BMW’s ’80s Wind Tunnel Intro
As carmakers strive to enhance the range of EVs with more sophisticated aerodynamics, BMW Head of Design Domagoj Dukec unveiled a “mysterious” concept from 1981 which has had a major impact on the German automaker’s future. The show car, dubbed BMW AVT, was produced to commemorate BMW’s new wind tunnel at the time.
AVT is an acronym for Aerodynamischer Versuchsträger, a German term which translates to ‘aerodynamic test vehicle’. This vehicle was constructed as a ‘PR measure’ to celebrate the opening of a new facility, and so it was not equipped with an interior or powertrain. It was designed solely to demonstrate the aerodynamic capabilities of the facility.
At the forefront, the concept flaunts pop-up headlights for improved aerodynamics. This style of headlight had originally been seen on BMWs most famous model to date – the M1. Unfortunately, these headlights are not highway compliant nowadays which is why automobiles, such as the Mazda MX-5 Miata, have dispensed with them in later models.
We can perceive curved-faced rims, which, as could be estimated, support aerodynamics. The posterior also adds to the car’s aerodynamic ability, containing a Kammback tail shape comparable to the Coda Tronca frequently seen on Alfa Romeo vehicles.
Despite not being put into production, the BMW AVT still bears a striking resemblance to the Volkswagen XL1. It is a rare vehicle, with only 250 units made, and boasts an incredibly low drag coefficient of 0.19 Cd making it particularly aerodynamic Compared to modern-day electric cars such as the Lucid Air and Tesla Model S.
BMW are preparing to make an enormous transition into the world of electrification, birthing the Neue Klasse before 2025. This architecture will sustain some of their existing designs with the first EV-oriented BMW X3 being produced as a result. Aerodynamics will be crucial in designing and developing these vehicles, and the AVT concept is a good illustration of BMW’s plans.
“The BMW AVT was a milestone for the German automaker’s aerodynamics design, despite being unable to be driven on the roads,” according to Dukec in an Instagram post. “It was a special part of BMW’s history of design and technology, even though it was not practical for use.” Ultimately, the prototype showcased the potential of BMW’s aerodynamic capabilities, making it a significant moment in the company’s history.