Access prohibited: visiting the BMW Tarn-workshop

They are hunted, hounded and sought-after than wild animals. The prototypes of the car manufacturers and their pilots lead a life in Secret. In order for the cars of tomorrow secret, they are camouflaged to be unrecognizable. We have looked at the highly secured tarnwerk instead of BMW.

Prototypes have something Mysterious, something Hidden, no one is allowed to see. If you roll two to three years before the start of sales on the streets, hundreds of thousands of test kilometers to go, they are largely unprotected. Finally, only a part of the testing can trips be placed on the secured test sites. In road transport there are mats, Plastic formworks and Tarnfolien, the hunters, the Erlking, like the prototypes photographers are mentioned, the professional life as difficult as possible.

If a new car comes on the market, if not more to three-digit million amounts. Details about the upcoming model will be known at an early stage, can prepare for the competition, counter-measures and the normal car buyer could wait for the current model with the contempt punishments, and on the successor. The paragraphs remained in the cellar – income and mood of the car manufacturer, the need to develop a new model for billions. The effort required to keep information about a new model for as long as possible a secret, is enormous – worth. According to professional car manufacturers to go with the theme of Camouflage and Disguise.

The right camouflage is the A and O is in each agent’s manual. However, hardly assume that the Tarnabteilung in-house by BMW years ago, first in the 15 km further to the South in Pullach nearby Federal government has looked at intelligence over to get tips and Tricks to select the right Camouflage. For many years, prototypes are disguised in the Public; in the past 25 years, with increasingly greater effort. BMW has held, as well as all the other companies, therefore, own Tarnwerk, which is so secret, such as the workshop, in the 007 Agent James Bond gets his tools for the next job. And indeed, as it goes through the green revolving door somewhere in the soul – catacombs of the BMW research and development centre in the North of Munich, reminds a lot to the laboratory, in the Q his craft work for the best secret agent of her Majesty done.

It is as clean as in an operating room, and bright LED headlights illuminate the jobs around the numerous lifts. Despite the early hour of eight o’clock in the morning working on some of the vehicles already busy. In the already highly secured basement there is a separate part that is accessible by a separate door. The “vehicle stealth” is through the already open access, and in the large room, several of the technicians around working also on a white-painted prototypes. In the model it is unquestionably the all-new BMW 3 series, currently one of the best kept secrets from Bavaria. The mid-size sedan as one of the core models, the Munich-based product range rolls in the first half of the year 2019 on the market. The current Generation sells gorgeous and so is the next Generation in the test rides on public roads, neither in the Design nor in terms of technology.

Already at first glance one can say: likely to succeed if the subjects are not only black and white Tarnfolien applied to a psychodelic-washed shower curtain to remember. Just be fastened to the shoulder of the test car shuttering to a blemish. The formworks have the same ugly patterns that emerged ten years ago from a diploma thesis and in the years afterwards further improved. The wrapping foil has the sole reason that the viewer and the cameras can recognize a few vehicle details. If you look here longer, the shrinking of the senses, similar to how all of that had to do in the jungle book with the animated Python named Kaa. Like the car, here is the upcoming 3 series BMW, will be camouflaged, this is by no means arbitrary. As for almost everything in the home of BMW, there is a colorful round called Tarnkreis. A plenary session made up of eight to ten people from areas such as development, communication, and Design determines, how exactly the top secret prototypes are to be visually disfigured. The aim is not only the car as unrecognizable as possible. Finally, the Camos are to restrict the tests about aerodynamics, cooling, noise, or corrosion as little as possible.

The slides on the vehicles is a science apply for. “Two people need about a day to rides at this early stage of the test, the maximum of camouflage to be applied,” explains Markus Schwab from the Tarnbereich of BMW, “for this purpose, deposited not only films, but also shells screwed. If it is to go faster, to work at the same time four or five people in a car.“ The shoulder line of the white BMW is verbastelt parts of the 3-series Prototype with three Millimeter thick ABS plastic. “Per car is approximately 20 elements”, adds Markus Schwab. Details such as door handles, side mirrors and especially the lights are masking is used especially fondly or with modules, which have nothing to do with the future model. Jovica Petrovic has just covered the rear side Windows with a perforated foil and fitzelt just the wrapping foil around the rear door handle. On the wall in front of the prototype is a large shelf system in which the individual technician use at the Planking of the test car. “The plastic trays make the car only around ten kilograms heavier and affect the driving tests, only minimal”, explains Markus Schwab, “this is the developers to be particularly important.”

However, with the covering doors, hoods, Flaps and handles, it is not done for a long time. “Of course, the interior of which must be disguised,” adds the BMW engineer Thomas Nock, “the interior is completely covered with mats, so that here, too, to see nothing.” On the testing of the black mats can be taken off rides for the most part, so that the test engineers trips can use on their Development of important Displays and controls. The car is somewhere outside the factory gates, or a test site, and the entire interior with mats unrecognizable. “But now it’s even further,” adds Thomas Nock, “in the meantime, the car is shown in some models also on display in the interior or the key. This must of course also be hidden, so that nobody can see anything.“

The Tarnteam has hot weeks. All of the nearly 300 test vehicles passed through the workshop of the auto mobile Q in the secret FIZ-basement, before it went for you in the open test world. Some models turn currently fast laps on the N├╝rburgring, while others scrub in the hot-climate testing in California, in the cold of Lapland or on the BMW proving grounds at Miramas, Arjeplog or Aschheim your kilometers. In the time until the communication start, the camouflage of the new model will be withdrawn in several steps, so that the developer may have less distortion of the driving data. However, it is still not recognize by the new BMW 3 series a lot – the tarnwerk instead.

Text: Stefan Grundhoff; press-inform | photos: G├╝nther Schmid

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