Rinspeed Budii Brings Autonomous Weirdness To The BMW i3


If there’s one name to look forward to when it comes to far-out concept cars, it’s Rinspeed. The Switzerland-based coachbuilder has been on an EV kick as-of late, turning the Tesla Model S into a self-driving lounge, and now it’s turned its attention to the BMW i3. If you’ve ever wanted an autonomous car with a periscope attached to the roof, the Rinspeed Budii Concept was built for you.

That periscope isn’t just for funsies though; it’s an integral part of the autonomous driving system, which also includes a laser-scanning system and drive-by-wire steering wheel that can be switched between either the driver or passenger’s side. Or if you want, just hand over driving to the car, kick back, and enjoy some of the many opulent features Rinspeed crammed into this modified Bimmer. Seriously, who needs an automatic watch winder or a “wellness shower” (whatever the hell THAT is) in their car? Also, the way the steering wheel moves itself on that articulated arm is kinda creepy. But maybe that’s just me.

One thing that can’t be denied is Rinspeed’s dedication to thinking differently, and I thought some features, like the plug-in holder that connects the Budii to your smartphone, are clever touches that could inspire production models. There’s also plenty of touchscreens and LCD screens to go around, ensuring you’re never forced to interact with the other passengers in your autonomous car. The interior looks plenty plush thanks to work by high-end modifiers Mansory, and the taillights do this cool color-changing lightning thing, and there’s even ambient lighting worked into the air ducts.

It’s weird, it’s wacky, it’s another Rinspeed creation, and I’m happy I get to write about them. It shows that there are people out there willing to think way, way, WAY outside of the box, and I for one am fond of kooky concept cars. Godspeed, Rinspeed.

Christopher DeMorro

A writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to HEMIs, can be found wrenching or writing- or else, he's running, because he's one of those crazy people who gets enjoyment from running insane distances.