• Jan 11th 2007 at 1:55PM
  • 14
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]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 8 Years Ago
      I'm going with a Z4, especially since the Z4 is known to be growing to make way for the Z2.

      The two exhaust pipes would suggest that it's packing the turbo 3.0 from the 335. A V10 would have a quad exhaust.
      • 8 Years Ago
      The Z8 wasn't designed to compete with the Merc CL-class, so why would the Z9 be?
      • 8 Years Ago
      BMW WOULD BE SMART to make an SL competitor -- the only ones now are the unfortunately styled Lexus, and the Jag XK.
      • 8 Years Ago
      I agree with BMW nowadays you can't be sure it will really look better w/o all that camo, but I'd still wait with passing judgement until then...
      • 8 Years Ago
      I really hope the doors aren't like these in the photos.
      • 8 Years Ago

      I wonder what you can see under that camouflage that I'm not seing...
      • 8 Years Ago
      #2: My guess is that they meant to say SL, not CL.
      • 8 Years Ago
      This is definately the Z4. It's way too small to be the Z9. If any of you povs have actuall seen a Z8 in the flesh you will know that they were substantially bigger than the Z3 available at the time, so the same will happen again this time. There doesn't seem to be enough radiator at the front, or exhaust at the back for there to be a V10 in there. And these days, a credible SL-fighter has to have the retractable hardtop.
      • 8 Years Ago
      No, fuscobob, the 6-series is NOT an SL competitor. It is a CLK competitor, soon to be competing with the A5.

      Whatever BMW is doing here, it is going to be an SL competitor.

      Competitor, competitor, competitor.
      • 8 Years Ago
      You guys screwed up AGAIN. It's NOT designed to compete with a Mercedes product! The 6-series is an SL competitor - a Grand Touring coupe/convertible in the $70,000-$80,000 price range.

      If it is a successor to the Z8, it is designed to compete with "low-end" exotic cars like Ferrari's 430. Take a look at a BMW NA Competitive Comparisons book if you can get your hands on one and you'll see that the car they compared the Z8 to in 2002 was the F360 Modena.
      • 8 Years Ago
      BMW has really dropped the ball the design dept. in the last few years.
      • 8 Years Ago
      "successful beyond merely a few thousand enthusiasts"
      "Well above $150,000 would be a good guess"

      Anyone else see a bit of a problem with those two statements going together? Exactly how big is the market for cars well above $150,000 ?
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