Anger Is an Energy

The Concept Z4 has landed and it’s mad as hell.

“I’m Not Going to Take this Any More.” Image: BMW UK

BMW have released photos and a rather toe-curling video for their new concept Z4, said to provide broad clues as to how next year’s production Z4 will look. Good grief, it’s an angry looking thing, isn’t it?

Here are some words. They’re lifted from BMW’s website, (verbatim) so I take no responsibility. Apart from the annotated comments of course, which are mine.

“The BMW Concept Z4 epitomises boldness and sportiness to re-occupy leadership in the roadster segment.” Interesting choice of words here. ‘Re-occupy’. It sounds vaguely militaristic while at the same time tacitly acknowledging the Bavarian car maker hasn’t exactly set the sector alight in the past.

“It’s [sic] bold sculpted lines combine perfectly with its wedge-shaped design and retracted bonnet to create an athletic exterior that clearly shows the BMW Concept Z4’s roadster heritage.” Roadster heritage? Really? Apart from the Anders Warming car, and the earlier one with the funny doors, the Z-series has been a little on the tepid side, wouldn’t you agree?

Image: BMW UK

“Designed to humble the road with a low-slung profile which hugs the asphalt.” How exactly does one humble the road I wonder? Surely the act of driving a vehicle on its surface is in itself demeaning? Unless of course the road actively enjoys being used in this fashion – in which case it surely wouldn’t find it all that humbling. Can somebody help me out here?

“Large air inlets and outlets combined with a flat, short and sharp bonnet help form the basis of a muscular and well-defined exterior accentuated with bold sculpted flanks”. BMW must be especially proud of the Z4’s bonnet, given the number of adjectives they’ve flung at it, although it looks fairly run of the mill to my eyes. Flat, short, sharp and retracted. Any ideas? No. None here either.

“The lower and bolder double kidney grilles features a honeycomb-like design and adds to the feeling of athleticism that has been so well articulated.” Note the blind assumption that this feeling of athleticism has been ‘well articulated’. What I’m prepared to concede is that it has been articulated. I’m sorry, that’s about as far as I’m prepared to commit at this time. “All finished in a visually striking Energetic Orange paint keeping the spotlight on the roadster everywhere it goes.” So that’s good.

Image: BMW UK

Adrian Van Hooydonk, Head of BMW Group Design quite naturally was on hand to add a few meaningless phrases, which I append for the sake of completeness.  “The BMW Concept Z4 shows the new BMW design language in all details and from every perspective.” Oh goody. Word to Mr. Van Hooydonk: Let’s get a move on with the next BMW design iteration, shall we? We’re about done with this one, thanks. Mind you, in his defence it’s his job to spoon us this warm drivel and at least he’s (so far) refrained from Wagnarian levels of self delusion.

Oh and speaking of which, I take it you’ve seen the latest from the Blessed One’s Maybach dream factory. Sensual, pure and I fancy, somewhat akin to the putative customers it’s aimed at: bloated, self-entitled and from the face of things, really, really narked-off.

Run screaming! Image: testdriven

For the sake of balance, and because it amuses me, I include the following admittedly slightly gnomic words straight from the Blessed One’s lips. (Praise be upon them…) “Breathtaking proportions combined with a luxurious ‘haute couture’ interior help to create the ultimate experience”. It’s difficult to be certain, but as far as I can gather he was describing the car rather than his latest ‘Derelicte’ sartorial expression.

‘You’re not ready for Blue Steel’. The blessed one, yesterday. Image: Auto Motor und Sport

Expect a production variant of the Maybach concept in approximately never.

Author: Eóin Doyle

Founding Editor. Content Provider.

14 thoughts on “Anger Is an Energy”

  1. Each and every one of the major car brands should have someone in charge of shutting up their chief designers. This designers’ speak drivel has become beyond laughable. Spiritual Indigence®, if you will.

  2. Forget designer speak, that’s terrible copy, full stop. Whoever authorised the release should be shot.

    1. Will the moronic copy affect sales you ask? I doubt it. However, BMW (and Toyota who has co-developed it) are launching into a sector of the market which is in (possibly terminal) decline. Boulevard roadsters like these are being usurped by ‘sporty’ CUVs, so it will be interesting to see exactly how BMW (and Toyota) choose to market these cars in production form. Will they continue to pitch them to affluent trophy wives / husbands who lunch or attempt to take on the likes of Porsche and (to a lesser extent) Jaguar?

      The butch and hyper-aggressive styling of the concept suggests to me the latter.

  3. The Maybach grille is very Opel.
    So BMW co-developed their Z4 with Toyota? Co-developed? Sporting cars are supposed to be their specialty. The Active Tourer was the car they should have partnered on.

    1. My understanding is that the business case for BMW to solely develop a 2-seater such as this doesn’t stack up in the current climate. By partnering with Toyota, they could share the development costs as well as (some) economies of scale. We’ll see how that one goes.

      It’s not altogether dissimilar to what FCA did with Mazda for the MX5 / 124 Spider twins.

      The Maybach grille is cartoonish in its vast scale and toothy vulgarity. It’s also totally at odds with the rest of the vehicle.

    2. That’s a great point, and underlines a sense that BMW has confused itself as to what it stands for these days.

  4. A warmly amusing article, thanks. BMW’s PR BS on the subject of this concept reaches new strata in pseud’s corner. That Maybach concept is a social-economic crime – in a Corbynian Utopia (i.e. the UK, circa 2022), such thought (let alone concepts) will be banned and those responsible have their brains wiped.

  5. Wagener is beyond parody, of course. Quite why he’s been indulged with this pointless extravagance I have no idea.

    As for BMW, they had possibly the strongest visual inheritance of any car brand, but seem intent on throwing it all away. A great shame, because the i3 and i8 seemed very clever.

  6. That Maybach looks perfect for your modern major oligarch, an EV extravagance of massive proportion for the filthy rich and trophy friend from which to behold the seedy lives of average proles. Wagener prancing in tutu-like untucked-in shirt, no socks with his loafers and the roundest little pot-belly has had me chortling for a day already.

    Looking at the BMW Z4 makes me wonder what Toyota will manage stylistically on the same chassis. An utter nightmare of the deep probably, something Akio Toyoda finds “exciting”, like his tubby underpowered CH-R that weighs more than the new 6 passenger Camry with an extra 60 bhp standard from a very modern new engine. However, the Camry is yet another strange-looking beast with grilles varying by spec and a Cyclops eye in the middle of them all.

    I really enjoy your writing Mr Doyle when you go for maximum snark. Spears the pretentious perfectly. Good stuff.

    1. In advance, the Toyota might be quite good. I think Toyota is trying quite hard with design. I agree it’s not pretty-graceful-CXy but it does challenge conventions. People may be surprised when I say the Auris now looks quite ritzy once you understand the double-crease concept.

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