Name: BMW Z21 “Just 4/2”
Debuted: 1995 Tokyo Motor Show
Specs: rear-mounted BMW K 1100 motorcycle four-cylinder engine, 100 horsepower (73 kilowatts), rear-wheel drive, 550 kilograms (1,212 pounds) weight
Why We Remember It Now:
Basically BMW’s idea of a Caterham, the Z21 was an interesting proposal for a hypothetical two-seater, back-to-basics sports car capable of putting a smile on the driver’s face without having to break the bank.
Created by the same skilled engineers at BMW Technik GmbH in charge of the Z18 from the same year, the Z21 was far from being your typical open-top BMW. The main philosophy behind the one-off project was to come up with a no-frills performance car with the engine mounted in the back sending power to the rear wheels. From the removable door panels and cargo box to the many exposed components, the Z21 was all about proving less is more.
At the same time, it was the company’s way of explaining you don’t really need a lot of horsepower to have fun as long as the car is very light. Case in point, the Z21 had a mere 100 hp (73 kW) generated by its four-cylinder engine borrowed from a K 1100 motorcycle. That might not seem very impressive, but even so it must have been a real blast to drive once you take into consideration the half motorcycle / half car tipped the scales at only 550 kg (1,212 lbs).
BMW was actually curious to find out the concept’s performances and took it out for a spin, managing to reach 62 mph (100 kph) from a standstill in a brisk six seconds before hitting a top speed of 112 mph (180 kph).
It goes without saying the Z21 motorcycle on four wheels was built just for fun and there weren’t any plans to put the concept into production. All things considered, there’s a lot to like about this special project from BMW Technik GmbH, except maybe for the rather childish “Just 4/2” nickname.