BMW’s Z1 Looks As Quirky As Ever Among Modern Cars

BMW first introduced the Z1 to the world at the 1987 Frankfurt Motor Show, with roughly 8,000 units scheduled to go into production until the plug was pulled in 1991.

Considering all that, it’s safe to say that this Bavarian roadster isn’t just a rare car to own, but also a pretty rare one to spot on the road, as is the case here. This particular one as seen on Autogespot, was snapped up in Dusseldorf by KPCarPhotography, and is sitting pretty parked between a Porsche Panamera and an Audi A3. Funny how small it looks, even compared to a simple C-segment hatchback, although its dimensions aren’t the only thing that attract attention.

To this day, doors dropping down into the sills is a remarkably foreign concept. You just don’t see it anywhere else, and probably for good reason.

Powering the Z1 is a 170 PS (168 HP) 2.5-liter inline-six engine borrowed from the E30 325i. However, while the Z1 does share some parts with the E30, it was mostly an original creation for BMW, featuring one of the automaker’s first multi-link rear suspension designs and a body made entirely out of plastic that could be removed completely from the chassis.


  • Bash

    Ugly, as always..

  • Kash

    Who needs butterfly or gullwing doors when you have the Z1? Best car to have for tight parking spots, hands down.

  • Sjaak

    wrong… this car is not small, todays cars are way too big !

    • Ilbirs

      I agree. I’m hoping this trend will fade away some time, like what happened in mid-1970s U.S., when huge land-yachts gave space to more rational models that could be smaller, but were roomier, had better fuel economy and even better performance despite having weakier engines, as these were pushing lighter and more aerodynamic bodies.
      First of all, people must drop the big rim fetish, as this leads to bigger wheel wells that take away space and force the car to be bigger to offer a certain amount of room. We used to be happy with 13 to 15 inch wheels but suddenly someone said that they weren’t cool anymore and the average customer believed this. Smaller wheels would also force automakers to improve brake technology, as part of this big wheel trend is due to bigger discs, a cheap way to make a car stops better without so much work resourcing a better way to have stopping power in a smaller disc.

      Another change in customers’ mentality would be stopping buying a car by the meter (or amount of inches when in countries using the imperial system). Instead of this, by looking at the inside of some models many will be surprised that there still are some of them that aren’t that big outside but take advantage of the small footprint in a way not seen in a lot of models that follow the bloating trend we see today.

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