BMW Z18 Concept: the convertible SUV that never arrived

We are in a time when originality is not rewarded and that is why brands focus on products that they are convinced have the potential to succeed and adjust their balance sheets. However, before there was more room for creativity, which was perceived positively by the public. There were truly crazy things that would never happen, but they are worth remembering. As the BMW Z18 Concept and its peculiar way of overtaking the convertible SUV, a concept that has been worked on.

Although the German firm would never produce it, there have been other manufacturers that yes they made similar concepts like Volkswagen with its T-Roc Cabrio or Range Rover with the Evoque Convertible. In any case, the origin of this prototype is much earlier than that of those vehicles. It was 1985 when he was born. BMW Technik GmbH, an independent sub-brand that wanted to become the cradle of brand innovation. His first project was a BMW Z1, a model that would go down in history and that would make them lay the foundations.

After that bombshell and making other creations like the BMW E1, they got to work to create the Z18 Concept. Under the command of Ulrich Bez, which would later become Aston Martin, decided to make a convertible that even advanced some lines of the BMW Z3, ​​but with very different airs. They were inspired by three concepts: an off-roader, a roadster and an enduro motorcycle. Although its development began in 1990, It was not shown until 1995. That means that it was a precursor to the Z3 (1996), but also to the BMW X5 (1999), considered the brand’s first SUV.

The base was specific and was created practically from scratch. A plastic body was mounted on an adapted steel chassis, making its weight would remain at 1,560 kg. It was elevated to allow fording, although this could be a problem given the total absence of a roof. The brand was concerned about waterproof the cabin. Although it was a strict two-seater, there was the possibility of installing small rear seats or even uncovering its rear to make it a pick-up.

The BMW Z18 Concept had a very striking design and adjusted to the time. The split kidney grille is similar to the one that would come to the Z3, it had double circular headlights and bulging wheel arches. The side lines are worthy of admiration, as is that rear that has surely inspired the convertible SUVs that did reach production years later. He rode the 4.4 liter V8 engine which would later reach the X5 with 355 HP and had a manual transmission and also all-wheel drive.

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