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BMW I Vision Dee Concept exterior

The BMW i Vision Dee Concept: A Preview of the New 3 Series?

Is BMW design finally headed back in the right direction?

  • The BMW i Vision Dee was just unveiled at CES in Las Vegas.
  • This concept debuts a lot of neat tech, but it's more than just a showcase.
  • It also showcases BMW's design in a stripped-down form and gives us hope that future BMWs will be more attractive than the brand's current and often polarizing lineup.

To say the 3 Series is BMW's brot und butter would be a massive understatement. Despite the brand's many high-dollar luxury sedans and SUVs, the 3 Series is probably what you picture when someone says "BMW." That's why the new i Vision Dee concept unveiled at CES in Las Vegas is a big deal. It debuts fresh new tech and an emphasis on reductive design, but more than that, it might give us a glimpse at the next 3 Series.

BMW I Vision Dee Concept exterior

As a piece of the design, the i Vision Dee is far less polarizing than some of BMW's offerings as of late. The proportions are that of an enlarged 2002, and it maintains key BMW elements like the kidney-shaped grille and the Hofmeister kink. According to BMW, the design has been deliberately pared down in order to get to the fundamentals of BMW's design DNA. It's a clean sheet and a clean piece of design, one that gives us hope for BMW's direction after the uproar that the iX, XM and new 7 Series have caused.

The "Dee" is an acronym for Digital Emotional Experience (and has literally nothing to do with Volkswagen's ID lineup of EVs). The goal, BMW says, is to increase the connection people have with their cars — and the automaker thinks a deluge of new tech is the way to do it. To that end, the i Vision Dee features body panels that can change color and a windshield that acts as a display.

BMW I Vision Dee Concept interior

The color-changing panels might be the highlight of the i Vision Dee's suite of techno wizardry. The car is covered in 240 "E ink" panels. Each can be changed to one of 32 different colors, and that means there are countless combinations of colors and patterns that the car's panels can display. The flat grille is also a display that can express emotions like satisfaction or disapproval. Maybe that'll come in handy the next time someone cuts you off.

Inside the i Vision Dee is a windshield that acts as the car's in-cabin display. Instead of the typical instrument cluster and an infotainment display, all of the i Vision Dee's relevant information is refracted off the windscreen. There are no controls, with the i Vision Dee relying on voice-activated commands and what BMW calls phygital controls. They're essentially projections that can register inputs from your fingertips, and they allow the driver to control what's being displayed on the windshield.

BMW I Vision Dee Concept interior

Even though the i Vision Dee is a concept car, BMW says some of this tech will arrive in its cars by 2025. Namely, the full-width head-up display on the car's windshield will appear on a production BMW by then. While we don't expect the E ink panels and its dizzying number of color combos to appear on a production car anytime soon, we do hope the next 3 Series looks something like this. It's classic in its proportion and futuristic at the same time. It also serves as a reminder that BMW hasn't lost its design mojo, and we hope that aesthetic extends to its future production cars.

Edmunds says

What do you think of the i Vision Dee? Is there too much tech and not enough substance or is it the right blend of design heritage and forward-thinking tech?

BMW I Vision Dee Concept exterior color combos