Buttons? Knobs? Voice commands? BMW’s trying to move past all that stuff when it comes to in-car controls via gesture control, which the German automaker has even debuted on the all-new 7-Series sedan. Now it takes all that to another level at CES with a BMW i8 concept. Also, it has no roof! Or doors!

I’ve long believed roofs are overrated on cars, and when you think about it, doors are too. That idea worked just fine on the BMW Z1, after all.

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Anyway, this is technically not an i8, but rather the BMW iVision Future Interaction concept. In addition to looking way more fun than your average i8, thanks to wind and sunshine, it also packs a massive screen across the passenger-side dashboard. It’s 21 inches diagonally! That’s big!

According to Top Gear, the extra screen helps make autonomous functions a bit easier for drivers and passengers alike:

Its contents are wildly variable, and they’re intended to flow from a seamless relationship between your car and your other electronic devices, smart phone and watch included. It’s also meant to go hand-in-hand with autonomous driving functions.

Make a call on your phone, for instance, and should you pop your car into its self-driving mode, the call will switch to Facetime-like video. Switch back to old-fangled manual driving, and the video call will switch back to audio, and other potentially distracting screen displays will be limited.

Of course, this continues the trend towards doing non-car stuff (read: driving) when you’re in your car, but that seems to be the story of things at CES this year. I can see both sides, though. An i8 is fun to drive on a track or a good back road; traffic, not so much.

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You’ll also note the lack of mirrors anywhere on it. That’s because it uses cameras exclusively instead of glass, something BMW thinks is the future of both visibility and aerodynamic improvements.

More on this, hopefully with video, as we get it.


Contact the author at patrick@jalopnik.com.