’s start/stop systems, for example, are “intended to instill a sense of excitement.”
As for the composer, “I’m still trying to get closer to the truth,” Mr. Zimmer said. “How am I going to connect the humans to the machine? How am I going to give you the freedom in this world I create to be an individual and tell your own story?”
He sighed, then said, “Our rubbish bins are full of dead sounds, things which seemed hopeful and exciting and then turned out to be going in the wrong direction.”
See the full story and more at nytimes.com
To fill the aural vacuum left by the disappearance of the engine, BMW brought in a ringer.
By Brett Berk.
Thelma & Louise. Rain Man. The Lion King. True Romance. Interstellar. Dunkirk. Each film works to take its viewers on an emotional journey, and each leans on a shared tool: a Hans Zimmer score that serves as a guide, signaling joy, grief, conflict, passion, and more in turn. Now, though, the Oscar-winning composer has turned his talents away from the silver screen and toward the windscreen, where he’s found a new vehicle that could use a touch of emotional direction: the electric car.
Along with more than 500 horsepower and a range of 370 miles, BMW’s all-electric Concept i4 comes with music by Zimmer. These mini scores, which BMW calls “sound worlds,” will ripple out their smoothly vibrant vibrato—think Lionel Hampton on the theremin—when the doors open, as the car starts up, and as the car drives along the road.
On the i4, a concept four-door coupe BMW unveiled earlier this month, the composition morphs slightly based the car’s current driving modes, whether “core,” “sport,” or “efficient.” Zimmer and his collaborator, BMW sound designer Renzo Vitale, call the i4’s soundtrack “Limen,” the word for the threshold below which a stimuli can’t be perceived. It’s all about connecting sound to an emotional experience, which in this case happens to be driving on battery power instead of watching Rafiki hoist Simba into the air.
“We are at a moment in time, with electric cars, when we get to change the whole sonic landscape of everything in a vehicle,” Zimmer says. “We can allow the interiors of cars to set moods and give people an experience, to let people devise their own experience, not be forced into the rumbling of a petrol engine anymore.”
Zimmer’s BMW sound worlds are in concept form now, but the company intends to roll them out over the next few years on more than two dozen electric vehicles. That will start with the production version of the i4, later in 2021.
The key here is that by replacing a rumbling engine with a silent battery and whirring motors, BMW and every other automaker are ditching the sonic experience that has been part of the automobile for more than a century. Car lovers may miss the angry sewing machine clack of a Porsche 911’s flat-six, the throaty grumble and whine of a supercharged Dodge Hemi V8, or the cranial wail of a Ferrari V-12. So might unsuspecting new EV buyers. Without the rumpus of an internal combustion engine, wind roar and tire slap sound all the louder. Zimmer and Vitale strive not just to mask those perturbances but to add delight and uplift to the driving experience.
“Think about your morning, where you have to go and start your car and go to your job,” Zimmer says. “Wouldn’t it be nice if the starting sound was something beautiful, something that put a smile on your face, something that makes your day better?”
The score does sound energizing and engaging, especially in the symphonically crescendoing “sport” mode. It definitely doesn’t sound “rumbling.” But it has some additional, and perhaps questionable, 1970s sci-fi movie overtones.
“There’s this idea that all battery electric cars should sound like a spaceship,” says Jonathan Pierce, senior research and development manager for Harman, a sound engineering firm that supplies the automotive industry with stereo systems, speakers, noise-cancellation equipment, and electric vehicle soundtracks–both internal and external. “Unfortunately, we don’t know what a spaceship sounds like, right? None of us have ever heard a spaceship before.”
Pierce is working with consumers as well as client automakers to create a relevant vocabulary for the sounds they will soon be adding to the interiors and—as regulation requires—exteriors of electric vehicles. Following recent research, his team came up with 40 different terms ranging from, as Pierce says, “something really progressive and futuristic—the pulsing, the whirring, the droning—all the way up to something more aggressive.”
The goal here is not just to update our terminology for car sounds, but to assist with their identification and branding. And there, Pierce’s work aligns with Zimmer’s. The composer’s parents always drove BMWs, and he could pick out the unique tone of their Bimmer from the balcony. “When I heard that sound,” he says, “everything was fine. Safety. Mom and Dad were home.”
Likewise, contemporary carmakers want to create soundtracks that will help people identify, and identify with, their vehicles. And because this sound is no longer tied to a physical source, like an engine, the potential choices are boundless. Which presents automakers with a new kind of quandary.
“Everybody wants to have something iconic,” Pierce says, pointing to how Harley Davidson attempted to patent the sound of its motorcycles’ exhaust note. So he wants his team to create the tones that will distinguish a Ford EV from a Hyundai EV. “These need to not only be very unique sounds, they need to be pleasing,” Pierce says. “Almost like a piece of jewelry that you wear and you hope other people envy.”
Maybe you’re wondering if all of this runs counter to one of the core promises of electric cars, the luxury of silence at speed. But Zimmer argues that for many, silence is unnerving, especially at speed. It can feel uncanny, unmoored from the physical processes that provide acceleration. When Zimmer scored Interstellar, he played on that feeling to convey the awe of rocket travel. The blastoff was the loudest moment of the film, and he blew out a few speaker systems before getting it right. But then the score goes silent. “That’s when everything was at astronomical speeds,” Zimmer says.
In any case, people aren’t seeking total silence. As automakers got better at isolating their customers from engine noise with better insulation, double-paned windows, and active noise cancellation, some customers complained. So manufacturers started piping engine noise into the cabin. BMW went further, playing artificial tunes through the stereo system. Some of this desire for sound at speed, or sound correlated to speed, may be out of habit, a generational quest for the familiar, the way that the keyboards on smart phones still make typing noises, or the cameras on smart phones still make shutter clicks. Zimmer thinks that this may vanish over time. “I think it’s sort of important to leave nostalgia behind,” he says.
Then he reconsiders. “As I said that, I suddenly remembered that every sci-fi movie we have ever seen is incredibly nostalgic.” He points to Blade Runner and Interstellar. Perhaps our dreams of the future are always enmeshed with our fantasies of the past. And our dream cars will always sound like the vehicles from our outmoded idea of the future, like something out of The Jetsons, because that’s what reassures us.
Zimmer sees his automotive work as fostering the way a car catalyzes this kind of big-picture thinking. “A car is such a great place to think, it’s such a great place to dream and have your own thoughts,” he says. “The car is the perfect private place to have constantly great ideas.”
Read the full story at Wired.com
Written by Morgan Korn for ABC News.
The 600-horsepower supercar on display in Munich typified the future for automaker BMW: bold, visionary, powerful.
Called the Vision M NEXT, the wedge-shaped plug-in hybrid concept car, wrapped in matte colors like “Thrilling Orange” and “Cast Silver,” was equally polarizing and enthralling.
All it needed was a voice.
Car companies have been grappling for years with how to acoustically assist drivers in quiet vehicles. Gone are the deep rumbles, distinctive growls and high pitch whines of an internal combustion engine that have always been a reliable soundtrack and alert system.
In BMW’s case, that assignment belonged to Hans Zimmer, the renowned Oscar-winning composer and record producer. BMW hired Zimmer to develop the drive sounds for the Vision M NEXT, which debuted last June to much fanfare. Zimmer and BMW acoustic sound engineer Renzo Vitale spent months at Zimmer’s recording studios in London and Santa Monica, tinkering with the “boom sound” that would envelop the driver when the car was in full electric mode.
“We had to create a whole new soundscape,” Zimmer told ABC News by phone. “We were not tied to the sound of a petrol engine anymore. I can’t remember how many versions were produced; it’s such a fluid process. You start with an idea and play around with it, see what reaction you get. The sounds do have to serve a purpose.”
Zimmer described the final result as “poetic,” adding that the sound had to match the driver’s adrenaline as the Vision M NEXT picked up speed.
He will also be in charge of developing e-sounds for future BMW EVs and plug-in hybrids, a project called BMW IconicSounds Electric. Composing a soundtrack for a silent vehicle was no different than composing a film score or writing a piece of music, Zimmer said.
“It’s just interesting for me to be able to work with a completely different new medium,” he said. “As this conversation started to develop around electric cars, it made me think as a musician, what could the world sound like?”
Read the full story HERE.
PUBLISHED: 04:02 EST, 3 March 2020 | UPDATED: 04:47 EST, 3 March 2020
“German car giant BMW has launched a new electric executive car that features a soundtrack by Academy Award winning movie composer Hans Zimmer.
The aim is to make the new battery-powered BMW i4 electric prototype – designed to take on Elon Musk’s Tesla Model 3 – and the German manufacturer’s future cars sound cool.
That’s because while the prototype i4 has dramatic performance, the near silence of the electric drive can risk making the experience feel soulless.
Soundtrack over silence: This is the Concept i4 from BMW – an electric car that makes a sound when it moves that’s been scored by an Academy Award winning film composerPromo flaunts capability and design of new BMW Concept i4Loaded: 0%Progress: 0%0:00PreviousPlaySkipMuteCurrent Time0:00/Duration Time2:01FullscreenNeed Text
To counter this BMW has sought put some aural heart and emotion into battery-powered motoring to help overcome the lack of sound drivers have grown used to from conventional petrol and diesel engines.
Rather than leave things to chance, BMW has hired the services of the top blockbuster film composer who penned the music to movies including Gladiator, Batman, Pirates of the Caribbean, The Last Samurai, The Da Vinci Code, 12 Years a Slave, and Dunkirk.
He also won an Academy Award for his original score for The Lion King, and has worked on the forthcoming 007 movie No Time to Die and the new Tom Cruise film, Top Gun: Maverick.
Mr Zimmer worked with BMW sound engineer Renzo Vitale to create sounds that resonate with drivers.
He launched the new electric-drive soundtrack for the i4 at its world premiere today.
The ‘ready-to-drive’ and ‘start-stop’ sound for all-electric BMW models and BMW plug-in hybrids will be introduced as a standard feature worldwide from July 2020.
With its large exaggerated and almost cartoonish grille, the new i4 is set to go into production early next year as BMW’s first all-electric model in the premium mid-size class, where it will go head to head with the Tesla Model 3.
With its large exaggerated and almost cartoonish grille, the new i4 is set to go into production early in 2021
The electric motor drivetrain developing 530 horse-power promises acceleration from rest to 62mph in just 4 seconds up to a top speed of 124mph
The soundtrack made by the i4 Concept will be used across the entire electric and hybrid range of BMWs from July
The electric motor drivetrain developing 530 horsepower promises acceleration from rest to 62mph in just 4 seconds up to a top speed of 124mph with a range of 373 miles.
BMW said: ‘The virtually silent delivery of power creates an entirely new sensation of dynamism.
‘The silence of electric drive systems is often cited as a major benefit of electric mobility. As the choice of electrified models increases, however, it also means some drivers are missing out on the emotional appeal of sound.’
Mr Zimmer, who has a sound studio in Santa Monica, California, said: ‘We have an extraordinary opportunity to turn electric driving in a BMW into a very special experience with the help of great sounds.
BMW claims the Concept i4 has a range of 373 miles. It will need it to rival the 348 miles of the rangiest Model 3 on sale today
Tesla’s design has moved to a blanked front end where a car’s grille would traditionally be, as there is no need for an air intake on an electric car – the opposite to BMW’s exaggerated styling
BMW has hired the services of Hans Zimmer who penned the music to movies including Gladiator, Batman, Pirates of the Caribbean, The Last Samurai, The Da Vinci Code, 12 Years a Slave, and Dunkirk.
‘I am relishing the challenge of co-designing the composition for future electric BMWs.’
He said: ‘We hope the sound we created is classic yet surprising and has a feeling of lightness that is fitting for a BMW.’
The sound ‘repertoire’ of the BMW i4 covers the variety of driving ‘modes’ available to motorists , from the standard sound in cruising mode to ‘the more intense tones of ‘Sport’, he said.
New legislation at requires electric cars to have an artificial sound to warn pedestrians of their impending approach
The styling is very much in-keeping with the wider BMW range, somewhat replicating the shape of its popular saloon models like the 3 Series
The cabin is, as you’d expect from a concept, extremely futuristic. How much of this is kept for next year’s production model is unknown
The ‘sport’ sound is a soft but rising crescendo that feels like (to my ears at least) the opening bars of Pink Floyd’s ‘Dark Side of the Moon.’ The cruising mode is similar, but softer and more ethereal.
Acoustic accompaniments to a door opening – like an electronic ‘plink’ – and when starting the car are also part of the car’s ‘soundscape’,
New legislation at requires electric cars to have an artificial sound to warn pedestrians of their impending approach. And that will provide another opportunity for composing a sound-scape.
Mr Zimmer has said in the past: ‘Electric cars don’t need to sound like a space-ship or a lawn-mower.
‘And silence is not the best way. On the outside you will kill people walking in the way. We have to help that a little bit.’
He explained: ‘In film music I see sound as a way of opening emotional doors to have an experience. I don’t want cars to feel more alive. I want humans to feel more alive.’
In different driving modes, the interior accents change. Cruising mode has the cabin shining blue but if you select sport it all turn red
BMW said: ‘The character of the i4 is not only a product of its design, but also of its visionary sound profile.
‘Hans Zimmer composed the sound of the i4 together with BMW sound designer Renzo Vitale.
‘It will imbue BMW’s electric models with extra emotional depth by connecting the driver with the vehicle’s character on another level through individual tones and sounds.’
Jens Thiemer, BMW’s senior vice president for customers and brand: ‘Sound has always played an important role in the emotionalisation of our vehicles.
‘Now we are taking the joy of sheer driving pleasure to a new level and are particularly pleased to be working with Hans Zimmer to create the new sound world of electric mobility at BMW.'”
“This is the Concept i4, a sleek four-door all-electric coupé and the latest product to join the sustainable BMW i family. Revealed virtually as part of the 2020 Geneva Motor Show (cancelled in its physical format due to the coronavirus) the concept car previews the i4 which is expected to enter production next year as the marque’s first all-electric model in the premium midsize class. What’s more, the Concept i4 comes replete with its own electric engine soundtrack – composed by the celebrated musician Hans Zimmer to express the possibilities of finding a unique electric drive note that speaks of the progressive age of clean transport.
The Concept i4 will offer a 373-mile electric battery range, provide an output of up to 530-horsepower, accelerate to 62 mph in around 4 seconds and perform to a top speed in excess of 124 mph. While, the virtually silent delivery of power, BMW promises, will create an entirely new driving sensation for this coupé.Today In: Lifestyle
This latest show car is an evolution of the 2017 i Vision Dynamics design study. The sleek proportions are classic coupé – a longer wheelbase, fastback roofline and short overhangs. And much like the i Vision, here the exterior design has been kept simple with its smooth lines and clear surfaces – “as a deliberate counterpoint to the dynamic flair of the driving experience” says BMW.
Aerodynamic measures help maximize the car’s electric range including the covered kidney grille and clear aero lips that help the smooth flow of air. Another distinctive feature are the wheel rims, designed exclusively for the Concept i4 to combine aerodynamic and lightweight design. The face offers a subtle new electric look too with its covered kidney grille which, in the absence of a combustion engine and required cooling, now serves primarily as an “intelligence panel” housing the various sensors.
Elsewhere, the headlights maintain the marque’s classical four-eyed design, but with a more contemporary interpretation featuring a couple of freestanding LED elements on either side to integrate the essential light functions. Clean surfaces with only a few crisp lines around the grille help inform the contemporary front-end graphic. Referencing the design of the i Vision, where exhaust tailpipes would once have been found, diffuser elements in BMW i Blue represent the electric drive system. Finally, the Concept i4 previews a new two-dimensional and transparent logo for the marque.
Inside, the Concept i4 cabin maintains BMW’s usual driver-focused environment but through a new curved display design whereby the surfaces of the information and control displays merge into a single unit and are inclined towards the driver. The idea is for the screen grouping to optimize presentation of information and makes the display’s touch operation more intuitive. Head of design Domagoj Dukec says, “with the curved display, we have redefined our signature driver focus in an extremely elegant way. At the same time, the Concept i4 transports a feeling of sustainable driving pleasure.”
BMW i was formed almost a decade ago as a sustainable sub-brand dedicated to finding a distinct product portfolio and a design language for the marque in the age of electrification. I drove the very first i3 in and around London in 2013; then the dramatic i8 the year after in the more dramatic Scottish Highlands setting. They both delivered what they promised in equal measures. The i3 is an incredibly gifted urban runaround, while the i8 offers pure open road driving pleasure. These two very distinct electric cars certainly don’t diminish the convenience or the fun of driving – instead they introduce an extra dose of excitement to personal transport. The i cars are intelligently designed and engineered products. They are fresh and exciting and point the way to a progressive future.
Adrian van Hooydonk, senior vice president of BMW Group design, says the Concept i4 car brings electrification to the core of his brand. “The design is dynamic, clean and elegant. In short: a perfect BMW that happens to be zero emission,” he says.
“BMW is rooted in performance and it is about the thrill and the emotion of driving” van Hooydonk told me a few months ago. “On the one hand, it is about speed, yet the thrill is also about the vehicle’s direct response to your input. Then there is the technology that works well and the design which speaks on an emotional level. So, BMW is a combination of something that is highly emotional but delivers on a rational level. This can be motorized in any possible way.””