The Gorgeous BMW Z4 Concept Proves The Sports Car Isn't Dead

New BMW X2

BMW has been downsizing some of its engines recently - just witness the three-cylinder 1.5-litre in the 318i - but that trend isn't expected to rear its head under the new Z4's bonnet.

But it's very likely an accurate portrayal of what the production version of BMW's third-generation Z4 (and successor to the Z3) will look like when it goes on sale next year.

BMW has revealed a concept version of its long-awaited Z4 roadster at Pebble Beach today, giving us an idea of what the company's future drop-top two-seater will look like. Now we wait to see whether the next Z4, which shares its underpinnings with the reborn Toyota Supra, will attract any buyers.

RARELY does a concept auto run the gauntlet from show auto to production vehicle unscathed, and it's typical for numerous features that draw both crowds and praise to fall foul to compliance regulations and costing equations.

The Z4's look is all sports vehicle. But the current small front fender side vents are supplanted by dramatic, forward-raked side openings (BMW dubs them the Air Breathers) that seem to evoke, more than anything, a Corvette. At the rear, domes stretch out towards the back in order to integrate the rollover bars and give the roadster a sportier derriere.

This is only a design study, so it's reasonable to assume the production Z4 will be a bit dialed back compared to what you're seeing here. The 20-inch alloys are a reinterpretation of BMW's twin spoke design while the large air-breather aft of the front wheels leads to scalloped sides rising up to the rear arches. The driver's cockpit area is all rendered in black with the remainder of the passenger compartment done in orange with carbon fiber accents.

A head-up display is also included, while all in-car controls are grouped by function, contributing to the cabin's minimalist approach. Twin displays are mounted - one behind the wheel, one atop the center stack - at nearly the exact same height, with the ability to move graphics between the two as if they were a single ribbon of screen.

Engine options are yet to be confirmed, but a BMW internal document leaked recently suggests a pair of 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engines and one 3.0-litre turbo-petrol six will be on offer.

See, after BMW said that really terrible thing in 2014, it made me wonder how it could still possibly push the whole "the ultimate driving machine" motto with a straight face. Speaking of which, the production vehicle is rumored to arrive early next year - perhaps at the 2018 Geneva Motor Show in March. Let us know below. The front wheels hide large Z4-branded four-piston brake calipers and iron rotors.

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