The Mille Miglia Touring Coupé is born again…
Design departments can (re)make true gems these days. The BMW people had a go at the famous 328 Mille Miglia Touring Coupé which raced to victory in the legendary 1,000 miles race in 1940 at an average speed of some 166.7 kmh.
The car breathes the same efficiency and drama as its legendary « real » example. The heart of the concept car is also a straight six, but here we are talking about the machine that powers the new BMW Z4 M Coupe. Its sound should also stir most history-loving hearts, and the inlet and exhaust systems of the 343 hp unit have therefore been reshaped to give the concept car a true ‘racing’ sound at both idle and full throttle. What a delight!
But it is the styling which is truly awe inspiring, as the above pictures clearly show. Seldom have I seen a more dramatic-looking "period" shape emerge from modern-day studios.
The design team responsible for the original 328 succeeded without the benefit of computers.
Building models was the only option. And even with the digital revolution, modelling remains a fundamental part of the design process for today’s BMWs. The company’s designers remain loyal to this process as it connects them emotionally to the form of a new product.
When designing this concept car, the designers took a step back in time and formed the car from plaster models rather than clay. Quite literally a more ‘hands-on’, labour intensive process. The BMW design team now appreciates more why classic racing cars are perceived as more emotional and artistic objects than today’s computer-generated racing cars… and their appreciation clearly shows in the result!
The flair of the design team is admirable, just have a look at the mounting of the windscreen wipers, the use of large circular headlamps, thanks to modern LED technology just "pasted" on the body, without interrupting its shape.
Of course, the aerodynamics were addressed with thoroughly modern techniques and design solutions. Side panels and the rear section of the car were designed to allow turbulence-free flow of air up to the tail where the airflow is separated. Carbon-fibre underbody fins and diffusers on the front and rear aprons are also used. Regretfully, we do not have any photographs of the interior of the car to show you. We were told that only three materials are used: thin stainless steel, untreated cowhides, Lycra fabric. The purist ambiente even extends to letterings, logos and symbols, which are embossed into the surfaces using laser technology…
Maybe we can show you some images of the interior later, but in the meantime, we let you enjoy the beautiful "classic" styling work of the present-day BMW men, who have clearly understood what the Mille Miglia in 1940 was all about…and gave it a masterful and unique modern interpretation.
Hans Knol ten Bensel
The typical shape of the side windows was designed taking into account the most modern lessons of aerodynamics, but the BMW styling men succeeded in creating nevertheless a most "classic" ambiente...
The whole roof and windscreen folds back on the concept car...