The world hasn’t been given a new BMW Z4 since 2009 and in that time, the Mazda MX-5 has pretty much dominated the global roadster market.
Yep, eight years is apparently a short time when you’re a two-seater convertible but it looks like the third-generation Z4 is almost upon us after very candid shots of the car popped up online.
It was around this time last year that BMW paraded the stunning Concept Z4 at Pebble Beach to universal approval, so it’s almost uncanny that these images have leaked nearly a year to the day since that concept’s unveiling.
Some of the most standout features of the concept car are vertically stacked double-decker headlamps, a wide kidney grille for a broad, stretched nose, a pronounced shark nose, slimline rear lamps and metallic rollover hoops. The bonnet was notably shorter than on the second-gen model too. The leaked shots uploaded by Instagram user @liucunyi depict an M40i model that retain many of those traits.
Prototype drives from some motoring publications confirm that this variant is powered by a three-litre twin-turbocharged straight-six engine, developing 340bhp and 500Nm of torque, with drive sent to the rear wheels via an eight-speed automatic gearbox.
Other powertrains expected to be available include a 194bhp two-litre turbocharged petrol unit, linked to a six-speed manual gearbox. The new Z4 also shares its platform with the upcoming Toyota Supra coupé.
It seems like the Z4 will retain its soft-top fabric roof, with the concept’s buttresses vanishing in favour of a smoother and more considered shape. Upon the reveal of the Concept Z4 in 2017, BMW Group’s design senior vice president Adrian van Hooydonk described the car as “an all-out driving machine”. “Stripping the car back to the bare essentials allows the driver to experience all the ingredients of motoring pleasure with supreme directness,” he commented. “This is total freedom on four wheels.”
Many had expected the Z4 to launch in 2018 but that is looking increasingly unlikely now. That said, it doesn’t seem unfeasible for the car to arrive in showrooms in time for summer 2019. Here’s hoping…