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The BMW Vision M Next was supposed to be the next i8. We were looking forward to seeing it on the road in the next couple of years. The design seemed like a less organic design than current BMWs with a more taut feel, crisp lines, and less crown on the surfaces. In other words, it looked like the next direction for the BMW design language. Now, its development has been canceled. Development money is tight with the continued shutdown of BMW factories due to the coronavirus. The i8 successor would always have been a niche model. But it is also an important one.

There’s a place for cars like the Vision M Next in large companies

BMW Vision M Next concept | BMW

According to BMW Blog, the Vision M Next has been on the backburner for a while. We all understand the cost reasons and redirecting development money towards future vehicles with bigger numbers. But there is a place for cars like the mid-engine Vision M Next in companies like BMW. 

The company has a performance image and it is cars like this that bolster that image. Also, companies can try out their latest technologies on a car line that has a lower volume. From there the technology has been eased into production and can be ready for future higher volume applications. 

For BMW it can act as both a stalking horse and halo vehicle

BMW Vision M Next concept | BMW

So the Vision M Next can act like a stalking horse as well as a halo vehicle for the entire company. Unfortunately, with as ugly as 2020 is looking to be for manufacturers these arguments carry less weight. Another problem is that the i8 has seen less popularity than BMW probably likes. And the residual values are much less than consumers want to see for a car that costs close to $150,000.  

Last year the i8 sold 1,100 units. Its best year was in 2015 when it sold 2,265 cars. So, as you can see this was never seen as a huge seller, but it didn’t need to be. 

It conveys both a fun and bold approach to color and graphics on cars

BMW Vision M Next concept | BMW

Yes, the color blocking with the neon orange contrasting against the silver was a bit much. Still, it conveys both a fun and bold approach to color and graphics on cars. The wedge-like proportions show the M Next means business. The i8’s performance could use a jolt and the M Next was to have utilized technology at BMW’s leading edge.

We also liked the design of the kidney grilles. The color inside of the mesh gave it some depth and squaring it up a bit makes for a bolder presentation. It is especially superior to what we are seeing for future BMW front ends. The big and ugly grilles BMW seems headed for don’t have to be big and ugly. They should take some cues from their own design concepts.

Gullwing doors open to reveal a dark blue interior

As with the i8, the M Next has gullwing doors that reveal a dark blue interior which contrasts well with the neon orange. All screens and instrumentation are directly in front of the driver with a clean uninterrupted sweep of the dash on the passenger side.

All we can think now is that we hope the thinking behind the M Next will be applied to BMW’s main line of future sedans and SUVs.