In the lead-up to the 2017 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, BMW has released photos of its Z4 roadster concept, a two-seat sports car co-developed with Toyota you can expect to see on your city’s streets next year.
The new Z4, which is due to enter production summer 2018, will likely share a close resemblance to this matte “Energetic Orange” concept car, featuring bold, flowing lines and broad dimensions.
“It expresses the new BMW design language,” said Adrian van Hooydonk, senior vice-president of BMW Group Design.
“A shorter bonnet and crisp overhangs ensure the driver sits closer to the centre of the car than in previous BMW roadsters, while the outline of the body follows a distinct wedge shape.”
Split-spoke 20-inch wheels on Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires further accentuate the roadster’s wide stance, and give the car adequate grip to turn in some impressive performance figures—though we don’t know exactly what those numbers will be quite yet.
BMW has not overlooked the interior, which features a driver-centric layout; a different colour driver’s seat delineating the driver’s quarters from the passenger area; and a racy-looking steering wheel in place, with aggressively-sculpted paddle-shifters affixed.
The Z4’s chassis was jointly developed with Toyota (think Subaru BRZ; Toyota 86-type partnership) and will also spawn the new Toyota Supra, a hotly anticipated car that is sure to thrown down the performance gauntlet when it launches around the same time as the new BMW Z4 in 2018. It’s said to have Nissan’s GT-R in its crosshairs, and if so, it will be a spectacularly quick sports car.
By extension, the Z4, too, is likely to be performance-focused, perhaps more than its contemporary BMW stable-mates, trading some luxury for speed, and getting back to BMW’s roots, chasing the title of “The Ultimate Driving Machine.”
BMW’s future plans for the Z4 are opaque, but in time we’ll learn if the German automaker will build a coupe version of the Z4, and M-based versions, as it’s done in the past.
We certainly hope so, because the new Z4 concept design appears to be a fine foundation to work from, and it’s been far too many years since Z4 M Coupes have been rolling off the assembly line.
Even the base-model 2019 Z4 should be quick, though, with turbocharged engines spooling up plenty of torque and horsepower with minimal lag. Expect BMW’s 2.0-litre four-cylinder and 3.0-litre six-cylinder engines to find a place under the new Z4’s long out-stretched bonnet, packing at least 250 horsepower in base form.
In Canada, we’re likely to see an entry Z4 with an output of 248 hp from its 2.0-litre, while the turbocharged 3.0-litre will probably spin out around 355 hp. The Z4 M – should it come to fruition – will inherit the twin-turbo inline-six from the current generation M3, thus packing at least 425 horsepower under-hood.
The new Z4 will be sold as a rear-wheel-drive car, with a six-speed manual transmission available, as God intended.
An eight-speed automatic with paddle-shifters will be installed in the vast majority of cars, striking a great balance of performance and everyday usability and economy.
Thanks to extensive use of high-strength steel, aluminum, magnesium, and carbon-fibre, the Z4 should tip the scales at less than 1,542 kilograms (3,400 lbs); its relatively light curb weight will bestow it with crisp handling and good overall fuel economy and a bonus.
The production Z4 will be officially revealed March 2018 at the Geneva motor show, so if you’re keen to take delivery of one from your local BMW dealership next summer, now would be a good time to place a deposit.
Pricing is anyone’s guess, but expect it to have a sticker on the fat side of $60,000 CAD when it launches.