The last BMW Z4 was far from the light, tossable roadster that fans of the Z3 remember. With its heavy power-operated convertible hardtop and softly sprung suspension, BMW turned its two-seat roadster into more of a luxury GT rather than a simple, pure roadster. With the debut of the 2019 BMW Z4 at Pebble Beach, Bimmer fans might have a glimmer of hope that the Z-line will get its groove back.
One year after the BMW Z4 concept first appeared at Pebble Beach on the same stage, the new model arrives in production form wearing a lot of the dramatic cues from the concept. First to be revealed is the Z4 M40i First Edition seen here, sporting a classic BMW kidney grille that is both wider and more sharply defined compared to the outgoing Z4. A pronounced character line in profile extends from the rear fender to the front wheels at a downward angle, where 17-inch aluminum wheels are shod with 255/35 size Michelin Pilot Super Sport rubber.
Inside the Z4 is all business with a new all-digital instrument cluster and handsomely integrated center display screen, dominating the view from the cosseting quilted leather bucket seats .
Overall the look is considerably more aggressive than seen on past BMW Z cars, which designers hope will communicate just how far Munich’s engineers have gone to turn the Z4 into a corner-carving sports car once again. “This is by far the sportiest, most dynamically sharp car BMW has ever made for the Z-line,” BMW spokesperson Tom Plucinsky told us at the reveal. “That all starts with a super-stiff chassis. Handling-wise, this car will be a lot closer to the Porsche Boxster than anything else in its competitive set.”
A key development for the 2019 Z4 is its return to a soft top, which is a big part of the car’s 150-pound weight loss compared to the car’s last generation. The all-new platform that underpins the car was co-developed with Toyota, which will use it as the basis for that brand’s upcoming Supra coupe. When the Z4 30i launches in the U.S. in the beginning of 2019 it will have a turbocharged four-cylinder engine, with the turbo straight-six-powered M40i model arriving in the second quarter of 2019.
There’s no official word yet if a full-on M car is in the works for the Z4, but for now it looks like the dose of sportiness the Z-line has been missing is well on the way.