(Pocket-lint) - CES 2020 was not only a stage for the forthcoming tech goodies of the year and beyond, it was a chance for automotive brands to show-off their worth, too, beyond the smart tellies, fridges and laptops.

BMW, in decidedly playful fashion, used the Las Vegas strip to present its i3 Urban Suite concept: a stripped-out version of the all-electric runabout, with a single passenger seat, designed in an almost airline first-class fashion. Up front the drivers seat remains as usual, that being the spot for your chauffeur to cart you about while you're relaxing in the back.

The i3 Urban Suite - which could be hailed in Uber-style fashion, using a BMW@CES app - is indeed focused on chill time. The suicide doors open the entire passenger side of the car open, making getting in and out a breeze. Slip into position in the turquoise-colour throne and there's a due of buttons for adjusting the electronically controlled sliding footrest.


All in all, there's about four feet of legroom in this luxury get-about. To the side is a wooden table, complete with cupholder, which you can use as a desk for your belongings, while power sources ensure you can keep that important tech kit juiced up while on the go.

If you're not working then next to the footrest controls is a third button, which when pressed drops a TV down from the car's ceiling. A provided Amazon Fire TV controller means you can watch your favourite shows when on the go, thanks to the built-in Wi-Fi ensuring a workable connection for streaming.

Having attended CES for several years, this step up in luxury was hugely appreciated. In part because getting about the strip during one of the city's busiest times of year is a bit of a nightmare - there's the overloaded monorail, and gridlocked roads which push taxi prices up - and this little den of tranquillity and calm made getting around far more pleasant.


And that's the thing: although this is a concept and the car a prototype (it therefore isn't permitted to operate on US highways, but other roads are fine), it's in fully functional order. We used it three times to get from CES show floor to our hotel and even from one dinner to an event later that evening.

Sure, it might not be the epitome of practicality in a world that's getting busier, but as a first-class style escape the Urban Suite was, indeed, a sweet escape from the Las Vegas mania. We don't expect to see anything like this going into production, of course, but with greater talk of automation, who knows, perhaps when the drivers' seat has vanished entirely there'd be space for self-driving vehicles such as this.

Writing by Mike Lowe.