By Rosie Ogden
THE BMW Group has chosen Auto Guangzhou 2015, one of the largest international motor shows in China, to present “a very special new development” to the global public: the company’s vision of a four-door sedan for the compact segment.
Adrian van Hooydonk, Senior Vice President BMW Group Design, says the BMW Concept Compact Sedan “not only gives the driver and passengers generous amounts of space within a compact area but does so while providing the sporting ability you’d expect from BMW and an elegance otherwise only available in large BMW sedans.
“The quality and intrinsic value of the BMW Concept Compact Sedan are clear signals of our premium intentions for the car.”
As great growth potential can be seen in the Chinese premium compact market, BMW has conducted in-depth observation and research for the segment’s development trends and target customers, and the Concept represents the approach to life of a generation of youth in China.
These potential customers, says BMW, are “confident, dynamic and extremely quality-conscious and have a feel for aesthetics”.
The design of the Concept Compact Sedan (CCS) aims to embody ‘the driving pleasure offered by a sporting car with minimised exterior dimensions’.
The car has a familiar sedan silhouette based around a striking three-box design, but with hallmark BMW proportions. A sweeping bonnet and long wheelbase stretch the car visually, while the clever use of time-honoured BMW elements, such as a long, prominent swage line, dynamic Hofmeister kink and surfaces moulded with depth, ensures the car cuts an athletic figure from the side.
Discreet soft-touch handles below the swage line open the doors as soon as a finger touches their metal surface.
The flared wheel arches rise out clearly from the body as it tapers in towards the road and further strengthen the impression of athletic intent.
The window surrounds and exterior mirror stalks in polished aluminium add a classy flourish, while the double-spoke 20-inch light-alloy wheels form a visual highlight.
The V-shaped central air intake is the starting point for a pervading design theme which splits the lower section of the front end into three sections and gives it a broader appearance.
Like the front end, the horizontally structured rear also makes a clear sporting statement.
The cockpit radiates a clear driver focus: all the lines, forms and controls are geared towards the person behind the wheel and their needs. This is highlighted by the prominent lines that converge in the direction of travel either side of the steering wheel.
The resultant “cone of vision” sets the tone for the driver’s area as a whole and tapers into a Head-Up Display with combiner screen, which projects all the relevant information into the driver’s direct field of view.
The doors’ design picks up the horizontal lines of the instrument panel, and extends them into the flanks of the car in a dynamic sweep. The front door, for example, extends visually into the B-pillar and makes the interior feel bigger.
Sporty seats, which in the rear suggest two individual seats, further enhance this impression while the large panoramic roof floods the interior with natural light and extends the space above the passengers’ heads to underline the generous feeling of roominess.
Mechanical operating elements such as the climate system controls, gearshift lever and iDrive system extend from smooth surfaces, and all the other functions on the steering wheel, centre stack, centre console and door openers are operated using backlit touch-sensitive surfaces.
The rear compartment of the CCS reflects the importance attached to passenger comfort. Despite the car’s compact dimensions, the rear – which is designed to accommodate two people – “welcomes its passengers with a bright and expansive feeling of space” according to BMW.
Visually, the rear bench suggests two individual seats and offers passengers ample space in which to spread out.
“The panoramic roof, which extends a long way back, and the ivory-coloured roof liner ensure the second row of seats is likewise bathed in a light and almost airy sensation of space. At night, the contour lighting extending into the doors accentuates the function islands of touch-control door openers, touch-sensitive window controls and loudspeakers.
A separate climate control unit in the rear-facing surface of the centre console adds the finishing touches to the high-comfort rear accommodation”.