BMW has been working on a replacement for the aging Z4 roadster for some time now, likely with the help of Toyota, but we’ve seen very little information about it. However, some spy shots have just come out of the Z4’s replacement, the BMW Z5, testing in wintery Sweden. While we don’t have the spy shots ourselves, they can be seen here, at Autoblog.
There’s not too much info we can get from these photos, as the Z5 is heavily camouflaged and driving around in heavy snow. The fact that it’s being driven in such snow might suggest that xDrive will be available, despite sDrive models being the only ones currently sold. But that’s to be expected. However, there are a few more little nuggets of information we can pull from these pictures.
The headlights clearly look to have taken their design from the new 7 Series and will likely have similar front end styling. It also seems to have classic roadster design proportions, with a short rear deck and a long hood. It also sits very low and could be smaller than expected. But the biggest detail we can make out is its soft-top roof. BMW made the switch to the folding hardtop with he current-gen Z4, as customers felt that the hardtop felt more premium. This may just be some sort of sort cover or maybe even just a temporary roof for testing while the hardtop is still being designed. But if this is a genuine power soft-top and that’s the direction BMW is going, we’ll be very happy campers.
It’s likely that this roadster will be built in joint with Toyota and that it will share its chassis and underpinnings with the next Toyota Supra. So it should be relatively lightweight and fun to drive. We’ll be happy if BMW keeps the soft-top design that we see here, as that will lower overall weight, while also keeping the weight lower down to improve its center of gravity, and make the car more fun to drive. The hardtop is heavy, complicated and expensive. A soft-top will allow BMW to keep weight, cost and unnecessary maintenance down, which is good overall. Plus, sports cars are supposed to be simple, not overly complicated.
Like we mentioned earlier, we don’t have the spy shots but you can look at them here and let us know what you think.