With the Z3 gone and the Z4 continuing to grow in size, BMW fans have clamored for a smaller, simpler roadster to come out of Germany for years. According to a report by World Car Fans, they may have finally gotten their wish.
The new roadster, currently dubbed the Z2, will weigh just over 2,500 pounds and be based on the current MINI Cooper Hardtop. Yes, that does mean the Z2 will be front-wheel-drive. But before you cry into your keyboard and electrocute yourself, take solace in the fact that this car should debut for around $30,000, nearly $20,000 less than the current RWD Z4.
Powertrains haven’t been confirmed yet, but the Z2 could feature an assortment of three and four-cylinder engines from BMW’s modular series. Power will likely start at around 160 horsepower, with higher trim levels reaching 230 hp. We’ll keep our fingers crossed for an M version, which could have 300 hp and AWD.
To save weight, the Z2 will have a fabric soft top, distancing itself from the larger, heavier, retractable hard top unit found in the Z4. Other lightweight materials like carbon fiber and aluminum result in a curb weight some 750 lbs lighter than the current Z4.
Despite its weight savings, don’t expect the Z2 to thrash Nissan GT-Rs or set new lap records on the Nurburgring; that’s not what the car is meant for. No, the Z2 is meant to be a compact, simple, no frills driving machine that can compete with other sporty roadsters like the Audi TT, Scion FR-S, and the Mazda MX-5 Miata.
The car also hints at BMW’s strategy to feature more FWD models in the future. This could lead to a surge in new buyers who want the BMW name, but prefer their doughnuts over coffee and not tarmac.
This will surely anger RWD traditionalists, but fear not, BMW says they “will still be very much a rear-wheel-drive company.” If purists can get past the Mini platform, the Z2 should be an absolute joy to drive.