BMW's introduced a radically different type of concept car at a time when cars need radical change.
I'm not going to go on and on about it-- I'm going to let these images along with BMW's other media provide through visuals and BMW's own commentary the details of this new Bavarian Motor Work. What I will go on to say though is this-- the use of GINA's 'textile skin' rather than the normal metal/plastic autobody shell has meanings that stretch far beyond hte visual cool factor.
Given the energy costs needed to create steel and plastics, the fabric-like shell already significantly diminishes this automobile's carbon footprint. How durable and lasting it is I don't know-- it is after all only a concept car and concerns like these are wheat keep such things from production.
There's also the obvious fuel economy advantage-- no matter what's under the hood, a motor that doesn't have to do the work involved with moving a metal chassy is a motor that moves just as fast as the next one using less fuel, which means less carbon emissions. While I'm not at all a fan of their Hydrogen 7 push, BMW's concept of less is more with this very attractive, carbon friendly (at least in terms of production) roadster is pretty great.
From a social standpoint, it's a new concept as well. The car is, in effect wearing clothes. From their own media, BMW says that it takes about 2 hours to put the skin on the auto, so should it go into production, depending on your budget, the GINA can change it's look as often as you do.
BMW actually has a series of efficiency technologies in their conventional cars that I'd love to see implemented in vehicles with more modest engines where they'd make a huge difference. Unfortunately, in their pursuit of hte ultima driving machines, the Bavarians aren't known for hybrid-like milage rates and as stated before, their Hydrogen 7 project is as close to Green-Gimmicky as you can get. But that's a story for another posting. You can check out BMW's efficiency initiatives and technologies here.
In an age where companies like Boeing are changing their materials to offset gas costs/add fuel efficiency as is Airbus with their "more efficient than a Prius" A380, it's nice to see Europe's top automaker looking down the road for change. Once again it's a concept car, not for production, but the concepts herein should inspire all manufacturers taking a gander to head back to the drawing board in pursuit of new, efficient designs. Let's hope this is the beginning of something real.