BMW’s Z1 is a classic roadster that embodies the spirit of BMW design quite well. It is bold, innovative, and utterly different.

With top down and doors down (open?) we jumped in to get a better feel for this modern classic. The proud owner of this pristine specimen was all to eager to get us behind the wheel. In their words, “we feel this car is too special not to share,” “just be careful how you get in.”

After a ride in the M1 Procar earlier that morning, getting into the Z1 was a relative breeze, but we can see why this door layout is not found on your standard 5 series. Hip replacement lawsuits would be flooding Munich’s inbox – perhaps the designers had a younger, more open minded audience in mind when they penned this car; or perhaps they just wanted to stand alone.


Either way, the Z1’s unique character and proven E30 underpinnings combine in a superb driving experience. Powered by a 2.5 Liter I-6 ‘M20’ engine, we found the Z1 embodied much of the E30’s dynamics.

We did not push the Z1 at all, but rather savored it’s rich heritage and grace. Driving along a twisty back road under a canopy of trees, the open air experience was refreshing! An added sensation of speed is present as you see the road flying by just past your left knee. In some ways therefore, the Z1 is more reminiscent of a motorcycle than any other car we’ve driven. When it comes to sensory gratification, that’s high praise indeed.


For a more in-depth look and the Z1’s history and construction, please click here.