For a luxury carbuilder, BMW has been expanding in all directions as of late. On Tuesday, it held a swanky event in New York for its upcoming i3 and i8 hybrids with Uma Thurman. Two months ago, it showed off its first front-wheel-drive car. But the newest BMW vehicle goes even more green by using only gravity and foot power -- a two-man bobsled for the U.S. Olympic team to use at the 2014 games in Sochi, Russia.
As one of the title sponsors of the U.S. Olympic teams, BMW has lent the expertise of its U.S. engineers to sports, helping long jumpers perfect their form for the summer games. BMW says its DesignworksUSA studio in California was asked to help the two-man team build a better ride; the current bobsled design was 20 years old, and the United States hasn't won a gold in the two-man version of the race since 1936 -- and has been shut out of all medals in the sport since 1952. (The two-women U.S. team has been more successful, but only won a bronze in 2010).
After analyzing the sled for aerodynamics and better materials, BMW says it spent a year refining its ideas before delivering a prototype to the USA Bobsled & Skeleton Federation, which will give the automaker feedback over the next year before the Sochi games. While a big sled might have little in common with a BMW at first glance, a two-man bobsled can reach 75 mph and must weigh 860 lbs. -- making it closer to a custom-built race car than the Radio Flyer sled in your garage. At least this will be one BMW that won't have to worry about generating fake noises for its occupants.