BMW has made some really interesting and exciting concept cars in its time. Cars like the funky BMW Z18 Concept, which was basically a jacked-up, off-road convertible roadster, and the gorgeous BMW 328 Hommage Concept are some that come to mind. However, there’s one that’s often forgotten, and was completely forgotten by this idiotic enthusiast, the BMW Z29 Concept. Thankfully, Motor1 has refreshed our memory.
The BMW Z29 was developed in 2001, but didn’t debut until 2006, and was very interesting and unusual looking. It was developed as an ultra lightweight coupe that was built using what was only F1 technology at the time. So its passenger cell was made from carbon fiber reinforced plastic, much like Formula 1 cars and the current BMW i3. That, along with aluminum subframes and suspension bits, helped it achieve a remarkably low curb weight of just 2,557 lbs.
Under its hood was a 3.0 liter inline-six from the E46 BMW M3, which made 338 hp and 269 lb-ft of torque. A six-speed sequential manual gearbox handle the shifting of gears and power was sent to only the rear wheels. It was said to be capable of 0-60 mph in 4.4 seconds, which would be good today, never mind over a decade ago. Plus, imagine that engine in something that weighs less than a modern Mazda MX-5? That would be an absolute riot. If BMW had actually put such a car into production, we’d be saying “E46 M3 CSL who?”
Though, we may not have been in love with its looks. The BMW Z29 isn’t the prettiest concept car to come from Bavaria. It sort of looks like the BMW Z4 of the same era but with a much funkier nose. Those small headlights that flank overly tiny Kidney Grilles make its front end look more bucktoothed than anything else. It’s just not a pretty car.
The recipe for something special was there, though. Extensive uses of carbon fiber and aluminum made it very light and it packed one of BMW M’s very best engines of all time. While we would prefer a six-speed manual over a sequential gearbox, the E46 M3 CSL used the latter and is still revered. We don’t wish that BMW put every one of its concepts into production but we did wish the Bavarians made this. Just with a better looking front end.