BMW Concept Coupe Mille Miglia
At scrutineering for this year's Mille Miglia, BMW unveiled a brand new concept car. Carrying design cues from today’s BMW Z4 Coupe and one of BMW’s most famous racing cars, the BMW 328, the BMW Concept Coupe Mille Miglia 2006 was launched in Brescia.
The car features a modified drivetrain and suspension from the new Z4 M Coupe providing the car’s power and control. A body 23 centimetres longer, and four centimetres lower, than BMW’s latest production sports car is set off by bespoke 20-inch alloy wheels on 245/40 R 20 tyres and the styling pays homage to the 1940 328 Mille Miglia Touring Coupe that recorded an incredible 166.7 kmh average speed over the course’s 1,000 miles 66 years ago.
The BMW 328 was one of the most successful competitive vehicles in BMW’s long motor sport history. Introduced in 1936 the racing specification 328 won its class in almost every race in which it competed between 1936 and 1940, and continued winning races in the 1940s and 1950s. In 2004, the BMW 328 Mille Miglia Touring Coupe became the first car to win both the Mille Miglia (1940) and the modern-day classical version of the race.
The car benefits from an extremely lightweight chassis. The most modern design processes were used to ‘stretch’ an aluminium shell over a lattice frame. The body is also constructed from lightweight materials, with carbon-fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP) clothing the entire vehicle, painted in ‘fine silver’, a full-gloss paint colour with extremely fine pigments that hints to classic silver race colours.
The large circular headlamps inspired by the shape of the 328 units are not integrated into the body of the car, but attached as flat elements. 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 also contribute to the car’s aerodynamics. Meanwhile air intakes in the A-pillars, arranged in a slim Z-line, direct cooling air from the six-cylinder in-line engine and contribute to developing downforce and reducing turbulence at the wheel housings.
The Concept Coupe is powered by the multi-award winning BMW six-cylinder inline petrol engine that powers the new BMW Z4 M Coupe. Modifications have been made to the inlet and exhaust systems of the 343 hp unit to give the concept car more of a ‘racing’ sound at both idle and full throttle.
The interior retains the functional simplicity prevalent in both 328 racing cars and Z4 production cars, but in a modern presentation. Only three materials are used; thin stainless steel, untreated cowhides, Lycra fabric. This purist form even extends to letterings, logos and symbols embossed into surfaces using laser technology. Entrance is via a hinged roof section that contributes greatly to the overall stiffness of the chassis.
Text - Classic Driver
Photos - BMW
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