BMW just announced plans to offer the Z4 Coupe as a production vehicle, with first deliveries expected for June 2006. When I saw the BMW Z4 Coupe at the Frankfurt Auto Show, I knew it would be a relatively simple decision for BMW to put it into production. Based on the Z4 Roadster, all the hard work has been done, and the concept looked finished as well. The engine will be the same 3.0-liter straight six found in the Z4 Roadster and the 3 Series. What seemed to help BMW make the decision was the positive response from the automotive press that the car garnered. And it is a good-looking car, with its swept-back hardtop giving it a serious sports car look. Even better news, BMW will also offer an M version, which gets the 3.2-liter engine found in the M3. The car will be built at BMW's plant in Spartanburg, South Carolina.
With the Z4 Coupe's positive response, it will probably not suffer the limited production run of the Z3 Coupe, BMW's earlier attempt to slap a hardtop onto a roadster. BMW produced only 11,000 of the Z3 Coupe. Although I like the looks of the Z3 Coupe a lot, I understand that I'm in a minority. BMW at one time attributed the development of the Z3 Coupe to a group of rogue designers who built the thing in a barn. Z3 Coupe fans assert that putting a hardtop on the already top-handling roadster stiffened the body, making it BMW's best handling car ever. We'll see if the Z4 Coupe gets the same reputation. It certainly isn't suffering any criticism for its design.