Spyshots usually provide a very rough idea of what an automaker is up to. The psychedelic camo test cars normally wear make it terribly hard for onlookers to figure out the details of prototypes before they are launched. Every once in a while though, our luck turns around and we catch a break, as it happened this week with a BMW Z4 test car.
A few spy shots are currently circling online showing a prototype with a piece of paper glued to the passenger side dash, telling us almost everything about it. According to the test sheet, we’re looking at what will probably be the entry-level model in the Z4 range – the sDrive20i.
The badge suggests that the power is going solely to the rear wheels using a 2-liter four-cylinder engine under the hood – codename “B48B20O1”. What that tells us is that this is actually a downtuned version of the B48 mill otherwise used on 30i models with 252 PS.
Speaking of power, that’s also no longer a secret, as the figure for the sDrive20i seems to be listed as 145 kW which translates into 197 PS or 195 HP. The torque figure is rather high as well at 320 Nm (236 lb-ft) and that’s just good news overall. However, what’s not listed but can also be seen in the photos, and is definitely the biggest news here is the manual gearshift knob, confirming once and for all that some Z4s will be available with a manual gearbox. Enthusiasts rejoice!
One final detail that caught our eye is the expected start of production listed as November 2018, which means we’ll get to see the Z4 next year before arriving in dealerships towards the end of 2018. As to whether the specs of the production car will be the same as the ones of this prototype remains to be seen, but we certainly hope so.