BMW has shown a new “Digital Art Mode,” claiming it will be the first to bring digital art into vehicles. The so-called Digital Art Mode is part of the four all-new My Modes*, which are broader applications beyond the Sport, Efficient and Personal modes in use at BMW, and under similar customization names at other automakers. Until now these electronic settings dealt with traditional ride, performance and handling aspects of the machinery. AutoInformed views the latest programming as perceptual and emotional tripping, so to speak. It’s coming during the second half of this year as options.
These new modes in BMW geek speak, filtered through a marketing babble wash: “Their unique moments enhance BMW’s driving experience by creating a synergy of the vehicle’s functions and its interior design. Depending on the driving situation and the overall mood, a holistic user experience featuring both a functional and an emotional level can be created at the touch of a button or via voice control. To that end, drive control and steering control, mood lighting and sound as well as the color scheme and graphics of the BMW Curved Display are precisely synchronized.”
Well, it appears that we are not in Bavaria any more. What’s new wherever the haus has landed after a tornado of promotional words is that we have arrived at the place where ‘ultimate driving machine’ becomes the 21st century equivalent of a stoner looking at a lava lamp – the ultimate digital high?
To take the mode that has some historical links to what a performance car company was once, Digital Art Mode is the trip to munchkin land that resulted from BMW Group Design and the Chinese multi-media artist Cao Fei. In 2017, Cao Fei designed the 18th BMW Art Car using the M6 GT3, the first of its kind to be entirely digital in BMW’s long tradition of off-beat art cars. Art cars back at the beginning were decorated cars that brought splashes of color, badges and designer quirks to prosaic BMW sheet metal. Cao Fei and the BMW design are now taking the next step, BMW says. (AutoInformed.com – see BMW Art Cars here:Petersen Museum Displaying Classic BMW Cars)
Beyond this imminent digital decor, at some point you will be able to change the exterior color of your Bimmer with the push of a button, dubbed e-ink. Get a bummer color that’s freaking you out? Push the button again: “Sometimes the light’s all shinin’ on me. Other times I can barely see; Lately it occurs to me, what a long, strange trip it’s been…”
To start *Digital Art Mode will be in the new BMW iX M60 four-door two-box SUV. It’s the fastest electric vehicle so far from BMW, which we are, err, grateful for, given its boxy look. It will also be available in other BMW vehicles in 2022. Selected models will come with the Digital Art Mode as a customized item – optional of course – directly from BMW; Other models can be retrofitted via remote software upgrades in the user interface.
“With the new Digital Art Mode, BMW Cultural Engagement reaches new heights (highs?) while creating something entirely unique,” said Christoph Grote, Senior Vice President Digital Car, BMW Group, “For the very first time, we are making digital art an integral part of the modern driving experience in a car and use innovative technology to transform mobility into an individual, highly exclusive and emotional experience,” Grote said.
Here’s the other Modes
*Relax mode turns on the seat massager with interior lighting changing into what BMW deems is relaxing interior light and sounds. Spoiler alert, AutoInformed didn’t hear any Brahms or Beethoven during the press intro.
*Expressive mode changes the colors and BMW generated sounds.
*Theater mode will bring a smart TV to BMW rear seat occupants using an ultra-wide 32 by 9 Panasonic display. It has 8k by 2k resolution with 16:9, 21:9 and 32:9 viewing ratios. It has built in Amazon Fire TV for music, videos, TV and multiple apps.
My Mode Theater orchestrates the different vehicle functions like lowering the theater screen, lighting and sun-blinds to get the passengers “in the perfect mood for the one-of-a-kind immersive entertainment experience awaiting them…With the BMW Theatre Screen, BMW is setting new standards in the area of in-car entertainment and offering rear passengers an entertainment experience on a par with a cinema,” Bimmer said.
The BMW Group is working with Amazon to integrate the Fire TV experience within the Theatre Screen system – giving passengers access to a wide variety of content so they can stream videos, listen to music, and watch downloaded programs, all while on the road. A country-specific streaming offering is also in the works for customers in totalitarian China.
As to going whether customers will go with this new flow, so to speak, do you want a car that can react to your moods and your self-perceived needs? We are approaching the meta-physical here: BMW is saying it is exploring the “dimensions of the real” with a vehicles that have different mood lighting and videos, colors, sounds.
“The communication and interactions between BMWs and customers are going to be ever more intuitive from soul to soul, so to say.”