BMW brought something for everyone to the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este in Italy. Of course, the BMW 8-Series concept is the brand's biggest draw, but the German automaker hasn't forgotten about its history in motorcycles and scooters.
BMW Motorrad unveiled the Concept Link as a preview of future "urban mobility," a hot buzz phrase in today's industry. The Concept Link draws on the past but redefines what BMW Motorrad scooters may be capable of in the future.
The brand says design inspiration came from the BMW Motorrad Vision Next 100 concept, itself a futuristic take on a BMW motorcycle. The Concept Link, however, is smaller, more maneuverable, and is being branded as not only transportation but as a connected piece of transport.
BMW Motorrad developed the Concept Link as a lower-slung scooter with a minimalistic design. The two-tone color scheme highlights the engineering. A matte black area showcases the technical components of the Link Concept, while the bright orange cables connecting battery pack and drive unit on the right side mark its electric propulsion method loud and proud.
The wedgy, contoured side panels—which may be interchanged with different colors for customization purposes—make the scooter as aerodynamically slippery as possible. The lighting takes more cues from the Vision 100 concept, with crisp and thin headlights and the taillights forming slim, C-shaped elements. Futurism is the name of the game here.
The full electric propulsion method—its details undisclosed—allowed designers to stretch the body for additional room, develop smaller body parts, and give the Link Concept a character different from today's scooters. BMW Motorrad says "E-Drive" provides a comfortable, easy ride in urban environments with spritely acceleration and easy handling. The design makes it easier for riders to climb onto the scooter and leaves room for new storage spaces for various items on-board. The flat bench seat can be adjusted lengthwise to fit one or two riders.
A boatload of connectivity and technology helps create a comfortable riding experience, too. The gauges and instrument display are gone, instead, the info is projected onto the windshield, with secondary information present on a surface panel below the handlebars. This lower panel is touch-sensitive and the content shown can be customized among infotainment, connectivity, and route information. Buttons on the handlebars can also be programmed to operate various shortcut functions per the rider's desire.
Not futuristic enough? BMW Motorrad also debuts "intelligent rider equipment" with specific rider gear. A portion of the rider's jacket has the capability to open and close a sliding door on the luggage compartment for even greater ease of use while riding. Simply brush the compartment with the jacket's marked stitch and voila, it opens. BMW says the gear is quite fashionable and not instantly identifiable as scooter duds. Fashion is subjective, but the gear's features are pretty darn cool.
BMW hasn't said if a production version of the Link Concept will be built or put a timestamp on its various forward-looking bits, but as the industry continues to move at a rapid pace, some of the engineering and technology may arrive sooner than expected.