Arnie, Knight Rider & BMW i Vision Dee!

Talking cars from the future, or classics and romance from the past?

BMW uploaded this video three days ago to promote the reveal of its latest concept car the i Vision Dee. It features a futuristic concept car arguing with Arnold Schwarzenegger, a young romance, and a cameo from David Hasselhoff back in the black T-Top Trans Am as the Knight Rider. It’s a bit weird frankly. 

As you can see from my little vid below, the i Vision Dee is a concept car that appears to borrow a classic compact saloon silhouette of a past BMW, the classic E21 featured in the same video in fact, but ditches everything else. 

It changes colour, projects information on the windscreen rather than using dashboard monitors (something BMW claims we’ll start to see on its production cars in just two years), can change its exterior colour and dress up in a variety of patterns. Plus it talks. 

In fact, it positively argues. And it picked a fight with no less than the ultimate 80s movie action hero, Schwarzenegger himself. 

Where Dee talks tech, and being all the companion, you’ll ever need. Arnie harks back to an era of unfiltered driving and the romance of the road. 

The video is strange in that while it appears to have a narrative, the plot is frankly all over the place, the appearance of KITT is completely random, the third, fourth and fifth walls are all smashed through, and the conclusion doesn’t really conclude much at all. 

Yet it seems to achieve contradictory goals at the same time. As something of an old-skool car person, and even an owner of a classic BMW (see below) I and many others will wholeheartedly support and relate to the sentiments that Arnie relays. 

And while the classic E21 is so beautifully filmed, at first this seems to be a celebration of classic Bimmers, the BMW concept’s AI seems to dismiss its own history out of hand claiming all it sees is a smoky old car.

Admittedly I really like the styling of the new concept, and the funky colour-matics seems fun, and who doesn’t want holographic displays from a Mission Impossible movie? 

But the AI is beginning to grate partway through the video. And just as I start to conclude that a talking car is a bad idea, a black Trans Am with a strobing red radar suddenly appears. And I’m reminded of the days when I wanted nothing more than KITT – a talking car. 

By the end of the video the past and future appear to converge and coalesce into an idyllic pay-off. We know the new car would be electric, we know it’ll have a fraction of the driver engagement the E21, but we also know it’ll be an extension of our smart phones, it’ll have fun new features, and it’ll be your faithful chameleon friend. 

The use of the term ‘Bullshit’ by both protagonists, jars a little in an official video. And seeing a Pontiac Trans Am in a BMW video is a surprise to say the least, but not entirely an unpleasant one. In fact, it’s quite an evocative sight, though thank God, Hasselhoff’s attempt to turn it this into one of his music videos is quickly cut short. 

It’s a video that reaches across generations, rose-tints the past, 3D graphics the future, stereotypes everything, but still just manages to leave you with a warm fuzzy feeling about Dee and a future in which we will hopefully continue to have relationships with our cars. And that’s no bad thing methinks. Even the music is epic.

Perhaps it’s not such a weird video after all.

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