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RPM TV Website | October 20, 2017

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Open secret as BMW unveils Z4 Concept – but it previews new Toyota Supra, too

Open secret as BMW unveils Z4 Concept – but it previews new Toyota Supra, too
Deon Schoeman

Just a day before BMW unveiled the highly anticipated Z4 Concept at the high-profile Pebble Beach Conours d’Elegance in California, leaked images of the new roadster were splashed all over the Internet.

Whether it was an example of clever viral marketing from the Bavarian automaker, or a genuinely clandestine leak, it certainly made sure that the sleek two-door ragtop got its day in the on-line sun.

The BMW Z4 Concept is a concept in name only. As we’ve come to expect from BMW, the showpiece is a close-to-production rendition of the actual, new-generation Z4, which is likely to debut at the Geneva Motor Show next year, before going on sale in time for the European summer.

Judging by the images, the car is both more aggressive and more convincing that the somewhat bloated current model. Short overhangs, trim lines and muscular proportions suggest a more agile, more athletic machine. The retractable tin-top of the current model makes way for a simpler, lighter canvas hood, in the best classic roadster tradition.

Stacked headlight clusters in a trapezoidal housing are a first, as are the very flat, broad kidney grilles, while carbon fibre accents are much in evidence. The cleanly sculpted flanks include cooling vents behind the front fenders, while the rear gets a pronounced diffuser.

Speedster-like humps behind the two-seater cockpit introduce a new visual element to the Z4 formula, while also providing a home for the roadster’s rollover protection system. They’re concealed with the hood in place.

The interior features a driver-configurable, all-digital instrument cluster, together with a large, high-res colour display for the infotainment system. The iDrive controller is located in the raised centre console that divides the cockpit, with a low-mounted, form-hugging bucket seat on each side.

The production Z4 should weigh in at under 1 400 kg, and will be offered with at least three engines, including a new 2,0-litre turbo petrol with around 185 kW on tap, in addition to a 265 kW in-line 3,0-litre turbo petrol. An M version should follow in due course.

But there’s another reason why the reveal of the Concept Z4 is important: it provides a good indication of the basic proportions and shape of the upcoming Toyota Supra, which is also set to debut next year. The two cars have been developed side-by-side.

While the Z4 is a roadster, the Supra will stick to its hardtop coupé origins. Expect an extended hood, set-back cab, low-slung stance, wide tracks and short overhangs. The aesthetic treatment should mirror some of the elements of 2014’s FT-1 show car.

The powertrain is shared with the Z4, and should include an entry-level 2,0-litre good for 135 kW, as well as the Z4’s 185 kW 2,0-litre turbo. Expect a choice of six-speed manual or eight-speed auto gearboxes.

The new Supra is due for production in late 2018, with a global reveal at next year’s Tokyo Motor Show in late October.

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