Jalopnik takes a closer look at the BMW Z13 Concept and the new BMW i3. At a first glance, the two cars simply look like they belong in a different era, but taking a closer look at the two small-sized cars, some similarities appear.

So let’s start with the BMW Z13 Concept. BMW Technik, in charge of innovation at BMW back in the day, has been building concept cars since 1985. Their goal was to build attention-grabbing cars that will also set the stage for production series models. One of them was the Z13 Concept, a car that by today’s standards would be labeled as a “city car”, a term attributed to the BMW i3 as well.

*Editor's Note: This post appears on BMWBLOG. Check it out here.

The Z13 featured a rear-mounted engine, three seats, central driving position and weighed only 830 kg, thanks to the use of lightweight materials. Under the hood, BMW fitted a 1,200cc, 82hp petrol engine lifted from the K1100 motorcycle. The power was sent to the rear wheels via a rear-mounted CVT transmission and nearly 43 miles per gallon was the official fuel consumption.

Just like the BMW i3, the Z13 Concept was meant to be a step in the future when it comes to onboard connectivity. The Z13 came with satellite navigation, a telephone, and a fax machine, some of those electronics are obsolete just twenty years later.

The compact and exciting BMW Z13 concept was presented in 1993 at the Geneva Motor Show and everyone assumed, or at least hoped, the car would go into production. But BMW had other plans. They just purchased the MG-Rover Group which included the Land Rover and Mini brand. Bimmer Magazine offers more insight into what went behind the scenes:

Although the MINI built under BMW’s ownership went on to become the world’s leading premium compact car, the Z13 would have represented a major step forward had it gone into production. It was unlike anything on the market in 1993, and the industry has taken nearly two decades to match it. The 2005 Citroen C1 and Peugeot 107 as well as the 2008 Toyota iQ are virtual Z13 clones, while the 2009 Nissan Pixo/Suzuki Alto show its influence, as well. BMW itself took even longer to revive the concept, adding a model beneath the MINI only with the MegaCity due in 2013.

So even though some referenced the legendary Isetta as a starting point for the i3, the closer we look at the BMW Z13 Concept we see the idea that BMW used for the i3 Megacity car.

Clearly the two models are extremely different when it comes to design but one cannot ignore the proportions and the use of lightweight materials that point to the new i3.

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