The Ultimate Dream Machine : BMW Z Spyder Stradale
Now that BMW have commenced the current priority Project-i initiative in developing new concepts for sustainable mobility , now attention turns to the Premium segment , especially where high end luxury is concerned.
With a burgeoning premium compact sector to contend with also BMW are again returning to their previous strategy is bring exciting new premium concepts to the market.
If we look at what was then and scheduled before the world's economy took a turn for the worst there was several projects all in different levels of excitement in development or evaluation.
Just as we have seen the Gran Coupe arise like a Phoenix from the flames of the Concept CS (Phoenix Rising? (Possibly?)). Another project is about to complete it's Lazarus moment .
Norbert Reithofer's "Dream Project"
BMW "Z" Spyder Stradale.
Originally put forward in 2005 when Norbert Reithofer took the reigns of the BMW Group as a highly emotive dream project that embodies the epitome of BMW's values , premium luxury , forward thinking design and great driving dynamics. Two years of feasibility studies and development of ideas came to a close when the economy went into meltdown.
Why not a Roadster?
The term Spyder Stradale is a concept not unknown to BMW , a streamlined version of the 328MM was termed as the Spyder Stradale.
With BMW's apparent use for currently using such grand emotive terms for their new concepts for example "Gran Turismo" and soon "Gran Coupe" and "Shooting Brake" to describe a luxurious way to travel. BMW seem keen on resurrecting the term "Spyder Stradale" for it's new premium high end Sport's car.
With BMW's attention on making such exciting projects that will spawn from the upcoming next generation BMW 1er . They are keen to spread this across to the premium segment , Gran Coupe is one such concept . Spyder Stradale will be another.
BMW see the Spyder Stradale as a car to eject more emotion into the BMW brand at the upper end of the luxury segment in a specific class BMW are well inversed in , some to great success, some to not so great success.
The idea for the Spyder Stradale takes off from the original BMW California Spyder Project, a low driving position , set back towards the rear axle with a heavily raked screen and long hood and short rear overhang.
Form and function is equally important and there is evaluation to present the car when the customer opens the door.
It could be like a scissor style ( a bit too common) , Conventional (never fails) or indeed rear hinged (too Rolls-Royce?)
The return of the Spyder is due in turn to BMW preparing for it's future and without Project-i Spyder Stradale would not exist.
The key is BMW's joint venture with SGL Carbon which will produce components and panels for the mega city vehicles and eventually spread to other BMW models. With the Spyder Stradale being one of the beneficiaries. Because this joint venture is going to be highly cost effective for BMW that future cars will see more mainstream approaches to using carbon fibre in reducing weight in some of today's concepts, tomorrow.
The Spyder Stradale takes off where the Z8 left and retains an aluminium structure , the front of the car will be a mix of steel , aluminium and magnesium. For the passenger area there is an addition of a carbon fibre tub that will be bonded on the aluminium floorplan. The rear cross frames will also be carbon fibre with the rear suspension a mix of aluminium , magnesium and steel.
The original idea of a folding Hardtop is retained with it's two piece folding top being constructed of carbon fibre. The door skins and bonnet will be aluminium with reinforced plastic being used for the front wings and rear bootlid.
Design elements are still in the gestation period but expect a very sport , animalistic front end with signature indicators ( a feature of all up and coming BMW Coupe's and Roadster's) underneath the mainlight units which will be smaller thanks to the latest developments in LED technology.
Efficient Dynamics is never forgetten when we conceive a new BMW and Spyder Stradale is no different. The usual expectations of Stop-Start technology , Brake energy regeneration etc will all be there. But the design of the car will use the same approach as taken with the Vision Efficient Dynamics and use an advanced aerodynamic approach in it's surface treatment. Another up and coming term which will be coming soon is Active Aerodynamics. In the Spyder Stradale because the larger kidney grille allows air into the engine , a smaller scoop underneath the licence plate in the centre conceals a movable front spoiler that moves in direction of airflow. At the rear of the car for the first time in a BMW we will see a Pop-Up Aerodynamic aid which will lift up and then slide out , an additional lip on the top of the spoiler also raises for extra downforce.
The interior is being seen as " An environment that is free of complications or distractions" lightweight bucket seats with a hooded collar can be covered in leather or a range of sustainable materials , Sharkskin is looking to be an unconventional choice in a search for a new luxury.
The dash of the car lives up to the above comment as it is very minimalsitic , larger airvents are removed in place of thin strips across the dash , Z4 like metallic knobs face the drive in the centre of the dash with the dash being more raked at an angle , a central screen sits in the top end for the iDrive control . Entertainment and navigation functions are hidden from view in which could only decribe the dash as minimalistic.
Another factor in the Spyder Stradale's cost effectiveness is the sharing of the backbone and major components from the matrix that spawns the 5,6 and 7 series. The Spyder Stradale could also form the basis of a Two seater Rolls-Royce Roadster in which customers have asked for something more "Intimate" than a Drophead Coupe.
Sustainable drive trains could feature within the Spyder Stradale as a susbstitute for conventional petrol choices. A Mild or Full Hybrid could be offered with the electric motors being placed alongside the transmission ,as can a variation on BMW's upcoming Hydrogen fuel cell technology. Petrol engines could retain a high performance V8 or indeed a V10 study that BMW considered for the next M5 which would release more than 600 PS, this could either be mated to a conventional automatic transmission or a future 9 speed double clutch transmission.
Since the project has recently got underway and the excitement of such a concept is filling the corridors with excitement it is possible the "Vision" designation could be attatched to this concept , possibly to embody it's German ancestory and debut at next year's IAA in Frankfurt.
A Production car would not arrive until 2014.
What's in a name? The usual suspects have been identified such as Z6 , Z8 , Z9 or even Z10, But the Spyder Stradale designation will remain all it needs is a figure.
There is still plenty of time to Dream.