UDPATE: Like you, we're having a hard time wading through the conjecture on what this car is exactly. We mistakenly told you below that the Z9 would be a CL-Class fighter, which is wrong – it will be an SL-fighter (damned Mercedes nomenclature!). However, the test mule still doesn't look large enough to compete with the SL-Class (maybe the SLK, which is why we still think it's a Z4).

Reports are flooding in from Munich of a never-before-seen test mule from BMW that's purported to be the Z9, the successor to the short-lived Z8 premium ragtop the automaker sold from 2000 to 2003. Now, to be fair, the mule could simply be the next generation Z4 convertible, but the photographers from KGP seem to believe the body shape is purposefully misleading and that it is, indeed, the Z9.

Such a car would go head-to-head in the marketplace with the Mercedes-Benz CL-Class, and thus likely be offered in both coupe and hardtop converitble models. BMW's choice of engine for the Z9 seems obvious, as nothing less than the corporate V10 producing 500 hp would do for such a premium vehicle. In fact, Winding Road is surmising that the Z9 will carry an even more premium price than the Z8's $128,000 base MSRP, perhaps somewhere in the neighborhood of $150,000.

Despite the fact that speculators seem convinced this mule is the future Z9, we still think it looks too small for that to be the case. From the side profile it appears the vehicle is just about the right size for a slightly larger Z4 and not comparable to the size of a Mercedes-Benz CL-Class.

[Source: Winding Road]