BMW Z4

Our spies have lifted the lid on the next-generation BMW Z4 – and the big news is that it’s getting a folding metal roof for the first time!

Look closely at these prototypes, and you’ll see that instead of a fabric affair, the new Z4 is following in the footsteps of its 3-Series Convertible and Mercedes SLK rival, with a retractable steel top. As these pictures of a lesser disguised prototype show better than ever before, the car will also get a more muscular look. And the convertible has another trick up its sleeve. BMW isn’t content with raining on the SLK’s parade, as it will seek to outgun the Porsche Boxster with a new range of powerful engines for the car. These are likely to include the twin-turbocharged 3.0-litre straight six-cylinder unit.

Now that engineers have peeled back all that plastic camouflage, it’s visible that the newcomer measures only around an inch or so longer and wider than the existing Z4. Our sources have also discovered that production is likely to shift from South Carolina in the US to BMW’s plant at Regensburg, Germany. Sales will start late in 2009.

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