Detroit 2009: BMW pulls the cover off the new Z4

Click above for a high-res gallery of the 2010 BMW Z4

BMW had a Cirque du Soleil wannabe hanging upside down from a curtain to pull the sheets off of the 2010 BMW Z4 at the Detroit Auto Show. The Z4 is the third generation of BMW's small roadster since the original Z3 debuted in the mid-90s. This time around, the company is moving production from South Carolina to Europe to make room for the next gen X3 at Spartanburg. The new Z4 gets a retractable hardtop in place of the soft top, and with only two seats to cover, the proportions don't look as goofy as other hard top convertibles.

The flame surfacing of the last Z4 has been dramatically toned from the last generation, giving a much cleaner look overall. Under the hood, US versions of the Z4 are restricted to 3.0L six cylinder engines with and without turbochargers. No word yet on an M version, but given recent statements from BMW it seems more likely to get a more highly boosted version of the six rather than the M3's V8. The Z4 goes on sale this summer. Expect pricing to be released closer to the sale date.

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