The BMW Concept Coupé Mille Miglia 2006
Tradition, Competence, Visions.
The BMW Concept Coupé Mille Miglia 2006 will never win a race but the two-
seater is still a symbol for motor sports, racing success and the brand and
spirit that have moved the engineers and drivers to perennially great
achievements for decades. With its unique concept study, the developers
and designers in the BMW Group are showing how traditional values,
modern expertise and visions can be unified into a fascinating vehicle. The
past, present and future of automobile engineering are concentrated in the
Concept Coupé Mille Miglia 2006. The study documents what it means for an
automobile manufacturer to reflect on its historical strengths, to take
advantage of current technical competency and to open up tomorrow's
opportunities already today.
The Concept Coupé Mille Miglia 2006 is neither a copy of a successful racing
car nor is it being used as a herald for future series models. Rather, the two-
seater pays homage to the outstanding achievements of those engineers
who helped BMW gain a leading position in racing sports and in automobile
engineering decades ago. In a time when the competence of a manufacturer
was much more tightly woven with racing sports, vehicles arose that continue
to serve as milestones for technical progress, even today. The principles that
led to victory back then have not lost any of their validity. They are still the drive
to construct especially dynamic, attractive and successful automobiles.
The Concept Coupé points out these parallels and, moreover, elucidates that
the traditional values will continue to last into the future.
Traditional values lead to new successes.
Sportsmanlike ambition, the will to win and creativity secured the BMW 328
Coupé success during the Mille Miglia 1940. Its creators used the most
progressive automobile engineering methods of the time in an intelligent
manner to win the toughest and most prestigious road race in the world.
The two-seater was given a lightweight chassis manufactured in the
Milanese bodywork forgery Touring on a lattice frame. The power delivered by
its 2.0-litre six-cylinder in-line engine was increased from originally 80 to 136
At the finish, the BMW 328 Mille Miglia Touring Coupé with Fritz Huschke von
Hanstein and Walter Bäumer went through the finish line as the victor more
than a quarter of an hour in front of the second place car.
The character of the BMW 328 and its successes have stood the test of time.
After all, the speed record with an average speed of 166.7 km/h has never
been broken. And its fundamental properties impressive engine power,
high efficiency, lightweight and optimal aerodynamics still continue to offer
a promising recipe, and not only in motor sports. All that is reason enough to
erect a monument to the BMW 328 and its creators. The two-seater was not
only the brainchild for the design of the BMW Concept Coupé; it also supplied
the inspiration for the study's inherent notion of heritage. From the long
engine bonnet and the generously sweeping front wheel housings through
the strongly recessed greenhouse with its divided windscreen up to the
wings that arch over the rear wheels covering them completely: the
streamlined body of the racing sport legend has been completely
reabsorbed in the BMW Concept Coupé.
Classical forms and optimised aerodynamics.
But at the same time, the characteristic basic design is being interpreted in a
modern manner. The aerodynamics, already distinctive in the 1940 Mille
Miglia winner was improved even further. The insights about airflow and its
influence on the vehicle's uplift pressure and downforce gained in the
meantime have also opened up new opportunities. While optimising the
aerodynamics, the body designers now especially concentrate on the
side and rear sections of the vehicle. The goal is to conduct the airflow in
perfect harmony and turbulence-free up to the tail. A defined flow separation
was to be created only there. Simultaneously, not only is the aerodynamic
drag effectively reduced but greater uplift is generated at the same time,
improving road holding and thus the Coupé's driving dynamics.
Five each optically impressive air intakes near the A-pillars also control the
flow movements in the front end. These gills are a venerable element typical
for sports cars and are being fostered by BMW in current models also.
In the BMW Concept Coupé, these ports, arranged in a very slim Z-line, fulfil a
two-fold function. On the one hand, they lead off the air used for engine
cooling back out through the BMW kidney. In addition, underpressure is
generated in the front wheelhouses at the same time. This effect reduces the
turbulences at the wheel housings and simultaneously amplifies the
vehicle's contact pressure with the road.
Low turbulence, clearly defined flow separation.
The entire trim over the rear wheels and the extremely gently coasting tail are
additional design elements based on both the traditional and the latest
aerodynamic findings. A reverse V-form thus arises as the sum total,
minimising undesired turbulences and concentrating the flow separation to a
tightly restricted area. Trimmings placed on the underbody and diffusers
made of carbon on the front and rear aprons also ensure defined air
conductance in those parts of the body that are not openly seen.
In the body design, the functions needed for positioning the engine, drive
units and passenger sections are combined into an aesthetic whole together
with the aerodynamic requirements. At the very first glance, the BMW Concept
Coupé impresses as a highly dynamic driving machine. The special appeal
of the two-seater grows out of this purposeful appearance.
Dynamic lines and asymmetrical forms.
The 20-inch alloy wheels, specifically developed for the BMW Concept
Coupé, fit into the image of its powerful proportions. Tyres dimensioned
245/40 R 20 are mounted on them. Instead of doors, the study bears
permanently integrated sidewalls, contributing to weight reduction on the one
hand and to increasing torsional stiffness on the other. 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 headlight panel, made from LED
elements is likewise conducted in a gentle Z-curve horizontally over the tail.
The combination of the most modern illumination engineering and their
unusual design unites two functional advantages: due to the extremely fast
response time of the LED's and through the increased conspicuousness of
their asymmetrical layout, the brake lights can be perceived earlier than with
The BMW Concept Coupé does not deny its inspirational source.
Still, its body form is not dictated by nostalgia, but rather by the endeavour for
forward-looking interpretations for typical BMW design themes. The study is
proof that the vehicle designers at BMW have a grip on the art of accepting
traditional impulses and letting them flow into new designs with the help of
modern expertise. That is the only way that concepts can mature by
combining the power of history with the fascination of visions and letting
emotions be awakened at the same time.
Traditional artisanship for an emotional vehicle.
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. Emotional models based on emotional
designs emerge from the hands of experienced modellers. Whereas the
nearly unlimited possibilities of high-tech designing on a computer always
involve the danger of randomness, in traditional body design only
consequent implementation of an idea leads to the desired goal.
That is also a reason that the design models for all BMW Group models
emerge made-by-hand even today. During series development, this is done
with clay models a malleable Plasticine mass. For the Concept Coupé,
the designers fell back on even more traditional methods: modelling with
plaster. This material entails fixed work rhythms during the application,
shaping and hardening of the material. Each and every step demands a high
degree of concentration. During both of these optically and haptically tangible
processes of evolution, the designers form an especially tight relationship to
their design object. One can understand how and perhaps also why the
body designers of past generations were able to create true icons of sports
car construction even without the availability of digital design.
During the material selection, the developers of the BMW Concept Coupé
gave themselves the same task that inspired the creators of the BMW 328
Mille Miglia Touring Coupé to unconventional solutions. An extremely light
chassis should emerge from the available materials best suited to this
purpose. At Touring in Milan, an aluminium shell was stretched over a lattice
frame to accomplish that. Nowadays plastics developed especially for
chassis construction set the standard for lightness, load ratings and design
freedom. Accordingly, that kind of material was chosen for the Concept
The entire body of the concept vehicle is made out of a carbon-fibre
reinforced plastic (CFRP). The shell is painted fine silver, a full-gloss paint
colour with extremely fine pigments. In this way, the finish awakens the
memory of traditional colourings, but when inspected more closely it is
clearly the result of the most modern surface-aesthetics engineering.
Innovative "eyes" in a typical BMW "face".
The BMW Concept Coupé unifies the best of two worlds and even more. Its
design provides hints of design and function opportunities, which can be
made practical for series production vehicles used only in the far future.
These visions are already fascinating today. For example, the front of the
Concept Coupé ensures a striking appearance in a completely new manner,
but especially guarantees better vision. At first glance the "face" of the study
appears familiar, its "eyes" remind one of the circular headlamp used in the
BMW 328. But they are not integrated into the chassis rather they have been
attached as flat elements. Modern LED technology facilitates
accommodating powerful light sources in comparatively small units. This
progress provides the designs with new possibilities. The forms and
linework from the engine hood to the wheelhouses in the Concept Coupé
can be continued up through
the front apron without being interrupted by the headlight units. The optically
dominating role on the front end is taken over by the BMW kidney. More than
ever, it characterises the typical BMW "face" by letting the headlights take over
the role of the "eye", despite the innovative execution.
Timeless design, modern engineering.
Modern influences dominate the appearance of the Concept Coupé at other
points also; the latest series technology is used under the timeless sheath
of the study: the drive components in the BMW Z4 M Coupé, the most
powerful version of the purist-sporty two-seater. The engine and suspension
in the uncompromising sports car are given a totally new calling in the BMW
Concept Coupé. They create the ideal basis for outstanding dynamics, for
which the Concept Coupé must distinguish itself, as if it were conceived for
driving on the road or a racetrack. And, even though this idea remains
purely theoretical, the relationship of traditional heritage and modern
in this form makes complete sense. The BMW Z4 M Coupé is standing at the
temporary end of a long family history of sports cars from BMW. Powerful
engines, high efficiency, intelligent lightweight construction, aerodynamic
shaping and enthusiastic design lend it its individual character.
The BMW Concept Coupé surmounts the BMW Z4 M Coupé by 23
centimetres length. Furthermore, it is 14 centimetres wider but 4 centimetres
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.
The BMW Concept Coupé is seeking company with the BMW 328 and BMW
Z4 M Coupé. And is exhibiting the common ground between the classic role
model and its modern heir at the same time. 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: to design a suitable, light-as-possible and aerodynamic body.
The modern development process for the BMW Z4 Coupé had a similar
character. The BMW Z4 Roadster had already been established and was
already successful when the body for the closed-in sister model was
Six-cylinder in-line engine: Still the benchmark for dynamics.
On top of that, the BMW Concept Coupé provokes one to intensively delve into
the history of engine construction. The study used a six-cylinder in-line
powerplant as the power source. That was already the case in the BMW 328;
that's the case in the BMW Z4 M Coupé also. Six cylinders arranged in line
were and are the ideal pattern for successful propulsion. More than 70 years
of the history of the development of the six-cylinder in-line engine are
in the Concept Coupé a slice of history where the opening chapter is just
as fascinating as the certainly only temporary ending.
That they let the 1971 cubic centimetre BMW 328 engine be strengthened
from originally 80 to up to 136 PS is something that is still seen as proof of
the excellent skills of the BMW engineers of yore. Both the cylinder capacity
as well as the power-to-weight-ratio in the BMW 328 Mille Miglia Touring
Coupé marked best values and provided an impressive proof of BMW's
engine competence. Nowadays, much higher demands are made on the
efficiency and effectiveness of engines. But BMW continues to set the
landmarks for that which is technically feasible. The exceptionally high
performance of the six-cylinder in-line engine in the BMW Z4 M Coupé now
draws its power from a displacement of 3, 246 cubic centimetres; its power
is rated at 252 kW/343 PS. When compared to its forefathers, the fuel
consumption for the 2.0 litres of displacement is meanwhile actually lower.
Regardless how much the requirements and technical opportunities have
transformed, the six-cylinder in-line engine from BMW and BMW M has
remained the benchmark of its time.
The modern power unit in the BMW Concept Coupé displays its advantage
very impressively; also acoustically. Modifications made to the intake and
exhaust system give the concept vehicle an engine sound uncompromisingly
attuned to racing sports tonality. A muffled rumble in idle already signals that
kind of expectant impatience that the BMW Concept Coupé would also
radiate optically at the starting line of a racetrack. At 4,900 rpm, exactly the
engine speed where the maximum torque of 365 Newton metres is reached,
the powerful-raw timbre of the six-cylinder has already intensified to a
fanfare-like sound experience.
The interior: Visions for stylish racing sports.
The driver's and his co-pilot's surroundings are also much different from
everything that sports car enthusiasts were used to up to now. Completely
free of the conventions that arise during series-ripe concept studies, the
designers helped the BMW Concept Coupé to an incomparable interior.
Limits on the functionality, the material selection and both the optical and
haptic impression valid until now were consciously burst through; customary
design and fabrication techniques were replaced by completely new
methods. Thus an interior was born in which the structure of the surfaces
and forms achieve totally new effects. At the same time, gaps and contours
have their own functionality; metal plied by hand impressively accentuates
the characteristics of the material. All surfaces are brought out uninterrupted
and unadorned. Neither decorating trim nor rings or frames impair their
Even letterings, logos and symbols are not, for instance, additionally
attached but are embossed into the respective metal component using laser
Using extra-flat rolled stainless steel, untreated cowhides and Lycra fabric, a
total of exactly three materials are deployed in the interior of the BMW
Concept Coupé. The processing methods were also reduced to a minimum
selection. All components were either stitched together or clamped to each
other using a special technique. The impression of surfaces and controls
resulting from this imparts the occupants an impression of ambience that is
just as futuristic as exclusive.
Folding technology creates forms; gaps take on functions.
While designing the interior elements, the designers combined the use of
traditional materials and the application of innovative processing methods
with each other. While doing so, they achieved a result that is unique in
automobile construction and loaded with incredible effects. Especially
conspicuous: the implementation of V2a stainless-steel processing in the
cockpit and the centre console area. More than just the purist unpretentious
material itself, that kind of shaping sets a fascinating accent. The metal
sheets, rolled to a thickness of only one millimetre, are multi-folded to take
up the final surface structure of the respective component. Beforehand, the
metal sheets are given a precisely cut fold on the intended edges. This is
carried out using a laser technology developed especially for this purpose.
This facilitates extremely exact remodelling, which leads to exceptional
stability of the completed component on top of that.
Everywhere where two metal components meet, they are clamped together
absolutely flush using laser cut castellations. Gaps are only present where
they could and above all should take on a function at the same time; for
instance, the transition between the dashboard support and the centre
console is used as additional storage space. That transforms the gap from
an undesirable side effect accruing when two components are connected
into a consciously inserted design element. That is another way in which the
interior of the BMW Concept Coupé opens up entirely new perspectives in
While working the metal, the interior designers let themselves be inspired by
traditional paper folding techniques. There also, forms and structures are
created without artificial connections, which despite their light weights offer
impressive stability. By the way, 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 this method. But for designing entire interior
landscapes, this solution represents something of a revolutionary accent.
New aesthetics from tradition and innovation.
Connecting tradition with innovation also led to a new aesthetic when
processing the leather in the BMW Concept Coupé interior. 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 that,
among other things, imparts a new haptic feeling in the seating and middle
console sections. Furthermore, the undyed leather underlies a natural
maturing process, leading to attractive patina effects over the years.
The leather and Lycra elements are connected among and with one another
using especially subdued stitches. Even metal and leather is stitched
together wherever they meet. The three materials dominating the interior of
the concept vehicle consist of highly varying characters: one is a metal
created for infinite solidity, one an untreated and therewith living natural
material and one made of modern, hardwearing plastic fibres. Despite all
these contrasts, they create
an extremely attractive combination in which the aesthetic effect arises from
That is the continuation of the interior that the BMW Concept Coupé already
expresses with its body design. Classical values gain a fascinating attraction
when they are interpreted in new ways. Pioneering concepts do not emerge
just from up to date expertise but also require an awareness of historic roots.
The BMW Concept Coupé shows what opportunities arise from that. 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 in all areas.