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Tellingly, the first concept BMW was a stunning two-seater supercar.
Pop-up headlights. Gullwing doors. A breathtakingly wide, low, modern body, and an otherworldly eight-valve engine that could produce a nigh unheard-of 280 horsepower. Auto enthusiasts were instantly captivated by the E25 Turbo – and wanted to see Paul Bracq's masterpiece crack 155 mph from the moment it debuted in 1972.
There was more to the Turbo than met the eye. Hydraulic bumpers. A seatbelt safety system integrated with the ignition. And even a rudimentary radar-based braking assistant – precursor to the autonomous driving technology of today.
The Turbo inspired the BMW M1 – a mid-engine, high-intensity, and notably road-legal performance machine that debuted in 1978. This aggressively sporty coupe inspired the Procar BMW M1 Championship, and a new generation of racing drivers.
Only 453 were ever built, but the M1's mark on motorsport racing proved to be indelible. Its traits live on in the BMW M Family and the BMW i8 Coupe.
When it comes to electrifying performance, BMW literally leads the pack.
A founding partner of Formula E – the world's first all-electric international single seater street racing – BMW i has been a primary innovator in this new and evolving sport. When the first e-racers gathered in Beijing in 2014, a BMW i8 took the lead as the official safety car, and has held that position ever since.
Starting in 2018, another BMW took to the track – this time as a competitor. The BMW iFE.18 combines the latest innovations from BMW i and BMW M: a full-fledged race car topping out at 143 miles per hour. Best of all, the advancements made by the iFE.18 are inspiring new changes and developments of road-ready electric and high-performance BMWs.
The races also help raise awareness of the sustainability challenges the world faces – and the creative solutions for a greener future.
BMW innovation is at home on any track.
In 2014 two BMWs took a podium position – without an engine. By perfecting the weight distribution and lowering the center of gravity – just like a high-performance car – BMW designed, wind-tunnel tested, and delivered the perfect Two-man Bobsled.
Two years later, BMW created the world's most advanced Racing Wheelchair. Advanced aerodynamic knowledge came into play, as did BMW's creative use of carbon fiber for weight-saving strength. But it was the BMW design ethos – design for the driver – that really made the difference. Each wheelchair was custom-built for a single athlete using 3D body scans to ensure a perfect fit.
Gullwing doors swing open to reveal the ultimate driver-focused interior, with precision instruments, and real-time information displayed on the Boost Pod's curved glass screens.
Press the accelerator, and the 600hp system output leaves gas-burning vehicles in its exhaust-free dust.
Because the future of performance still drives like a BMW.