The 2000 BMW Z22 Concept represents a captivating fusion of innovative design, lightweight construction, and cutting-edge electronic control systems. Originally introduced as a study in 1999, the Z22 concept showcases over 70 innovations and 61 registered inventions across various domains including body design, lightweight construction, power unit, safety, mechanical systems, and controls.
A groundbreaking aspect of the Z22 concept is its utilization of carbon-fiber reinforced plastic through an inventive manufacturing process. This allowed for compliance with stringent crash safety standards while substantially reducing overall weight. The concept successfully merges the essence of a car and motorbike, propelled by forward-looking features like power steering, an electromechanical braking system, cameras replacing traditional mirrors, and an intelligently streamlined cockpit design.
The vehicle's exterior character showcases clear color divisions, with black plastic bumpers and lower body lining adding a touch of agility. The distinctive design is a result of inspiration drawn from aircraft engineering, particularly the English Spitfire fighter plane. Despite its modest dimensions, the Z22 concept ingeniously accommodates two passengers while retaining the ability to fit into tight urban spaces.
Inside, the concept introduces an innovative command center concept for integrated driver information and assistance technologies. Notably, the Z22 concept weighs under 1,100 kilograms while providing the same interior space as the 528i touring model. Achieving up to 33% weight savings over conventional technologies is accomplished through the strategic use of new carbon fiber technology.
Revolutionizing electronic control systems, the Z22 concept features an electronic throttle regulator, electro-mechanical steering, and braking systems. The electronic throttle regulates acceleration, while steering and braking systems operate electronically, eliminating the need for mechanical connections and introducing increased flexibility in safety and design. The electro-mechanical steering system enhances agility and responsiveness, and the electrically operated braking system optimizes brake pressure distribution for enhanced vehicle stability.
The Z22's interior encompasses advanced technologies such as fingerprint identification entry and key operation, cameras instead of traditional rearview mirrors, heads-up display projecting driver information on the windshield, and a central control element known as the MMI (Man Machine Interface). This innovative design concept eliminated the need for a traditional gear shift, as program selection for the Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) was performed via the MMI.
Although the Z22 concept did not evolve into a production model, its groundbreaking approach to lightweight construction and innovative electronic control systems served as a platform for developing new technologies that would find their way into future BMW series vehicles.