2000 BMW Z9 Convertible Concept
(from BMW Press Release) Presenting the Z9 convertible at the Paris Motor Show, BMW is offering a glimpse of sheer driving pleasure enhanced to an even higher standard in future. The “heart” of this particularly impressive 2+2-seater convertible is an interior which makes motoring more simple and pleasant than ever before. Relieved of the usual chores, the driver is able to concentrate on the basic functions of motoring while nevertheless benefiting from all the features of cutting-edge automotive technology. This is the result of BMW’s trend setting iDrive ergonomics concept first presented in its fundamental con¬figuration in the Z9 gran turismo at the 1999 Frankfurt Motor Show.
A future-oriented design philosophy both for the body and the interior.
Like its predecessor, the Z9 gran turismo coupé, the Z9 convertible once again represents BMW’s design philosophy of the future.
With its classic silhouette combining a long engine compartment with the short rear end, this unique convertible bears out all the dynamism of BMW design. From the front to the rear, all the car’s lines and surfaces create a feeling of excitement and tension, the highly expressive lines of the car reduced to the bare essentials exuding that characteristic BMW profile. You might well say without exaggeration that the energy of this unique car literally “flows” from front to rear. The strategy pursued in creating this design was of course to highlight and reinforce the car’s major elements, BMW design thus pointing into the future according the new philosophy of “dynamism defines design”.
At very first sight the interaction of
the interior and exterior colors full of contrast clearly alludes to the
outstanding character of this concept car: The dark anthracite gold
metallic of the body accentuates the light cream and silver-gray
interior, BMW thus focusing in particular on the area of the car the
customer will experience much more intensively day in and day out than
its exterior: the interior forming the very “heart” or center of sheer
driving pleasure. The interior design is “open” and light, following
lines clearly inspired by the world of architecture.
Unlike the Z9 gran turismo, the laminated carbon outer skin of the convertible rests on an extra-strong frame guaranteeing superior stiffness also with an open car. Power is to be provided by BMW’s proven 4.4-liter V8 developing maximum output of 210 kW (286 bhp) and maximum torque of 440 Nm (324 lb-ft). 285/40 tires running on 21-inch rims at the rear convey this superior power to the road, while the front tires measure 245/45 and run on 20-inch rims. Extra-large sports brakes, finally, ensure optimum stopping power.
iDrive: a new definition of active motoring.
iDrive introduces a new definition of active motoring, occupant- and, in particular, driver-oriented ergonomics of the revolutionary standard so typical of BMW. With up to 700 different control functions now being conceivable, any conventional arrangement or concept would clearly lead to an unmanageable inflation of knobs and controllers. A further point is that modern driver assistance systems as well as numerous communication and comfort functions covering new and increasingly comprehensive purposes and applications have been introduced in the cockpits of modern cars to an increasing extent in recent years. Now, benefiting from the digitalization of electronics and communication technologies, this trend will continue at an ever-faster pace. Any attempt to operate and control all options and functions conceivable in future by means of “hard keys”, that is physical switches and control units, would by far exceed the space available around the driver. The result would inevitably be a cockpit completely overloaded with knobs and instruments, making it impossible for the driver to perform the necessary functions even if the standard of ergonomics were improved to the highest level possible. Driving pleasure as an elementary experience appreciated so much by the BMW customer would therefore become quite inconceivable.
A thorough analysis – for sheer driving pleasure also in future.
Recognizing this problem and its consequences, BMW has consistently re-analyzed all features of the man/machine interface – the function and information channels between the driver and his car – in the process carefully checking their structures from the ground up. The amazingly simple result is that the innumerable functions and the flow of information to which the driver requires access merely have to be tailored to each specific driving situation in accordance with their significance, that is according to current requirements. A further point is that this re-configuration must be intuitive, allowing the driver to perform the necessary functions without having to search for a long time and therefore without being distracted from his actual job – and, of course, from the motoring pleasure he wishes to enjoy.
The optimum solution: functions exactly where they are needed.
The result of this new perspective
covering all function areas is to structure the functions on three
levels, depending on the frequency of the applications involved and
their relevance to motoring. The basic functions most significant for
motoring and safety on the road are moved to the direct vicinity of the
driver. All driving functions are in the area around the steering wheel,
offering the driver direct, immediate access. Basic functions frequently
used and therefore also requiring rapid access come on a second level
and are controlled by conventional switches on the instrument panel –
for example the lights switch or basic comfort functions such as the
temperature setting on the automatic air conditioning.
Pressing the new Steptronic buttons once in the thumb area of the multifunction steering wheel, you then switch from automatic to manual transmission control, pressing the button a second time in order to shift gears. Further displays for the navigation system and Active Cruise Control (ACC) are integrated in the speedometer and rev counter, consistently supplying the driver with the most important information of relevance on the road, without requiring him to take his eyes off the traffic around him for an extended period of time.
Other elementary functions required in motoring at short notice, but not calling for the driver’s permanent attention, are integrated in the center console, offering easy access to both the driver and the front passenger: rotary knobs for the heating and ventilation system separated for each side of the passenger compartment as well as switches for hazard warning flashers, rear window heating, and volume control.
The Controller: one control unit for hundreds of functions.
One of the most important elements within
the Z9 convertible’s innovative control and display concept is the
Control Center made up of the Controller and Control Display and serving
to operate a whole range of different functions. The Controller is a
particularly handy, easy-to-use control and operation unit at the front
end of the center armrest allowing the same intuitive control as the
gearshift lever on a conventional car. All the driver has to do in order
to enter his commands is press the Controller forwards and backwards, to
the left and to the right, and in the four diagonal directions, or to
turn and press down the Controller in order to select and operate the
various menu functions.
iDrive: sheer driving pleasure for the future.
iDrive is a major step from purely physical ergonomics in the cockpit towards an all-round driving philosophy arranging all modern comfort, communication and driver assistance systems directly around the driver for his maximum convenience and easy use at any time. And at the same time iDrive offers new freedom and motoring pleasure, enabling the BMW driver to enjoy all the highlights of active motoring without in any way foregoing the motoring comfort he rightly expects today. And last but certainly not least, iDrive gives free rein to BMW’s engineers in their active quest to integrate future tech¬nologies within this flexible system to the advantage and pleasure of the BMW driver. Creating the Z9 convertible, BMW has thus built a car with technical features serving more than ever before to give the driver exactly what he wants at the wheel of his BMW: sheer driving pleasure at its very best.