This Odd-Looking BMW Hatchback Has Something In Common With The McLaren F1

The BMW name is forever part of what made the McLaren F1 the granddaddy of all supercars. We mean no disrespect to the Bugatti EB110, but the F1 is the best supercar of the 1990s, and BMW's legendary S70/2 V12 gasoline engine is mainly responsible for the McLaren F1's propensity for speed. 

Capable of blasting from 0-60 mph in 3.2 seconds and a 230 mph top speed, the McLaren F1 remains blindingly quick by modern standards. BMW's 6.1-liter, naturally-aspirated V12 pumps out 618 horsepower and 479 pound-feet of torque — proof that the German brand knows a thing or two about screaming engines and high-performance vehicles, in general.

On the other hand, BMW has a knack for creating quirky concept vehicles that stir the imagination. We have the recently-unveiled Simple, or the fabric-clad GINA roadster, but the forgotten Z13 concept deserves equal mention. Unlike the two previous concepts, the BMW Z13 is something that we wish made it to production — and it's not because it shares a rather unusual design feature with the McLaren F1.

The BMW Z13 Concept has a centrally-positioned driver's seat

According to Motor1, the BMW Z13 was the brainchild of BMW Technik GmbH; the brand's interpretation of a comfortable, dependable, and fuel-efficient roundabout. It looked unlike any car that BMW was building back then, but its styling is not what got us hooked on this retro-fantastic concept car. It has a central driver's seat like in a McLaren F1, and BMW was kind enough to install a pair of rear seats that offers plentiful legroom, given the unusual interior layout.

It also has a short nose (with tiny kidney grilles) and an expansive windshield that stretches to the roof. Meanwhile, the rear design is similar to the BMW i3 EV, a brilliant electric car that happens to be the brand's first-ever production EV. And like the F1, the BMW Z13 has a rear-mounted engine — although it's not quite a V12.

Instead, the Z13 has a meager 1.1-liter inline four-cylinder derived from a BMW K100 touring bike, pumping out a modest 82 horsepower. It has a Ford-sourced CVT transmission that sends power to the rear wheels. Motor1 adds there were plans to mass-produce the Z13 concept if BMW had not bought Mini and the Rover Group in 1994. If it did enter production, it would have been quite a city car, with its generous array of hi-tech features like satellite navigation and a fax machine (heard of it?).