BMW's on-again, off-again flirtation with topless driving changed its status back to "in a relationship" Tuesday when the German automaker detailed its 2019 Z4 roadster.
The latest Z4 will come in two configurations—sDrive30i and M40i—with a choice of turbo-4 or turbo-6 power. An 8-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters will be the only gearbox on offer for the U.S. market, a major shift from BMW's manual transmission emphasis as recently as a few years ago.
The Z4 sDrive30i features a 2.0-liter turbo-4 rated at 255 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque, while the M40 uses a turbocharged inline-6 good for a hefty 382 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque. In both models, power is sent to the rear wheels only. BMW quotes a 0-60 mph sprint of about 5.2 seconds for the turbo-4 and just 4.4 seconds for the M40i.
BMW plucked the 3-Series sedan's front suspension for the Z4 and paired it to a five-link rear suspension setup. The M40i features a firmer suspension, larger brakes, and a unique rear differential. Those features are optional on the sDrive30i.
The Z4 was co-developed with Toyota, which will revive its Supra nameplate for a coupe version of the car. Not much is known about the Supra, however.
The new car is 3.3 inches longer than its predecessor, which was last sold in the U.S. in 2016. The Z4's low-slung looks recall the Fiat 124 Spider and the Mercedes-AMG SLS, with hints of conventional BMW DNA such as the brand's signature twin-kidney grille and taillights like those on the new 8-Series coupe.
Unlike the last Z4, the 2019 reverts to a cloth softtop rather than a folding metal hardtop. The BMW Z3 and the first Z4 both featured cloth tops.
Inside, the Z4 features a digital instrument cluster and a wide infotainment screen controlled via a knob next to the gear lever on the center console.
BMW hasn't announced pricing for the 2019 Z4, but the automaker said that it will go on sale next spring. A special M40i First Edition will start things off with special red paint and a black interior—not a bad first date.