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    The cars they could have made – Turbo Concept #1972
    For a car that was first penned on paper over four decades ago the Turbo Concept has stood the test of time remarkably well…

    In a time when #BMW was still busy producing the #BMW-2002 , can you imagine the stir this would have caused when it was first unveiled back in 1972? Launched to celebrate the Olympics in Munich that year, the Turbo Concept, known as the #BMW-E25 , was built on a modified 2002 chassis although it actually looked much larger in pictures. The four-cylinder, turbocharged engine that powered it was also borrowed from a 2002 Turbo but, like a true sports car, it was mid-mounted and connected to a manual gearbox. It was also tweaked to produce a respectable 276hp which allowed for sprightly performance; 62mph came in just 6.6 seconds, enough to rival the offerings from both Ferrari and Porsche at the time. Top speed was also an impressive 155mph but this was long before an electronic limit was introduced.

    However, it was the styling that undoubtedly made the biggest impact and the Turbo Concept ticked off plenty of the typical 1970s styling traits. In a time when many European car manufacturers were experimenting with aerodynamics, the #E25 appeared to be BMW’s test mule. Its wedge-shaped profile and low-slung front end complete with new-age pop-up headlights ensured it looked like a car from the future. Some pictures of the car also showed the rear wheels enclosed to further improve the aerodynamics. It was a quirky package, too. The extravagant gullwing doors pivoted from the centre of the roof with large supporting struts and the at the back the whole rear clam structure raised as one to reveal both the engine and a small loading area at the very tail end of the car. It was finished in a period perfect fade-in paint job with a matching set of deep-dish wheels.

    As a concept car, the E25 wasn’t just a styling exercise either. It was packed with new, innovative features for its time. The front and rear bumper sections were filled with impact-absorbing foam and there were also revolutionary side impact bars to protect the occupants. Most impressive of all was the radar-based braking distance monitor.

    Inside the car the layout was positively futuristic, featuring a strip-type speedo in front of the driver and, unusually, a rev counter and other additional displays mounted to the right-hand side of the driver in the centre console. To the left was the advanced LEDbased warning system.

    BMW apparently used the car for extensive aerodynamic development and a second working prototype was produced. Although it never went any further it’s clear the E25 had a huge influence in the design of the M1, which followed some years later. The front end is nigh-on identical to the 1978 M car, although the #M1 was actually squarer. A lot of the other quirky traits, such as the doors, were toned down though. It’s a shame as 1970s supercars have a reputation for wackiness, and the E25 Turbo Concept certainly had that.
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