The Z4 is dead, long live the Z4.
There has been much debate on internet forums in the last couple of years about whether the Z4’s successor co-developed with Toyota will be called Z5 or not, and now BMW has refuted those rumours. BMW's chief in the US, Ludwig Willisch, revealed in an interview with Auto Guide the new sports car definitely won’t be called “Z5,” adding “that’s something that someone else has made up.” Chances are the new roadster will carry over the name of its predecessor phased out in August 2016. When asked about the model’s moniker, Willisch said “it will be called Z… probably 4.”
Auto Guide also asked him about what will power it and if the two seater featuring a fabric roof will be available with a straight-six engine. The BMW America’s boss answer is open to interpretation: “I would call it a Z4 [and] that’s no indication of the number of cylinders.” Reading between the lines, there’s a big chance the new Z4 will indeed be blessed with at least an inline-six engine, joining some smaller four-cylinder units.
In regards to the possibility of giving the next-gen Z4 an xDrive setup, Willisch was not so sure whether it will be available, but he did leave the door open for a potential hybrid version. We should point out there was a report some time ago indicating plans for an all-wheel drive model with electrification using Toyota’s hybrid knowhow, although it remains to be seen whether it will pan out. Yet another piece of the puzzle is represented by the availability of a manual gearbox, but don’t be too surprised if the Z4 will come exclusively with only two pedals.
As to when we’ll actually get to see the new Z4, it might debut before the end of the year before entering production Magna Steyr’s factory in Graz. Toyota’s version, speculatively called “Supra,” will be built at the same plant and is expected to arrive at some point in 2018.
Source: Auto Guide