Automotive News is reporting that BMW will be unveiling a concept version of the successor to its Z8 sports car at the Shanghai motor show next month.The new Z9 (Z10 seems to fit current naming practices better, but we'll stick with Z9 here because it's what Auto News is reporting) will likely one-up its predecessor with a folding hardtop and possibly a coupe version, as well. The Z9 is likely to get a version of the 500-hp, 5.0-liter V10 from the M5/M6.
The new top-of-the-line sports car will go head-to-head with the Mercedes SL and Audi R8, among others, when it debuts sometime in 2009 or 2010. BMW hopes to find as many as 15,000 buyers a year for the new sports car even though it only managed to move 5,702 Z8s during the whole run from 2000 to 2003. There are plenty of pics of an SLR-like gullwing Z9 concept that has a 6-series butt and a long tapered nose, but we are praying for something better. We hope it can match the beauty of the neo-507 Z8 pictured above when it debuts.
[Source: Automotive News, sub req]