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1985 BMW Z1 Prototype

The engineers working for the think tank first established as BMW Technik GmbH created a sensation with their first development. They pooled their ideas for a completely new vehicle concept in a two-seater roadster. During this process, they developed a type of car that had virtually been forgotten in the mid-1980s. The first project was therefore already a perfect example of the very special approach being taken by the company.

The highlights of the BMW Z1 went far beyond the body design that was received with such rapturous acclaim by the public and the 125 kW/170 hp six-cylinder in-line engine that served as the power unit. Development of this open sports car started in the second half of 1985, and ultimately this car was planned as a pilot project for innovative vehicle structures, the manufacture and application of new materials, and the optimisation of development processes. The structure of the BMW Z1 comprises a monocoque-type steel chassis with a bonded plastic floor. The car’s bodywork is made of special elastic plastics that are not sensitive to damage. New thermoplastic materials and sandwich components were used.

The comparatively high side sills provide a degree of protection for the passengers that had not previously been achieved in a roadster. The powered vertical sliding doors were the eye- catching visual highlight of the design.

Engineers developed a completely new suspension for the rear-powered wheels in order to ensure that the BMW Z1 with its top speed of 225 km/h also qualified with flying colours in the discipline of future-proof driving pleasure. Thoughts?