MUNICH - BMW Technik GmbH was founded in 1985 and operates independently from its parent company.
BMW Technik's mission is to come up with new ideas, work on advanced technology and identify trends. By no means every BMW Technik project makes it into production, and not every idea is shown to the public.
But the first project ever carried out at BMW Technik ended up as the BMW Z1 roadster. The car was launched in 1988 and immediately gained cult status.
Other projects developed by BMW Technik include the Z11 (also known as the E1), an electric car shown at the 1991 Frankfurt auto show. The E2, a slightly larger version for the USA, followed.
At the 1993 Geneva auto show BMW Technik presented the Z13, an unusual three-seater with the driver in the center position.
The Z14, now on sale as the C1 motor-cycle (left), is another BMW Technik creation. The C1 has a safety cell that allows it to be driven without a crash helmet in many countries.
One of BMW's Technik's more outrageous ideas was the two-seat Just 4/2 shown at the 1995 Tokyo auto show. It was a cross between a motorcycle and dune buggy, and took just six seconds to reach 100kph. Because it didn't have a roof, BMW Technik designed weatherproof clothes for driver and passenger.
At its 15th anniversary BMW Technik also unveiled the secret Z18 first developed in 1995 - claimed to be the world's first all-terrain roadster. Its cabin design looks remarkably similar to that of the new BMW Z8 roadster.