In 2009, the 5 Series Gran Turismo was the first of BMW’s sedan/coupe/SUV mutants to hit dealerships and poke us in the eye. But the development mules were even uglier.

If you’re curious to learn why and exactly how car manufacturers use camouflage to hide their latest developments from the paparazzi, here’s all you need to know.

Of course unless the team did an absolutely perfect job, those with a trained eye will still figure out that all those plastic body panels hide some sort of a BMW – in this case just by looking at the shifter or the shape of the screen inside – but it’s still fascinating to see how stickers and quite a few holes drilled mercilessly into the metal can turn a pretty much production-ready prototype into a rolling question mark.

One thing they can’t test with this much added drag and weight is fuel consumption, but I guess you can’t have everything.


Contact the author at mate@jalopnik.com.