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The Z4 roadster will reappear after a four-year hiatus, and this time it will be better equipped to serve its sports-car mission. Unlike its predecessor, it will be offered only with a soft top. If you're interested in a fixed-roof coupe, the similarly new Toyota Supra shares the Z4's six-cylinder engine, transmission, and underlying structure.
Engines, Ride, and Handling
The base engine is a 255-hp turbocharged four-cylinder, which will come with rear-wheel drive and an eight-speed automatic; a manual transmission will not be offered, much to the disappointment of enthusiasts everywhere. Cars with the turbo four wear the 30i badge; stepping up to the M40i adds a 382-hp turbocharged inline-six. The Z4 is stout, too: BMW says it's the stiffest open-top car it has ever built. Handling was sharp and lively when we sampled one in Portugal; the steering was crisp, the transmission quick to shift, and the six-cylinder provided effortless power and sounded just as punchy. We haven't had the chance to sample a Z4 at our test track, but we estimate a zero-to-60-mph time of 4.2 seconds for the M40i and 5.0 seconds for the 30i.
Interior and Technology
Strictly a two-seater, the Z4's cabin is cozy and intimate, with a driver-focused cockpit design that sees the center instruments canted slightly to the left. Two digital displays make the cabin look sleek and high-tech; the 10.2-inch digital gauge cluster can be reconfigured to show a variety of information and the second 10.2-inch infotainment display offers both touch and click-wheel interaction as well as Apple CarPlay (but not Android Auto) and navigation. An onboard Wi-Fi hotspot and a head-up display are both part of the optional Premium package. All Z4 models will come with low-speed automated emergency braking, pedestrian detection, and forward-collision warning; more advanced tech such as adaptive cruise control, automatic high-beam headlamps, and a self-parking feature are optional. Look for the Z4 in showrooms in spring 2019, starting at just over $50,000.