BMWs that Will be Missed: BMW Z1 Roadster

BMW Z1 9 photos
Photo: BMW
Yesterday we told you about the BMW 8 Series and how it was a remarkable, innovative car but also how it shared the rear suspension with the Z1. Both of them were the first BMWs to have a rear multilink suspension.
The Z1 was produced by BMW for just 2 years and 4 months during which only 8,000 units were made. It really was something new at the moment, the "Z" (Z stood for Zukunft which is German for future) letter fitting this little car live a glove.

The chassis was specifically designed for the Z1 so the car's doors dropped into the side sills and the whole body of the car could be removed from the chassis in 40 minutes on the clock due to extensive usage of various plastic components. Furthermore, the Z1 had removable side panels and that way, the users could buy an additional set of body panels in a different color thus changing the car's color to their own liking any time they wanted.

The first Z1 was unveiled in 1986 to the press and was presented at Frankfurt International Motor Show in 1987 and initial demands were huge, BMW receiving 5,000 orders before the production even began.

However, most of the car were produced in the first year and by the time BMW entered the second year of production demand dropped significantly and in 1991 BMW decided to pull the plug on the Z1.

The Z1 had only one available engine, a 2.5-liter 6-cylinder inline petrol unit, developing 168 HP and 218Nm of torque. The transmission was made out of a 5-speed manual gearbox that sent the power to the rear axle only. It was quite light for it's time due to extensive use of plastic for body components, adding up to 1,290 kg.

The interior had instruments styled like motorcycle gauges and the tachometer was the only one that had a red needle, all other gauges having white ones.

The price for this car was between €42,000 and €45,000. German BMW in-house tuners Hamann, AC Schnitzer and Alpina made several attempts at the Z1. The Alpina version was called RLE (Roadster Limited Edition) and had a 2.7-liter engine delivering 200 HP. Hamann had two options for the Z1: a 2.7-liter engine developing 220 HP or a turbocharged 2.5-liter engine with an output of 245 HP. AC Schnitzer got 200 HP out of the 2.7-liter engine and, as well as all the other tuners, offered complete exterior and interior kits.
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