Did The BMW Z4 Quietly Fade Into The Sunset?
14-year old sports car is expected to give way to the BMW Z5by Kirby Garlitos, on
Fourteen years may not seem like a long time for a model’s entire production run, but for somewhat of an off-the-grain model like the BMW Z4, seven years is right around what you’d expect as a lifespan. Then again, the German automaker has given no indication of the Z4’s fate, which is why this report from one of the most plugged-in BMW-facing sites is pretty revealing. According to Bimmer Today, BMW, without too much of a fuss, ended the Z4’s production on August 22, 2016. The last example built was reportedly a Valencia Orange Metallic Z4 sDrive35is.
There are those, myself included, who will say that the timing of the Z4’s discontinuation should have been expected, especially considering that the model’s successor, the Z5, is scheduled to hit dealerships and showrooms between late 2017 and early 2018. Still, there’s also the belief that the Z4 deserved a more notable exit than the one it reportedly had. Not that it needed a parade of sorts, but with less impactful cars getting treatments of that kind, BMW could have done something to at least acknowledge that the Z4 was riding off into the sunset.
To be fair, that ceremony could still happen if or when BMW addresses the Z4’s end of production. With the preparations for the Z5’s launch expected to heat up in the coming months, it would be in the German automaker’s best interest to give the departing sports car a final shout out. It deserves as much considering it was BMW’s only aesthetically inclined sports car before the i8 hit production in 2014. That distinction alone deserves its own recognition.
Continue after the jump to read the full story.
Why it matters
It doesn’t seem that long ago when the BMW Z4 first broke into the scene, but history traces the car’s original all the way back to 2002. That’s a 14-year run that shouldn’t be dismissed because it wasn’t, at any point in its life, considered as one of BMW’s most popular models. But comparing legacies is a tricky thing, especially for an automaker as big and as diverse as BMW. The Z4 was never as popular as the M3. It wasn’t even as popular as any of BMW’s SUVs. In other words, the Z4 was really catered for a specific market and even then, that market also featured a notable lineup of competitors, which cut into the sports car’s appeal.
So yes, the Z4 didn’t have a sparkling legacy. It was never the most popular, and it was never the fastest and most powerful. All those points are true and maybe those are the reasons why BMW opted to keep the car’s end of production on the hush-hush side.
But I disagree for this simple reason: for a lot of kids who grew up in the 2000s as fans of BMW, the Z4 was the quintessential poster car. It wasn’t any of M-badged vehicles and Lord knows it wasn’t the SUVs. It was the Z4. It was the sports car that looked like a sports car and performed like one too. Some folks may not remember this, but the Z4 was never considered to get an M badge because it already boasted of performance credentials that were in line with what the market offered. The sDrive35is, in particular, featured a twin-turbo straight six engine that produced 335 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque, allowing it to sprint from 0 to 62 mph in just 4.5 seconds. It never flew, but with what it had, it was a delight to drive.
That’s why I think BMW should give the Z4 the send-off it deserves. I hope it happens soon before people forget about the model entirely.
Read our full review on the BMW Z4 here.