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.


  • Bo Hanan

    Why couldn’t a twin version of the new Supra be a 6-Series/911 fighter? Why couldn’t a convertible version of this car be the new Z4, or whatever their calling it? There, 3 birds with 1 platform, eh BMW…

    • Christian

      They might jump after the Bosxter agien? Like they did in 2003-ish

  • Dustin

    “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.’ ”

    He speaks the truth. A similar comment can be made regarding sports cars.

  • Heavy Right Foot

    What a strange name for a car “Z Probably 4”??

  • Kagan

    If you don’t offer it how could they want it!!!

  • SteersUright

    If there is no manual in the Supra it will be blasphemous. At the very least, it would need a PDK-competitive quality dual clutch automatic to keep in character of a true sports machine. Also, this car is too long in development already. It risks market “boredom” by the time it finally arrives. Lastly, the spy shots of the BMW and Supra reveal rather unspectacular design from what I can see thus far. Sports cars are entirely emotional purchases. They’d be wise to ensure these cars are incredibly beautiful and make thrilling engine noise. Otherwise, what the hell is the point?

    • Infinite1

      I agree with you with the manual and the Supra. Keep in mind that it took Nissan 7 years to bring the GTR into production and it took Acura 9 years to bring the second generation NSX to life. I know what you’re saying and I’m on your side of the fence but it may take some time. I’ve read that the Supra should debut in the Tokyo auto show late this year so maybe we’ll get to see something.

  • Elmediterraneo

    For those asking about an M version. The only way to see an M badge on this Z4 is the M40i version.

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