BMW scraps Z2 plan for bijou MX-5 rival

Published: 12 June 2015

► BMW Z2 roadster project axed
► Front-wheel drive MX-5 rival dead
► Originally planned for 2016, £20k

It’s all change at the top for BMW - and the new management has pulled the plug on the proposed BMW Z2 sports car, a small rival for the best-selling MX-5.

CAR magazine first revealed the plan in the February 2011 issue, but now we hear that the new leadership under chairman Harald Krüger and R&D chief Klaus Fröhlich has axed the programme as being inessential. Blame sluggish sports car sales and the unstoppable global trend towards SUVs.

They are putting each and every future project under scrutiny and the baby roadster, depicted in CAR’s artist’s impressions from the archive, is no longer an active project.

BMW Z2: the roadster that could have been

This was to have been a small, open-top sports car to slot beneath the well established Z4 coupe-convertible.

It was a back-to-basics BMW: two seats only, a simple engine choice of three- and four-cylinder engines and - BM traditionalists look away now - front-wheel drive.

That’s because the project was part of the new front-drive transverse architecture; the Z2 was to be part of the Mini/1-series/2-series clan, in other words. Which makes us wonder if the still-active Mini Superleggera - essentially a front-wheel drive MX-5 rival - has squeezed the Z2 out. Munich fears there isn’t enough space for both.

When we first revealed the Z2 project, we estimated a price around £20,000-£25,000. Slap bang in MX-5 territory, in other words, with higher-spec, faster versions nudging into the marketplace hogged by the likes of the Audi TT.

By Georg Kacher

European editor, secrets uncoverer, futurist, first man behind any wheel