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The BMW GINA Light Visionary Model. Innovative approach and optical expression of creative freedom.

The key to affecting the development of tomorrow's mobility lies in our readiness to challenge what is established and in the ability to present new options. In order to meet these objectives, BMW Group Design taps into the potential of the GINA principle (Geometry and Functions In "N" Adaptions) which promotes innovative thinking by allowing maximum freedom of crea-tivity. GINA produces dramatically different solutions that affect the design and functionality of future cars.

Design issues, Concepts and Studies

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The key to affecting the development of tomorrow's mobility lies in our
readiness to challenge what is established and in the ability to present
new options. In order to meet these objectives, BMW Group Design taps
into the potential of the GINA principle (Geometry and Functions In
"N" Adaptions) which promotes innovative thinking by allowing
maximum freedom of crea-tivity. GINA produces dramatically different
solutions that affect the design and functionality of future cars. The
GINA Light Visionary Model is an optical expression of selective,
future-oriented concepts which provide an example of the manner and
extent of this transformation. BMW Group Design is not just interested
in answering the question of how the car of the future will look but
primarily wishes to explore the creative freedom it has to offer. Both
of these aspects are affected by the requirements that future cars are
expected to meet. All ideas that the GINA Light Visionary Model
presents are therefore derived from the needs and demands of customers
concerning the aesthetic and functional characteristics of their car and
their desire to express individuality and lifestyle. The GINA Light
Visionary Model has an almost seamless outer skin, a flexible textile
cover that stretches across a moveable substructure. Individual
functions are only revealed if and when they are needed. With this
model, BMW Group Design initiates a fundamental discourse about the
characteristics that will affect the development of cars in future. It
is therefore fundamentally different from concept cars, which reflect
what is expected of them by implementing as many elements as possible
in a future production model. In contrast, the GINA Light Visionary
Model is a vision of future cars and serves as an object of research.
The seamless car body of the GINA Light Visionary Model. Putting its
visions of tomorrow's car into practice, BMW Group Design has developed
a two-seater roadster with the unique dynamic proportions that are
typical of its brand. The GINA Light Visionary Model takes the
sculptural design that has already been established by a number of
production cars to a new, unparalleled conclusion. The car's front and
sides, including the doors, create one single uninterrupted, seamless
whole that converges to form an optical as well as a structural unit.
In order to create this appearance, it was necessary to move beyond all
previous conceptions of car body configuration, design and materials.
Therefore, the GINA Light Visionary Model has dispensed with the usual
body elements found on production vehicles such as front apron, bonnet,
side panels, doors, wheel arches, roof, trunk lid and rear deck.
Instead, a new structure with a minimum amount of components has taken
their place. A special, highly durable and extremely
expansion-resistant fabric material stretches across a metal structure.
This new material offers designers a significantly higher level of
freedom of design and functionality. The body consists of only four
elements. The largest component extends from the front of the vehicle
to the edge of the windscreen and down the sides to the rear edge of
the doors. The large side panels start at the front where the rocker
panels emerge and run across the rear wheel arches into the rear. The
fourth component is the central rear deck element. An innovation
breaks new ground: car with a flexible outer skin. The innovation of a
flexible outer skin breaks new ground in automotive engineering. This
revolutionary solution opens up new design, production and
functionality potential. It has a major impact on the interaction
between driver and car and enhances it by offering a variety of
entirely new options. Some elements of the substructure are moveable.
The driver can move them by means of electro and electro-hydraulic
controls. This will also change the shape of the outer skin, which can
thus be adapted to suit the current situation, the driver's
requirements and can also enhance the car's functional range. The
most striking example of this is the headlight design. In normal
position, when the headlights are not active, i.e. when there is no
necessity to illuminate the road, they are hidden under the special
fabric cover. As soon as the driver turns on the lights, the contour of
the front end changes. Activated by the metal structure that lies
beneath it, the previously closed fabric cover opens to the right and
left of the BMW kidney grille and reveals the BMW double head-lights.
The rear and the rocker panels of the GINA Visionary Model can also
adapt both the shape and function to the driving situation in hand. Both
can change the shape of their outer skin to meet the driver's
requirement for particularly dynamic motoring. This concept also takes
into account a potential interaction with aerodynamic requirements. The
design of the rear element allows for automatic lifting of the rear
spoiler when a certain speed is reached, thus creating extra downforce
on the rear axle at higher speeds. Due to the fact that the entire rear
end, including the spoiler, is covered by a single sheet of material
that reaches as far as the rear compartment of the interior, the
homogeneous shape of the car's rear will not be affected by changes to
the spoiler position. The mechanical system that moves the elements
remains concealed. The turn indicators and the taillights function
without changes to the shape of the outer skin. Their position,
however, is only revealed upon activation. The emitted light shines
through the translucent fabric cover, which is permeable to light but
not transparent. The rocker panels demonstrate the formal versatility
of the GINA Light Visionary Model with an equally impressive
performance. The air duct can be optimised if required. A
corresponding movement of the metal structure results in an adjustment
of the rocker panel contour to allow for better airflow. At the same
time, an additional protruding rocker panel line emerges. The
aerodynamic optimization and the length of the line can be infinitely
adapted to the driving situation at hand. Special fabric cover ensures
accurate reproduction of material folds. The fact that the body surface
is designed by means of a flexible fabric cover that stretches across a
metal substructure means that the materials used must meet exacting
requirements. Industrially produced hybrid fabric made from a
stabilizing mesh netting support and an outer layer that is both
water-repellent and resistant to high and low temperatures is suitable
for this application. Another essential material property is a maximum
level of dimensional stability. It must remain dimensionally stable
irrespective of the temperature and air humidity it is exposed to even
after severe and constant expansion. The dimen-sional stability helps
retain the cover's surface tension for a long period of time. The
movement of individual body elements creates accurately reproducible
folds in the material. In its choice of material BMW Group Design was
inspired by exterior and interior architecture. The expertise of seat
pattern designers working for BMW Group Interior Design was
successfully applied in order to cut the fabric webbing to size with
maximum precision, determine the strategic position of attachment
points and stretch the material. As a result, the surfaces are
remarkably well balanced and due to the steady tension that is retained
between any two clearly defined points, the lines are extremely
accurate. The special fabric is supported by a metal wire structure. At
specific points, the high-strength metal is enhanced by carbon struts
with a higher flexibility. They are used predominantly for round,
moving contours with a particularly narrow radius. The use of large
fabric areas and the possibility of changing the surface contours by
moving individual parts of the metal mesh that lies beneath it create a
new relationship between form and function. If additional cooling air
is required, the BMW kidney grille at the front of the vehicle can be
opened. Because the overall surface of the special fabric covering
remains unchanged, the contraction at the front of the vehicle, which
is necessary for functional reasons, has to be compensated for by extra
tension in other areas. The result is an optically attractive
interaction between various body parts that introduces a new dimen-sion
to sculptural design. The widening of the kidney grille openings is
activated by a movement of the metal mesh in the front area of the side
panels. This creates more tension, which becomes visible by the
emergence of an additional character line. The development of this new
contour tenses the front of the vehicle: the kidney grille opens up.
Innovative body structure introduces new functional dimensions. The
high-precision fit of the material to the metal mesh also allows surface
changes without slackening the tension. In this case, opening of the
surface by moving the respective steel mesh struts creates precisely
defined folds in the material. The GINA Light Visionary Model uses this
option to display a function that corresponds to the opening of the
hood in conventional vehicles. The material opens at the centre of the
engine cover and can be folded to the far right and left along an
opening line that is approximately 0.5 meters long, to allow the driver
or mechanic access to the service points in the engine. The filler
caps of the engine oil, cooling and wiper water tanks are now open for
servicing. Opening and closing is similar to the mechanism on a doctor's
traditional medical bag, where clip-lock fasteners are held together in
the middle by a rail. The effect of the accurate surface material
draping is even more impressive when the doors are opened. They swing
both outwards and upwards. The high number of attachment points for the
fabric cover positioned at the front of the car as well as at rear door
edges creates a clearly defined and perfectly reproducible bulk of
material. The draping is confined to the area between the front door
edge and the side panel. Once the doors are closed, the folds in
material disappear completely, leaving a perfectly smooth, stretched
material surface. The interior: discourse between driver and vehicle.
In the interior, variability, form and function are united in an
inseparable connec-tion. Whenever selected functions are accessed, the
driver also changes the appearance of individual car elements. Again,
the car's variability is adapted to suit the driver's needs. This
creates a close interaction between driver and car in various
different situations. When the car is parked, the steering wheel and
the round instruments - rev counter, speedometer and fuel gauge, which
are vertically arranged on the centre console, are in idle position.
This provides the driver with maximum comfort upon entering the car.
Likewise, the seat only assumes its optimised functional position and
shape if and when the driver sits down on it. At that point, the
headrest, previously firmly integrated into the seat's backrest, rises
up automatically. At the same time, the steering wheel moves towards
the driver and the instrument panel moves in the same direction. The
information on the best driver-specific position of both steering column
and seat is stored in the transducer. The engine is started simply by
pushing the start/stop button. The smooth transition of interior and
exterior that is typical of BMW convertibles is reinterpreted by the
GINA Light Visionary Model. The fabric that covers the rear deck runs
into the interior and stretches across the driver and front passenger
seats. The same material is also used for the surface design of the
door trim and armrests. The shift lever in the centre console protrudes
from tightly stretched textile bellows. Driver and front seat
passenger look out through a steeply inclined windscreen with the
inside rear view mirror integrated into its frame. The side view
mirrors are connected to the window frame. A narrow vertical dividing
bar located at the center of the windscreen harks back to the typical
windscreen division of traditional roadsters. Innovative thinking put
into practice: the GINA Light Visionary Model. With the GINA Light
Visionary Model, BMW Group Design focuses on a wide variety of issues
that will determine the future conception of mobility. It demonstrates
the results of intense research into design, functionality, material
and production. All ideas that have been put into practice in the GINA
Light Visionary Model are derived from the same motivation: to challenge
conventional and previously pursued solutions. The quest for alternative
options has generated a wide variety of different requirements that
potential solutions are expected to meet. The main focus is on
providing general versatility and catering to customer requirements
with sophisticated solutions. In accordance with the GINA principle,
every functionality enhancement helps to create an emotional bond
between the driver and their car. The new solutions also allow for the
option of fast, flexible and cost-efficient production. Every
innovation demonstrated by the GINA Light Visionary Model also
contributes to a clearly optimised resource management. As the quest for
sustainability is one of the central issues of the GINA philosophy, new
materials and manufacturing processes are expected to consume less
resources and energy than previous solutions. Accordingly, the
infrastructure used for manufacturing cars that are built in compliance
with the GINA principle, has also changed. The manufacturing process
requires fewer model-specific tools, and more highly-qualified skilled
specialists. In all the areas referred to above, the GINA Light
Visionary Model has provided inspiration for more intense research into
ideas conceived as a result of maximum creative freedom. Emotional
appeal of roadster models and visionary prospect of future cars. The
solutions conceived as part of this philosophy are not considered sepa-
rately, but have been pooled in an integrating vision - a vision that is
expressed in the context of an outstanding, fascinating car. The basic
features of a roadster with its eight-cylinder combustion engine below
a stretched front that applies motive power to the rear wheels in order
to move the car along the road defines this context. The synthesis of
elementary visions and sheer driving pleasure expressed by the
appearance of the GINA Light Visionary Model has a particu-larly
striking emotional impact. Only the particular appearance of a
fascinating car with its authentic design that creates a natural
aesthetic look can bring to light the significance of the presented
innovations. The GINA Light Visionary Model builds a bridge between
vision and reality by presenting a number of features with a striking
similarity with those found on production vehicles. The Roadster rests
on 20" alloy wheels in a cross-spoke design with a matt silver
finish. The car body is comprised of an exceptionally light aluminum
space frame. Two double tailpipes for the rear exhaust system, a third
brake light integrated into the height-adjustable rear spoiler, an air
splitter at the front and a rear-end diffuser in a carbon design also
meet the standards of a production vehicle. Nevertheless, the GINA
Light Visionary Model retains its character as an object of research.
It demonstrates the innovative force of BMW Group Design and its
ability to challenge what is established, to find new solutions and to
interpret these in the context of the car of the future at a high
aesthetic level. This car is the logical continuation of the GINA
principle in action. The GINA principle has already led to a variety of
innovative concepts and has production vehicles in ways that are
completely new and unprecedented by any other car manufacturer. BMW
Group Design uses concept cars such as the BMW concept car CS1 of 2002
as a step on the way towards putting a particular vision into practice.
The CS1 was the first to present features such as the basic principle
of the innovative control system - the BMW iDrive. Independently from
all other innovative features shown by this concept car, the iDrive has
become a series production feature. Similarly, the GINA principle gave
rise to an innovative manufacturing method that allows the
manufacturers to decorate outer skin components that have been
preformed by conventional methods with indi-vidually configured,
high-precision contour lines prior to their reintegration into the
manufacturing process. The Rapid Manufacturing method utilized for this
process was first used during the production of hoods for the BMW Z4 M
Roadster and the BMW Z4 M Coupé. In these models, the finished
hood has received two distinctive contour lines prior to painting.
These are not produced by a pressing tool but embossed into the metal
with pin-point precision by a robot-guided steel pin. Both examples
illustrate the challenging route from a vision to a concept and to
final series production that is not always straight and direct. With the
GINA Light Visionary Model, BMW Group Design shows where this route
begins. Not all innovations shown by the GINA Light Visionary Model
will pro-ceed to the next stages. In its entirety, however, the
visionary look into the future shows the extent to which the BMW Group
employs creative potential in its endeavor to respond to the challenges
of tomorrow's mobility.

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