BMW design boss Domagoj Dukec has developed a healthy habit of sharing design sketches of lesser-known cars. Last year, he showed his followers on social media the 1981 E1 Spider concept and early design proposals for the first-gen Z3 roadster left on the cutting room floor. Fans are now in for a real treat as images of the rather obscure AVT concept have surfaced.
Those three initials come from Aerodynamischer Versuchsträger (German for aerodynamic test vehicle) and AVT was a fullsize scale model without an interior. It was a non-running car created by BMW’s designers to generate buzz around the opening of a wind tunnel at the Ismaning/Ascheim test facility in 1980.
BMW designers worked closely with aerodynamicists to create this sleek body with a swoopy roofline and wheel spats. In case you’re unfamiliar with the latter term, it refers to wheel arch covers that almost entirely enclose the rear wheels. These extra panels provide aero benefits by blocking air from going through the wheel arches. Instead, the air flows over the body panels to reduce the vehicle’s drag coefficient.
For the sake of aero, the AVT was envisioned with pop-out headlights in the same vein as the mid-engine M1 supercar introduced in 1978, a few years before the concept. The other BMW to get the cool lights was the original 8 Series (E31) in 1990. Since the AVT wasn’t meant to be a road-legal car, it didn’t have side mirrors that would’ve hampered airflow.
Those front and rear overhangs are some of the longest we’ve ever seen on a BMW while the long strips of lights at the front and rear are rather unusual. AVT had a small kidney grille in relation to the wide stance of the body and integrated a pair of rectangular exhaust tips into the rear bumper.
Eagle-eyed readers will notice some subtle differences between the actual scale model and the design sketches.