By Wayne Gorrett
The demise of the lesser-lamented BMW Z4 roadster has come to pass. Last week, the final BMW Z4 of the E89 generation rolled off the production line at the German automaker’s Regensburg plant.
Since its introduction in 2009, more than 115,000 examples of the E89 Z4 have been sold. Oddly, there were no fabric-roofed E89 Z4’s as the car was only available with a three-piece retractable metal roof.
The last Z4 produced was an sDrive35is finished in Valencia Orange. Fitted with a 340bhp turbocharged straight six, the sDrive35is was the most powerful variant available. That car was also the last BMW ever with the N54 engine, which was replaced a while ago by the N55, then replaced again by the brand-new B58.
So, for now BMW no longer builds a two-seat convertible.
However, the good news is a replacement is confidently expected during 2018 as BMW’s next generation roadster is being jointly developed with Toyota. It will likely be called the Z5 – or Z507, in due deference to the 507 roadster of 1953. Either way, it’ll be BMW’s next Z-car.
The new BMW roadster will exploit lightweight know-how gleaned from the i3 and i8 plug-in range, with extensive use of weight-reducing aluminium and carbon fibre and improving the roadster’s stiffness.
In better news, Toyota’s version will become the much anticipated and long overdue Supra replacement which will likely share a hybrid powertrain and chassis with the next BMW Z car.
Due to an extended version of the joint venture chassis, the new Supra will be a larger car than the next BMW Z and will position it above the GT86 in the current Toyota model line-up.
Sadly, we now know that Toyota will NOT use the design, hopes remain that the final Supra doesn’t venture too far away from the breath-taking FT-1 Toyota concept car first revealed at the Detroit motor show in 2014.
Toyota is thought to be employing drip-down tech for the Supra from its Le Mans race cars, although unlike the TS040 Hybrid, the new Supra will use twin electric motors on the front axle, together with an engine-supplementing e-motor at the rear, rather than purely rear-wheel drive.
Production of the EuroAsian twins is expected to commence in 2018 so, barring any planned ‘leaks’, we can expect to see a few prototype pix early next year, with official images to follow later in 2017.