EV9

We may be entering into a new era of BMW design, but that has not stopped enthusiasts and designers alike from pulling inspiration from the automaker’s timeless stylings of the past to implement into their new, bold concept renders. We’ve seen an influx of restomod designs recently, like in the case of Naoto Kobayashi’s multi-generational i2002 design, and even more recently, with this EV-centric 02 Reminiscence Concept by David Obendorfer—both of which have sparked conversation within the community.

Automotive designers don’t exactly have it easy right now either, especially due to the recent division of opinion in regards to the styling of BMW’s G80 M3 and G82 M4, among others. But rather than focusing exclusively on altering the BMW design trends of the present, it seems as though some designers are eager to look far into the future of the industry, when electric vehicles (and their futuristic exteriors) are even more prevalent. But at the same time, they’re also looking to yesteryear for inspiration.

Enter Chacko Abraham, a professional automotive interior designer for Ford and Lincoln with an eye for futuristic design trends. His passion for his craft is not only evident in his artfully cultivated social-media feed, but also remains deep-rooted in his latest rendering—of an electrified E9 coupe. Although lacking an official name from its creator, the fresh-faced coupe has been codenamed the EV9 by AutoEvolution and the overarching vintage BMW community—and for good reason. It is clear that Abraham’s muse was BMW’s very own E9, the influential coupe that would go on to become the blank canvas of not one but two 3.0CSL art cars, painted by Alexander Calder and Frank Stella.

Although the grand-tourer turned racer would eventually be replaced by the E24 6 Series after the end of its life cycle in 1975, the mark it has left on the greater car community and on motorsport remains undisputed and unforgotten—a legacy that can be difficult to tackle and integrate into a concept rendering.

The 1975 Alexander Caldwell 3. CSL Art Car is still inspiring BMW fans. Fortunately, Abraham didn’t  forget the rich history of the E9 in his rendering. The traditional Hofmeister kink at the C-pillar, slender pillars, and tall, open greenhouse visage not only speak volumes of the original E9’s design, but also to more recent BMW-backed concepts, like the 3.0CSL Hommage that debuted back in 2015. A straight beltline running parallel to the door sills helps retain a hint of the original design cues, accentuating the original E9’s long hood and short rear-deck proportions.

Abraham also pays careful mind not to completely do away with the characteristic chrome trim that the E9 wears with pride, but rather chooses to use the body line as an integration tool for the front turn signals—an innovative solution that aids in the retention of some design history. The resulting silhouette is clean and uncluttered, a finished work that is a breath of fresh air for enthusiasts not too keen on the affixing of unnecessary modern bits and baubles onto their newer BMWs.

With a modern take on the street-sweeping CSL bumper, Abraham then adds a slight flare to the front and rear fenders, a choice that doesn’t perfectly mimic the body kit of the original coupe, but carefully bridges the gap between the classic and modern designs. The electrified aesthetic is completed by recessing the quad headlight setup and narrow kidneys into the front bumper, along with the addition of futuristic turbo-fin M1-style  slotted wheels.

The airy, clean foundation with which this sports coupe concept has been forged not only keeps the electrified powertrain in mind, but also the heritage of the E9–a sophisticated approach that has led to a beautifully simple result. While the M30-powered E9 CSL will never be replaced, this EV concept and its seamless exterior may prove to be a viable source of inspiration for BMW’s future electric vehicles—or at the very least, a timeless example of what an EV9 could be.—Malia Murphy

[Photos courtesy BMW AG, Chacko Abraham via Instagram.]

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