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BMW concept points to a lighter future

Date: 11 June 2008   |   Author:

BMW has unveiled a futuristic new concept car aimed at looking beyond the traditional carbuilding materials.

The Gina is constructed from lightweight materials and wrapped in a textile fabric to create what's in effect a lycra suit. That gives the potential for 'active aerodynamics' where the bodyshell adapts to conditions to offer less wind resistance or greater stability. It also means car designs can be reshaped without the need for the expensive retooling that is in part responsible for cars' seven-year life cycles. Lighter materials would also lead to economy and emission improvements.

The interior follows the same pattern, with the cabin form adapting to the driver with elements such as headrests moulding round the occupants.

"It's all about using new materials and testing new ideas to see what's possible," said a spokesman.

Though Gina itself, based on the platform of the now defunct Z8 supercar, will never make production, we'll start to see some of the less radical ideas filtering through to production in the next few years.

The project itself has been running since around the turn of the century and influenced the design of the current Z4 sports car, as well as potentially the next-generation version due out early next year. Further influences filtering through will become evident with new BMW models arriving in the next two-to-four years.