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Preview: 1-Series-based 2012 BMW Z2 Roadster


2012 BMW Z2 Roadster Preview

2012 BMW Z2 Roadster Preview

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Downsizing isn't any fun when it's your job on the line, but when it means a sporty new roadster based on BMW's excellent 1-series platform, it's a welcome change from the 'bigger is better' mentality that's prevailed for many years.

The new downsized roadster is called the Z2, and rumors about its possible development have circulated the web for at least three years - without anything real to point a finger at. New reports indicate that the car is in fact in the works, and a new set of computer generated renderings from Motor Authority give us an early look at what may be on the way.

A range of peppy yet efficient four-cylinders is expected, including a 120-horsepower entry-level model and a 211-horsepower turbocharged unit. Pricing targets are thought to be around €25,000 in Europe, or about $34,500.

That's about $10,000 cheaper than the current Z4 in the U.S., putting it at a significant price advantage over its slightly larger, more powerful sibling. Competition in the luxury small-roadster segment is minimal so far, though Porsche and VW are rumored to be working on a similarly-positioned roadster of their own. Mazda's MX-5 and Lotus's Elise are both competitive on performance, but neither aspires to the premium segment like the Z2.

Rather than using a hardtop convertible like so many new roadsters, the Z2 will likely adopt a traditional soft top, helping to cut weight, cost and complexity. Together with the thrifty four-cylinder engine line-up planned, efficiency should be a selling point for the Z2 as well.

Light, small and efficient is a combination that's famously sporty as well, and the Z2 won't disappoint: performance figures are estimated at under 7 seconds to 60mph with a top speed of 150mph. A hybrid variant is thought to be on the table, though no details on its powertrain configuration have yet emerged.

There is also some talk of a high-performance variant sporting BMW's proven twin-turbo 3.0-liter inline-six, but that unit isn't expected to see production due to a performance potential that would step on the toes of the Z-Series roadsters and possibly even the M3.

Whether the car is eventually built or not, it won't likely see sales in the U.S. in the near term, as even the 1-series Coupes available here are only sold with six-cylinder engines, both naturally aspirated and turbocharged.

[Motor Authority]

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