An entry-level roadster based on a front-wheel-drive platform and powered by a range of potent turbocharged engines could be brewing at BMW. 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 front-wheel-drive UKL platform which debuted in the 2014 MINI Cooper Hardtop and has since made its way into BMW’s first front-driver, the 2-Series Active Tourer.

BMW is yet to confirm such a vehicle is in the works but Car and Driver is reporting that we may see the car towards the end of 2016 or early the following year. If built, it would compete with the likes of the Mazda MX-5 and serve as a halo model for BMW’s front-driving range, although we’ve heard that an all-wheel-drive option is also possible.

While the recently spied M2 will target compact car fans seeking serious performance, the Z2 would be a fun model built in the same vein as the original Z3. The curb weight could come in as low as 2,500 pounds, especially if BMW fits its tiny three-cylinder engine under the hood. A four-cylinder would likely be the standard option in the U.S.

With BMW’s next-generation Z4 expected to evolve into a much more serious performer, since its platform will likely be shared with a next-generation Supra from Toyota, we think a lightweight and fun Z2 would be a smart addition to the BMW lineup.

Pictured above is BMW’s Vision ConnectedDrive concept from 2011, which was built to showcase new infotainment and connectivity technologies as well as preview future design themes.


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