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BMW Z4 spied (2009)

Published: 02 May 2008

The next BMW Z4 will have a folding hard-top. Snapped here testing in Germany the next-generation will also feature BMW’s Efficient Dynamics technology, twin-turbo engines, the M3’s V8 and possibly even diesel power

Hold on a minute. This new roof for the BMW Z4, tell me about it.

Check out our shots of the BMW Z4’s rear haunches and you can see two different shut lines. The inner lines, running on from the rear windscreen are fake, just black tape used as a disguise. The lines you’re after, highlighted in yellow in our picture (bottom right) is the tell-tale sign of the folding metal roof.

The whole rear sections pivots and lifts up to allow the boot to fold under it, though it’s not clear whether this roof will be a two- or three-part unit. What we do know is that this origami roof will rob the Z4 of what little boot space it had.

But what about my soft top dreams, and the brawny roadster?

As with the BMW 3-series a folding hard-top and a more traditional coupe line-up is on the card. With the 3-series BMW banked on convertible buyers not caring about the extra weight penalty. As long as the car looked good, BMW presumed, buyers would be happy. The company was right.

The new Z4 follows the same philosophy, though the latest rumours to fly out of Germany reckon that a soft-top will also be an option. That might sound excessive but Mazda offers folding hard- and soft-top versions of its MX-5. The coupe meanwhile is expected to become a proper driver’s car to challenge the Porsche Cayman

Click here to see the first interior photos of the BMW Z4

I’m slightly confused by this psychedelic disguise.

BMW has kindly stripped away the black body cladding to reveal this headache causing camouflage. Look closely though and you’ll see a thinner and wider front grille, along with lower air intakes that mirror the same design. The rear features lights that follow the 6-series in theme while, judging by their size, wheels up to 19-inches will be available.

That ‘Z’ just behind the front wheelarch can’t be seen but two distinct creases run through the doors. Inside expect a version of iDrive, BMW’s new twin-clutch M-DCT, improved materials and more space.

What about engines?

Expect a 2.0-litre four-pot and a 3.0-litre straight six in different states of tunes, along with a twin-turbo version of the latter. That long bonnet will also accommodate the M3’s 4.0-litre V8.

There’s no word on a diesel yet, but BMW will be closely watching Audi’s new TT TDI. Should that be a success then an oil-burner will surely join the line-up.

All car’s are expected to have BMW’s Efficient Dynamics technology as standard, though how extensive this is will depend on the model. All four-cylinder engines will have the full stop/start tech, disconnecting alternator and active aero. The same technology is being develop for six cylinder models though BMW has yet to confirm that the V8 will have anything but the clever alternator.

By Ben Pulman

CAR's editor-at-large, co-ordinator, tallboy

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