BMW shows off magic paint and in-car theatre

Future tech lets you look cool inside and out

By Becky Wells / Thursday, January 6, 2022 / Loading comments

Clearly someone from BMW watched The Matrix over the Christmas holidays and came back with a plethora of new ideas for revolutionary tech for its future models. (Yes, we know this sort of development takes months, not two weeks over Christmas – but you get the gist.)

Firstly, the German brand has previewed the BMW iX ‘Flow’ at CES 2022, which brings a magically colour-changing body wrap. No need to clash your car with your handbag; “electrophoretic technology” allows different colour pigments to come to the surface when stimulated by an electrical signal, giving the wrap a different appearance – i.e. you can control how much black is being displayed to define the colour of the car. Think of it like a Kindle (other e-readers are available), that uses ‘ink’ rather than a touchscreen.

At the minute, it’s more about ‘shades’ than colours – so black, white or grey – but it has more purpose than just showing off outside the Batcave. In fact, the surface colour affects how much heating or cooling is needed from the air conditioning, which then goes on to affect how much range an electric car has, for example. So it is more than just a pretty face (a rarely used phrase when it comes to modern BMWs…)

If you’re not bothered about looking at the exterior, and want to keep your eyes fixed firmly inside, BMW has also previewed the BMW Theatre Screen; a 31-in widescreen 8K-resolution TV in the back, giving an “immersive entertainment experience” to rear passengers. Travel sickness tablet, anyone?

There’s 5G connectivity, surround sound, built-in Amazon Fire TV, sunblinds and mood lighting, all customisable to create a rear-seat cinema experience. And, in case you forget about it all in the few seconds it takes to unfold the screen from the headliner, it is “accompanied by a sound experience created exclusively for this purpose in cooperation between the BMW Group and the renowned film music composer and Academy Award winner, Hans Zimmer, which ends at the precise moment when the screen reaches its final position.”

It all seems a bit like a Blue Peter fantasy car design competition, really, but who doesn’t love a gadget? Moreover, Zimmer is the man responsible for BMW IconicSounds Electric, a range of compositions which are intended to give the manufacturer’s “all-electric models an unmistakable sound profile”. Unlike BMW’s more far-fetched ideas, this is due for launch in the i4 imminently, with a bespoke soundtrack on hand for M models. “We want to carry the traditional elements of the BMW M brand into the future,” noted sound creative director, Renzo Vitale. Something to look forward to then.

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