“The future of BMW design” AVT, an aerodynamic ‘mysterious’ concept car


A ‘mysterious’ concept car that designed BMW’s future has been revealed.

As manufacturers do their best to increase the driving range of electric vehicles, BMW design chief Domagoj Dukec shared a BMW concept created in 1981. This concept car, called the BMW AVT, was a show car to commemorate the establishment of a new wind tunnel facility for aerodynamic testing at the time.


AVT is an abbreviation for Aerodynamischer Versuchsträger, which means aerodynamic test vehicle in German. Because the concept car was produced for ‘promotional purposes’ for the opening of a new facility, it was not equipped with an interior or powertrain.

The front of the concept car was equipped with pop-up headlamps for aerodynamics. BMW previously fitted these headlamps to the M1, one of the most iconic models in the brand’s portfolio.


Nowadays, cars like the Mazda MX-5 Miata have removed these headlamps in newer versions because these types of headlamps are not road legal.

The wheels used are flat face wheels that are advantageous for aerodynamics. The rear end is similar to the Coda Tronca commonly seen on Alfa Romeo, with the rear of the car sloping downward and then suddenly breaking off at a near-vertical surface (Kammback, also known as Kammtail or K-tail). The design improved the aerodynamic characteristics of the vehicle.


Although the BMW AVT was not produced, it has many similarities to the Volkswagen XL1. The XL1, produced in a limited edition of 250 units, is one of the most aerodynamic cars around, boasting a drag coefficient of 0.19Cd. This figure surpasses the latest electric vehicles such as Lucid Air and Tesla Model S.

BMW plans to make a dramatic transition to electrification through the New Classe, scheduled to be released in 2025. New Classe is expected to continue BMW’s reputation by further strengthening its electric vehicle capabilities based on the BMW X3 electric vehicle.


Of course, aerodynamics will play a big role in designing these cars, and the AVT concept clearly demonstrates the automaker’s intentions in this regard.

“Ultimately, this prototype became a milestone in BMW’s aerodynamic design,” said Duquek. “Although the futuristic BMW AVT was not roadworthy, it played a very special role in the history of BMW design and technology.”

Reporter Kim Jeong-hyeon

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