Sooooo... This is a thing. Designed by coachbuilder Cardi and based on a BMW 3 Series chassis.

The exterior design is certainly a bit of a mess in my mind, with inspirations from everywhere except BMW. I may be reading the sign wrong, but since it has BMW in it’s name, I would naturally assume that’s where the design inspiration comes from.

It’s a bit hard to tell, but the roof is a lighter gray than the A-pillars, and that chrome strip around the greenhouse is awkward the way it just stops like that. The chrome bodyline that swoops up into the tailfin is really nice, and I love how it draws the eye sideways across the body and the door handle.

Comparing this to something like the Alfa Romeo Disco Volante, there are a few significant differences to the general philosophy that make a big difference in the end results. Where the new Disco took the styling elements of the old one and modernized them to work with modern proportions, this seems to have just taken retro design cues and pasted them onto a modern body.


About those tailfins though. Yeah, they look bad. They’re at odds with the rest of the somewhat modern body, and they need to extend all they way to the taillights to look complete. They’re just a mistake through-and-through. The only thing they add to the design is visual bulk, and get in the way of a nicely-resolved trunk.

And those wheels don’t match any other part of the body.

Update: It’s been brought to my attention that the styling looks to have been inspired by the Volvo P1800. I noticed the inspiration in the chrome along the side, but the round headlights, general shape of the grille, chrome bumpers, and taillights escaped my observation.


It also comes in this teal on gold color scheme, which I actually like a bit more. Those wheels fit better with the pseudo-retro styling, and the added foglights look good.


At first glance the interior looks much more cohesive than the mish-mosh exterior, although there are half a dozen too many materials and a few tacky choices, like the glass gear knob and metal inlay around the gauges. One specific area of excellence is the steering wheel, which manages to look classic while still incorporating an airbag.

A better look at the paisley seats (which I like). That wool (?) carpet would be a monster to keep clean.


The gauges have mother-of-pearl inserts which I imagine would make reading the small shiny font difficult. I think we can all agree those flowery details are tacky.

I guess my biggest problem with this overall design is that it’s not cohesive; every part of the car tells a different story. The overall details of the exterior are retro, but the shape is not, and inspiration seems to have come from a thousand sources. The interior, with it’s 50's steering wheel and radio, modern seats and iDrive system, all wrapped in a dozen colors and materials is an eclectic mix that never works quite right.


See more of the Cardi BMW 3 here.