This is the GINA Light Visionary Model, BMW’s new research vehicle, and the fruit of a project that has been shaping the brand in terms of design, research and development, and manufacturing for nearly a decade.
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On the surface it looks like a modern day BMW sports car, all sculpted taut muscles, displaying an interactive flow of concave and convex surfaces that has become the brand’s signature form language. GINA, however, may look like a typical car, but is in fact made of cloth. The virtually seamless polyethylene-coated Lycra stretch fabric is secured on a meshwork formed from metal wires.
Individual elements of the aluminium substructure are movable. Electro-hydraulically controlled, they change their position to help the flexible fabric skin take on new shapes for a high degree of personalisation.
For instance the driver can activate a sensor to lift the beltline slightly to form a more aggressive stance. Another slowly opens the door triggering almost shark-like creases across the profile. On entering the stark cloth cabin, GINA awakens; the centre console and instrument panel swivel to almost cocoon the driver whilst invisible headrests rise from the minimalist seats.
The car is based on the Z8 chassis, BMW’s first aluminium space frame roadster where the frame carries the crash and structural load so that the rest of the car can have its own purposes. GINA was conceptualised in California at the think-tank studio Designworks, and later made into a full-scale sculpture by head of exterior design Anders Warming in Munich.