German automaker BMW has been a keen adopter of 3D printing technologies in recent years, utilizing the technology for prototypes as well as functional and decorative vehicle elements. Last year, the company achieved an important milestone on its additive journey, successfully 3D printing its millionth part in ten years. Today, BMW has introduced a new a clever way to use 3D printing, which it hopes will help share its vision for the future of cars with people around the world.
While it produces cars that are on the road today, BMW has also focused some of its resources on thinking about the future of the automotive industry. The brand’s NEXT series, for instance, comprises several innovative and futuristic concept vehicles. This week, BMW unveiled the latest concept model at its new tech conference, the BMW Group #NEXTGen. The vehicle, called the Vision M Next, is a stylized sports car with a number of futuristic features.
Not only did the company unveil this concept model using its usual methods (with text and images), but it also released a 3D model of the Vision M Next which is free to download and can be 3D printed. BMW hopes that its fans will decide to 3D print their very own miniature Vision M Next models.
“The data provided for download is suitable for transfer to a 3D printer,” BMW writes. “In this way, the growing community of 3D printing fans have the opportunity to create their very own model of the BMW Vision M Next themselves on the day of the world premiere—for the first time ever and free of charge.”
By making detailed 3D models of its concept vehicles available to the broader public, BMW hopes to provide deeper insights into its future vision of the automotive industry, with a specific emphasis on design, as well as to connect more with the BMW community. The company says its online presentation of the BMW Vision M Next and the release of the 3D model are a first in the industry.
BMW emphasized the interactive nature of its new digital marketing strategy, saying: “As a supplement to the information and impressions provided in words and images, as well as an acoustic background in the form of a sound file, the downloadable 3D printing files provide a detailed and true-to-scale model of the vision vehicle on the very day of the world premiere that BMW fans can create for themselves at home.”
The Vision M Next concept itself is worth looking at as well, as it goes against a leading trend in concept vehicles. That is, the Vision M Next is not an autonomous vehicle, rather, it emphasizes the act of driving and the driver. In short, it is a sports car designed for sports car fans. You can explore BMW’s Vision M Next here and enjoy all the interactive and engaging features of its latest design study.