BMW design supremo "Crazy" Chris Bangle has done it again. Just when we thought his flame-surfacing mojo had deserted him, it turns out that he's been hiding his masterpiece – the subject of more rumours than the Rooney wedding and Fern Britton's girth combined – from us for some years.
The GINA Light Visionary Model is the first car to sport a silver catsuit – imagine Olivia Newton-John at a roller disco circa 1976 – made out of polyurethane-coated Lycra, covering a moveable wire frame beneath. It makes the car look like a Z3 on its way to rob a bank, but it can do all sorts of very cool stuff such as open its "eyes" (to reveal headlamps), magically raise an invisible rear spoiler at speed, and do entirely without seams, its doors opening forward and up, as if from nowhere. Best of all, if you want a look at the engine, instead of opening the bonnet, GINA rips itself open from the centre, like Superman preparing for a quick change on his way to a phone box. Wait until the LA customisers get hold of this stuff.
In this video released to accompany the unveiling of GINA in the BMW Museum in Munich last week, Bangle explained its genesis. "What do we need the skin of a car for anyway?" he asked his team who, too timid to put their hands up and mumble, "Uhm, aerodynamics, Mr Bangle? Children with knives?", went ahead and dutifully realised his vision of a more "humanistic" car.
I am being flippant, but the truth is that GINA (which stands for "Geometric Infinite Adaptation") is a stunning piece of work that could change the way cars are designed for ever – but won't. Remember the TV series Manimal, in which Simon MacCorkindale could change into an eagle one minute, a buffalo the next (one shuddered at the state of his carpets). Imagine if our cars could do the same so that, one minute you are being tailed by the cops in your VW Polo, the next moment you round a corner, press a button, and are at the wheel of a Buick! That would keep the fuzz on their toes!
Sorry, it is just that, with GINA going straight from design studio to museum, I can't help but think that BMW is sending out a bit of a "don't hold your breath" on this one. Actually, perhaps a space alongside a pre-Second World War 328 would not be too inappropriate. After all, for reasons best known to themselves, on closer inspection Bangle's team do appear to have given GINA a split windscreen.Reuse content