The Z13: BMW\’s Secret Rear Engined Three Seater

Today in our series on BMW Technik we ‘re looking at the ultra secret Z13.Dreamt up in the early 90 ‘s and finally presented to the board in 1993, the Z13 completely re-wrote what we expected from the BMW brand. The engine in the front? Why not throw it in the back for optimal grip levels and handling characteristics? Seating? Why not simply have three seats with a center seat reserved for the driver while passengers are flanked on either side? (full gallery after the jump)

The packaging and the lightweight structure reported made this car the Group C rally car BMW never made.

The Z13 assisted BMW is helping to develop new safety techniques from lighter materials while pushing the boundaries of what was possible with the brand. And then it was shelved. Likely put in a large warehouse where it either was crated up and never seen again or (sadly more likely) like other internal Technik concepts it was destroyed.

[nggallery id=16]
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
  • Ben

    The back reminds me of the Volvo C30.

    Otherwise one hell of an ugly car 🙂

  • lava

    Thanks for posting more info on this car. Sigh, only if BMW had started taking small cars seriously 20 years ago, where would we be now.

  • e30m3

    Looks like a Clio!

  • Herr 26

    The Z13 is actually being used as a template for the design process of the small BMW City Car , Although the Z13 exists as a Concept stored within BMW Classic. There is also a Z13 finished in Red that is an actual working prototype. For the BMW City Car an evaluation took place involving everything that was within the city car segment in every decade from the 2002 right up to Previous concepts such as the E1 and Z13 and the 2000 and present MINI. It was to put everybody involved with the Mega City forum into the mindset for the new Car.

    What is really interesting is how the Mega City Vehicle will trade off with components and technology with BMW Motorrad. As we all know the Sub-brand will produce a vehicle that is a present day equivalent of the trend setting Isetta hence the “i” trademark.

    But the media call the small City BMW as a “0” series – This car will be named by a letter followed by it’s powertrain – say for example “F” for Front wheel drive – (and this part is hypothetical because I cannot name the car as yet) followed by engine size say F 13. The 13 standing for 1300cc.

  • Ken

    Pacer or Gremlin shaped but, I like it. Will a 3 seater sell??

  • Goat

    Oh how I fell in love with the z13 many years ago… And still love it. Looking forward to seeing the BMW city car herr26 discusses above!

  • Rob Powell

    Good morning, interesting to read the comments, especially as i conceived and designed the Z13 while working at BMW Technik in the nineties. The first sketches were produced in 1991. The car was actually created as an ‘Intercity’ traveller and never the city car that so many people pressummed because of it size. Both cars were fully driveable, but the red one ( second one bulit) was used fully for testing.

    Rob Powell