BMW has been criticised of late for its lack of design cojones, mainly by us to be fair (see new BMW 5 Series and 6 Series Gran Turismo for drab proof), but correct us if we're wrong... this is a bit of a return to form.
Spy photos of camouflaged prototypes of the production auto (which may be called the Z5 when it goes on sale) undergoing testing suggest that the styling of the production version will be toned down compared to the concept, but many of its design elements should carry over in some form.
The Concept Z4 is bigger than the current model, with a longer wheelbase and wider tracks. Nevertheless, the four-eyed cluster design carries on.
This is not the next BMW Z4.
Sandwiched between the headlights is a re-interpretation of the kidney grille, which trades its renowned vertical slats for a mesh look, similar to higher-spec versions of the new-gen Hyundai i30.
The large domes stretch back from the seats to enhance the Concept Z4's sporting intent. Wide hips over flared wheel arches are offset by slim, L-shaped rear lamps. Last but not least, there's a carbon fiber diffuser flanked by a pair of angular exhaust tips.
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A series of creases and precise lines fold into one, creating an overall sculpted, muscular exterior.
What is the inspiration behind the Concept Z4?
Inside, stylists blended a two-tone colour scheme that extends to the seats-black for the driver, orange for the passenger.
A head-up display projects key data right into the driver's eyeline, Controls are grouped into what BMW is calling "function islands" that can be easily identified and reduce distraction.
The Concept features some intriguing detailing and design elements and while it's hard to judge size under the studio lights it does look more compact than the previous Z4 and Girard confirms that it has a shorter wheelbase and subtly altered proportions in order to site the driver in the middle of the auto. It is a preview of the production vehicle that BMW says is set "to be revealed over the course of next year". "This is total freedom on four wheels".
But BMW's Z4 Concept is one auto we hope makes it from show floor to showroom unmolested. Transmission will come in both automatic and manual varieties, to suit the Sunday-drivers that are looking for an engaging and captivating experience.