BMW has entered the latter stages of pre-production testing for their brand new Z4 Roadster, a car that’s been in the works for the better part of 3 years and one that’s been developed jointly with Toyota - the other half of the new car being the upcoming Supra.
Here, the Munich automaker shows off the new Z4 undergoing dynamic trials at their Miramas facility in the South of France. While still heavily disguised when posing for the camera, we’ve reason to believe not much will change between this and the final car the world will be seeing very soon.
At launch, the most potent of the Z4 variants will be the M40i, which is apparently what lies beneath the layers of camouflage here. As you’d expect, BMW is slotting a turbocharged 6-cylinder engine under that long bonnet and rounding out the sporty package with lowered sports suspension, electronically controlled dampers, new front axle, light alloy wheels, and a locking rear differential as standard.
"The vehicle concept of the new BMW Z4 is geared consistently towards agility and driving dynamics," explains Jos van As, Head of Application Suspension. "The high level of body stiffness and the very rigid suspension attachment provide the perfect basis for a set-up that guarantees the performance qualities of a genuine sports car in terms of steering precision as well as longitudinal and transverse acceleration.”
Interestingly, BMW chooses to describe the Z4 M40i’s inline-6 as “extremely powerful”, meaning it might possibly be approaching proper M car levels of performance. As a reference point, the previous generation car produced a maximum of 250kW from the factory, but the new car’s more advanced engine could see the numbers swell to beyond 300kW.
It’s also unclear where the Toyota influence will be exposed, if there’s any to be found. Previous speculations surrounded the Z4 possibly being assisted by a secondary ‘hybrid’ powertrain, developed and tuned by BMW’s new Japanese collaborators.
Unlike the previous generation Z4, however, it’s likely that a ZF-sourced 8-speed automatic transmission will be called upon instead of a dual-clutch M-DCT, as is the trend with present day BMWs. However, a no-cost manual transmission options might also be on the cards.
Reports suggest that the all-new open top will be making its official premiere at the upcoming Paris Motor Show later this year, though some say it could be shown off as early as the Pebble Beach Concourse in August.