One car BMW is missing from its lineup

Interesting, Others | May 13th, 2015 by 14
bmw z2 rendering 1 750x500

BMW is currently in two different business: 1) Manufacturing and Selling cars. 2) Creating niche markets that didn’t already exist. BMW loves creating niches almost …

BMW is currently in two different business: 1) Manufacturing and Selling cars. 2) Creating niche markets that didn’t already exist. BMW loves creating niches almost as much as it loves selling cars. The good news is at least the niches BMW creates are interesting. While the odd niche cars, like the X4 and X1, aren’t necessarily the most useful of vehicles, they aren’t completely useless or ridiculous (I’m looking at you Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet). But with all of this niche-busting, it seems BMW has done it all, there doesn’t seem to be room for another niche. So maybe BMW should add a model variant that already exists in the automotive world; a small roadster.

bmw z3 black 750x562

BMW is one of the best companies at making roadsters. The Z3 and Z4 models were all excellent and combined BMWs fun-to-drive characteristics with classic good looks. Even the rare but plucky Z1 was rather excellent and even had the best automotive doors in history. But at the moment, the only roadster BMW has is the Z4 and it’s practically dead. A replacement is coming, but it’s most likely going to be bigger, more luxurious and overall more in line to compete with the Mercedes SLK Class. This is fine, of course, as BMW needs a car in that segment as well. But it would be nice if BMW were to release a tiny roadster, something along the lines of a Mazda MX-5.

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The MX-5 provides some of the most fun a person can possibly have in an automobile and it has nothing but a tiny, naturally-aspirated four-cylinder with rear-wheel drive, a manual soft-top and a manual gearbox. It’s the most simple automotive formula there is, yet it’s the most fun. BMW could get into that segment and would probably dominate. The great thing is, BMW already has most of the tools in place.


Let’s call our hypothetical small, BMW roadster the Z1, both for nostalgia and because it would be BMW’s smallest car, therefore it will wear a ‘1’ badge. So this Z1 could be built off of the 2 Series platform, just with a shortened wheelbase, so it could be rear-wheel drive. It would also be fitted with a power soft-top. While a manually-operated roof would be better for weight saving purposes, BMW customers most likely wouldn’t like that so power roof it is. Then, BMW could throw in its 1.5 liter, three-cylinder turbocharged engine, which is capable of more than enough power and great efficiency. Give it the option of a 6-Speed manual or 8-Speed auto with paddles, a Sport Line and Luxury Line, start it at $29,999 and BMW would have a winner on its hands.

Such a car would give us all of the fun of a Mazda MX-5 but with the added luxury, quality and performance of a BMW. Sure, it would mostly be bought by middle-aged women, but so is the MX-5 and we still love that. This hypothetical Z1 would sell like crazy, and it wouldn’t even cost BMW much to make, as all of the parts already exist. It would instantly become a cult icon.

Does BMW need such a roadster? Of course not, but it doesn’t need the X1, X4 or X6 but those exist because people want them and they sell. People would want this and it would sell. Plus, us BMW fans would have our own MX-5. To me, there doesn’t seem like much reason for BMW not to make one.

14 responses to “One car BMW is missing from its lineup”

  1. bmw lover says:

    I think the x1 isn’t unneccesary, because it is ah small and comfortable suv and you can’t compare it with a niche car like the x4
    greetings from germany ;)

  2. viper says:

    x models are fine , the only one missing here is the x7 and maybe two door x2. , z1 , z2 , z3 , maybe new z8 or how about that concept from 15 years ago the z9? BMW misses 8 series , or 9 series , they also miss a supercar-car like the m12 and nazca bmw , a car like VFL….quite a lot of holes to fill imo.

  3. Scott Hogsett says:

    Does the guy that wrote this even know what an X1 is? It’s in the fastest growth market in automobiles the small SUV segment. How many X1’s have been sold (answer is over 500,000 as of Sept of 2013 so 6-700,000). I quit reading when he made such a dumbass statement. So it outsold all 6, 7 and Z series combined easily.

    • And what statement was that? I never once mentioned the sales figures for the X1. Nor did I say anything negative about it. If you would have taken the time to read other comments, before insulting anyone, you’d have noticed my claim of liking the X1. Next time, read the whole article before making inaccurate attacks at an authors intelligence.

      • Basri Basrî says:

        X1 is not a niche car like X4 or X6. It’s your regular crossover-large hatch car. It can’t be considered as one of the odd niche cars.

      • Scott Hogsett says:

        How is it a niche product? I guess the 3 series is a niche then, just because you said it’s a niche product doesn’t mean you are correct. The definition of a niche product it that it is designed towards a small sub market. 700,000 of a BMW in any series is not a small sub market. Include in this small sub market the new Honda HRV, new Jeep, new Fiat, Countryman, Nissan Juke, Buick and on and on as well as Audi A3 and Mercedes. Learn the definition of niche and then you are qualified to write an article.

        • Niche products are products aimed at satisfying a small, specific need and aren’t necessarily defined by sales figures. Yes, the X1 sells well, but its focus is a small one. It isn’t being marketed to a large demographic of BMW buyers, hence being labeled a niche product. Niche vehicles can sell well and still be niches. It’s defined more by its focus than sales figures. And even if you were to go by sales figures, in comparison to BMW’s other models, the X1 would still be considered a niche vehicle.

    • Kannag Don Amenra says:

      I agree with Scott…

  4. Jeremy Snyder says:

    w/ their new nomenclature they’d need to call it a Z2… and allow the Z4 to move slightly upmarket, size-wise… i would LOVE to see a lightweight (CFRP like the i3/i8??) fun, RWD roadster w/ a Roundel on it!!!

    the upcoming Mazda Miata is pretty sharp, I think… the outgoing model starts around $24k, and they’ll probably sell the new one for starting around $26-27k… so yeah, imagine if BMW offered a $30-35k (starting) for a Z2 lightweight roadster, w/ all the fun of their classic 2002tii or something?? starting price for a 2015 Z4 is around $49k………. so imagine how many $35k Z2 roadsters they’d sell!!!

    DO IT, BMW. (and, give us the 1-Series hatch they Europeans get, and an X7 / 8-Series Coupe / 9-Series range-topping Sedan, bridging the 7-Series and baby Rolls-Royce!!!!)

  5. IceDree says:

    You have been reading Jalopnik way too much ;)

  6. Ofentse Letsholo says:

    I think we need something bigger than z4 instead of smaller one but I get your point though as much as I love BMW and Toyota I don’t want to see BMW all over with “cheaper cars” as if it’s Toyota regardless of the quality they provide. But to support your say i’d say another z3 would do the job of a smaller z4

  7. 2sfhim says:

    The rear on the first “design study” reminds me a lot the Peugeot Exalt

  8. CDspeed says:

    I’d like to see a new Z8, but I’d like it to rival the Mercedes-Benz AMG GT. The i8 is close but they need to build the i8 Spyder.

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