The Z1 was BMW's first two-seat roadster since the 507 was built in 1959, re-establishing BMW in the sector for decades to come. The Z1 uses the engine and transmission from the E30 325i, mounted in a specially designed chassis made from galvanised steel. The body is made from various types of composite resin panels also bolted to the chassis.
The front suspension uses mainly 325i components but with a wider track. A multi-link axle featured, comprising two transverse control arms and one longitudinal control arm. Dubbed the 'Z-axle', shorthand for 'centrally guided, spherical double-wishbone axle' rather than a reference to the new name. The kinematic arrangement of the three control arms ensured excellent directional stability as well as effective anti-squat and anti-dive, endowing the Z1 with go-kart-like handling.
The most distinctive features of the body are the electrically powered doors, which in the open position drop down into the side sills, creating the ultimate 'open car'.
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