Here’s the first sighting of BMW’s Z4 replacement, an all-new sports car spun off a chassis co-developed with Toyota. Not only will the modular chassis underpin BMW’s Z5, but Toyota will likely use it for a reborn Supra flagship, as well as the lower-priced 86 replacement.
So what do the new spyshots tell us? The good news is that the BMW sports car, codenamed G29, has been signed off and is out for testing. The spyshots also confirm that the Z4 replacement will revert to a folding soft-top, as will the next 4 Series convertible. That should help save weight, which is naturally a key priority.
The prototype looks extremely compact – or it’s being driven by a giant engineer. There’s minimal front overhang, with the engine positioned as far back as possible for optimal weight distribution. Given it’s a BMW, expect four- and six-cylinder power: there should be room for the latter in the versatile architecture, especially if Toyota wants to strongly demarcate 86 and potential Supra.
There’s not much to learn about the Z5’s design just yet: the camouflage is extensive, and the tail lamps are temporary projectors. BMW and Toyota’s alliance: a recap. The German-Japanese relationship began in 2011, and includes collaboration on fuel cell cars, as well as BMW supplying diesel engines for European Toyotas. The sports car alliance was launched in a second wave a few months later; sadly, the sports cars themselves aren’t expected until 2018. The rumour mill suggests BMW and Toyota may soon announce an extension of their agreement, this time to include a joint, low-cost, front-wheel drive architecture to underpin future city cars, such as a baby Mini and next Aygo.
*Images courtesy of our sister publication in the UK.