2018 BMW Z5

The BMW -Toyota partnership is beginning to take shape with more news about what’s in store from this marriage. Rumors have circulated since the two automakers announced the partnership back in January 2013, a lot of which have centered on the revival of the Toyota Supra and the development of the next-generation BMW Z4. But Automobile is reporting that the next BMW Z4 won’t be the fruit of the Bavarian automaker’s collaboration with its Japanese counterpart. Instead, it will be a Z4 replacement that will be called the Z5.

The Z5 will first arrive in concept form next year, around the same time Toyota introduces its own concept sports car. Unlike the Toyota concept, which is rumored to come as a hardtop coupe, the Z5 will begin its life as a roadster, albeit one that uses a classic soft top instead of a retractable hard top. It does seem that BMW is developing the Z5 as more of a replacement model to the Z4 instead of billing it as a successor.

As such, the Z5 is expected to come with its own identity independent of the Z4, including a new sports car architecture similar to what Toyota will use on the revived Supra sports coupe. BMW is even targeting the Z5 to weigh around 3,300 pounds, right around the same weight as the Z4.

Note: BMW Zagato Roadster pictured here.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2018 BMW Z5.

Why It Matters

The next few years is shaping up to be an eventful time for BMW’s Z Series . News of the Z5’s arrival is pretty huge. But it’s also far from the only relevant development surrounding the company’s roadster family. Back in May, Car and Driver also reported on BMW’s plans to launch the Z2, a smaller take on the Z4 that will share its platform with the new Mini lineup.

But as far as the Z5 is concerned, Automobile’s report points to a model that will build on the Z4’s character and take it to a more luxurious level.

It does come as a surprise that the Z5 won’t be as powerful as the Z4. The report indicated that the former will receive a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that will have three different output numbers: 190 horsepower, 245 horsepower, and 270 horsepower. By comparison, the 2014 Z4 features a 2.0-liter four-cylinder and a 3.0-liter inline-six. Output numbers also vary from 240 horsepower to 335 horsepower.

The Z5 is also being tipped to carry either a six-speed manual or an eight-speed automatic transmission and an electric clutch.

Competitors

Mercedes SLK-Class

Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class

The arrival of the BMW Z5 will see it slot nicely into the role as the major foil to the Mercedes Mercedes SLK-Class. It should be a competitive battle between the two models. It won’t be surprising if a big part of BMW’s rationale in building the Z5 is to give the SLK a serious run for its money. Nothing’s confirmed as of July 2014, but the thought of these two lining up side-by-side is already making our imaginations run wild.

As far as the SLK is concerned, Mercedes’ resident roadster continues to have a choice of a four-cylinder engine, a more powerful V-6 or the raucous 5.5-liter V-8. Output for the SLK is 201 horsepower for the four-cylinder, 302 horsepower for the more powerful V-6 and 415 horses from the V-8. These engines are then mated to a six-speed manual or a 7G‑TRONIC PLUS transmission with top speed limited to 155 mph.

Nissan 370Z Roadster

Nissan 370Z Roadster

It doesn’t carry the same luxurious aura as a BMW or a Mercedes, but the Nissan 370Z Roadster has created its own unique following; the kind that even transcends geographic borders.

It still looks a little childish, but the 370Z means serious business, thanks to a 3.7-liter, V-6 engine that delivers a total of 332 horsepower and 270 pound-feet of torque.

This V-6 powerhouse launches the 370Z to 60 mph in a competitive 5.5 seconds, while netting it 17 mpg city and 25 mpg highway with the manual transmission.

The 2014 370Z Roadster is priced from $41,470.


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