Concept Cars

The BMW Z4 returns in stunning new concept form

If this is what Toyota and BMW have been working on, it's time well spent.

BMW

Years after its departure, BMW's roadster is back, albeit in concept form... for now.

BMW unveiled the Concept Z4 on Thursday during the Monterey Car Week festivities in California. The Concept Z4, like the Concept 8 Series before it, gives us a preview of the new BMW Z4, which should debut in the next year or so -- again, just like the 8 Series.

In terms of traditional roadster aesthetics, it's all here. There's a low-slung body, a long hood, room for just two people and a roof that doesn't look like it'll be all that fun to have up. The seats are practically resting atop the rear axle, which makes the car look fast even while sitting still. The headlights sit rather high on the car -- BMW points to the Z8 for inspiration here.

I wonder how all this drool got on my floor.

BMW

Inside is actually pretty straightforward. It's very car-like, with a collection of physical switches for certain vehicle and infotainment functions. There's a somewhat-standard-looking shifter in place, and an infotainment screen that rises from the dash just as it would in other new Bimmers.

Of course, there are some ridiculous flourishes in there. There's a lap timer built into the bottom of the steering wheel, the gauges look like they're from a different decade, and the seats are two different colors -- and two different materials entirely. It's a very serious car, since it's destined for production, but BMW still had a load of fun putting this together, it appears.

Being a concept, BMW didn't really delve into powertrains. It's believed that when the Z4 comes to production, it will carry both four- and six-cylinder engines, like most of the rest of BMW's lineup. The Z4's underpinnings, which were developed in a joint venture with Toyota, will also live on as the next-generation Toyota Supra.

It's a weird world we're in, where a BMW Z4 can also be a Toyota Supra. But if BMW's concept is any indicator, it doesn't matter who helped develop the car, it's bound to be a stunner.