exclusive BMW concept Z4 reveal at concours d'elegance in pebble beach

exclusive BMW concept Z4 reveal at concours d'elegance in pebble beach

on the occasion of the 2017 concours d’elegance at pebble beach, the BMW ‘concept Z4’ received its official world premier mere hours after the concept’s design first surfaced online. dynamic, progressive and exuding in sophistication, the roadster combines emotionally appealing forms with unadulterated driving pleasure. designboom is at the exclusive event in california, where we spoke to adrian van hooydonk, senior vice president BMW group design.

the BMW ‘concept Z4′ next to pebble beach golf links’ famous 18th hole
image © designboom



in comparison to previous BMW ‘Z’ models, the concept’s bonnet and overhangs are shortened, placing the driver and passenger in a more advanced seating position than before. defined by just a few precise lines, the muscular bodywork details flow from the shark nose at the front, along the flanks, to the elegant back. this distinguishes the car in a dynamic wedge shape that highlights the agility of the BMW ‘Z4’, as well as typical design cues of roadsters. furthemore, the surface’s dramatic sculpture continues the automotive brand’s new design language – first shown with the ‘concept 8 series‘ in may, 2017 – which focuses on a more luxurious style.

Z4 editions next to one another
image © designboom



paired with this sophisticated styling, the BMW ‘Z4 concept’ adorns a matte paint finish in ‘frozen energetic‘ orange, which subtly adds additional tones between the body’s minimal lines. in unison to the exterior, the interior continues its direction and color scheme, with only a chrome trim strip providing separation between the two. a ying-yang split between black and orange partitions the driver’s area from the passenger’s. the cockpit reinforces the roadster’s focus on the driving experience with an instrument panel and center stack that encompasses the driver. finished entirely in black in order to accentuate the orange highlights, the cluster and central information display helps to deliver an ergonomic ‘cone of vision’ so that the occupant can focus entirely on the road. they combine to communicate the right information at the right time, with route guidance, playlists or other infotainment features available at ease.

image © designboom



at the highly exclusive concours d’elegance at pebble beach, california, designboom were one of only a few international press present at the BMW ‘concept Z4’ debut. after the unveiling, we sat down with adrian van hooydonk, senior vice president BMW group design, who gave extra insight into the roadster’s design.



designboom (DB): following BMW’s new design language which was first presented with the ‘concept 8 series‘, could you talk about some of elements of the ‘concept Z4’ that establishes its sophisticated style?


adrian van hooydonk (AVD): the sophistication in our mind comes from reduction. we have fewer and very crisp lines for the exterior, and reductions in the interior as well, with fewer knobs and buttons. the ones we do have are neatly grouped in a couple of islands. when your reduce, both in the exterior and interior, the way you execute the details become even more important. for the exterior, the one line we have on the side and on the front is a shut line for the clam shell bonnet. it then moves over the door to the rear fender to become the top of it. it is just one line overall but it is creating so much. the surfaces below and above it are twisting and turning. that is what we believe creates the emotion, with the highlighting of light and shadow in the side views as well. this is a quite sophisticated play in shapes, which is not so easy to do. we wanted to create a design that at first glance, you can remember and can easily understand. when you walk around and look closer, like wise when you have bought the car yourself, you will find more and more details and playful elements.

adrian van hooydonk, senior vice president BMW group design (left), and bernhard kuhnt, CEO of BMW of north america (right)
image © designboom



DB: what was the design process for the forms in between these few lines?


AVD: we never want to do flat surfacing. we actually check during the design phase for flat spots because we really do not want that. we want each surface to be curved and each line to have a tension. by creating more pure lines, we actually bring more surface into view.

image © designboom



DB: do you think the matte finish of the paint helps define these surfaces and lines?


AVD: the matte finish of the paint sort of flattens it a little bit, but each surface is carefully sculpted and has that desired tensions still. of course, we have looked at this concept’s design in a shiny surface. you can see the difference with the ‘concept 8 series’ for when you make it shiny. it then reflects a lot more so, in turn, the design almost comes alive a bit more as it mirrors the whole outside world that much more. the matte absorbs this a little bit but does show the surface well, just without the reflection of the environment.

all images courtesy of BMW group unless stated otherwise



DB: the ‘concept 8 series’ was really intriguing to see the development of the BMW grille and the ‘Z4 concept’ takes this even further. what are the key details of the grille and how has it progressed from the previous BMWs?


AVD: there are a couple of similarities between the ‘8’ and the ‘Z4’, and that is that the grille is very low and wide. actually, when you look at the outside of the grille, you will notice that it is turning down towards the road and is going around the lower point. it is a different expression, which makes these cars more dynamic. the two vehicles need to be different in character. the ‘8 series’ is a luxury car so we gave it the slots and the shark nose-look. it also has the mesh which  is similar but not exactly like the ‘Z4’. we wanted to make the ‘Z4’ a little younger and more fresh if you will, and the mesh does so. this is a feature that you can find enriched in BMW’s history, most often on our race cars.



DB: even though the ‘Z4’ presents a progression of the brand’s new form language, which was first shown with the ‘concept 8 series’, what other main differences are there between the concepts’ design


AVD: if you look at the lamps, there are big differences between the ‘concept 8 series’ and ‘concept Z4’. in both cases we used LED and laser technology, and the lamps are cut off at the top and the bottom so that they are as low as possible. however for the ‘Z4’, we came up with this neat vertical arrangement, which makes this car more aggressive than the ‘8 series’.







  • As a Z4 (E85) owner I just love the look & details of this concept. I was asked all those years ago by the then BMW designers, just how wide the boot must be to fit a golf bag! The latest Z4 struggles to fit one as the metal roof robs too much space, so I never changed my Z. Tell me if this marvellous new model will do the job!! Congratulations!

    colin briggs says:

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