Rate It: Annoyed by All the Electronics in Your Modern BMW? You Can Probably Blame the Z22

By Colin Wood
Oct 2, 2020 | BMW, Rate It, Z22

How do you make a BMW with the wheelbase of a 7 Series the size of a 3 Series—while also getting nearly 40 mpg? We're not entirely sure, but lucky for us, BMW already figured that out with its Z22 concept from 1999.

As unusual as the car looked from the outside, it got even more interesting on the inside. Steering and braking were both handled electronically, similar to more recent drive-by-wire systems. In place of side and rearview mirrors, the Z22 made do with cameras and display screens in the interior.

Perhaps the most interesting feature, however, was the steering wheel-mounted fingerprint scanner that was used to start the car.

A rear-mounted, 136-horsepower, four-cylinder engine powered the rear wheels through an un-BMW continuously variable transmission.

Of course, performance wasn't the main purpose of this concept. Instead, the Z22 was about efficiency and showing off all the latest technology BMW could muster up. To that end, the car was reported to have an average fuel consumption of around 39 mpg and featured over 70 technological advancements—many of which can be found in cars nowadays, like a heads-up display and a dash-mounted screen to control various in-car functions.

So if you're often frustrated with the electronic conveniences and safety features in your modern BMW, you can probably blame the Z22.

Is this one of the stranger concepts from BMW, or do you know of one that's even weirder?

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View comments on the GRM forums
mtn (Forum Supporter)
mtn (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
10/2/20 3:52 p.m.

That is the ugliest BMW I've ever seen, although the current X7 and 7 Series come close with their grills. 

MadScientistMatt PowerDork
10/2/20 4:02 p.m.

You could consider this a spiritual ancestor to the i8, in which case this is a rare case of the production version being far more bonkers than the concept car. Or if you consider it the i3's ancestor, there's actually a bit more family resemblance.

noddaz GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
10/2/20 4:55 p.m.

Did the Pontiac designers go to BMW or did the BMW designers go to Pontiac?

mad_machine (Forum Supporter)
mad_machine (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
10/3/20 12:54 p.m.

I find it odd that they only got 40mpg out of the M44 (I assume it is the M44).  My old 318ti could do 30mpg all day with it's short gearing and being far less aerodyamic as that

Munchen Fan
Munchen Fan New Reader
10/3/20 4:52 p.m.

All but certain the pictured track is not the 'Ring. Such an experiment would not be permitted access, there.

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