- Apr 3, 2010
BMW's forgotten concept cars
BMW Just 4/2 concept – Click above for high-res image gallery
Some of BMW's most unusual and least well-known concept vehicles have been created by Technik GmbH. Technik was launched by BMW 25 years ago as a research think tank. While only one Technik vehicle has ever made it all the way to production, many of the technologies developed there, including iDrive and active cruise control, are now common on BMW, Mini and Rolls-Royce vehicles.
The one Technik concept that did get to production was the low-volume Z1, which brought BMW back into the roadster segment after a long absence. The Z1 Coupe never got past the concept stage, but the shooting brake design did evolve into the Z3 coupe of the mid-1990s. The E1 concept was the first electric-drive BMW, and although it will have taken over two decades, it shares a lineage with an upcoming BMW production EV. Along the way, the 2001 Z29 coupe was built up from a Formula One-style carbon-fiber monocoque powered by a then-current M3 inline-six.
The latest product from Technik is the 1 Series-based fuel cell hybrid concept, which uses a compact hydrogen fuel cell to maintain charge on a lithium ion battery for extended-range driving. Check out the whole gallery of Technik concepts below.