The retro impression is strong when you find yourself looking at the BMW Concept Coupé Mille Miglia 2006, a homage to the BMW 328 Mille Miglia Touring Coupé of 1940. And yet the concept car does not have this kind of function, as Thomas Plath, head of the advanced design centre, explains: “The retro nature was not on the agenda at the project briefing, but the car’s rich heritage was a definite focal point of an advanced process whose objective was creative freedom, exactly like 60 or 70 years ago”.

This was not the only aspect of the briefing. The Muinich design team also wanted to stress BMW’s current language. “But we don’t want the concave surfaces and explicit graphics to be mere fashion trends,” says Plath. “They must last into the future.”
While Thomas Plath outlines the project philosophy, Anders Warming, the designer who did the first sketches, points out: “Everybody talks about a car’s sculptural design, but the front part is still highly traditional, with its grille and integrated lights”.

The Concept Coupé Mille Miglia is not wholly without retro elements, like the split windscreen, the stylised air outlets on the side panels and the covered rear wheels. Not even the glazing that opens like the canopy of an aircraft is new, while the instrument panel is a perfect example of simplicity and at the same time of technological innovation; it is obtained from a single piece of steel and takes its inspiration from the Japanese origami folding technique. In a scenario in which the term concept car has lost its true meaning, this vehicle introduces elements of advanced innovation and performs the pure function of study of styles and applications of the future in the design of the motor car.

The article continues in Auto & Design no. 159

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