At the moment, the most highly anticipated BMW in the pipeline is the 8 Series. And rightfully so. It’s just the second generation of the famous nameplate, with decades between it and its predecessor, and it’s likely going to be the best looking BMW on the market when it makes its debut. So, naturally, everyone is very excited about its debut. However, there’s another BMW that, personally, I’m more excited about and I don’t think I’m along — the BMW Z4.
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While the 8 Series is sexier, more expensive, more premium and will pack higher performance, the BMW Z4, to me at least, is the more exciting car. That’s not because the 8 Series isn’t going to be incredible, though, because it likely will be. And I’m not saying that I’m not excited for the 8er, because I really am. But there’s just something more tantalizing about the new Z4.
For starters, it’s going to be a lot cheaper than the 8 Series. Yes, with the hot M40i variant costing in the $60k-range before options, it’s still not going to be cheap. But there is going to be an entry-level model that will be expensive-3-Series money and that will be very fun little car. The new Z4, from the videos and reviews we’ve seen of pre-production drives, is said to be a proper little BMW sports car that brings the nameplate back to the heights of the original Z3 and first-gen Z4. So it isn’t going to need a massively powerful engine to be fun, which is why many BMW enthusiasts will likely opt for the four-cylinder version and an M Sport package, saving themselves a lot of money but still having some fun.
The new BMW Z4 will also be a soft top convertible, which is refreshing after years of folding hard-top Bimmers. Folding hard-tops are cool to watch but that’s about it. They’re far heavier than their soft-top alternatives, which not only just adds weight to the car itself but, when up, makes the center of gravity higher. They also completely ruin trunk space, which is frustrating, as roadsters and convertibles make fantastic GT cars but you’re not going to do much touring without luggage. I’m not saying it needs to have wagon-like space but room for a two backpacks and maybe a small duffle bag would be nice. I recently just tested the M4 Convertible and, with the roof down, I couldn’t fit a single backpack in the trunk. With the roof up, I could fit one. Just one. Also, soft-top roofs just look classier and more elegant than an awkwardly-shaped metal roof with panel gaps in it. So the Z4’s soft-top roof is very exciting and encouraging.
Then there’s the fact that the new BMW Z4 is part of a joint venture between BMW and Toyota, making it the first sports car built under the watchful eye of both brands. It’s also been designed alongside the upcoming Toyota Supra, one of the most iconic sports car nameplates in history.
All of this intrigues me. I can’t wait to drive the new Z4 and see if it really can bring BMW roadsters back to their glory, to see if its new soft-top is a big improvement over the heavy hard-top of its predecessor and see the fruits of the new relationship between BMW and Toyota. The 8 Series is exciting, of that there’s no doubt. But I think the new Z4 is the most exciting upcoming BMW.