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BMW confirms Z4 for Australia

Drop dead gorgeous: BMW’s Z4 has been co-developed with Toyota, but the Bavarian beauty will drop its top first.

Drop-top BMW Z4 set for Australia in 2019, BMW confirms

BMW logo2 Oct 2017

By TIM ROBSON

BMW Australia has announced that the next-generation Z4 roadster will be added to the local roster within 18 months, with the company’s chief executive officer Marc Werner confirming that the drop-top looks “pretty close” to the Z4 concept from the recent Frankfurt motor show.

Mr Werner revealed that he had already viewed the car on a recent trip to Germany, adding: “It’s as breathtaking as what we saw in Frankfurt.

“The Z4 is a very clear brand shaper for the BMW Australia, and the decision has already been made to launch that car. We’ll see that car reaching our shores in 2019.”

Thanks to the popularity of the Ford Mustang, the sportscar market is in ascent in Australia, with an eight per cent lift year on year in total sales to the end of August.

Sales have all but ended for the current Z4 and just two cars were sold in August as local supplies run dry, with a 36.5 per cent drop posted at the end of last month. Production of the second-generation car wound up half-way through 2016.

Mr Werner said that a strategy around how to best position the next Z4 has yet to be formulated, but he believed that there was still space in the local market for a premium drop-top sportscar.

“No decision has been made yet, but we have to do what’s right for the market,” he said. “We definitely need to find the sweet spot, as far as the positioning is concerned. What is certain is that there is still a market for traditional sports star concepts.”

Sales for premium convertibles are slow at best, with Mercedes-Benz recording 193 sales of its SLC convertible this year, against 112 Porsche Boxsters and 87 Z4s.

The Z4’s platform is being developed in collaboration with Toyota, which will use the architecture to underpin a new spotrtscar that is rumoured to resurrect the Supra moniker.

Recent spy shots reveal an almost production ready Z4 with LED headlights and tail-lights, as well as trapezoidal twin exhausts. Some pundits are predicting it will make its public debut at the Detroit motor show early in 2018, while the Supra is expected to debut at the Tokyo motor show this month.

BMW’s longitudinal 3.0-litre six-cylinder turbocharged engine is likely to be joined by a turbocharged four-cylinder variant in the Z4, which will again be a rear-wheel-drive-only proposition.

Given the availability of hardtop engineering from Toyota for the platform, it is possible that BMW could also revive the notion of a Z4 coupe, in order to better amortise the cost of the relatively orphan platform.

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