How New BMWs Are Made: From Concept to Prototype

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Any car of the Bavarian brand is a symbol of speed, power, luxury, and comfort. The owner of a modern BMW in the eyes of others looks like a successful and wealthy person, and this is one of the main reasons for the popularity of German models.

In this review, you will learn about the process of creating a BMW – from concept development to prototype launch. We will also touch on the question of how manufacturers evaluate the behavior of a car on the road, its speed, and its dynamic characteristics before launching into mass production.

In This Article

Concept Development

BMW chief designer Adrian van Hooydonk once told reporters that when he sets the task of developing a concept, he makes only general requirements for his subordinates. This is done intentionally: specialists whose imagination is not limited by rigid limits often come up with very interesting solutions. Only the main features of the corporate identity, such as double round headlights and a radiator grille in the form of two nostrils, should not change.

Creating a Sketch

This is the first stage of work on the BMW concept. The starting point is the designer’s vision of the image of the future car. When creating a sketch, a specialist uses only a white sheet of paper and a pencil, expressing one’s thoughts in the form of a drawing. The main task is to reflect the nature of the future model in order to focus on it in the course of further work on the design.

Drawing Ribbon

At this stage, the designer’s vision intersects with reality for the first time, when the specialist translates the finished sketch into a packaging plan using flexible tape. It turns out to be a sort of full-size BMW Concept map. When creating it, you have to take into account the technical nuances. The finished drawing should visually display the silhouette of the future car to the smallest detail.

3D Modeling

The handmade plasticine model faithfully reproduces the surfaces and lines of the BMW Concept. However, in the process of developing the technical side, in any case, you will have to make changes. To do this, the model is converted into digital form. At this stage, designers work together with technical experts to achieve the best combination of form and function.

Assembly of the Prototype

When manufacturing a prototype of a future car, a digital model approved by the chief designer and head of the company is taken as a basis. Assembly is carried out at a special facility located in the BMW Research Center (Munich, Germany). Ready-made prototypes of future models leave the assembly line, which is subsequently launched into mass production. The production process is automated as much as possible, but some operations are performed manually by the company’s employees.

How New BMWs Are Made: From Concept to Prototype

The development of the pre-model BMW takes place for the following purposes:

  • Selection of a vehicle option that best meets current requirements;
  • Determining the appropriate serial assembly method.

Prototypes are almost 100% made of aluminum, which is quite justified, since they do not wait for strength tests, and models from base materials will be put into mass production. When ready, the model is pasted over with a special film so that only the outlines of the car are visible, and the film is removed only before the start of the presentation.

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