New sports car is being co-developed with Toyota; could get optional four-wheel-drive

A test mule for the 2018 BMW Z5 has been spotted out in public ahead of the model's arrival in 2018.

Our sources believe the car, which will be a successor to the Z4, could make use of a hybrid drivetrain and come with optional four-wheel-drive.

Today's mule is the first Z5 to wear a soft-top with a rear screen in place, and it also gives a good impression of what the new car's front kidney grilles will look like. They appear longer than the Z4's grilles, and are joined by familiar BMW features such as a lengthy bonnet and short overhangs. Take no notice of those rear lights though - they're temporary units featured on most BMW development cars.

It’s the second time we’ve seen the new model in the metal; its arrival was announced by BMW last year. The soft-top, two-door model is expected to be revealed late next year or in early 2018.

It's thought that some of the car's underpinnings will be shared with a future Toyota Supra successor, following Toyota and BMW's announcement that the two companies would team up to develop a new sports car platform.

While the BMW will be a convertible, rumours that the Toyota will be a spiritual successor to the Supra suggest it could wear a hard top. Inspiration for the Toyota's design could be taken from the striking FT-1 concept, first seen at the Detroit show in 2014.

Our Verdict

BMW Z4
The BMW Z4 has more comfort and added practicality, but has it gone soft?

The BMW Z4 is a fine-looking two-seat roadster with indifferent driving dynamics

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14

19 January 2016

BMW and Toyota working together has the potential to deliver some impressive outcomes. BMW performance with Toyota reliability is a compelling combination.

19 January 2016

The Z4 has been a market failure and the alternative to this JV with Toyota is to let the nameplate die. Humiliation, in other words. A couple of years ago, they published data about the collapse of the sportscar market since 2009, which amounted to "getting your excuses in early". However, this mule confirms the new Z4 won't be much different to the old one so clearly the lesson has not been learnt. If they're looking for more volume (and God knows the Z4 needs it) then they should use this new platform for a glorious return of the Triumph nameplate. It could be a cheaper and more characterful version of the rather bland and corporate Z4. It would certainly get a lot of attention which, after all, is what sportscars are all about.

19 January 2016
Norma Smellons wrote:

The Z4 has been a market failure and the alternative to this JV with Toyota is to let the nameplate die. Humiliation, in other words. A couple of years ago, they published data about the collapse of the sportscar market since 2009, which amounted to "getting your excuses in early". However, this mule confirms the new Z4 won't be much different to the old one so clearly the lesson has not been learnt. If they're looking for more volume (and God knows the Z4 needs it) then they should use this new platform for a glorious return of the Triumph nameplate. It could be a cheaper and more characterful version of the rather bland and corporate Z4. It would certainly get a lot of attention which, after all, is what sportscars are all about.

but whenever (rarely) I think of Triumph, I'm reminded of the Spitfire, TR7, and the Acclaim. I never think of them as being glorious. Oh, just remembered an old Boss had a brown Stag (often broken) and a mate had a TR6 (which if I remember correctly he told me shared many a part with Massey Ferguson tractors. Not a company I'd have high on a list to collaborate with when developing a sports car).

19 January 2016

Yes, of course they were crap. Most old cars were crap. The old Mini being generally crap did not stop Sloanes lusting after the new one. Land Rovers were generally regarded as mesolithic by 1985 and yet now, three decades on, they are much loved. Enough time has elapsed for the (many) bad points about Triumph to be forgotten. The key thing is they had *character* that elusive quality which hardly any cars today have. The Z4, SLK, MX5, etc are all very competent but they have the combined charisma of a bowl of custard. Whereas you actually remembered your boss's old Stag. Now how many years ago was that?

19 January 2016

It was brown and an automatic. It was immaculate though and looked far cooler than the Primeras and Escorts it shared the car park with at the time. It just broke down a lot. To be fair, he thought my slammed VW Caddy and 2cv were crap at the time. I do love classic cars generally and have owned plenty of crap ones myself (X-19 and 914 spring to mind). I just remember the Triumphs being pretty crap when they were new. Also, I've remembered another... My Grandfather had a new Dolomite. My other Grandfather often refered to it as a Dolop-o-sh1te. He had a Dyane?!?! I admit that people, world wide lust after the Mini and even the Land Rover but wherever you are in the world you're bound to have seen/been in an old Mini or Land Rover at some point thoughout your life. I doubt if people would lust after a new Triumph. I know they were sold thoughout the world but in pretty small numbers compared to the Mini or Land Rover. Whenever I see an article on Autocar that some wealthy barmpot is about to relaunch AC/Jensen/TVR/Bristol only for it generally amount to nothing I'm rarely surprised as apart for the beardy marque enthusiasts, is there a sustainable market to be found? I suppose with the might of BMW behind them, Triumph may stand a better chance than the others. I'll stick to my MX5 though.

19 January 2016

Most amusing. And a valid point - the sportscar market is small and fickle. It would cost a fortune to explain to the Chinese etc precisely what a Triumph is and why should they or anyone else want one? But the Dolomite is still a bit of a looker. Back in the day it was a genuine rival to the 2002, in concept but obviously not in execution. With the car market growing there will come a point when BMW may need another brand. Plus they keep renewing the Triumph trademarks. You never know. In the 5 door Mini we have a spiritual successor to the Austin 1100. Never thought that would happen.

20 January 2016

I didn't see the 5 door Mini coming and to be honest, the Austin 1100 is far more desirable...

19 January 2016

Might end up with Toyota performance and BMW reliability, which may not be so good. I can understand the need for collaboration to achieve necessary economies of scale with this kind of project, but then again it seems slightly wasteful for Toyota to have two rear wheel drive sports car platforms, when one might have been enough. Unless of course this new model is based on GT86 underpinnings?

19 January 2016

Is it me or does this really look like an S2000?

19 January 2016

Why not Yaris underpinnings as BMW loves FWD ?

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