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BMW Teases Batmobile-sh Test Mule

Web site tells bloggers to stay away, but real goal is to create an Internet frenzy.

by on Sep.09, 2010

BMW tells us "don't blog about this," but that's just to create an Internet feeding frenzy.

The Web site clearly says that bloggers aren’t supposed to pay any attention to this, but in reality, it’s an attempt to get them to do just that.

BMW registered the domain name to raise up a frothing Internet frenzy, creating hype for a series of images which look like a BMW 6-Series, even though the automaker won’t even offer it stateside in 2011.

Sneak Peeks!

But a closer look reveals this is more than just a tease for a new 6-Series variant. Clues include skinny, low-profile 195-width tires – with the word “test” stamped on them in yellow – covering aerodynamic-looking wheels. The tires and wheels are large enough to fill the height of the wheel wells, but significantly narrower than any recent 6-Series has worn. As narrow as they are, the rear wheels protrude from the body, requiring crude fender extensions.

Notice the blacked-out BMW logo in this teaser photo from BMW on the rear of this engineering mule. Also, the car has a single small tailpipe, indicating it will have a small gasoline or diesel engine.

Could the car be a tease for a followup to the Vision EfficientDynamics concept shown last year? Well, photos of the rear end show a single, tiny exhaust pipe on the left, but the indent in the rear fascia for a tailpipe on the right side is empty. That would suggest that there is a small engine, possibly meaning that the car is a plug-in hybrid or an extended-range electric vehicle, similar to the 2011 Chevrolet Volt.

(Click here to read about BMW’s vision for a future of efficiency with performance.)

The bizarre hood, lowered so that it doesn’t properly meet up with the car’s cowl, features what appears to be a large indent and strangely intersecting panels. Is it there to emphasize that there is no powerful gasoline engine under that hood?

The BMW protoptype that the company doesn't want us to write about - wink, wink - has narrow 195-width tires, suggesting reduced weight will help maintain BMW's vaunted driving dynamics.

Aerodynamic aids such as fins on the front end also suggest further aerodynamic tweaks. In all, it seems somewhat Batmobile-ish. The look suggests performance, all except those strangely skinny tires.

The German automaker purposely dressed the car in black – with the emblazoned on the rear and sides – and shot faux spy photos in dimly lit places to hide certain details. Don’t blog about this? Hardly, BMW is counting on bloggers to promote the sinister-looking test mule and speculate about its purpose.

Text on the site is limited. There’s a quote from a BMW-specific blog and this: “Obviously, this is more than a 6 Series. But the car is not yet in its final stage.”

OK, BMW, we’re playing the game. So what’s next? Is BMW teasing what it will show at the Paris Auto Show this fall? Could BMW become the first automaker to license GM’s E-REV technology?

So here’s our prediction: Details will show that the concept is a plug-in hybrid or E-REV, but with an emphasis on performance. Electric propulsion components will give it eye-popping fuel economy numbers. The narrow tires suggest massive efforts to lighten the vehicle in order to maintain BMW’s characteristic driving dynamics. The wide-set rear wheels indicate that the automaker will use a wider track to maintain handling.

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