BMW's featherweight future
16 August 2006

This is the Z29, a prototype created by BMW’s Technik department. The two-seater is not a future model, but a showcase for innovative weight-saving ideas and construction techniques that could filter down onto the marque’s road cars in years to come.

At 1160kg, it weighs 304kg less than the similarly-sized Z4M Coupé. The Z29 uses the same 338bhp M engine as the Z4; the weight is saved through the use of carbonfibre – also used for the roofs of the M3 CSL and M6 – and aluminium.

The entire monocoque is carbonfibre, while the use of aluminium for both subframes saves 12.6kg.

The savings mean the power-to-weight ratio is 70bhp up on the Z4M Coupé, so the 0-62mph time is only 4.4sec.

BMW will apply the lessons learned to its future cars - or could already be doing so if rumours of a lightweight roadster to compete with the Mazda MX-5 are to be believed.

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