Tips, Tricks & Trends

How the 2001 BMW GINA Light Visionary Model Changes Shape to Match Its Speed

Over the years, many cool concept cars have been released that we wish we could own. These vehicles have unique design elements that you don’t typically find in regular cars and are showcased at auto shows. If it’s particularly well-received, the concept car may even make it to mass production. The luxury automaker BMW has made quite a few great concept cars, such as the Vision M and the M1 Hommage.

One of our favorite designs is the BMW GINA Light Visionary Model. Its interior was designed to change based on the driver’s needs. The GINA was also able to change its shape to make itself (hypothetically) one of the most aerodynamic cars on the road. 

A unique body structure

The BMW GINA Light was built on a metal wire structure with carbon fiber to make it more durable. Instead of four door panels, it only had one long component for each side of the car. Over the body, it had a “skin” made from fabric that covered the entire length of the car. Despite the fact that it folds whenever the doors open, it looks identical to traditional sheet metal. 

This skin was composed of two layers. The first one was an inner stabilization layer made from wire mesh. The outer layer was both temperature-resistant and weatherproof. This flexible outer layer was what allowed drivers to change the shape of the car whenever they wanted. Drivers could also control the skin to cover the headlights, making them appear to “blink” out of sight.

Designed by BMW’s Chris Bangle

The GINA Light was conceptualized by Chris Bangle, who used to be the chief of design at BMW. He was known for his unique designs, some of which were less appealing than others. He’s probably most recognized for his unpopular redesign of the i7 sedan, which was given an unflattering nickname by critics.

Still, the GINA Light was definitely one of Bangle’s better concepts. According to him, the car was designed to challenge conventional car designs and capabilities. 

Highly adaptable spandex interior

The BMW GINA Light also had quite a functional interior. It was made with spandex that could shape itself based on the driver’s needs. Instead of having the gauge cluster behind the wheel, the GINA Light’s various meters were arranged vertically on the center console.

The driver’s seat would remain in an “idle position” until the driver sat down at which point the steering wheel moves toward the driver. The headrest also rises up once the driver is seated. According to BMW, this kind of design allows drivers to have a more emotional connection with their vehicle.

How it could enhance its speed

The most exciting thing about the GINA is how it adapts itself for high-performance driving. The shape of its frame is controlled by hydraulic and electric actuators that can be changed at will by the driver. They can change when the rear spoiler comes up, reshape the side sills, and even adjust the position of the rocker panels. 

Doing so allows the engine to be more powerful thanks to the increased airflow. The car could also be configured to adjust to the driver’s preferred settings automatically.  

The likelihood of BMW taking it to mass production

The GINA debuted in 2001, so it’s highly unlikely we’ll see this car on the market anytime soon if ever. However, some of its design elements such as the wing-style doors and headlight shapes have been implemented in recent BMW vehicles. However, no car has been able to match the GINA’S efficient, quick-changing exterior.