News - BMW - Z4
End of the road for BMW’s Z4
Last ever second-generation BMW Z4 rolls off production line in Bavaria, Germany
29 Aug 2016
By TUNG NGUYEN
BMW has ended production of its second-generation Z4 roadster after seven years in service, leaving the German luxury brand without a two-seat coupe and convertible sportscar until at least 2018.
Built at BMW’s Regensburg factory in Bavaria, Germany, the final Z4 rolled off the production line last week – a Valencia Orange Metallic sDrive35is – and marked over 115,000 coupes and convertibles built since 2009.
BMW Australia, while not selling the aforementioned sDrive35is, offers the Z4 in three specifications, the entry-level 135kW/270Nm sDrive20i, the mid-tier 180kW/350Nm sDrive28i – both powered by a 2.0-litre turbo four – and the flagship sDrive35i with a 250kW/450Nm 3.0-litre twin-turbo inline six under the bonnet.
BMW Group Australia product communications manager Adam Davis said the cessation of production on the Z4 means stock will run dry in the next three months.
“August is the last Z4 production month, so we will still see Z4s arriving for customers through November at this stage,” he said.
Mr Davis said it was hard to predict exactly when all Z4s would sell out and that information is still forthcoming on whether “the last load is customer order” or “dealer stock”.
This year, sales of BMW’s two-seater have increased by almost 200 per cent to the end of July, which Mr Davis attributes to the Z4 “effectively being in run-out”.
“There has been strength in the variant this year,” he said. “A quick look at VFACTS tells you its sales achievements over the previous year, with 119 sold year to date July, up from 40 last year.” Compared to its competitors, Z4 sales are well off the pace of the new-generation Audi TT (312), but close to the Porsche Boxster (125) and the Mercedes-Benz SLK (111) that will soon change its name to SLC.
While the end of the Z4s life leaves BMW without a competitor in the niche two-seat open-top sportscar segment, Mr Davis said BMW has other options for customers to scratch that particular itch.
“At this stage, BMW offers a strong open-air vehicle range, from the 2 Series, through 4 Series and 6 Series and also the Mini convertible range, which is about to be strengthened with the JCW’s arrival,” he said.
“Within those sets, there are luxury-focused variants, as well as strong performance variants, whether in M235i/M240i form or the full-on M4 Convertible, which has a hard-top for added practicality.
“We feel this range is more than adequate in satisfying demand for such vehicles at this point in time.” Reports confirm a successor to the Z4 is currently being developed in conjunction with Toyota, spawning what could be dubbed the Z5 for BMW and a next-generation Supra for the Japanese car-maker.
Although information on the new model is scarce, BMW is expected to develop and build the platform while also supplying the engines for all but the Supra – which is reportedly arriving with a high-powered hybrid powertrain to take on the likes of the Honda NSX and Nissan GT-R.
Possible engine options include the versatile 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder BMW uses across its passenger car range in various states of tune or even a force-fed inline six-cylinder engine found in its sub-M cars.
While the second-generation Z4 moved to a three-piece folding hardtop lid, its successor is expected to utilise a canvas roof similar to the first-generation Z4 to save weight and increase performance.
A reveal of the new model is expected late next year, possibly during the Frankfurt motor show, with a global rollout in 2018.
Mr Davis said the car was still too far away to confirm any details and “at this stage we are unable to comment on any mooted Z4 successor”.
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