Right now, the world’s between BMW sports cars. The folding hard-top Z4 is dead (boo-hoo, not so much), and the internet is red-hot with rumours, speculation and excitement about the new ‘Z5’ that’s set to emerge from BMW’s sports car tie-up with Toyota. A sister to the purported new Supra, it’s set to be a thoroughly modern BMW sports car. So in the meantime, here’s the opposite of that. The BMW Mille Miglia Coupe.
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TG’s guide to concepts: the BMW Mille Miglia Coupe
When BMW has a rare lapse into retro, the results are pretty stunning…
In 2006, BMW built this gorgeous streak of art deco opulence purely and simply for the joy of showing off at that year’s Mille Miglia. The 1000-mile Italian road race hasn’t actually been run as a competitive event since 1957, but since 1977 it’s been resurrected as a regularity stage road rally for the crème de la crème of vintage sporting cars.
BMW’s history with the Mille Miglia isn’t the most glowing record out there: it won it only once, and its 1940 victory was the only Mille Miglia to take place during the timeframe of the Second World War. The victorious 328 Touring Coupe averaged 103mph over the distance. Imagine what it’d have done with the power from a 155mph Z4 M Coupe under the bonnet…
That’s what provided the base for the Mille Miglia Coupe concept: BMW’s stubby straight six hard-top, sending 338bhp to the rear wheels and revving to a heady 8,000rpm. Underneath, the air inlet and exhausts systems where breathed on for a racier soundtrack. Over the top, BMW laid a stunning body lying 40mm lower and 230mm longer than the street car.
Maintaining the old-school theme, BMW binned computer design for the concept. Instead, it used plaster – not clay – models to finalise the shape. And what a shape, voluptuous and streamlined, with shuttered headlights, covered rear wheels and a hinged roof for cockpit access instead of doors. Because who needs easy access when torsional stiffness is priority?
But it’s no pastiche. Carbonfibre underbody fins, diffusers and vents aft of the front wheels work to create actual downforce – a concept that’d seem as alien to 1940s man as Snapchat or ‘Kanye West’. Inside, only stainless steel, untreated leather and Lycra is allowed. No soft-touch imitation hide here…
Course, the Mille Miglia Coupe was never earmarked for production. Still, now BMW’s got a potentially decent new sports car platform waiting in the wings, perhaps it’s time to revisit the retro theme..?