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2020 BMW Z4 Roadster: Making An Overdue Return To Its Sports Car Roots

2020 BMW Z4 Roadster: Making An Overdue Return To Its Sports Car Roots

August 25, 2018

The 2020 BMW Z4 Roadster is the third generation of BMW’s two-seat convertible and coupe. The rear-wheel drive Z4 was first introduced in 2002, as the successor to the smaller and less expensive Z3. The first generation Z4, which had a fabric roof, was produced from 2002 to 2008. It was succeeded in 2009 by the second generation Z4, sporting a new retractable folding hardtop. Although it was positioned against the similar Mercedes-Benz SLK, the Z4 had evolved into a mini-Mercedes SL, with pricing that could approach $70,000 fully loaded. Sales declined steadily until it was dropped from the BMW lineup in 2016.

What’s So Special About The 2020 BMW Z4 Roadster?

The 2020 BMW Z4 Roadster marks BMW’s acknowledgement that its heritage as “The Ultimate Driving Machine” needs to be reinforced, even as the carmaker benefits from the era of peak SUV, and also embraces electrification and autonomy. The 2020 BMW Z4 Roadster can now compete not only with the Mercedes-Benz SLK, but looks like it may also give the more driver-centric Porsche 718 Boxster a run for its money!

A Fresh Start, With Help From Toyota

BMW engineers have been working on a new sports car that would be worthy of the brand’s sporting traditions since 2015. In a world where the sales growth of SUVs tends to overshadow all car-based vehicles, BMW found a way to make the new Z4 happen. The 2020 Z4 Roadster and the upcoming new Toyota Supra will share the same platform, as well as the costs of developing it. The two vehicles will differ, with the Z4 being a convertible, while the Supra will be a coupe. The Z4 and the Supra will be built on the same production line in Austria.

Inside, It’s a BMW

The interior of the 2020 BMW Z4 Roadster will look familiar, following current BMW design themes. You sit low with plenty of headroom, facing a large touchscreen and BMW’s latest infotainment system. The new electric folding fabric top takes about 10 seconds to go up or down, and can be operated at speeds up to 30 mph. It folds precisely into its space behind the seats, similar to the way that the Mazda Miata’s top works. This leaves all of the Z4’s trunk space for luggage and other cargo, a vast improvement over the previous model’s trunk-hogging folding hardtop.

Powered By Familiar BMW Engines

At first, there will be a choice of turbocharged four-cylinder or six-cylinder engines. The four-cylinder Z4 30i should have at least 248 horsepower, and possibly more. The six-cylinder Z4 M40i will likely have a powerful twin-turbocharged output of about 382 horsepower. The standard transmission is an eight-speed automatic, and there will be no manual transmission option. The M40i First Edition version (see below) will also come with an electronically controlled limited-slip differential, sports suspension with electronically controlled dampers, and M Sport braking system, for improved cornering, braking, and overall handling.

Coming Next Spring

The 2020 BMW Z4 30i will go on sale in the US in March of 2019. The M40i will follow a month or two later. Pricing will be announced closer to the on-sale date. More technical details will be released by BMW on September 19, 2018. The M40i First Edition, with special Frozen Orange paint color, plus unique wheels and just about every available option, will be available at launch. See your BMW dealer for details.

Should You Lease A 2020 BMW Z4 Roadster?

The 2020 BMW Z4 Roadster should be an excellent vehicle to lease. It should be a blast to drive, and should receive BMW’s typically affordable leasing treatment. A full factory warranty for the entire time you are driving it is another plus. And the flexibility to walk away at the end of the lease, and into a different type of vehicle if your needs change, makes for a nearly perfect sports car experience!