17 Aug The BMW Z4 is back!
This is one of the biggest weeks of the year for car enthusiasts – it’s the week of the Pebble Beach Concours D’Elegance. This event has spawned a huge number of other events in the week leading up to it, which is now known simply as Car Week. Several manufacturers have taken notice of this in recent years and have used the opportunity to unveil new models and concepts in front of one of the largest and wealthiest car crowds on the planet.
First up this week is BMW with their Z4 Concept.
I’ve been a huge fan of the BMW Z4 and the previous Z3 models. Both roadsters have come in many forms since debuting in the popular James Bond film, Goldeneye in 1995. Now I can’t mention that without stating what a disappointment its actual on-screen time was compared with other Bond vehicles. Nevertheless, the design was a radical departure from other cars on the road.
Not long after the Porsche Boxster, Mercedes SLK, and Audi TT arrived, roadsters were having a nice moment in the late 90s. Fast forward to 2003 when BMW changed the look and the name to Z4. The styling was changed dramatically from the Z3 but it was still one of the best looking cars on the road, in my mind. The body style changed again in 2009 but it kept the Z4 name. I have driven each of these body styles in some form or another and all were very exciting to drive.
The Z4s began to fizzle out and they became hard to find starting around 2014. BMW quietly discontinued the model in 2016 in what I would call one of the most unnoticed discontinuations ever. Being a frequent visitor to BMW dealers I can tell you I haven’t seen a new one for sale in a showroom since 2014 or 2013. The push for more and more SUVs seemed to take its toll on the small roadster/sports car segment. The Z4 got a bit soft as it went less sporty and more luxury cruiser towards the end of its life. Try searching for a 2013 with a manual transmission and prepare to spend some serious time on the computer.
All of this leads us to today and the excitement I’m feeling, once again, as the Z4 comes to life at Pebble Beach.
We don’t know much about the car yet, but we do have some great pictures to share. The full gallery is posted below. BMW reminds us in the first paragraph of their press release that this is still a concept:
“The attention-grabbing design study offers a look ahead to the series-production version of the car set to be unveiled over the course of next year.”
So, other then a lengthy description of the design, we don’t know about the engine choices, the price, or whether or not the rumors of a returning soft top are true. The 2009-2016 Z4 was a power hardtop. Either way, I love its aggressive looks. I love how they are really rebooting the Z4 once again and reintroducing the idea of a fun, two seater roadster that splits the difference between all-out sport and all-out smooth luxury. If they can do that and not take too much away from this concept, I’ll be very pleased.
BMW z3 (1996-2002)
BMW Z4 2003-2009
BMW Z4 2010-2016
Photos/Video Courtesy: BMW USA