BMW M3 Concept Car Unveiled at Geneva Auto Show

Sports Car and BMW Enthusiasts alike have eagerly been waiting for official photos and specifications of the all new 2008 BMW M3. BMW finally unveiled the BMW M3 Concept today at the Geneva Auto Show.

The contours of the Powerdome and air intakes are in line with the forward-pointing sweep of the engine compartment lid and harmoniously blend into the overall design of the front, which is longer than that of the BMW 3 Series Coupé. Together with the double kidney grille typical of BMW and the flat headlamp units, they lend the BMW M3 Concept Car a highly dynamic character.

Wheel arches and side skirts communicate agility and stability.

The muscular front wheel arches of the BMW M3 Concept Car symbolise the high level of agility and driving stability achieved by this vehicle. Together with the forged 19-inch light alloy rims in the classic Y-spoke design, they emphasise the vehicle’s wide track, while a glance through the spokes of the rims reveals the compound high performance brakes developed exclusively for M vehicles.

The opening behind the wheel arch on the front side wall, which the designers refer to as gills, has an elaborate three-dimensional form that is split by a discreet chrome bracket containing the direction indicator and the M3 logo.

Two arched surfaces form the pronounced side skirt, creating a purposefully designed contrast between light and shadow. By giving the side wall a lower appearance, the side skirt lends the car a lighter, sportier look from this angle. The incidence of light on the likewise sharply defined rear wing and wheel stresses the dynamic character of this vehicle and visually highlights its rear-wheel drive.

The design of the side skirt corresponds with the shape of the strongly pronounced contour line. The play of light and shadow between the parallel contours of the skirt and contour line brings about a tightness in design that emphasises the individual character of the BMW M3 Concept Car even more strongly.

Exclusive exterior mirrors developed for the BMW M3 Concept Car feature the characteristic black double foot that reminds the viewer of the wings of an aircraft. Even this small detail is in keeping with the principle of “form follows function”. With their horizontal contour line and tapered shape toward the outside, the exterior mirrors not only contribute to the overall impression of the vehicle, but their aerodynamic shape, optimised in a wind tunnel,
is advantageous to air resistance values.

Wide track, muscular stance – rear design emphasises dynamic performance.

The rear of the BMW M3 Concept Car picks up on the design of the car’s front. The side lines gradually sink toward the rear and the wings end in a modelled hollow flute, emphasising the rear-wheel drive and visualising the superior dynamics of this vehicle. From any angle, the rear creates the impression of a pronounced wheel orientation and a muscular stance. Its proportions lend it confidence and a calm yet powerful impression. A visually discreet spoiler lip on the luggage compartment lid, also called a Gurney flap, optimally channels the air at the rear and additionally reduces lift on the rear axle.

The contours of the diffuser, whose design is subdivided by modelled struts, mirror the shape of the air intakes at the front. The diffuser and the double exhaust tailpipes positioned close to the vehicle’s longitudinal axis appear to pull the rear together at the centre and build up a tension in conjunction with the horizontal lines of the bumper. The tailpipes have a round cross section and are cut off vertically, as is typical for BMW M GmbH engineering.

Exclusive roof with visible carbon fibre structure.

There is hardly a body element in the BMW M3 Concept Car that exhibits the level of advanced technology as clearly as the roof. It is constructed of carbon fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP). Specialists at the BMW Plant in Landshut, Germany, rely on an exclusive production method in which the structure of the Formula 1 material remains visible and the finely structured surface is only coated with a layer of clear finish.

As a highly visible advanced technology component, the CFRP roof dominates the technically innovative appearance of the BMW M3 Concept Car. Seen from the side, it lets the roof edge appear flatter and thus lowers the perceived body height. Apart from the exclusive appearance, the CFRP roof also offers a real technical advantage: It is considerably lighter than a steel roof. This not only reduces the overall vehicle weight, but by reducing the weight of the highest element in the body, the centre of gravity is lowered as well. Thus, the reduction in weight at this location is particularly beneficial to the agility and dynamic performance of the vehicle.

The CFRP roof is a perfect example of how interlinking technical innovation with an individual design strategy was central to the development of the BMW M3 Concept Car. Following the tradition of the previous three generations of the BMW M3, this concept study represents a high performance sports car interpreted for use in everyday diving, with its every detail being yet another example of the objective pursued by the engineers. The BMW M3 Concept Car is a vision that shows where striving for the ultimate driving experience will take us in the future.

BMW

Written by Roadfly Charlie

Charlie is Roadfly’s founder and publisher, and was taught to drive by his father in a 1974 Porsche 914. That made poor Charlie a Porsche fanboy for life, and after driving a 911SC at 16, he bought and campaigned a variety of 944s at racetracks up and down the East Coast, earning awards and track records in his twenties. Charlie never really got over the car bug, and after a career in real estate development he founded the Internet media firm that became Roadfly. Charlie lives in McLean, VA with his wife and two daughters, and between the demands of family and business doesn’t have much time to play with cars anymore, excluding the machinery we review.

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