BMW has unveiled a new dynamic concept of its Z4 roadster that is offers “total freedom on four wheels”.
Revealed at the Concours d’Elegance at Pebble Beach in California, the Concept Z4 boasts lithe and compact proportions, a dynamic silhouette and an emotionally appealing use of forms.
The design study offers a look ahead to the series-production version of the car set to be unveiled over the course of next year.
“The BMW Concept Z4 in an all-out driving machine,” said Adrian van Hooydonk, Senior Vice President BMW Group Design. “Stripping the car back to the bare essentials allows the driver to experience all the ingredients of motoring pleasure with supreme directness. This is total freedom on four wheels.”
The concept car adopts classical roadster design cues such as a long wheelbase, a low-slung, stretched silhouette and a compact rear end, in contemporary BMW design language. A shorter bonnet and crisp overhangs ensure the driver sits closer to the centre of the car than in previous BMW roadsters.
The outline of the car follows a distinct wedge shape, and large domes stretching out rearwards from the cabin elegantly integrate the function of rollover bars and provide a sporting conclusion to the low-to-the-road silhouette at the rear.
The sculpted shark nose at the front end spawns dramatic surface contouring that extends the full length of the flanks. The new direction taken by BMW’s design language can be seen in just a few precise lines that form clear surfaces, while the body’s volumes are powerfully sculpted.
The large Air Breathers rearwards of the front wheels act as the source of the flanks’ elaborately modelled surfaces. Light and shaded surfaces develop in a rising movement towards the rear, then twist to form muscular wheel arches and athletic volumes. All of which shines a bright stylistic spotlight on the car’s rear-wheel drive. And 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.
The Energetic Orange frozen exterior paint finish showcases the contrasts of light and shade in the surfacing, accentuating the three-dimensionality of the exterior. And the 20-inch light-alloy wheels in a sporty bi-colour double-spoke design provide harmonious finishing touches to the styling of the flanks.
THE FRONT END
The design of the BMW Concept Z4’s front end is undeniably sporty in nature. 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. In place of the customary bars, the inside of the kidney grille features elaborately designed mesh, whose vertical orientation recalls the sporty, functional kidney design of early BMW roadsters such as the BMW 328 Mille Miglia.
In a departure from the BMW norm, the Concept Z4 provides a vertical interpretation of the classical four-eyed headlight look, with two overlapping tubes on each side. The turn signal indicators point diagonally towards the kidneys from above and underline the dynamic flair of the front end. And the clamshell bonnet with stylised gill vents curves over the wheels, creating an intriguing and virtually seamless sweep over the front end as a whole.
The front apron cuts a genuinely athletic figure with its sculptural design language. Its trio of large air intakes are a nod to the powerful engine further back and so carry the promise of a dynamic driving experience.
The large carbon-fibre insert in the central air intake is straight out of the motor sport playbook and champions the use of detail to emphasise the front end’s dynamic presence.
Together, these design elements compose a fresh face for the Concept Z4.
THE REAR END
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 in terms of surfaces and styling elements. The powerfully flared wheel arches give the car broad haunches, which are emphasised by the slim, L-shaped rear lights and therefore further enhance the car’s sporting stance.
Above the rear lights, the boot lid – complete with prominent spoiler – stretches across to the burly wheel arch extensions, sending out a message of power-infused agility. Below, large air outlets in the rear apron create their own dynamic impression. The carbon-fibre diffuser adds a sporty and exclusive flourish and signs off the rear end at its lowest point to the road.
EXTERIOR AND INTERIOR IN UNISON
Much of the interior adopts the colour of the car body, creating a clear visual link between the interior and exterior. Only a classy chrome trim strip provides separation.
The driver’s seat as well as the door trim panels, instrument panel and centre stack that encircle the driver are finished in black, meaning that they stand out prominently from the coordinated orange shades of the exterior and the rest of the interior.
The instrument cluster and central information display form a high-quality cluster of screens that are integrated into the driver’s cockpit to ergonomic effect. The two displays are now positioned at almost the same height and in close proximity to one another, which gives the impression of a single, cohesive unit.
Above the instrument cluster, the Head-Up Display presents the key driving information within the driver’s direct field of view.
Emerging from the driver’s side of the cabin is a sporty instrument panel of inherent lightness. The clever arrangement of surfaces and edging breaks up the considerable volumes and engenders the impression of a powerfully chiselled muscle. The clear wraparound design from the doors to the instrument panel enhances the sporty, cocooned feeling in both seats.
All the controls are grouped into “function islands”. Trim elements inside the cabin are likewise minimalist in nature. Indeed, it is instead the classy materials, carefully applied polished chrome accents and swish, hexagonal laser-cut motifs in the seats that do most to create the interior’s exclusive ambience. Carbon-fibre door sill finishers and embossed asymmetrical logos in the seats and instrument panel set the seal on the interior’s sporting profile.
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