The third generation of BMW’s roadster has been developed in a joint project with Toyota, which will also see the revival of the Toyota Supra, the two cars using the same underpinnings.
Compared to its predecessor the new Z4 is 9cm longer, 7cm wider and just over 1cm taller, but with a wheelbase shortened by about 3cm. According to BMW, this shortening and significantly wider tracks (10cm added to the front axle and 6cm to the rear) will sharpen the car’s agility.
BMW has also decided to produce the Z4 with a soft-top roof, which has helped increase the boot space to 281 litres – 50% more than the previous model. A through-loading system is on the options list, allowing the passenger seat to be dropped to accommodate longer items.
Three engine options will be available, all petrol units. The two four-cylinder engines are both of two litres capacity and produce either 200 or 260hp – both 13 horses more than their predecessors.
The 197hp version completes the 0-62mph sprint in 6.6 seconds, the 258 in 5.4 seconds, and both return combined cycle fuel economy of 47.1mpg and CO2 emissions of 138g/km.
Range-topper is the M40i with a straight-six TwinPower turbo engine with 340hp and 500Nm of torque. The M40i passes 62mph from rest in 4.6 seconds, while returning 38.7mpg and CO2 emissions of 165g/km.
All versions will be matched as standard to an eight-speed auto-manual transmission which BMW states has been revised to offer sportier shifts. A launch control system is included.
Variable sport steering is also fitted as standard on all versions. The M40i also gains electronically controlled dampers, brakes from the M Sport performance division and an electronically controlled M Sport rear differential.
The Z4 chassis has been significantly redesigned with a double-joint spring strut axle at the front and at the back the first five-link axle in a BMW roadster. BMW says that this layout strikes the best compromise between handling ability and ride comfort.
Order books for the BMW Z4 open on 4th October just as the car makes its debut in Paris. Prices will be announced closer to launch – industry sources predict a starting spice of around £36,000, with the first cars on UK roads in early March 2019.