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The BMW Z18 was an off-roader and we wouldn’t be too surprised by it now

The BMW Z18 was an off-roader and we wouldn’t be too surprised by it now

Most cross-pollinations between compound concepts usually lead to interesting new discoveries: called crossovers. When inappropriate concepts are forcefully combined, things go terribly wrong. The 1995 BMW Z18 proved that.

Any kitchen expert knows that you can’t throw all kinds of fruit into the juicer at the same time with impunity, unless you want to surprise someone in a really special way with a combination of kiwi, lemon, blackberries, orange and banana. Likewise, there are limits to the number and type of ingredients you can serve your friend as one dish. No matter how delicious hobges custard is, with soup it tastes downright bad. In other words: too much of a good thing is best kept separate. On the other hand: If you never put anything crazy together, nothing new will come out of the blender.

The Z18 was a groundbreaking crossover

With the latter idea in mind, the most creative minds at BMW Technik GmbH set to work in the 1990s to create the Z18 concept car. We can safely call this exotic car a crossover Before the message To call; A true champion in this specific genre even. Or, if we look at it realistically, it was a brave attempt by German designers to maneuver between the hallowed houses of the 1990s and put something into the space – a niche – that did not yet exist. Like the Z18, which is a fairly complex mix of enduro motorcycle, speedboat and roadster. The logical question of whether the end result is more than the sum of its parts can be answered with a resounding yes. The BMW Z18 was still a roadster, or an open two-seater with a sporting character. The plastic body design was clearly inspired by that of the BMW Z1, while the interior featured the central clock shop that would later appear on the Z8.

V8 in combination with 4×4

As befits a BMW, the machine is also quick, thanks to the V8 petrol engine that – for the first time at BMW – drives not only the rear wheels, but also the front ones. In this sense, this concept car is also a distant predecessor to the X5. Remarkably, the windshield is positioned much less steeply than the Z1’s, and is noticeably higher, just like an all-terrain vehicle. The fact that the Z18 stands so tall has to do with the enduro idea behind its design. Without too many modifications, the Z18 should become the already hugely popular model, which was once only reserved for tough heroes Massive raid Paris-Dakar can be finished. It doesn’t take much imagination to see the Z18 leaping straight across sandy deserts and over bodies of water. Yes, that last aspect points to the Z18’s ability to act like a speedboat. The designers’ goal was for the driver or captain, with sufficient ground speed, to be able to jump over water surfaces to a limited extent rather than struggle timidly through them.

BMW has invented the portable equivalent of the Swiss Army Knife with the Z18. Just as this indispensable gadget doesn’t provide the most glamorous appearance to those who keep it in their pockets, the Z18 is not the most elegant company to appear in public with. It’s like a fruit mix: those with the prettiest colors taste the best.