Final shape of next-generation roadster breaks cover for the first time before an anticipated arrival on Thai shores in the second quarter of next year.
Has it been co-developed with Toyota?
Yes it has, although BMW and Toyota usually communicate about this joint effort at a minimum level.
It’s a well-known fact that these two brands are finding sports cars financially difficult to build these days on their own which is why they have hopped into bed with each other.
But while the imminent Supra will be a classic coupe, the Z4 is an open-top roadster and was shown for the first time in production-ready form in California this week.
In fact, BMW has shown a concept version of the Z4 last year also in Pebble Beach which has been slightly toned down for the real article, as seen here in official pictures.
However, the new Z4 maintains that slanted nose, side gills and sharp creases around the vehicle just like in the show car.
No dimensions have been released yet, but BMW says the G29-coded Z4 comes with wide tracks and compact wheelbase. The E89 predecessor measured 2,495mm between the front and rear axles.
The interior of the Z4 has been completely redesigned and features some new hallmarks like the digital instrument panel (that isn’t designed to look like analogue dials, like in today’s 5 and 7 Series), streamlined console functions and cleaner-looking central touchscreen.
Is it coming in M40i form initially?
That’s right. Just as BMW announced a couple of weeks ago, the Z4 will initially be available in M40i outfit running a 3.0-litre straight-six petrol-turbo engine and eight-speed automatic driving just the rear wheels.
Some new figures have been released for the Z4’s performance potential: 340hp of power and 4.6sec 0-100kph time. More engine choices will be announced next month, according to BMW. The likely core-seller should be 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol-turbo producing around 250-260hp.
The M40i comes with firmer suspension, electronically controlled dampers, upgraded brakes and rear differential from the M Sport package. Less potent Z4s aren’t likely to be granted access to these items.
And since you might be wondering, the new Supra is set to get this engine. BMW could be no other better partner for Toyota because the Supra’s heritage has all been about an inline-six engine and rear-drive dynamics.
How much will the new Z4 cost?
The E89-tagged Z4 once sold between 4-5 million baht in entry-level form, so expect the new one to cost equally as much.
But if it’s the M40i version, then the price could rise to 6 million baht which still isn’t a bad deal given that the similarly powered Porsche 718 Boxster S (or even the non-S) costs more than that.
Mercedes-Benz is unlikely to replace today’s SLC roadster and is rumoured in developing a mid-engine alternative to lock horns with the 718 Boxster (and hard-top Cayman).
Oh, and speaking of the roof, the new Z4 has ditched the complex folding hard-top mechanism of its predecessor in favour of a more classic and simple rag-top.