Like a pair of Spandex disco pants, the surface of BMW's latest concept hugs the curves and follows every move of the car. Replacing sheet metal with a stretchy fabric, the concept rethinks the function and style of a vehicle's body.
Noting that metal body panels aren't essential to crash protection, body stiffness or ride and handling in a space frame vehicle, BMW designer Chris Bangle and his team envisioned a body structure that creates an infinite number of shapes but still can't escape his signature flame surfacing design.
The fabric's pliability makes the body panels a dynamic part of the car. As the hood splits open down the center, the fabric brushes across the engine cover, briefly stretching to the shape of the intake runners. Opening the doors causes the fabric to ripple like the surface of a pond.
The headlights hide behind a crease at the front of the hood that spreads open like an eyelid. The whole act takes on a Cars-meets-Chucky feel by making the car capable of winking. The taillights are unquestionably less creepy, glowing from behind the fabric and disappearing when not in use.
The design concept carries the name BMW GINA Light Visionary Model, which becomes even more drawn out when the GINA acronym is paid full lip service; it stands for "Geometry and Function in 'N' Adaptations."
Aside from putting panel gaps to shame, GINA entertains the fantasy of a world where you could change the shape or color of your car in just hours or even seconds. It takes about two hours to stretch the skin over the GINA concept while fenders shape-shift instantly by subtly moving the bars below the fabric.