BMW will use the upcoming Geneva auto show to showcase its latest concept that is, oddly enough, more about the car’s gadgets than it is about the actual car.The Vision ConnectedDrive concept (that looks very similar to the Vision EfficientDynamics coupe debuted in 2009) is mostly concerned with driver assistance programmes and mobility services, the manufacturer says, and shows current and future methods of networking on the go. According to BMW, this concept looks at making the vehicle a central part of its driver’s social network and set new standards in future comfort, infotainment and safety features. LAYING OUT THE LAYERSThe cabin is laid out in three levels, each representing one of the concept’s themes - comfort, infotainment and safety. BMW is seemingly quite excited about the layering concept, which it says is its new way of redefining surfaces and materials and using them to break up something as expansive as an instrument panel. Different coloured fibre optics define each level.Level one includes the elements closest to the driver, such as information and assistance systems. Called the “safety bundle”, it incorporates elements such as head-up display and sensors integrated into the head and tail lights, and on both sides of the vehicle, capable of recognising people, objects and other vehicles. The second level incorporates the car’s infotainment functions and extends to both the driver and passenger’s individual information zones. The passenger’s information display is operated via a touch-sensitive pad and mounted ahead of the passenger in the instrument panel.The third level relates to the vehicle’s functions and their communications with the car’s occupants. There are no external mirrors on the concept, for instance, just two fin-shaped antennae that receive information relevant to the occupants and channel it to the car’s interior. These antennae are also used to transmit information to the outside world. SLIDING DOORSTechnology aside, there are a few stand-out features of the BMW centerpiece. While the long bonnet, long wheelbase and short overhangs are typical BMW design features, the Vision ConnectedDrive’s tighter roadster profile benefits from a couple of innovative doors. Apparently developed with the Z1’s doors – that slide up and down into the car’s undercarriage and can be driven with the doors open – in mind, this Vision concept has two sliding door elements. The outer panel slides forward into the bodywork, while the inner panel glides towards the back of the car. The latest BMW concept will be shown alongside a host of new products and concepts from Munich, including the all-electric Active E based on the 1 Series Coupe and a new X1 derivative showcasing the company’s new four-cylinder twin-turbo engine, at the Geneva auto show starting March 1, 2011.