BMW Group Classic introduced us to the integrated concept engineering (ice), this is a concept car that has never been shown to the public. In that video, ZBF-7er added ICE, which is another vague concept, although we didn’t get much information about it at the time.

However, the branch responsible for all activities related to BMW’s history has now released another video focusing on the ZBF-7er, with long-term BMW designer Joji Nagashima in hand, allowing us to better understand. In addition to concepts, the 30-year veteran is also responsible for the E36 and E90 versions of the 3 series, E39 5 series and Z3.

According to Long Island, the name ZBF stands for “Zukunft BMW Familie” or “Future BMW Family”. BMW was built in 1996 and first created a full-scale clay model of the concept, and then shipped it to Italy, where the body builder would hand-beat aluminum panels to make the body. Nagashima said: “This futuristic concept car is made using very old and traditional methods.”

The body is not the only thing customized on the ZBF-7er, because the tires are also customized for it. Nagashima said that they could not find a production tire suitable for the concept at the time, because the 19-inch wheels were the largest wheels at the time. Therefore, BMW had to ask Dunlop to build custom tires to fit the 20-inch wheels of the concept car, and the wheels were hand-cut treads designed by Long Island.

In terms of size, the concept is described as larger than the third-generation E38 7 series, and the design is characterized by relatively simple sides.But there are some outstanding tips, including huge side windows to make things “not so boring”, flush door handles, and cameras that replaced side mirrors long before us. See them on production cars.

Inside, you will find an early version of the BMW iDrive system, although this is controlled from the rear seats. It was not until 2001 that iDrive made its debut in the fourth-generation E65 7 series designed by Chris Bangle. Even the dashboard has some similarities with the E65 in some respects.

Of course, the most eye-catching aspect of this concept is the huge kidney-shaped grille, which is very different from the slim design seen on the E38, which shows that BMW has long been applying it to The latest 7 series, 4 series, M3 and M4.

Obviously, the ZBF-7er has never been put into production as the successor to the E38, because we got the E65, which in itself is very different from the past BMW design. So far, the past is a thing of the past, but imagine how different BMW’s development would be if the company’s top management chose another path years ago.

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