Latest shots of new Z4 clearly show rear design and tail-lights; sports car is co-developed by Toyota and could get optional four-wheel drive

A 2018 BMW Z4 development car has been spotted at the Nürburgring undergoing high-performance testing.

The Z4 successor can be seen wearing production-spec bodywork covered by light camouflage. The sighting follows an earlier video (see below), where the car looks composed when cornering at pace and can be seen wearing winglets on its nose - suggesting BMW was assessing the car's performance when under load.

Powering the new Z4 will be a choice of BMW's latest turbocharged petrol engines. The Z4 sDrive30i will get a turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder that produces about 248bhp, while more powerful variants will likely get a turbocharged 3.0-litre six-cylinder, shared with the M240i, producing about 335bhp.

Both engines will come with standard rear-wheel drive and a ZF eight-speed automatic gearbox.

The Z4 shares parts with the upcoming Toyota Supra, and is similarly expected to be offered with a hybrid drivetrain. Such a drivetrain would likely come with four-wheel drive.

BMW's decision to equip the Z4 with the same rear axle as the M3 and M4 rear suggests its hardware will be compatible with the 425bhp twin-turbo 3.0-litre straight six-engine of those models, or the 365bhp turbocharged 3.0-litre six-cylinder powerplant from the M2, along with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox.

This car would be badged as an M model and therefore get its own bespoke bodywork and a more focused chassis set-up.

 

It's the sixth time we’ve seen the new model in the metal since its arrival was announced by BMW in 2015. The soft-top, two-door model is expected to be revealed later this year before sales kick-off in 2018.

The car's relation to the Toyota Supra comes as part of Toyota and BMW's decision to co-develop a new sports car platform.

While the BMW will be a convertible, the Toyota will be a spiritual successor to the Supra and as such will wear a hard top, as shown by spotted development cars.

Inspiration for the Toyota's design has been taken from the striking FT-1 concept, first seen at the Detroit motor show in 2014.

BMW Z5 and Toyota Supra - why we should be excited

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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Comments
22

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.

28 September 2016
Will86 wrote:

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

and Toyota build quality, and hybrid tech. Still a Toyota with BMW's .... erm what do Toyota get out of it?
Maybe Toyota should build their own premium cars with their reliabilty, hybrid tech and reliability. Oh, wait...

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...

24 January 2017
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.

The Z4 wasnt a 'market failure.' That's just tosh put out by disgruntled Z3 owners.

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?

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