The all-new BMW Z4 roadster is real and it's red-hot.
After a year of hints and teases, starting from a futuristic concept car in California exactly a year ago, the showroom-ready handiwork of Australian designer Calvin Luk was finally unveiled today at Monterey Car Week.
The end result is modern, edgy and sharply crafted for the third generation of BMW’s driver-focussed two-seat roadster.
Styling is toned down from the original Z4 concept car of 2017...
... with less aggression in the nose and a slightly more-upright windscreen...
... but the basics are the same and reflect the talent that has taken 32-year-old Luk to the cutting edge of BMW design.
A big change for the new Z4 is a return to a folding canvas roof, instead of a multi-part composite clamshell, in a move that cuts weight, improves boot space and gives a more driver-focussed impact.
It takes just 10 seconds to go up or down, at up to 50km/h, and the boot is now 48 litres bigger than the second-series Z4.
The deep side scallops on the side of the concept have survived for production...
... and, not surprisingly, the low-slung tail as a smoothly-integrated spoiler and twin exhaust tips.
Luk did the hard work on the Z4 but it’s BMW’s design boss Adrian van Hooydonk, who speaks for the car in Monterey.
“A shorter bonnet and crisp overhangs ensure the driver sits closer to the centre of the car than in previous BMW roadsters,” he says.
What we saw at Monterey was the fully tricked-out Z4 M40i First Edition dressed in eye-catching Frozen Orange metallic sheen dressed with 19-inch light alloy wheels in a bicolour, double spoke design.
The cabin is BMW through and through...
... although it sports an all-digital dash...
... including a restyled version of the iDrive infotainment system which blends into the main instrument panel, while the new BMW Live Cockpit Professional system ties together the instrument and infotainment displays.
Tech includes a heads-up display and Harmon-Kardon sound system.
Ironically for a car which is so iconically BMW, the new Z4 is a twin beneath the skin with the upcoming Toyota Supra.
The joint project was a way for the two car companies to cut time and cost from the development program, but each has a unique final design as BMW takes the convertible high ground and Toyota continues with a coupe.
The Z4 and Supra are both planned to be built at Graz in Austria.
In BMW's high-performance M version of the new Z4 or a more standard model, chassis boss Jos van As confirms the car has been developed for maximum driving enjoyment.
“Increased rigidity and a very stiff connection between the chassis and body structure offer idea conditions for tuning,” says van As.
“The whole concept behind the new car is geared more towards agility and driving dynamics.”
BMW will announce the full Z4 range details 19 September 2018, ahead of a worldwide market launch starting in Q2 2019.