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    There’s no denying this was a strange looking one, but powered by a big V8 and four-wheel drive it would have been a hoot to drive we reckon. BMW Concepts A look on the rather unusual #V8-powered Z18 from 2000. / #BMW-Z18-Concept / #1995-BMW-Z18-Concept / #BMW-Z18 / #BMW-Concept / #BMW / #V8 / #1995 / #BMW-V8 /

    No roof, four-wheel drive, a 4.4-litre V8 making 355hp and a manual gearbox? This had real potential to be a lot of fun!

    BMW CONCEPTS: The cars they could have made Z18

    When a manufacturer goes to the effort of creating a concept car it’s usually immediately displayed to the public at the nearest upcoming motor show. This is done to seem like the company is pushing ahead, showing off some outside, innovative thinking whilst offering a glimpse into future styling ideas. So on that basis the Z18 concept was a little odd as it made its debut to the public in 2000, some five years after it was built. Even then it only saw the light of day to mark an occasion; the 15th birthday of BMW Technik Gmbh which is the creative team behind most of the concept cars.

    Inspired by the company’s success of the Enduro motorcycles of the 1990s the idea was to create a car counterpart. It was designed as what is best described as a research project, centred around the concept of providing driving pleasure in an unusual way. Or as #BMW described it: “The yearning to explore off-road terrain and the pleasure of mobility under the open skies was combined for the first time on four wheels.”

    That essentially meant creating an #off-road , highly robust roadster that was constructed from a steel chassis and fitted with a plastic body. What you see is what you get; there was no roof although it did apparently have holes in the floor to let any water filter out! Its styling also seems to share a passing likeness to the BMW Z1, but then they were created at the same sort of time by the same design team. Being four-wheel drive it’s safe to assume the running gear was largely borrowed from the X5 that was in development and due to be released in 1999.

    But best of all was the engine, as BMW had selected to create quite a nippy number thanks to the use of a 4.4-lite V8 making 355hp and it was coupled to a manual gearbox! With no roof and not a whole lot of weight that would have made the Z18 good fun to drive, especially off road we reckon!

    It was a practical concept, too, as the inside was described by BMW as incorporating “…a variable interior concept and elevated seating to characterise the innovative driving experience…” The variable part is what made it interesting as it was suggested the cabin could offer two- and four-seater configurations as well as a pick-up style option if required.

    The project obviously never got off the ground and as mentioned, for some reason or another, BMW didn’t even attempt to display it, which seems a shame. You could argue the sports utility concept of the Z18 was turned down a few notches but embraced with the introduction of the X6 and the like, so perhaps the ill-fated 1995 concept did do some lasting good. However, even a lightweight roofless X6 is a long way off this…
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    Concept Congratulations / #BMW-X2 / #BMW-X2-Concept / #BMW-Concept / #2016 /

    As I normally contribute to BMW Car by way of providing classic/historic BMWs, occasionally through Mike Taylor and others in the distant past, I sincerely hope that you will not mind my commenting on your article related to the Paris show launch of the Concept X2.

    The vehicle on show firmly revives what the 2 Series BMW of the late ‘60s/early ‘70s really was – a sporting saloon – whereas the first recent revival of the 2 Series was a people carrier for mums on the school run. So very well done indeed to BMW designers, it’s a winner!

    You incorrectly state roundels on those C pillars are not a design element that BMW has ever used on a production car, when in fact they were used on the Bertone 3200CS of 1956, the 2000CS in 1965, the E9 Coupés to 1975 – in all a total of almost 20 years. So to see BMW picking up on previous design features in its DNA is very refreshing. However, I thought the colour used for the concept was too close to an Alfa Romeo hue – wouldn’t it have been great if BMW had gone for something like Granada red from the ‘60s? That would have made a classic statement.
    • We, like you, were pretty taken by the X2 Concept that made its debut in Paris Graham, but would you not say that the current 2 Series Coupé is currenWe, like you, were pretty taken by the X2 Concept that made its debut in Paris Graham, but would you not say that the current 2 Series Coupé is currently carrying on the mantle of the old ’02 series cars? BMW has certainly muddied the waters somewhat by calling its people carriers ‘2 Series’ as we were just getting used to even numbers for Saloons and Tourings and odd numbers for Coupés and Convertibles! On your point about the BMW roundel on the C pillars, we are obviously aware of it being located there on some of its most iconic designs, but in those applications it was delicately placed right by the Hofmeister kink at the base of a slim pillar. On the X2 Concept we felt it was somewhat randomly plonked in the middle of a rather slabshaped C pillar!  More ...
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    THE / #2015 #BMW-Concept-Compact-Sedan breaks Cover / #BMW-Concept / #BMW

    BMW chose the Auto Guangzhou 2015, one of the largest international motor shows in China, to present what may be a new niche-filler for the company, BMW’s vision of a four-door saloon for the compact segment. “The BMW Concept Compact Sedan reveals the potential we see in a compact sedan,” said Adrian van Hooydonk, senior vice president BMW Group Design. “It not only gives the driver and passengers generous amounts of space within a compact area but does so while providing the sporting ability you would expect from BMW and an elegance otherwise only available in large BMW sedans. The quality and intrinsic value of the BMW Concept Compact Sedan are clear signals of our premium intentions for the car.”

    While BMW’s press release on the concept was full of the expected designer puff – “precise edges and contours form dynamically chiselled surfaces, reflecting an assured interplay between light and shade” – there was sadly precious little in the way of hard facts about this enticing-looking machine. Should it come to market one would have thought it should go under the 1 Series moniker, but given BMW had muddied the waters between odd numbers being Saloons and Tourings and even numbers representing the sportier Coupés and Convertibles with the 2 Series range extending to include MPVs, the ‘Compact Sedan’ could quite easily arrive as a #BMW-2-Series-Saloon .

    It is, of course, possible that BMW chose to reveal this machine in China as it could be planning for the model to be unique to that market – it already produces long wheel base versions of both the 3 and 5 Series for the Chinese consumption after all, but we can quite easily see this as a model that would work in Europe, too. One tends to see plenty of Mercedes CLA models on the road already so there’s definitely a market for a small four-door coupé-style machine over here.

    With few details on the car we’ll have to speculate as to running gear, but we reckon it would be a safe bet to assume that its chassis will be the UKL platform that forms the basis for the #BMW-2-Series Active/ Gran Tourers as well as the latest generation X1. This uses a transverse engine layout and drives the front wheels (unless you choose one of the four-wheel drive #xDrive models) and this setup certainly frees up plenty of space inside which is backed up by van Hooydonk’s ‘generous amounts of space’ comment.

    Engines would be the familiar three- and fourcylinder modular units that are fitted to the smaller BMW models. No news on whether it will be built or not, but bar the over-sized wheels and the overly stylised mirrors we reckon it looks more or less production-ready. Watch this space.
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    BMW CONCEPTS: This month it’s the futuristic #BMW-Vision-ConnectedDrive . The cars they could have made The Vision ConnectedDrive from #2011 was, unsurprisingly, all about connectivity. #BMW-Concept / #Adrian-van-Hooydonk

    BMW’s motor show concept cars tend to fall into two categories; those that are production-ready facsimiles of machines that are destined to hit the showrooms shortly, and those that give us a teasing view into what future BMWs may look like. It’s not rocket science to work out that the Vision ConnectedDrive that made its debut at the Geneva motor show in 2011 fell into the latter category, but there was still much that could be gleaned from the outlandish show car.

    It followed the traditional #BMW design style for its roadsters in that it had a long bonnet, a long wheelbase with the wheels pushed out to its four corners and the cockpit was set well back with a short stubby tail. The doors aped those of the #BMW-Z1 , but instead of dropping down into the sills to allow entry and exit, they slid forward and back into the front wing and rear panel. BMW said the car had a ‘layering’ principal in its design with ‘taut surfaces’ and distinctive flowing lines. In the flesh it was stunning. Its main purpose wasn’t to look gorgeous, though, it was designed to absorb information and relay it to the driver and passenger in innovative ways. The Vision #ConnectedDrive was BMW’s visualisation of ‘how cars could intelligently interact with their surroundings and support their passenger’s demands in a natural way and provide them with a driving experience they’ve never had before’. The concept’s project manager, Dr Eckhard Steinmeier, said: “A human being can hear and see, and feel heat and cold; we’re using the same sensory channels for this concept vehicle – it virtually extends the human sense organs.”

    It gathered information from the environment through cameras, sensors and antennas. They were designed to absorb information from the road and the car’s surroundings and on the concept, these flows of information were represented by the light tracks running up the bonnet and around the car to the interior and the passengers.

    Adrian van Hooydonk, BMW’s head of design, said: “We’re explaining or showing something that is actually invisible – the internet connectivity – and we’re doing it with three colours: red for safety, blue for infotainment and green for convenience.”

    One of the main themes of the Vision ConnectedDrive was how best to give the driver the information that would soon be flowing into the cars from an ever-increasing number of sensors and cameras. While the concept retained a traditionally sited dash display, it would be freely programmable to allow the driver to choose what was displayed.

    However, the main display of information was a headup display (HUD) that would show information such as road speed and satellite navigation directions in a three-dimensional display.

    In summing up the Vision ConnectedDrive, Adrian-van-Hooydonk put it thus: “In the future, BMWs will still look dynamic and elegant, and that’s what this concept car shows. Internet connectivity will become an integral part of vehicle design; the monitors and displays will become integrated, and synching your mobile phone with the car will become very easy.” BMW reckoned it was displaying the future, and who knows maybe some of its themes will still come to a showroom near you before too long…
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