The all new BMW Z4 M40i has finally been unveiled at this year's Pebble Beach Concours event.
It's been a long time in the making and, following numerous leaks, a fair amount of teasers and eventually a drive in an early prototype for certain journalists, the all new BMW Z4 made its official debut at the Pebble Beach Concours event in the United States with sales starting in early 2019.
Developed in tandem with the Toyota Supra, it's unsurprising to learn that the two vehicles will be substantially different from each other even though they share many components, the most obvious being that the new Z4 will be a convertible while the Supra will boast a hard-top only.
As we saw on the concept a year ago, the proportions are quite different from the outgoing model, with a visibly shorter wheelbase and a particularly short overhang out front.
BMW's new Z4 loses the aluminium hard-top of the outgoing generation, choosing instead a folding fabric roof which takes around 10 seconds to open. Basically, it's less complex and cheaper to manufacture and is lighter, which translates to a weight-saving of around 50kg over the previous model.
At the reveal, BMW described their new vehicle as the Z4 M40i First Edition, “a taster of the forthcoming on-road debut of the new roadster”.
BMW is holding back on many technical details but this particular Z4 is powered by a 3.0-litre straight-six petrol engine, producing 340bhp, which propels the new drop-top from 0-62mph in 4.6 seconds.
In late September, as we've been lead to believe, BMW will release full spec sheets but they have confirmed that M40i edition has electronically controlled dampers, upgraded M Sport brakes, an M Sport differential and a 50:50 weight distribution.
In the meantime, speculation is that the line-up of powertrains will likely include a 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol in various states of tune and probably another version of the straight six. With BMW's hard push into the world of electricity, we expected a plug-in hybrid version at some point and, what most petrolheads would like, a properly sports-focused M version of the Z4 to take on the Porsche 718 Boxster.
Peeking inside the BMW Z4 and you're welcomed by BMW's cockpit layout, albeit evolved to include a newly designed fully digital instrument panel and what BMW calls a ‘fared-in’ infotainment system angled towards the driver. The iDrive rotary controller is mounted in the same place on the centre tunnel beside what is expected to be an eight-speed automatic transmission. According to Auto Express, BMW has hinted at including a manual gearbox option with selected engines.
The new BMW Z4 is scheduled to go on sale in early 2019 in the UK but, as yet, pricing and specs remain elusive. Realistic expectations would be for the entry level models to start at around £30,000, climbing to around £48,000 for the M40i seen here.