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by Adam Lynton
The first of BMW’s Z sports cars turns 25 this year.
Outside the BMW Museum a special gathering will be held today in order to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Z1. Born as a concept in order to explore the potential of new materials, the ZL1 was developed by BMW Technik. Initially there were no plans for a production model, but as "it was just too good," the car got the green light just a year after it was unveiled. The production models was a very stylish roadster that was designed to "satisfy the desire for freedom on four wheels, driving pleasure and performance."
It featured numerous groundbreaking innovations for the time, such as a monocoque chassis, electronically-retracting vertical sliding doors, and a plastic body that could be completely changed in an hou rwith just a screwdriver for assistance. According to BMW, the words the best describe the car are "young, dynamic and brash." Under the hood, a 2.5-liter six-cylinder engine produced 168hp and was mated to a five-speed manual transmission. Top speed was rated as 140mph and the car could sprint from 0-62mph in less than eight seconds.
Priced from 83,000DM, 8,000 Z1 models were produced from 1989 until June 1991 when BMW finally decided to phase it out. Today the cars maintain a futuristic look and some models remain in active service.