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BMW: Z9 Convertible Concept

The Paris Auto Show 2000

Like its predecessor, the Z9 gran turismo coupé, the Z9 convertible once again represents BMW’s design philosophy of the future. With its classic silhouette combining a long engine compartment with the short rear end, this unique convertible bears out all the dynamism of BMW design. From the front to the rear, all the car’s lines and surfaces create a feeling of excitement and tension, the highly expressive lines of the car reduced to the bare essentials exuding that characteristic BMW profile.


You might well say without exaggeration that the energy of this unique car literally “flows” from front to rear. The strategy pursued in creating this design was of course to highlight and reinforce the car’s major elements, BMW design thus pointing into the future according the new philosophy of “dynamism defines design”.

At very first sight the interaction of the interior and exterior colors full of contrast clearly alludes to the outstanding character of this concept car.

The dark anthracite gold metallic of the body accentuates the light cream and silver-gray interior, BMW thus focusing in particular on the area of the car the customer will experience much more intensively day in and day out than its exterior: the interior forming the very “heart” or center of sheer driving pleasure. The interior design is “open” and light, following lines clearly inspired by the world of architecture.

In technical terms the Z9 convertible follows in the footsteps of its coupé predecessor. Measuring 4,760 mm or 187.4" in length, it is slightly shorter than the coupé, but exactly as wide with its overall width measuring 1,970 mm or 77.6". Thanks to the open roof, the Z9 convertible measures exactly 1,280 mm or 50.4" in height, 60 mm or 2.4" less than the gran turismo. Wheelbase, finally, is 100 mm or 3.9" shorter at precisely 2,950 mm or 116.1".

Unlike the Z9 gran turismo, the laminated carbon outer skin of the convertible rests on an extra-strong frame guaranteeing superior stiffness also with an open car. Power is to be provided by BMW’s proven 4.4-liter V8 developing maximum output of 210 kW (286 bhp) and maximum torque of 440 Nm (324 lb-ft). 285/40 tires running on 21-inch rims at the rear convey this superior power to the road, while the front tires measure 245/45 and run on 20-inch rims. Extra-large sports brakes, finally, ensure optimum stopping power. 



iDrive: a new definition of active motoring.

iDrive introduces a new definition of active motoring, occupant- and, in particular, driver-oriented ergonomics of the revolutionary standard so typical of BMW. 

With up to 700 different control functions now being conceivable, any conventional arrangement or concept would clearly lead to an unmanageable inflation of knobs and controllers. A further point is that modern driver assistance systems as well as numerous communication and comfort functions covering new and increasingly comprehensive purposes and applications have been introduced in the cockpits of modern cars to an increasing extent in recent years. Now, benefiting from the digitalization of electronics and communication technologies, this trend will continue at an ever-faster pace. Any attempt to operate and control all options and functions conceivable in future by means of “hard keys”,  that is physical switches and control units, would by far exceed the space available around the driver. The result would inevitably be a cockpit completely overloaded with knobs and instruments, making it impossible for the driver to perform the necessary functions even if the standard of ergonomics were improved to the highest level possible. Driving pleasure as an elementary experience appreciated so much by the BMW customer would therefore become quite inconceivable.

A thorough analysis – for sheer driving pleasure also in future. 

Recognizing this problem and its consequences, BMW has consistently re-analyzed all features of the man/machine interface – the function and information channels between the driver and his car – in the process carefully checking their structures from the ground up. The amazingly simple result is that the innumerable functions and the flow of information to which the driver requires access merely have to be tailored to each specific driving situation in accordance with their significance, that is according to current requirements. A further point is that this re-configuration must be intuitive, allowing the driver to perform the necessary functions without having to search for a long time and therefore without being distracted from his actual job – and, of course, from the motoring pleasure he wishes to enjoy.

The optimum solution: functions exactly where they are needed.

The result of this new perspective covering all function areas is to structure the functions on three levels, depending on the frequency of the applications involved and their relevance to motoring. The basic functions most significant for motoring and safety on the road are moved to the direct vicinity of the driver. All driving functions are in the area around the steering wheel, offering the driver direct, immediate access. Basic functions frequently used and therefore also requiring rapid access come on a second level and are controlled by conventional switches on the instrument panel – for example the lights switch or basic comfort functions such as the temperature setting on the automatic air conditioning.

Enhanced comfort, communication and driver assistance functions account for by far the largest share of new options and features in a modern car. Precisely these functions and settings, however, are only rarely adjusted while driving – although again the information they provide must be rapidly available at any time. These requirements are therefore perfectly fulfilled by the Control Center comprising all of these functions in a logical, ergonomically optimized arrangement allowing intuitive control by the driver. The monitor directly in the driver’s line of vision provides all the information required at any time, without taking the driver’s attention away from the road, since the monitor, unlike other display concepts, is fitted in the direct vicinity of the driver’s line of vision to the road ahead. Through its simple and intuitive control, finally, the operation unit in the center console gives the driver direct access to the many function, information and communication options he will be enjoying in future.

Sptember 2000

Photos: BMW AG



















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