BMW Z1, 1989
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Updated: 17-April-2024 13:01

BMW Z1, 1989

Engine sound
Sound driving
Model information
Make history

BMW Z1 roadster, year 1989. Colour 'Urgrun' metallic with a grey Nubuck leather interior and a black soft top. In total 8000 BMW Z1 car were built. The BMW Z1 was designed by the Dutchman Harm Lagaaij. It is the only car with 'slide-down' doors. The Z1 can be driven with the doors down, a very special experience! The driving experience is a 'best of two worlds' combination. Modern and reliable German mechanics combined with the classic British 'roadster' driving style where the driver sits way back near the rear wheels.


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The BMW Z1 was presented at the Frankfurter Auto Show in the year 1987. BMW planned to build 4000 Z1 cars. Before start of the production they had already received 5000 signed orders from customers. BMW decided to build more Z1's and between 1987 and 1991 8000 cars were built. The BMW Z1 was developed under supervision of Dr. Ulrich Bez and the car was designed by the Dutch automotive designer Harm Lagaay. The Z1 was mechanically based upon the BMW 3 series (E30) 325i. The special chassis was constructed of steel with composite floor panels. For the rear wheel suspension a new 'multilink' construction was developed. The bodywork, with electric up and down sliding doors was manufactured of thermoplastic material (General Electric XENOY thermoplast). The body was fitted with an integrated roll over bar. The 'Z' of BMW Z1 stands for 'Zukunft', the German word for 'future'. Considering the innovative character of the construction certainly true. Regarding the concept the Z1 is a pure classic roadster as only the British could build them in the 1950'ies and 1960'ies. See the long bonnet, the six cylinder in line engine at front, rear wheel drive, seats just in front of the rear wheels and a soft top fully retracting within the bodywork. All these ingredients guarantee maximal driving fun with a playful 'tail' and a magnificent exhaust sound. The BMW Z1 feels very compact and robust, you can really become one with the car. The Z1 can be driven with the sliding doors opened or closed. In the USA however driving with the doors down is not allowed!

Technical data

Six cylinder in-line engine (SOHC - 12V)
cylinder capacity: 2494 cc.
Bosch Motronic petrol injection
capacity: 170 DIN bhp. at 5800 rpm.
torque 218 Nm at 4.300 rpm.
top-speed: 220 km/h.
acceleration 0-100 km/h: 9 seconds
gearbox: 5-speed, manual
brakes: disc brakes all round + ABS
weight: 1290 kg.

Marc Vorgers
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Marc Vorgers