Looks Like The BMW Z4 Isn’t Dead Just Yet
The model itself is gone, but the name could live onby Kirby, on
Much was made about the BMW Z4’s end of production back in August 2016. At that time, many thought the Z4’s exit would pave the way for the sports car that’s jointly developed by BMW and Toyota to take its place. That car has long been rumored to take the name “Z5,” but now, a new report from Autoguide is putting those rumors to bed. Apparently, BMW is not going with the Z5 name as we previously thought. Instead, BMW Americas chief Ludwig Willisch told Autoguide the car will be called “Z…probably 4.” Wait, what?
To be fair, Willisch didn’t explicitly say that the German automaker is all set on bringing back the Z4 name, but he did emphatically deny that the sports car will be called Z5. That much, according to Willisch, has been put to rest. There’s no confirmation on that yet, and whether it sticks or not is still up to the brass over at Bavaria. In addition to the rather confusing Z4 name, Willisch did give us a hint on what kind of engine we can expect from the sports car, indicating that just because he refers to the car as the Z4, it doesn’t mean that the “4” in the nomenclature is an indication on how many cylinders the car will have. Interesting.
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That was a lot to unpack, wasn’t it?
The BMW-Toyota sports car won’t be called the Z5, at least as far as Bimmer is concerned.
Here’s what we learned from all of it. The BMW-Toyota sports car won’t be called the Z5, at least as far as Bimmer is concerned. Ludwig Willisch made that emphatically clear when he said that the Z5 name is something that “someone else has made up.” It is possible that he’s trying to throw us off the scent of the sports car’s name, but I’m inclined to think that he’s not pulling anybody’s leg.
Now, Willisch didn’t outright confirm it, so even if there’s some hilarity tied into bringing back the “Z…probably 4” name, I also don’t think that’s going to be the case. BMW has invested a lot in the development of this sports car and the last thing it needs is to have some kind of association with a previous car that the company already stopped producing, partly because of struggling sales and general indifference from the public. It wouldn’t make sense to dust off the Z4 name and slap it onto the new sports car just because there’s some kind of history there.
On the topic of hybridization, Willisch refused to give any more details, deflecting the subject altogether by saying it was Toyota’s expertise.
The Autoguide article also dove into equally important information about the development of the sports car, including the possibility of it getting some form of hybrid variant and the decision on whether to offer it in either manual and/or automatic gearboxes. On the topic of hybridization, Willisch refused to give any more details, deflecting the subject altogether by saying it was Toyota’s expertise. A reasonable explanation, but we know that both companies are sharing tech as part of this project so even if Toyota’s taking point as it pertains to hybridization, BMW is going to get a piece of that development if it thinks that its sports car is going to need it.
As far as manual gearboxes are concerned, there have been rumors that BMW’s upcoming sports car will feature both transmissions. The question Willisch posed is whether a manual transmission is worth using knowing that it’s not going to sell as well as a version with automatic transmission. “If the customers don’t want it, we don’t have to offer it,” Willisch said.
Seems like BMW still has a lot of decisions to make before we get to see this new sports car. Alas, we’ve waited long enough. What’s an extra shot of patience worth these days?
Read our full review on the BMW Z5 here.