BMW has officially opened what it calls the 'most modern wind tunnel in the entire automotive industry'.
The new Munich-based Aerodynamic Test Centre is spread over five floors and 25,000sq meters, took three years to construct and cost 170m Euros (£144m). Until now BMW had been using wind tunnels in five different locations around the world.
The facility – which will employ 500 engineers involved in BMW’s ‘EfficientDynamics’ programmes - has been built next to BMW’s FIZ Research and Innovation centre, which houses 6500 engineers. This, BMW bosses say, will allow aerodynamics to be more closely integrated into new model programmes.
BMW says it intends to concentrate much more on reducing drag as it strives to further reduce the fuel consumption of future models. It says that a 10 per cent reduction in drag can reduce fuel consumption by 2.5 percent.
The ATC houses two separate wind tunnels, one for full-size vehicles and one for scale models. Both tunnels can generate an airflow velocity of 186mph and the full-size tunnel can also simulate differing road conditions with one of five different rolling roads.
The smaller wind tunnel allows the scale models to be moved in virtually all directions, and will be suspended above what BMW says is the largest rolling road in the world.
This, says the company, allows airflow across the vehicle to be analysed in all types of driving situations – including overtaking - a technique long used in motorsport wind tunnels.