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From concept to creation.

The design of a BMW is the product of a unique competition of ideas. Driven by inspiration and passion, designers compete for the chance to see their draft developed into a series-production model.


Awaken enthusiasm –  from passion.

Sketch phase.

The sketch phase, where designers work exclusively with pencil and paper, is the most emotional form of a design. The concern here is not feasibility, but to bring life to a thought. The sketch remains the guiding image throughout the design process.

“With sketches you have to awaken feelings that the modeller can turn into real experiences.”

Tape drawing.

Tape drawings combine emotional vision and technical reality for the first time. Using flexible adhesive tapes, the designers transfer their draft sketch to ‘package plans’, a type of road map of the vehicle with all the technical details on a 1:1 scale. From the finished tape drawing, it is already possible to distinguish the silhouette and character lines of the car that will later emerge.

Clay modelling.

Based on the sketches and tape drawings, trained BMW modelling experts work together with a designer to produce a full-scale model made of a special industrial plasticine. The vision that previously only existed on paper is now taking form. With great care and attention to detail, designers and modellers refine their model by hand until it reaches perfection. This work on the model is indispensable as it makes it possible to assess the car’s proportions, surfaces and details.

“The intensity of the ideas can be sensed first through the work on the clay model.”

3D modelling.

Hand-crafting and virtual modelling go hand-in-hand at BMW Design. A virtual model can be altered quickly, but the precision of the surfaces can only be guaranteed on the clay model. This makes both stages essential. The sculpture is digitalised and prepared for subsequent series production. This is where design engineers ensure an optimum level of interplay between emotional form and integrated functionality.

Colour and material design.

Sporty or elegant, modern or classical? Inside and outside, colours and materials have a decisive influence on the overall impression and character of a vehicle and give all BMW customers the opportunity to customise their vehicle to fully match their own preferences.
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