Will The BMW GINA Ever Become a Production Car? by:Dirk Gibson
BMW is known for excellent engineering. The design elements of the company were traditionally a bit conservative, but the design of the cars has come a long way in the recent past. The foray into Formula One and the GINA experiment are given a lot of credit for that.
GINA is the experimental car built by BMW that iswell, very experimental. The car is built with an aluminum skeletal frame. This is overlaid with a spandex based cloth that is very strong, but very flexible. The skeletal frame is powered with small electrical motors that allow the car to morph into different shapes. This is done during driving by a computer to maximize efficiency, but also can be controlled by the driver to produce certain looks.
The general look of the GINA is based on the production Z4 shape, but has much more to offer. The flexibility allows for many unique characteristics. For instance, the car is a front engine design. How do you pop the hood? You do it from in the car by selecting the appropriate command. The skeleton under the "hood" then splits down the middle and opens up to allow access. The same occurs for the headlights, trunks and doors of the car in one form or another. It is a beautiful design and so unique that the first question is where can I buy one?!
Alas, the BMW GINA is not a production car. It isn't even a limited production car. The vehicle was designed by company to inspire its designers and engineers to think beyond the typical 3, 5 and 7 series looks. Put another way, you can look at it but you will never drive it unless you decide to buy the entire BMW Company or have some really interesting photos of the CEO!
All is not lost, however. The elements of the BMW GINA design are almost certainly going to be incorporated in future cars. The biggest issue will be safety and product life length. The fabric and skeletal structure must be brought up to appropriate safety standards. All indications are this can be done without much problem. The bigger issue is making the car last. The skeleton should not be a big problem, but what about the spandex like material? Constant exposure to the sun, debris from the road and heat from the internal components could do some serious damage to the material. Given the advancement in materials, however, one can imagine a solution can be found.
Will the BMW GINA ever become a production car? Not likely. Still, many of the concepts behind the car will undoubtedly start appearing in production cars. Now, if they could get the performance of the BMW F1 car into a production car, I'd really be buying! 0 to 60 in 2.3 seconds
About the author
Dirk Gibson writes for http://www.dcjautoparts.com - your source for high performance auto parts and accessories for BMWs and other makes of cars.