New 2018 BMW Z4: Specs, Release Date and Price

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The BMW-Toyota partnership is beginning to take shape with more news about what’s in store from this marriage. Rumors have circulated since the two automakers announced the partnership back in January 2013, a lot of which has been centered on the revival of the Toyota Supra and the development of the next-generation BMW Z4. However, more recent reports claim that the next BMW Z4 won’t be the fruit of the Bavarian automaker’s collaboration with its Japanese counterpart. Instead, it will be a Z4 replacement that will be called the Z4. The Z4 Concept that BMW unveiled in 2017 confirms that nothing will change as far as layout and naming goes.

After more than three years of unconfirmed speculations, the Z4 has made several public appearances as a camouflaged prototype. Our paparazzi caught the roadster during cold weather testing, which suggests that BMW has been working on this new model for quite some time. The camo is thick enough to keep the Z4’s design features hidden, but I do have an idea about what lurks under the swirly, black-and-white wrap. What I do know for a fact is that the new roadster will ride on a new architecture that will make it sportier than the Z4. Also, the big unveiling should take place sometime in 2017. The Z4’s Toyota sibling, which will look completely different on the outside and likely revive the Supra nameplate, should brake cover around the same time. Have a look at my speculative review below for more information and stay tuned for updates.

Updated 10/02/2017: Our spy photographers caught the upcoming Z4 out for a new testing session and this time the prototype reveals its real lights.

Exterior

While it’s very difficult to spot any precise design features through the camouflage, it’s quite obvious why this roadster is a replacement for the Z4. It sports a long hood, a short rear deck, short overhangs, and a low driving position. It also seems to be slightly longer and a couple of inches wider. Another important difference compared to the outgoing Z4 is that it features a soft top instead of a folding metal roof, but it retains the shape and size of the two-door for the most part.

Styling-wise, it seems to have a significantly larger twin-kidney grille that sits lower in the fascia. The lowered nose and the bigger grille should provide a more aggressive stance. The headlamps also appear to be larger and aggressively swept toward the back. I’d dare say they’re somewhat similar to the Mercedes-AMG GT, but not in the sense that BMW copied them. They just remind me of Merc’s sports car.

Based on recent BMW design updates, the headlamps should be connected to the grille’s chrome frame, but this isn’t exactly obvious in these spy shots. BMW could opt for something different given that the Z4 has had a rather unique design since day one. The front bumper is well camouflaged, but a three-piece outlet configuration with a wider center opening is visible.

From the side, the Z4 appears to have a less muscular stance. Both the front and rear fenders seem flatter and give the roadster an almost featureless beltline. However, I’m gonna wait until the roadster losses some camo to draw a conclusion. The prototype’s rear fascia offers even fewer hints, but it does have a pair of sleek taillights that seem based of those of the Z4 Concept. The trunk lid, however, is in many ways similar to the outgoing Z4 and comes with an integrated spoiler, while the license plate recess has been moved upper into the fascia.

All told, it’s safe to assume that the new Z4 will draw a few cues from the concept car we saw in 2017, but I’m not expecting a production roadster that’s as wild as the show car. It should be a looker anyway.

Interior

As you can see from the interior shot above, the new Z4 is rocking an interior that is kind of a mish-mash between old and new. It sports and instrument cluster and floating infotainment display much like that of the 2016 BWM 3 Series, the down below that floating display is a somewhat dated pair of HVAC vents and audio controls. These could be decoys like the front fascia, or it could be BMW’s goal to mix the old with the new.

Another thing I would like to note is the steering wheel. Unlike the new 3 Series, the steering wheel looks to have a rather large center hub, similar to that found in older Ford and GM vehicles as opposed to the sportier units found in newer Bimmer vehicles. This will probably be changed by the time the car is production ready, however, there is a sticker covering up the emblem on the wheel, so it’s quite possible that this is the production wheel.

Unfortunately, that’s all we can make out, but it’s good enough for now. We’re lucky we’re even getting a look at the inside with the top still up and for that we’re grateful. BMW obviously still has some kinks to work out as you can notice that the instrument cluster is has warning lights lit up, and there is a wrench emblem displayed along with some German writing down below the two primary gauges. It’s hard to make out for sure, but it looks like the instrument cluster might be digital, which would be a nice tough. Also, we can’t make out the size of the infotainment screen, but based on the fabric covering it up, it looks like it will be as large, if not larger, than the display in the new 3 Series.

Drivetrain

Engine options are still unknown, but given BMW’s recent strategy, the base model should have a turbocharged, four-cylinder under the hood. The same unit will probably be available with higher output in an upper trim version, while a 3.0-liter inline-six should motivate the range-topping variant. A high-performance M version could also be developed, but it won’t break cover until around 2018.

Reports are suggesting BMW might also add a hybrid to the lineup, and while some claim that the Germans could opt not to in order to differentiate the Z4 from its Toyota sibling, which will most likely go the hybrid route, such a drivetrain is more than likely given the company’s current strategy.

The drivetrain will sit on a new sports car architecture co-developed with Toyota. But even though they will share components, each platform will be different from one another, with BMW’s expected to deliver a sportier experience. Transmission choices should include both manual and dual-clutch automatic gearboxes. Also, the Z4 could get optional all-wheel drive.

Prices

It’s too early to talk about prices here, but given that it is slightly bigger than the Z4 and will be positioned higher in the lineup, the Z4 could arrive with a steeper price tag. With the current Z4 retailing from $49,700, the upcoming roadster could fetch in excess of $55,000 before options.

22 Photos of the New 2018 BMW Z4: Specs, Release Date and Price

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