On two occasions in their extensive history of crafting roadsters, BMW contemplated renaming the Z4 Roadster to the BMW Z5. This intriguing revelation stems from the recently published “BMW by Design” book, shedding light on the potential renaming of the Z4. The current generation G29 Z4 was previewed as a concept in 2017 before coming to market a year later. The refreshed Z4 grew in size, price and performance, closing the gap to the popular Porsche Boxster.

First-Ever BMW Z5?

Hence, it’s unsurprising that BMW entertained the idea of altering its emblem. Calvin Luk, the designer of the BMW Z4, reveals in the book, “We even considered calling it Z5.” Regrettably, the book doesn’t delve into the specifics of the decision-making process that led to retaining the Z4 name. Nevertheless, it does provide insights into the project and its diverse iterations. As per Steve Saxty’s book, citing BMW designers, the company developed plans for more than one variant, encompassing a roadster, a coupe, and a shooting brake. The latter ultimately materialized this year as the BMW Concept Touring Coupe.

They Even Considered a Z3 GT Name In the Past

Back to the BMW Z5 name. We first heard of the Z5 name in 2016. Back then, we covered the proposed name alteration along with two potential body styles: a soft roof top and a coupe. Eventually, BMW only launched the G29 Z4 Roadster which is due for an upgrade in Spring 2024. But apparently, that wasn’t the only time BMW considered the Z5 name. Marcus Syring, former Rolls-Royce designer and BMW M design boss, penned the E36/8 Z3 M Coupe. “Actually I wanted to call it the Z3 GT or even Z5,” Syring says in the book. “But it’s BMW and we love complex or quirky names.”

The Z5 moniker didn’t gain traction, yet it wouldn’t be astonishing if BMW revisits it in the future. Presently, based on information from sources, there are no definitive plans for a new Z4 Roadster. However, if such plans materialize, it is likely to be built on the Neue Klasse architecture, transforming it into an electric roadster. In such a scenario, it would make logical sense for BMW to retain the iconic Z4 name and potentially employ the Z5 badge for the revived roadster. It’s important to note that, at this point, these considerations remain speculative.

There is an entire chapter in the book on the G29 Z4 project, including the Touring Coupe. So if you’re interested in learning more about what went behind the scenes, then the three-volume boxed set will be available soon – at a pre-order price of $299.95/€270/£78.11. Alternatively, the principal book, “BMW by Design” is available immediately for $99.95/€90.02/£88.10; all with free shipping in USA, UK and EU.