BMW is developing a Z5 sports car to replace the current Z4 convertible but, aside from a few photos of a camouflaged test car, no official images have emerged. Our exclusive renders above and below, however, show how this new car could look.
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We expect the new Z5 to draw inspiration from the BMW ConnectedDrive concept car as well as boast a selection of features borrowed from the German manufacturer’s current range. As you can see in our exclusive render, the Z4’s shapely kidney grilles and rounded headlights could be replaced by more angular items to give it a significantly more aggressive look.
The headlights have been extended outward from the front bumper to meet the exposed chrome frame of the grille in a manner similar to the 3 and 4 Series. Hockey-stick-shaped daytime running lights, inspired by those on the i8 hybrid, also feature.
The two gaping air intakes are shared with the ConnectedDrive concept, shown above, and help to exaggerate the Z5’s visual width, making it look both lower and more menacing than the current Z4.
The chrome strakes ahead of the door nod to both the current Z4 and the ConnectedDrive concept, as do the large scalloped side-skirts that runs beneath the doors. This latter feature reflects light upwards to make the Z5’s body look more muscular and less bulky.
Spy shots of early Z5 prototypes appear to confirm the new car will replace the Z4’s heavy folding metal roof with a simpler fabric alternative. This should help improve both handling and fuel economy.
The latest BMW 7 Series boasts carbon fibre chassis components, manufactured using technology developed for the i3 and i8 hybrids, and we expect similar features to be present on the new Z5 to both increase rigidity and reduce weight. A coupe version may also be released at a later date, although this has yet to be confirmed.
Rumours suggest the Z5 could come with a larger price tag than the outgoing Z4 to compete with the Porsche 911 rather than the new 718 Boxster. As a result, we expect a price tag of roughly £70,000. This would also leave space in the BMW range for a cheaper sports car, one that could revive the Z3 name. The car is also expected to share a platform with the upcoming Toyota Supra – itself expected to be marginally cheaper than the BMW.
BMW Z5 price, specs and release date (updated January 2016)
A new BMW sports car, expected to be called the Z5, has been spotted by BMWblog undergoing winter testing in the Arctic circle. The new car is the predicted replacement for the outgoing Z4 sports car so is expected to be a convertible but, unlike the Z4, a soft top will be used instead of a folding hard top to save weight.
The BMW has been co-developed alongside a Toyota sports car but, apart from the chassis and some of the interior design, the two will be distinct from one another. The Toyota design is expected to become the next Supra so will be a hard top coupe unlike the drop-top BMW.
2017 BMW Z5 styling
The new Z5 should have similar proportions to the outgoing Z4 sports car – with a long-bonnet, rear-mounted cabin and short-rear-overhang. The Z4’s folding hard top roof will be changed to a fabric one in a bid to save weight helping reduce fuel consumption and increase performance.
There will be a strong emphasis on using lightweight materials in both the body and chassis, adopting a similar construction to that found in the BMW i3 and i8 – offsetting the car’s slight increase in dimensions. This means various parts of the car could be built from lightweight carbon fibre-reinforced plastic or aluminium.
2017 BMW Z5 engines
The entry-level Z5 is expected to feature a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol in a range of power outputs – 190, 245 and 270hp. More powerful versions will use a 3.0-litre turbocharged straight-six with comfortably over 300hp.
A high performance Z5M could use a 425hp version of the 3.0-litre turbocharged six-cylinder engine as seen in the current M3 and M4. A choice of six-speed manual or eight-speed automatic gearbox is said to be available.
2017 BMW Z5 hybrid
The joint venture with Toyota could also extend to the development of a plug-in hybrid drivetrain. With Toyota’s expertise in hybrid technology, a pair of electric motors might be employed to drive the front wheels. BMW will develop the supporting combustion engine to drive the rear wheels.
The finished car could offer four-wheel drive but also superb fuel economy and minimal emissions. The video below from YouTube channel Bimmerpost seems to show the Z5 demonstrating excellent traction in cold weather testing further hinting at the possibility that all four wheels are powered.
2017 BMW Z5 price
It’s possible the Z5 will move up a class from being a Porsche Boxster rival to one that potentially competes with the Porsche 911. That could mean a significant price hike up from the current model’s entry point of about £28,000 to nearer £70,000.
2017 BMW Z5 release date
Nothing is confirmed yet, but the new Z5 is expected to go on sale later in 2016 and could first be seen at the Paris Motor Show in October.