Mille Miglia BMW Concept
BMW Mille Miglia Concept Car
The BMW 2006 Mille Miglia Concept will never win a race or be produced for that matter. It’s a symbol for motor sports, racing success and the BMW brand and spirit. The past, present and future of automobile engineering are concentrated in the Concept Coupé.
The principles that led the BMW 328 Mille Miglia Touring Coupé to victory have not lost any of their validity. They are still the drive to construct especially dynamic, attractive and successful automobiles.
Its fundamental properties – impressive engine power, high efficiency, lightweight and optimal aerodynamics – still continue to offer a promising recipe. Reason enough to erect a monument to the BMW 328 and its creators.
The distinctive shape of the 1940 Mille Miglia winner was improved with the insights gained on airflow and downforce. The side and rear sections of the vehicle to conduct the airflow in perfect harmony and turbulence-free up to the tail. Not only is the aerodynamic drag reduced but greater uplift improves road holding and thus the Coupé’s driving dynamics. Five Z-shaped air intakes near the A-pillars help control the flow movements at the front. They not only dispel the air used for engine cooling, they also create underpressure in the front wheelhouses. This effect reduces the turbulences in the wheel housings and amplifies the vehicle’s contact with the road. The cover over the rear wheels and the gently coasting tail are design elements based on both the traditional and the latest aerodynamic findings. The carbon-fiber underbody and diffuser on the front and rear ensure defined air conductance in those parts of the body that are not seen.
The 20-inch wheels, specifically developed for the BMW Concept Coupé are fitted with tyres dimensioned 245/40 R 20. Instead of doors, the study bears permanently integrated sidewalls, contributing to weight reduction and increase torsional stiffness. To let the pilot access the interior, the entire cockpit swings up. The rear section of the concept study is also distinguished through design elements in which the aesthetics are tightly connected with their function. The LED lights are conducted in a gentle Z-curve horizontally over the tail. The lines from the engine hood to the wheelhouses in the Concept Coupé continue up through the front apron without being interrupted by the headlight units. At first glance the “face” of the study appears familiar, its “eyes” remind one of the circular headlamp used in the BMW 328. The optically dominating role on the front end is taken over by the BMW kidney.
While developing the BMW Concept Coupé, traditional methods were applied, which continue to be an essential component of the design process for the BMW Group even today. Whereas the nearly unlimited possibilities of designing on a computer always involve the danger of randomness. That is also a reason that even today the design models for all BMW models are made by-hand.
At Touring in Milan, an aluminium shell was stretched over a lightweight chassis manufactured in the Milanese bodywork forgery Touring. The developers of the BMW Concept Coupé were inspired by the creators of the BMW 328 Mille Miglia Touring Coupé. Nowadays plastics developed especially for chassis construction set the standard for lightness, load ratings and design freedom. The entire body of the concept vehicle is made out of a carbon-fibre reinforced plastic. The shell is painted silver with extremely fine pigments. The finish awakens the memory of traditional colors but when inspected more closely it is clearly the result of the most modern surface-aesthetics engineering.
Initially, the BMW 328 was conceived as an open two-seater. Only when the regulations of the 24-hour race in Le Mans also permitted closed vehicles was the order for the BMW 328 awarded. The BMW Concept Coupé is 230 mm longer and 140 mm wider but 40 mm flatter than its counterpart approved for road traffic. The extremely short front body overhang is especially noticeable. On the other hand, the tail section is markedly gentle and stretched wide for aerodynamic reasons.
BMW engineers strengthened the 2.0 liter BMW 328 engine from 80 hp to up to 136 hp. As a result both cylinder capacity and power-to-weight-ratio in the BMW 328 Mille Miglia Touring Coupé marked best values. The will to win and creativity secured the BMW 328 Coupé success during the Mille Miglia 1940. At the finish, the BMW 328 Mille Miglia Touring Coupé crossed the line more than a quarter of an hour in front of the second place car. The average speed record of 166.7 km/h has never been broken.
The study uses a six-cylinder in-line powerplant as the power source just like the BMW 328. The Mille Miglia Concept uses the drive components of the BMW Z4 M Coupé The 343 hp straight-six engine from the BMW Z4 M draws its power from a displacement of 3.2 liter. The power unit had modifications made to the intake and exhaust system to give a racing engine sound. A muffled rumble in idle signals the kind of expectant impatience that the BMW Concept Coupé would radiate at the starting line.
Completely free of the limitations of production-minded concepts, the designers replaced the usual design and fabrication techniques with completely new methods. All surfaces are brought out uninterrupted and with no decorating trim or rings to ruin that impression. Even gaps and contours have their own functionality. Letterings, logos and symbols are not attached but embossed using laser technology. Only three materials are used in the Coupé interior: flat rolled stainless steel, untreated cowhides and Lycra fabric. All components were either stitched together or clamped to each other.
While working the metal, the interior designers were inspired by traditional paper folding techniques, forms and structures are created without artificial connections. This is not the first time the art of Origami, originating in Japan, has inspired automobile construction. The folding technique used to accommodate airbags in the smallest possible space is also essentially influenced by it. Several layers of the merely tanned, but other than that natural cowhides are pressed into each other. Thus a three dimensional leather-mould part emerges. Not only are the leather and Lycra elements are connected using stitches, even metal and leather is stitched together wherever they meet.
The BMW Mille Miglia Concept showcases the opportunities arise from the awareness of historic roots. This unique vehicle could only have been built by automobile developers who groom traditions based on their convictions, purposefully use their competence and who are open to new visions.
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