Classic BMW Concept CarsFew manufacturers are as active in the concept car world as BMW.
Not only do they wow the crowds at motor shows annually, BMW's concept cars often end up looking similar to vehicles that make production - though not always, as this selection of some of the brand's more unusual concepts demonstrate!
1972 1602 Elektro-Antrieb
The BMW i3 might be one of the most advanced electric cars in the world, but it's a long way from BMW's first. A fleet of these 'New Class' 1602 Elektro-Antrieb (electric drive) models were provided for the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich and were even used as support cars for the marathon.
The technology wasn't quite the same though. The 1602 used half a ton of lead-acid batteries to provide power for the 43hp motor. They couldn't be charged either, so when they ran out - which they did in 37 miles - the whole lot had to be replaced...
1991 Nazca C2
A decade before the Nazca C2, BMW had released its first ever mid-engined supercar, the M1. Although it wasn't destined to be a replacement, the C2 captured the imagination for what a future BMW supercar could be. Powered by the same 5.7 litre V12 found in the BMW 850 - and later the McLaren F1 - the C2 also presaged the i8, with a lightweight carbon-fibre-reinforced polymer construction.
Even today, the Z18 still seems a little outlandish. However, with this concept BMW did predict the trends for crossovers and convertible off-roaders, long before other manufacturers put them into production. The plastic body, based on the Z3 from the same year, concealed a 4.4 litre V8 engine - something used by BMW itself in the present-day sporty crossover X6.
2008 GINA Light Visionary Model
While the other cars here might be inspired by or predict other models, the GINA is something else entirely. Dispensing entirely with metal body panels, the GINA uses four pieces of fabric, stretched over a moveable frame - allowing the car to change shape. This includes a novel way of hiding the headlights, with the fabric stretching to reveal them, and a spoiler that grows out of the boot lid.
2015 Vision GT
In essence the Vision GT is a race car concept of the BMW M2. The new technology here is not part of the car, but part of how it was unveiled to the world. This was one of the first concepts that could be driven by millions on its release day, as it was incorporated into the PlayStation racing game Gran Turismo simultaneously with the real world unveiling. The realism of modern racing games means that the car has experienced billions of testing miles, without ever having turned a wheel!