- Competes with: Mercedes-Benz SLK, Audi TT
- Looks like: Someone stretched out the Z4 like it was Silly Putty
- Drivetrain: 255-hp inline-six-cylinder with six-speed manual or automatic, or 300-hp, twin-turbo six-cylinder with six-speed manual or seven-speed dual-clutch transmission
- Hits dealerships: Summer 2009
BMW has radically redesigned its Z4 roadster. The new edition features a retractable hardtop, which seems to be a must these days. It’s also a lot longer — 5.8 inches — while the wheelbase grows just 0.1 inches. Under the hood is the same six-cylinder from the previous generation, producing 255 hp, or for the first time the Z4 can be had with the same 300-hp, twin-turbo six-cylinder offered in the 1, 3 and 5 Series.
The exterior design is what everyone will be talking about, with its numerous creases, a long hood that slopes abruptly downward, and aggressive-looking headlights. What might be overlooked is the entirely new interior design, which is much more upscale than the previous generation’s sparse look. The second-generation iDrive system will also be available.
BMW says visibility out the side and rear windows is also improved, as is trunk room. When stored, the hardtop is separated from the trunk via a partition that can be moved if the hardtop remains up for more storage. This is similar to most other retractable hardtops on the market.
Like the new 3 Series convertible, the Z4’s leather features light-reflective technology to keep it from becoming scorching hot in bright sunlight.
BMW tells Cars.com that the Z4 will start in the mid-$40s with the twin-turbo starting in the low $50s. The outgoing 2008 model with the same engine as the new base model starts at $42,700.
The Z4 also promises near-50/50 weight distribution, along with BMW’s adjustable Dynamic Drive Control as standard equipment. All of that adds up to what could be one exciting roadster to drive. More photos below.