The first big trade show to grace Las Vegas in 2020 is the Consumer Electronics Show, and it’s becoming a popular event for automakers looking to make a splash with the latest automotive tech. This year, BMW will be on-hand with an interesting version of its compact i3 electric city car called the Urban Suite. As the name suggests, it’s designed to not really feel like a car – that is, at least for everyone other than the driver. Unlike typical concept cars, however, people will actually be able to sample this BMW in real-world conditions. More on that in a bit.
In short, the i3 Urban Suite replaces a majority of the interior with a swanky seat and footrest finished in a bright shade of blue. A small table is positioned left of the seat, and a screen flips down from the headliner for watching a movie while on the go. The rear area also boasts a personal "sound zone," though we’re not quite sure exactly what BMW means by that. We do know, however, that the company’s aim with this concept is to “create an inviting space with a high feel-good factor in which to spend time,” not unlike that of a luxurious hotel room.
Gallery: BMW at CES 2020
The driver seat and dash remain standard-issue i3, as does the car’s EV powertrain. With sustainability on the mind, the concept’s upfitted interior makes prolific use of recycled materials. And though the i3 is most decidedly a compact vehicle, BMW feels the concept demonstrates that future motoring – at least in terms of personal mobility – doesn’t have to be one filled with stretch limos or massive SUVs.
Here’s where it gets interesting. To back that up, BMW actually built several i3 Urban Suite models and they’re all coming to Vegas for CES. While show-goers check out the model on display, the automaker will have a fleet running around town ready to chauffeur people who request a lift through a special app. Details of that app aren’t available yet; presumably, it will be something offered to attendees at CES. Still, it’s not every day one gets a ride in a concept car – never mind a free ride around Las Vegas.
The BMW Group at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2020 in Las Vegas.
At the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2020 – taking place in Las Vegas on 7 – 10 January 2020 – the BMW Group will be presenting its visionary approaches to creating the mobility experience of the future.
The premium carmaker’s presence at CES 2020 can be summed up by the hashtag #ChangeYourPerspective. At its heart is the company’s firm belief in its ability to not only understand the requirements of future mobility but also find answers to them.
The BMW Group stand showcases this change in perspective, while experiences and practical demonstrations anchor it in reality for the visitors from all over the world.
A highlight of this year’s CES: the BMW i3 Urban Suite.
For seven years, the BMW i3 has played the role of iconic ambassador for electric driving pleasure, sustainability and intelligent connectivity in urban areas. These qualities have helped to make it the world’s best-selling electric car in the premium compact segment.
And now the BMW Group has brought the BMW i3 Urban Suite to this year’s CES in Las Vegas to reveal a mobility experience tailored entirely to the passenger’s individual needs.
To achieve this, a standard BMW i3 underwent a complete transformation (with only the driver’s seat and dashboard left untouched) so that its interior now has the relaxed feel of a boutique hotel. The aim was to create an inviting space with a high feel-good factor in which to spend time – the perfect place for relaxing, enjoying in-car entertainment or focusing on work in a laid-back setting.
This has been achieved by including, among other things, a large, comfortable seat with footrest, a screen that flips down from the headliner and a personal Sound Zone.
The BMW i3 Urban Suite also represents a logical step forward in the BMW Group’s commitment to sustainable mobility. The vehicle is underpinned by a holistic approach to making responsible use of resources, encompassing the powertrain with zero local emissions, the careful selection of materials and the production processes involved. Fabrics containing recycled materials therefore come together with certified wood and olive-tanned leather, while the floor mats are made from recyclable materials that can be fed back into the materials cycle, as per circular economy principles.
In preparation for the CES, a fleet of standard BMW i3 cars were converted into Urban Suites in Munich then brought to Las Vegas, where they can also be seen gracing the city’s streets. Indeed, anyone wishing to be chauffeur-driven to their desired destination can use a special app to order one of the BMW i3 Urban Suites.
The car will offer its passenger a first-hand experience of the BMW Group’s innovative and sustainable mobility concept, while clearly demonstrating that luxury travel in the future will have nothing to do with vehicle size.
The BMW i3 Urban Suite is just one of the highlights of the BMW Group stand at CES 2020 in Las Vegas. Comprehensive information on all elements of the vehicle will be available when the show opens on 7 January.