The Concept Z4 is bigger than the current model, with a longer wheelbase and wider tracks. BMW rethought the proportions in a bid to provide it with a more focused look. “A shorter bonnet and crisp overhangs ensure the driver sits closer to the centre of the car than in previous BMW roadsters,” said van Hooydonk. The approach signals BMW’s determination to shift the Z4 further upmarket. During the car’s development, BMW board members considered renaming it. However, the German car maker’s naming system groups even numbers among its coupés and cabriolets, so the long-mooted Z5 badge was never seriously considered.
A BMW source said: “We would have had to call it the Z6. And while there has been a move upmarket, it’s not quite big enough to warrant that name. In the end, we settled on retaining the Z4 name.”
The Concept Z4 features another interpretation of BMW’s signature kidney grille, seen recently on the Concept X2 and Concept 8 Series.
In place of the customary vertical bars, the insides of the kidney grille feature a new mesh that van Hooydonk said was inspired by the functional treatment used on early BMW roadsters, including the iconic 328 Mille Miglia.
The long bonnet, meanwhile, retains the clamshell design of previous Z4 models. On the concept, it features two vents. However, these are unlikely to make production, according to Autocar’s sources.
Certain licence has also been taken with the concept’s windscreen, which does not have the sturdy surround of the production version, and the two metallic domes conceived to act as rollover protection will be replaced by more conventional rollover hoops on the production roadster.
Although BMW has yet to officially confirm it, the new Z4 eschews the folding hard-top of today’s model for a traditional fabric hood. Already sighted on prototype versions of the two-seater, the hood folds and stows underneath a dedicated tonneau cover at the rear of the cabin.
BMW has provided a clear glimpse of the look and layout of the new Z4’s interior. The production car will have a flowing dashboard and relatively wide centre console resembling those of the concept. Features such as the digital instrument panel and head-up display included in the show car will also make their way on to the new roadster. However, the brushed aluminium and carbonfibre trims will be replaced by more cost-effective composite plastic materials.
Accommodation is said to have improved thanks to the car’s increased overall dimensions. Boot capacity is also claimed to top the 310 litres of the outgoing Z4.