This Futuristic BMW Prototype Was Shaped in a Wind Tunnel Back in the ’80s

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By Car Brand Experts

Article Title: Unveiling the BMW AVT Prototype from the ’80s: A Glimpse into BMW’s Aerodynamic Innovation


In the automotive world, the 1970s and 1980s are revered as a golden era of design, particularly for BMW. While iconic models like the 3.0 CSL and E30 M3 emerged during this time, there’s one lesser-known gem that deserves the spotlight—the BMW AVT. Crafted as an aerodynamic test vehicle, the AVT showcases BMW’s innovation in aerodynamics and design.

The Birth of BMW AVT

In 1981, BMW introduced the Aerodynamischer Versuchsträger (aerodynamic test vehicle), or AVT, as a technical marvel for its new wind tunnel facility. Unlike traditional cars, the AVT wasn’t equipped with an engine or an interior; instead, it served a singular purpose—to push the boundaries of aerodynamic efficiency. The AVT’s striking design hints at future inspirations, such as the Volkswagen XL1, highlighting BMW’s visionary approach even in the ’80s.

The Legacy of BMW AVT

Despite its limited role as a wind tunnel test bed, the BMW AVT stands as a symbol of BMW’s commitment to innovation and forward-thinking design. While it remained a concept and never graced the production lines, the AVT’s legacy lives on as a testament to BMW’s pursuit of excellence in aerodynamics.


The BMW AVT exemplifies BMW’s pioneering spirit in the realm of aerodynamics and design. While it may have been a mere test vehicle, its futuristic aesthetics and technological advancements continue to inspire automotive enthusiasts and industry professionals alike.


What does AVT stand for in the BMW AVT prototype?

AVT stands for Aerodynamischer Versuchsträger, which translates to an aerodynamic test vehicle in German.

Was the BMW AVT ever produced for commercial sale?

No, the BMW AVT remained a concept and was solely used as a technical aerodynamic test bed, never entering production for commercial sale.

What set the BMW AVT apart from traditional cars?

Unlike conventional vehicles, the BMW AVT lacked an engine and interior, focusing solely on aerodynamic testing in BMW’s new wind tunnel facility.

Did the BMW AVT influence the design of future vehicles?

The BMW AVT’s innovative design elements, resembling modern concepts like the Volkswagen XL1, hint at its potential influence on future automotive designs and aerodynamic advancements.# Article Content

BMW’s Futuristic AVT: A Blast from the Past

Back in the day, BMW’s head of design, Domagoj Dukec, shared some intriguing photos of the AVT, a vehicle designed purely for aerodynamics. The AVT’s design, focused on efficiency, surprisingly resembles modern electric vehicles, sporting a low, long, and wide structure that is as sleek as can be. The windshield smoothly wraps around the body, giving it a futuristic look akin to a UFO from a 1950s movie. With its nose sloping almost to the ground, pop-up headlights, and covered rear wheels, the AVT truly stands out.

Dukec didn’t disclose the exact coefficient of drag, but judging from its striking smoothness, it likely outperforms even a teardrop in aerodynamics. Envisioning a production model of the AVT powered by the rear-mounted 3.5-liter inline-six engine from the BMW M1, equipped with a five-speed manual transmission, and boasting an Autobahn-dominating top speed, sparks curiosity about BMW’s potential back then. It’s intriguing to think BMW could have been a pioneer in efficient supercar performance far ahead of its time.

Despite the AVT never making it to production, the invaluable insights gained from its aerodynamic design have significantly influenced BMW’s subsequent vehicle designs. One can’t help but hope that BMW rekindles some of that innovative spirit to create cars reminiscent of the AVT.


The story of the BMW AVT serves as a compelling reminder of the brand’s forward-thinking approach to design and engineering. While the AVT might have been a product of its time, its legacy continues to inspire the automotive industry’s pursuit of aerodynamic efficiency and futuristic aesthetics.


What does AVT stand for?

AVT stands for Aerodynamik Versuchswagen, which translates to Aerodynamic Test Vehicle in English. It was a concept car developed by BMW.

Why was the AVT designed purely for aerodynamics?

The AVT was designed with a primary focus on aerodynamics to maximize efficiency and performance, showcasing BMW’s commitment to innovative engineering solutions.

Did the AVT ever go into production?

No, the AVT remained a concept vehicle and was never produced for the market. However, the design principles and aerodynamic insights gained from the AVT influenced BMW’s future vehicle development.

How can BMW’s AVT shape future car designs?

The aerodynamic advancements and futuristic design elements of the AVT can inspire car manufacturers, including BMW, to create more efficient and visually striking vehicles that push the boundaries of automotive engineering.

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