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.