The BMW Z line of roadsters has been with us since 1989, when the Z1 wowed the crowds with its disappearing doors. Now, the latest member of the Zukunft series (meaning “future” in German) has arrived in the shape of the brand-new Z4. Its design is splitting opinions right now, but the Bavarians are still confident that their newest roadster will be another winner for the company. Are they right? See for yourself.
When writing about cars, we often reference existing models from other manufacturers while describing a new entrant to the market. In the case of the freshly unveiled Z4, there are plenty of other roadsters one can spot in the redrawn lines of this al fresco cruiser. Let’s start with the front, where the new car does away with the side-by-side headlight arrangement seen on most Bimmers and instead greets the eye with a restyled face that replaces the vertical slats in its signature double-kidney grille with black mesh. The result looks a little bit like a love child between the Fiat 124 Spider and the Kia Stinger, in a slightly good way.
Moving on to the side profile, which is more dynamic and angled, one can spot influences from the Honda S2000 at the front and the Mercedes-Benz SL in the middle section that now features strong character lines originating from a large fender vent behind the front wheels. The whole silhouette looks sportier and lighter than the previous model, aided also by the return to a soft top that now takes pride of place where previously a metal hard top did its job. As for the rear, well, there’s more than a hint of Mercedes-AMG in this pretty behind.
All in all, the new design takes some getting used to and presents a considerable departure from the softer lines that graced the previous Z4. So far, the brand has only unveiled one version of it, called the BMW Z4 M40i First Edition. It features a 340hp straight-six engine, 19-inch allow wheels and a bunch of M Sport goodies that enable it to go from zero to 100km/h in a toupee-disturbing 4.6 seconds. BMW is keen to point out the 50:50 weight distribution, the wide stance and the low center of gravity, which should all contribute nicely toward the sporty driving experience the firm is famous for.
The Z4 First Edition comes in Frozen Orange Metallic, and features a black leather interior that can be enhanced with optional features like mood lighting and a Harman Kardon surround-sound system. Also standard are the BMW Live Cockpit Professional, a heads-up display and adaptive LED headlights. Additional versions and engine options will be unveiled in September, which gives BMW fans time to take in the new kid on the roofless block. Does it have the potential to be a future classic? You be the judge of that.