PART FOUR! How to Make the Next BMW Z4 As Sexy As It Should Be.
What a chain of articles...
This is the last segment in this BMW Z4 Concept series - one that shows below how many more people like the modern Vision ConnectedDrive more than they like the 328 Hommage.
The X-ed out lights do the 328 Hommage no favors, nor does the brown carbon-fiber. But regardless, they both have issues.
So we took to photoshop to blend the best elements of both with a dash of future spice for good measure.
This seems alot easier than it is - so please excuse some rough edges on these renderings.
Essentially, we have:
a broad horizontal kidney grille, framed in a black-chrome shape that mirrors the i8.
New LED laserlights that are horizontal and very narrow.
The lower bumper slashed shaping from the Vision CD atop the better nose graphic of the 328 Hommage.
I like it much better than both of the below official concepts, but that is just my opinion. Time will tell what the actual 2016 BMW Z4 looks like from up front, but this is my fantasy roadster.
2016 BMW Z4 Rendering
We've decided in the previous Concept Flashback articles that both these 2011 BMW concept cars have some unusual bits. They are harder to love than they should be.
These are not four-door sedans, or even hot SUVs. These are pure-bred sports cars. Two-seat, rear-drive roadsters.
Remember how you felt when the 1994 BMW Z3 came out?
That is what we are going for here. An immediately craving.
ON TO THE VOTING...
Here are two photo polls of the BMW concept roadsters. Including each photo in mini gallery below the polls, so you can see a close-up if you want.
Simply click on your choice to register a vote. After that, the results will be dynamically populated as more people vote over the next day or so.
Not solving major world issues here, but this will be an interesting mini focus group for these roadsters, at a time when the new Z4 is in a critical development phase.
(And also included at bottom of page below.)
2011 BMW Vision ConnectedDrive
In the previous 328 Hommage article, we outlined all the reasons the current Z4 is struggling to find a sexy new direction for its next-gen model, expected in 2015 or 2016.
This pair of concepts from 2011 explore two different paths to luring buyers back into the two-door BMW roadster fold.
Let us begin on a positive note: we love the tail of both cars, and like the doors in the Vision Connected Drive. We animated them here sinking into the sills, a la the 1989 BMW Z1.
So which is this one of the 2011 concept pair - past or future?
You remeber the Vision ConnectedDrive. It is the one whose panel gaps are lined with fiber-optic lights to share your mood with other road users. (Gag)
So it would be red if you were busy and in a fuckoff mood, but blue for cruising and green for Eco Pro modes. (double gag).
A bad idea. Probably sounded good at the time, and I recall thinking that it was cool at the time. But in retrospect, what a bad idea.
Below we identify what we think the current Z4's main problem is: and it is right on the nose of the car.
It looks weird from the front. It just does. Not sure how else to say it.
So if the Z4 is a nose away from greatness, which nose to give these sleek proportions for the new model?
328 Hommage test nose:
A retro double kidney grille with deep verticality?
Vision CD test nose:
a broad and slim pair of kidneys
slim and sharky/snarky pairs of round headlight elements?
To be honest with you guys, after spending a lot of time cropping every photo, I hate them both. I really do.
But I hate the VCD's nose so much more.
It is hideously cross-eyed, with inverted double lights that are too small, badly shaped, and housed in an ugly shape overall
The floating wings are cool, and actually remind me of the new NC2020 Vision GranTurismo in some ways.
But they are blaoted and fat, making the cross-eyed VCD and its open maw look like a bottom-dwelling sea creature.
The overall flow of the asymmetrical hood makes everything much, much worse.
So what to do? How to make the 2016 Z4 sexy and desirable? We do not have all the answers. There are some good ideas here in profile and from the rear. But overall, both these noses are total failures at the bring-sexy-back mission
2011 BMW Vision ConnectedDrive
Concept Flashback – 2011 BMW 328 Hommage is Retro-Themed 2016 Z4 Teaser
BMW has some awesome concept cars. This is beyond a doubt.
Even if they seem totally bonkers when they are revealed - cars like the ~2001 X-Coupe - the logic behind their creation and display often makes sense in the decade that follows.
So what to make of the 2013 BMW 328 Hommage? A car created with an overt nod to the BMW 328 roadster and coupe racecar in the 1930s -- but with a decidedly unusual and future-looking appearance.
After preparing articles about both the 328 Hommage and the 2011 BMW Vision ConnectedDrive -- much new information has come to the surface.
Here is the bottom line: these two are the same car in almost every critical way. One takes a future-leaning look at tech and connectivity and aesthetics, while one looks back.
The 328 Hommage is obviously the retro-inspired of the pair.
It is hard to love either of the two, frankly. But this one is much, much better than the futuristic VCD.
The fact that two nearly identical concept cars have been paraded around the globe tells us one this: BMW does not want the next Z4 to be a dud.
The current model is, by sales measurements, a total failure. Sales are down 90-percent versus the early 2000s. There are other factors at play, including relocating its assembly back to Germany -- but the core message is: this car is not popular. The design is almost a dead ringer for the BMW GINA light visionary roadster - but minus the flexible fabric skin.
GINA is hot.
Z4 is not.
My theory is that the Z4's nose is the problem, designed like it is like the equally smug and unattractive 6-series.
For a style-led machine, the Z4 does not immediately make your mouth salivate. This is a problem for BMW as it straddles the SLK350 posh roadster side of the market as well as the Porsche Boxster pure sportscar side. Which is it? Which should it be?
The answer is: neither, really. It should be the BMW of small cabrio's. But with 2014 pricing that tops $70,000 in top trims, the Z4 needs to become much, much sexier and crave-able for its next generation.
2011 BMW Vision ConnectedDrive
2011 BMW 328 Hommage - Lady in the Desert
2011 BMW 328 Hommage - Man on Track
2011 BMW 328 Hommage - Villa d'Este with Original 328