Doug DeMuro Checks Out The BMW Z1, Says It’s A Great Beach Car

The BMW Z lineup has produced hits such as the Z3 and Z4 but long before those models were launched, the company introduced the Z1.

Originally unveiled at the 1987 Frankfurt Motor Show, the Z1 was a unique roadster which was only in production for a handful of years. 8,000 units were produced and they cost around $100,000 in today’s money.

Despite the lofty price tag, the Z1 was based on the 3-Series and featured a 2.5-liter six-cylinder engine sourced from the 325i. Performance was modest as mill developed 168 hp (125 kW) and 164 lb-ft (222 Nm) of torque.

Since the model was never officially offered in the United States, Doug DeMuro decided to check one out and see if Americans missed out one of the more interesting convertible to be released in the past three decades.

DeMuro starts by checking out the Z1’s unique doors which slide up and down to open and close. This is an interesting feature but it comes at a cost as the high door sill makes getting in and out of the car a bit trickier than usual.

The doors aren’t the only odd styling quirk as the model came with plastic body panels and a windshield-mounted roll bar. Even the interior is a bit odd as you can’t lock the doors from inside the car and the glove box is located behind the rear passenger seat.

When it comes time to drive the car, DeMuro says the Z1 isn’t fast but it’s a “great little beach car” that’s tons of fun.


  • smartacus

    His comment on the Z1 badge looking like a ZA reveals a lack of worldly sophistication.
    In many parts of Europe; the number 1 is handwritten with a swoop up and down,
    almost like the Cyrillic letter .л -not just a single downward strike like the handwritten 1 in USA.

    Dude; he just said Z1 feels like an E30.
    fyi. it is an E30. The E30 Z1
    Whose casting couch did he get his job from?

    *Here’s something unrelated he probably doesn’t know:
    The Lotus Elise was supposed to have a similar low sill height as a doors-down Z4.
    In fact; the Elise was designed to have NO DOORS.
    But some door-sill stepover ingress laws got in the way.
    So Lotus was forced to either add pickup truck side steps
    or just design in 2 doors with side-intrusion beams.

    • Jay

      while he can be annoying, he cited it was based on the 3 series. He didn’t sound surprised when he said it rides like a e30, he was explaining it to the viewer.

  • Matthijs

    Why is carscoops so addicted to this annoying guy?

  • pcurve

    Pretty informative review. Learned something new about Z1 for sure. And it’s easy to see why only 8,000 was sold.. what a shoddy build quality through and through. Gives Trabant run for its money.

  • Bash

    A beach car!
    i seriously felt that i wanted to throw something at him.

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