The BMW Concept X7 iPerformance is the Bavarian car marque’s most luxurious concept SUV yet – with a spacious, ultra-networked interior melding with a top-of-top-end engine. This concept vehicle is a natural design evolution for BMW, whose brand is synonymous with power, luxury and travel — and its intersection: art. As such, they support art’s most direct of travel, providing the fleets of black cars that shuttle the art industry’s VIPs around fairs from Frieze to TEFAF to Art Basel to Sleek’s local Art Berlin.
To celebrate the presentation of the BMW Concept X7 iPerformance, we conducted interviews with five international blue-chip collectors. The car itself is best described as an elevated SUV – taking the dimensions, proportions and propulsion of the ultimate power vehicle, and teaming it with a driving experience fit for 2018 and beyond, with a hybrid engine providing seamless integration of plug-in energy. Even more strikingly, the interior has been remade to provide ultimate space and ultimate luxury, with the two front seats placed on foot-friendly pivots, and screens and LEDs lights adding even more interior excellence. It’s the perfect place to catch up on reading while on the road, so we asked five influential figures to divulge their travel luxuries, and the books they took with them. Reading material courtesy of the collectors, backseat courtesy of the BMW Concept X7 iPerformance.
Lu Xun knows how to travel well. The director of the Sifang Art Museum in Nanjing, the 31-year-old has established himself as one of China’s most exciting collectors. His interests range from huge site-specific works to pure conceptual art, with a collection that features both Chinese and international artists. Housed in a Steven Holl-designed building CNN called “jaw-dropping”, the Sifang Art Museum is one of China’s most ambitious newer spaces, and maintaining it requires some serious air miles and drive-time. Suffice to say, Xun has been inside his fair share of BMW cars as he zips between art fairs. In the context of the presentation of the the BMW Concept X7 iPerformance, a performance SUV built to be the absolute pinnacle of luxury, we quizzed him about the role of comfort, excitement and stimulation on the move.
What’s your on-the-road reading material at the moment?
“Air Guitar” by Dave Hickey. It’s something I re-read a lot, and I find something new every time. A good book is the same as a good artwork — so candid and direct. It changes how we see ourselves and the world around us.
What’s your favourite thing to read while you travel?
Leisure traveling takes me away from my usual high pressure working environment, so my senses are stronger and I tend to rea
d short stories that are subtle on emotion.
What books have inspired you in the past?
Books like Robert Hughes’ “The Shock of the New” changed the way I look at art and everything else at a very early stage of my life.
Which news sources do you check in the back of the car at art fairs?
My favourite news sources are People’s Daily and Xinhua Daily, because they’re never cynical or negative. Every line they write makes me happy. The photos are so jolly too!
What do you look for in a driving experience?
I like to be very close to the car and feel every movement of its mechanics, and therefore I always drive old fashioned manual. I am a big fan and collector of Japanese imports in the ’90s for their over-the-top performances, and European vintage for their aesthetics.
Have you taken any memorable road trips?
In 2014 my family and I drove from Banff to Jasper on the Icefields Parkway. It was one of the most amazing 5-hour drives in my life.
Have you ever owned a BMW, and if so, how would you characterise the experience?
I happen to be a BMW enthusiast. My first car was a E46 M3 and I currently own two BMWs, a 1988 E28 M5 black on black, and an Alpine White 1M. It is not a cliche to say it is the ultimate driver’s car. I am all about driving manual, and it just makes daily commuting so much more enjoyable.
What can you not travel without?
I want to say I can travel without anything — I pack very lightly, and only take the very essentials when I travel. I like things that can fit different occasions.
Apart from the essentials like passport, ticket etc., what objects do you always take?
My phone, bluetooth headphones, a small wallet, a pair of black-on-black sunglasses.
What’s your biggest immaterial travel luxury?
The biggest immaterial travel luxury is having social connections around the world. Most of them are very artsy and know their way around their respective cities, and it’s a pleasure to see different places from their unique perspectives. Even on work trips, I would ask my friend to “curate” special itineraries with food and things to experience.
For more information on the BMW Concept X7 iPerformance, click here.