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The new roadster, which has been rumored since as far back as 2006, is expected to be called a Z2 and ride on BMW’s UKL platform developed for the third-generation MINI range and new front-driving 1-Series models.
It would be just one of up to 23 models envisaged for the flexible platform.
The vehicle would target affordable roadsters such as the Mazda MX-5 and upcoming Alfa Romeo Spyder, as well as serving as a halo model for BMW’s new compact range.
“We are considering a car in the spirit of the original Z3,” a BMW official revealed to Autocar. “It is of similar size to the E36/7 [the codename for the original Z3] but is planned to use the front-wheel-drive platform to keep costs down and achieve a margin level that ensures it is sustainable at comparatively low production volumes.”
Considering the comments made, the Z2 would likely stretch about 13 feet in length and have a width of around 5.5 feet. To help reduce development costs, the car would most likely be developed together with the next-generation MINI Coupe and Roadster.
Being based on the UKL platform, BMW would be able to offer the Z2 with either front- or all-wheel drive. The latter would likely be the standard option should the vehicle be sold in the U.S., similar to what Mercedes-Benz is doing with its upcoming CLA Class.
Whichever drive orientation the Z2 ends up with, turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinders are pegged as the powerplants of choice, ranging in power from 170 to 300 horses, the latter likely reserved for an M Performance model.
With the current 1-Series Coupe and Convertible expected to be repositioned as 2-Series models for their respective replacements, BMW certainly has room in its lineup for a new-generation of practical 1-Series models and sporty Z2 roadsters.
The earliest launch date for a new Z2 is said to be 2015, though considering we’ve been hearing about it for almost decade we doubt BMW is in any real rush.