BMW will unveil the all-new Z4 roadster at the Detroit Auto Show next month, but there's no need to wait for the show in Motown to see the car in non-spyshot form, as all the Euro-spec details were officially released when the clock struck midnight in Munich. We're into the new bodywork, which is pretty voluptuous compared to the preceding model, with a hint of 507 lineage evident in the car's lines. Follow the jump for the rest of the skinny.
Up front, wide double-kidney grilles establish an aggressive face. Out back, the tail is cleaner and more elegant than the current car's, featuring simpler, wraparound taillamps with attractive lighting effects. The biggest change of all, of course, can be found in the roofline. As was the case in the 3 Series, the soft top has been retired in favor of a retractable metal roof. There's a subtle "double-bubble" effect evident when it's in place, and its use reportedly improves outward visibility with the top up. 20 seconds is how long you need to wait for it to raise or stow.
European models have three engine selections, and the Z4 employs BMW's ridiculous new naming scheme, as first seen on the X6. The Z4 sDrive23i is probably Euro-only, powered by a 2.5L inline-6 making 204 horses via a six-speed manual or automatic. Next up is the Z4 sDrive30i, which features the normally-aspirated 3.0L I6 we're all familiar with. Here, it makes 258 horsepower and 228 lb-ft of torque. That's enough to get it to 62 mph in 5.8 seconds (with the stick). Fun times. the sDrive30i also comes with either a 6-speed manual or automatic. Those of you looking for the ass-kicker Z4 want the sDrive35i, which gets the excellent twin-turbo 3.0L and 306 horsepower. 0-62 takes 5.2 seconds with the manual tranny, but you shave a tenth off that if you opt for the 7-speed dual-clutch gearbox.
Inside, the cabin is refreshingly simple with attractive wood accents, slick-looking new HVAC controls and a straightforward cockpit layout. iDrive has now made its way into the Z4, but it's the new, allegedly more intuitive version that was first introduced in the new 7 Series. The LCD display sinks into the instrument panel when not in use.
So, best Z3/Z4 yet? Probably. We'll crawl all over it next month in Detroit, after which we'll be impatiently awaiting some real seat time, which ought to be a kick.