All-new BMW Z4 roadster spied ahead of 2017 debut

19 Jan, 2016 2:48pm Lawrence Allan

New BMW roadster could be called Z5 - and Toyota is planning its own version as well

BMW's next big secret has been spotted out in the open; the new Z4 roadster has been caught by our spy photographers enduring harsh winter testing. Reports suggest that it will be called the Z5, and is expected to be shown to the public in the first half of next year.

In the past year we've seen spyshots of the new 5-Series, 3-Series and X3, and the Munich brand's model offensive continues with the sporty next-gen Z4. Despite the heavy disguise, we can see the design has changed a bit, although it's difficult to tell what will make production.

Signature Z4 styling cues include the long, low-slung bonnet and set-back cabin, pointy nose and pert back-end. The rear shape looks to have changed the most, with a square bootlid and circular LED tail-lamps (again, possibly not for production) moved lower.

BMW has ditched the current Z4's heavy metal folding roof for a lighter, more traditional fabric hood. This could mean it is being aimed more towards the Porsche Boxster and away from softer, more refined cars like the new Mercedes SLC.

An insider told us in 2014 that “this car will use the same lightweight body construction as the i3 and i8. And even with that type of construction, you can expect a price around the same as that of the current Z4."

We've also reported that Toyota is working with BMW to produce a new sports car, and this could be it. The Toyota version could even get a plug-in hybrid model, with electric motors boosting output instead of a turbocharger.

However we could see a turbo three-pot offered, borrowed from the new 3-Series. And don't be surprised if BMW's M-Division get involved later on for a new Z4 M. We'll bring you more details as soon as we get wind of them.

Check out our round-up of the best sports cars top buy in 2016...