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New BMW Z4 Roadster: the CAR briefing

Published: 28 June 2018

► BMW-Toyota joint sports car project
► Due at the Paris motor show
► Z4 will be convertible, Supra coupe

The first BMW Z4 began production in 2002, and 16 years later, we’re ready for the next one. Due to be released in the late this year, early 2019, Munich’s new roadster is one half of a collaboration with Toyota – with the other car being the iconic Toyota Supra.

Although the new Z4 isn’t out for a while, we already know quite a lot about it – including just how many parts it shares with the Toyota. And after some time with a prototype version of the new soft-top, we have a rough idea of how it’ll drive too. So, want to know everything about the new BMW Z4? Keep reading.

Release date

Our sources reveal it'll go on sale in 2019, following a world premiere at the Paris motor show in October 2018.


The double-stacked headlights will  remained from the concept car, even if the upper lamps have been hidden by translucent covers. At the rear, the light clusters have quite a fluid shape to them, much like the i8 plug-in sports car.

CAR talked to Adrian van Hooydonk at the 2017 Frankfurt show, and he said 'in our new form language, we want to make cars cleaner and have sharper lines. With the Z4, it's very different and a very new facial expression; the grille doesn't have slats but mesh like our history and the headlamp treatment is very different.'

Interior clues?

A sheet on prototype dash has described one car as a Z4 s20i, with a ‘B48’ engine. In BMW code-speak that’s a 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine (its B47 stablemate is a diesel).

The paperwork suggests one particular example turns out 145kW (194bhp) and 320Nm (236lb ft) of torque, and this one’s quite clearly linked to a six-speed manual H-pattern gearbox. The same engine may be made available with a higher power output too – think an s30i, for example.

Also on the helpful cheat-sheet is what looks like a scheduled production start-date of November 2018, although industry-watchers suggest other variants may reach the market earlier than that.

What engines will the new BMW Z4 use?

Given it’s a BMW, expect four- and six-cylinder power: the latter is now confirmed, and will help Toyota strongly demarcate the GT86 and higher-end Supra.

Apart from the aforementioned B48 2.0-litre four-pot, the turbocharged B58 six cylinder engine and eight-speed auto gearbox as seen in the M140i is thought to be earmarked for the top-spec regular Z4 model – a more-powerful-still Z4M variant may follow.

Every version we’ve seen so far has featured a 7000rpm redline and digital instrument cluster.

What’s it like to drive?

We haven’t driven a production version of the new BMW Z4 yet, but we have taken a prototype version of the roadster for a ride. Read our new BMW Z4 prototype review to find out what we thought of it.

What’s this about the new Toyota Supra?

Sports cars don’t make the financial sense they used to, and that means more and more car brands are teaming up to produce them. Toyota did it with Subaru for the BRZ/GT86, and this time the Japanese giant is teaming up with BMW.

Although undertaken to increase efficiency and keep down, the cars only share six main areas of parts; the engine, transmission left and right wing mirrors, and two other things. Despite that, both cars will look very different, with the Supra coming in coupe configuration, and the Z4 in roadster spec.

The rumour mill suggests BMW and Toyota may soon announce an extension of their agreement, this time to include a joint, low-cost, front-wheel drive architecture to underpin future city cars, such as a baby Mini and next Aygo.

Read all our BMW reviews here

By Curtis Moldrich

CAR magazine's online editor and tech lover