BMW Exec Says Next Roadster Will Not Be Called The Z5

Contrary to popular belief, BMW’s upcoming roadster will not use the Z5 moniker as confirmed by a BMW executive.

BMW and Toyota are working together on a sports car platform, destined to spawn the successors to the Z4 and Supra respectively but the sheer amount of speculation surrounding the two models has led everyone to believe that the new Bavarian roadster will be called the Z5.

“There’s no such thing,” said BMW Americas boss Ludwig Willisch during an interview with AutoGuide. “It will be called Z… probably 4.”

When asked if a straight-six engine will find its way under the bonnet of the upcoming “Z probably 4” Willisch said, “I would call it a Z4 [and] that’s no indication of the number of cylinders,” which sort of sounds like a confirmation.

As for the much rumored new all-wheel drive electrified powertrains, Willisch is not ready to share a lot of details. He said that a partially electrified drivetrain might benefit a modern sports car but “not so much,” for the availability of four-corner traction.

One crucial element of the tie-up between BMW and Toyota is that the latter is sharing some of its electric secrets in exchange for the Bavarian diesel engines. As for whether the new “Z4” will come with a manual gearbox or not, the news are not good for three-pedal purists.

“Even a lot of people say… ‘That’s great, you still have them,’ ” said Willisch. “But you ask them, ‘What do you drive?’ [and they say] ‘Well, I have an automatic.’ ”

“If the customers don’t want it, we don’t have to offer it,” said Willisch. It pains us to say that the upcoming “Z probably 4” might actually deny the pleasure of rowing your own gears to the few purists remaining out there.

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