The BMW Concept Z4 - Progressive vision redefined
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The BMW Group presented its latest take on the BMW roadster at Concours d’Elegance at Pebble Beach. Dynamic, progressive and an irresistible purveyor of thrills, the BMW Concept Z4 boasts lithe and compact proportions, a dynamic silhouette and an emotionally appealing use of forms. The catchy design study provides a glimpse forward to the series-production category of the car planned to be revealed over the course of next year.
BMW Roadster Initiating a New Trend
The new model of the roadster follows the BMW’s classic design with a long wheelbase, a low-slung, stretched silhouette and a compact rear end, wraps them in a fresh, confident package that is enhanced by the contemporary BMW design language. A shorter bonnet and crisp overhangs are there to make the driver sit closer to the centre of the car than in previous BMW roadsters. This gives the new proportions a well-handled, sporty and agile feel. The function of rollover bars is elegantly brought together by the large domes stretching out rearwards from the cabin and provides a sporting conclusion to the low-to-the-road silhouette at the rear.
The well-carved shark nose at the front end lays a dramatic surface marks that extends the full length of the flanks. The few precise lines that form clear surfaces, while the body’s volumes are powerfully sculpted exhibits the new direction taken by BMW’s design language. The outline of the model creates an extremely modern impression. Acting as the source of the flanks’ elaborately modelled surfaces are the large Air Breathers rearwards of the front wheels (they appear to be shaped by the flow of air as it exits the Air Breathers). Muscular wheel arches and athletic volumes are formed by the twist of the light and shaded surfaces that develop in a rising movement towards the rear. These all shine a bright stylish spotlight on the car’s rear-wheel drive. The low door sills, with their distinctive crease, makes the body appear closer to the road, emphasising the low-slung sensation when viewing the car from the side.
Low and progressive – the front end.
The front end is sporty and that can be seen in the entire exterior. The relationship between the low-set, broad kidney grille and the positioning of the headlights higher up sparks deliberate associations with the BMW Z8 and lends the BMW Concept Z4 a certain flamboyance. An elaborately designed mesh is featured on the inside of the kidney grille, instead of the customary bars, whose vertical orientation recalls the sporty, functional kidney design of early BMW roadsters such as the BMW 328 Mille Miglia. The Concept Z4 provides a vertical interpretation of the classical four-eyed headlight look, with two overlapping tubes on each side. The dynamic flair of the front end is underlined by the turn signal indicators as they point diagonally towards the kidneys from above. Creating an intriguing and virtually seamless sweep over the front end as a whole and the clamshell bonnet with stylised gill vents curves over the wheels. Carrying the promise of a dynamic driving experience is the trio of large air intakes are a nod to the powerful engine further back. Emphasising the front end’s dynamic presence is the large carbon-fibre insert in the central air intake is straight out of the motor sport playbook and champions the use of detail. A very modern and sporting tribute is being paid to the celebrated roadsters of BMW’s past by these design elements composing a fresh and memorable face for the Concept Z4.
The Rear End.
The design of the BMW Concept Z4 carries the hints of the details and qualities from BMW’s rich roadster tradition and updates them for the coming years. In terms of surfaces and styling elements, the wide and low design of the rear picks up the lines of the car’s flanks and massages them into a modern rear of beguiling clarity. The strong blazed wheel arches, which are highlighted by the slim, L-shaped rear lights and therefore further optimise the car’s sporting stance and provides the car with wider haunches. Sending out a message of power-infused agility is the boot lid placed above the rear lights, complete with prominent spoiler, which stretches across to the burly wheel arch extensions. Creating an individual dynamic impression are large air outlets in the rear apron. Adding a sporty and exclusive flourish along with signing off the rear end at its lowest point to the road is the carbon-fibre diffuser.
The clever arrangement of surfaces and edging breaks up the considerable volumes and engenders the impression of a powerfully chiseled muscle. The surrounding design from the doors to the instrument panel boosts the sporty, cocooned feeling in both seats.
In keeping with the focus on the essentials, all the controls are grouped into “function islands”. Nothing distracts from the driving experience. Trim elements inside the cabin are likewise minimalist in nature. The classy materials such as the carefully applied polished chrome accents and swish, hexagonal laser-cut motifs in the seats are the ones that create the interior’s exclusive ambience.
The Driving Experience.
The interior produces a very sporty sensation together with the exterior as they form a clearly defined area that wraps around the driver like a capsule. This accentuates the cabin’s powerful driver focus by creating a pure-of-purpose driving environment with a pronounced “cone of vision”, where the steering wheel as well as the surrounding black surfaces appear to be surging forward.
The instrument cluster and central information display form a high-quality cluster of screens that are integrated into the driver’s cockpit to flawless ergonomic effect. The two displays are now positioned at almost the same elevation and in close proximity to one another, which gives the impression of a single, cohesive unit. They work together to deliver the right information at the right time. The driver has voice recognition options (via touch command) from the content available in the information display–route guidance, playlists or other infotainment features. Presenting the key driving information within the driver’s direct field of view is the Head-Up Display that is placed above the instrument cluster.