(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.
In technical terms the Z9 convertible follows in the footsteps of its
coupé predecessor. Measuring 4,760 mm or 187.4" in length, it is
slightly shorter than the coupé, but exactly as wide with its overall
width measuring 1,970 mm or 77.6". Thanks to the open roof, the Z9
convertible measures exactly 1,280 mm or 50.4" in height, 60 mm or 2.4"
less than the gran turismo. Wheelbase, finally, is 100 mm or 3.9"
shorter at precisely 2,950 mm or 116.1".
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.
Enhanced comfort, communication and driver assistance functions account
for by far the largest share of new options and features in a modern
car. Precisely these functions and settings, however, are only rarely
adjusted while driving – although again the information they provide
must be rapidly available at any time. These requirements are therefore
perfectly fulfilled by the Control Center comprising all of these
functions in a logical, ergonomically optimized arrangement allowing
intuitive control by the driver. The monitor directly in the driver’s
line of vision provides all the information required at any time,
without taking the driver’s attention away from the road, since the
monitor, unlike other display concepts, is fitted in the direct vicinity
of the driver’s line of vision to the road ahead. Through its simple and
intuitive control, finally, the operation unit in the center console
gives the driver direct access to the many function, information and
communication options he will be enjoying in future.
A detailed look at the Z9 convertible reveals the options and
possibilities offered by this new dimension of driver-oriented
ergonomics: The area around the steering wheel allows active motoring
without the slightest impairment, since the driver, using the control
units on the steering wheel, has all functions relevant to motoring
right there at his fingertips for direct, convenient control. On the
steering column there are four levers for the direction indicators,
screen wipers, Cruise/Control, and the automatic transmission with the
selector lever for direct activation of the P, R, N, and D functions. A
corresponding display between the speedometer and the rev counter then
presents the transmission program currently in use.
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.
Like a gearshift lever, the Controller has specific functions whenever
moved from its central position to one of its operating positions. Using
the Controller, the driver is able to choose 8 function areas in exactly
the same way as if he were shifting gears: communication, climate
control, entertainment and the drive mode in the four main directions,
information, configuration, vehicle functions and the help mode when
moving the Controller diagonally. All 8 areas are presented graphically
in the Control Display within perfect view of the driver and front
passenger in the top center of the instrument panel. Conducting a
dialogue mode, the driver is therefore able to directly choose all of
the 8 function areas, each of which is shown permanently on the outer
frame of the screen. Then, turning and pressing the Controller, the
driver is able to select the desired settings within the function area
he has activated. This rotary knob/ push button control mode was already
introduced by BMW with the first navigation system and is acknowledged
to this day as highly user-friendly within the car. A further benefit of
this control system for the driver is that the system is already pre-set
to the menu used last whenever the driver selects the same function area
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.