In 1993, the engineers at BMW Technik GmbH were given a new and exciting mission: the search was on for a contemporary compact vehicle with mold-breaking active and passive safety, enhanced comfort, impressive performance, and realistic economic and environmental credentials. The brief also included driving pleasure and understated elegance to embody the inimitable values of the brand. The specialists developed the BMW Z13 based on this specification.
The fully functional prototype combines the advantages of a comfortable touring saloon with the dimensions of a compact car. The engineers involved in this project took an exceptionally unusual route to achieve their goal.
The BMW Z13 was given the title of Personal Car and designed principally as a single-seater. The driver’s seat positioned in the middle allows all the control elements to be positioned with ergonomic perfection while also offering advantages if the car is involved in a side crash and when entering and leaving the vehicle parked at the curbside. The left-hand or right-hand door can be used to match the particular traffic situation.
The variable baggage space is located directly behind the driver’s seat, and it can even accommodate skis up to two meters in length. Alternatively, two additional seats can be folded down, positioned obliquely behind the driver’s seat. This unconventional configuration offers outstanding legroom with an enhanced comfort level for passengers seated in the rear of the car.
The supporting structure of the BMW Z13 consists of a lightweight chassis made from aluminum extrusions (space frame). The 60 kW/82 hp petrol engine is rear-mounted. The low vehicle weight of only 830 kilograms contributed towards achieving average fuel-efficiency values between five and six liters for every 100 kilometers traveled.
The highly unusual vehicle concept is packaged in an extravagant design that outperformed the conventional benchmarks for an automobile at that time. Moreover, the BMW Z13 gave a very concrete perspective on the future of mobile communications. A satellite navigation system was installed on the instrument panel alongside a telephone and fax.
Source: BMW Technik GmbH
Images: Mario Buonocunto Concept Cars Page