It was back in 2009 when BMW started making the second-generation Z4 (E89) and seven years and 115,000 units later, production of the zippy roadster has come to an end. And we are sad to see this one retire for it was a fabulous little sportscar but at least BMW is working on a successor, tentatively called the Z5 (codenamed G29), with Toyota to fill the void.
The very last one to roll off the Regensburg plant production line on August 22nd - an sDrive35is - was fitted with the brilliant 3.0-litre inline-six making 340 horses and painted Valencia Orange Metallic which sure is an attractive hue. It is the last production car with the N54 engine, shared with the legendary 1M Coupe. No, it isn’t a bad way to kill a car at all.
The Z4 E89 could only be had with a three-piece folding metal roof (the first generation had a soft top – and the new model - which could be revealed in concept form by the latter half of 2017 - will likely have a conventional fabric roof too…) and it had far better driving dynamics than the previous generation too. There were always rumours that BMW would change the character of the model to rival the more comfortable SLK but the rear-wheel drive model - with the never ending bonnet and short deck - went down very favourably with enthusiasts. It still looks good and has aged really well - but being the oldest car in its class meant it was in dire need of a replacement. Hopefully the new model will be significantly lighter than this one (the removable roof added a lot of weight to the car) and the steering feel will be better than ever, too.
Production is expected to begin in early 2018 at Magna Steyr’s factory in Graz, Austria – the same place Toyota’s version will be built.