A concept from the nineties shows how advanced ideas from decades ago were.
BMW Group Classic has been showing us around some of its greatest hits from the past, as well as some zany concepts that we sometimes wish had made it to production. Most recently, we saw an interesting X5 concept with a Z4 interior, but we've also had a look at the 3 Series Compact and the legend that is the 3.0 CSL Batmobile. Today's video focuses on a BMW 7 Series concept from the 90s, called the ZBF 7er. ZBF stands for Zukunft BMW Familie, or Future BMW Family, which refers to BMW's ambition at the time of establishing the 3, 5, and 7 Series as the company's core family of offerings.
Designed by Joji Nagashima, the car was remarkable in many ways. The team started with a clay model, but unlike many contemporary concepts, the final design was actually built as a real car and features a body made from hand-beaten aluminum, something you'd usually only find on the rarest coachbuilt luxury cars. It also features specially-made, hand-cut Dunlop tires and a massive side chrome accent that is almost reminiscent of the E9 coupe. Of course, we have to draw attention to those large vertical kidneys, which prove that an aggressive, unusual front fascia has always been part of the consideration when designing any BMW.
Our favorite details are those that have manifested in modern cars though. Instead of wing mirrors, the 7er features rearview cameras, and instead of traditional door handles, these recess flush with the body and pop out when needed. Inside, we see an early version of what would go on to become the iDrive infotainment system, and while secondary screens are popular these days, when the 7er was designed, the idea of rear passengers having a computer and their own media controls was fantastic. Individual rear seating and a sort of table in the rear console also stand out as prophetic. The whole package is mesmerizing, and we can't wait to see what other interesting concepts BMW has hidden away.