BMW pulls the plug on its Z2 Roadster project, will focus on crossovers instead

BMW has been working on a new entry-level roadster, dubbed the Z2, for a while now, but a new report suggests the German automaker is changing course, and rather abruptly.

According to the UK’s Car Magazine, the sub-Z4 drop-top would clash with recent industry trends, and therefore further development and eventual production just isn’t in the cards right now.

Chairman Harald Kruger and R&D head Klaus Frohlich pointed to a shrinking sports car market and surging crossover/SUV demand as reasons why spending the time and money on a lighter, more affordable roadster doesn’t add up.

While it’s always an issue of demand when it comes to the automotive industry, it’s still a bit of a surprise that BMW has pulled the plug on the Z2, considering prototypes have been spotted testing for almost a year. It feels like a waste to halt the process when so much effort has gone into its development.

Before the project was scrapped, BMW planned to sell the Z2 with three or four-cylinder engine options to keep weight down, fuel efficiency high, and its more powerful Z4 sibling in its place. The Z2 would be based on either the front-wheel drive platform that underpins the new 1 Series, or a more traditional rear-wheel drive layout.

The latter setup had led to rumors that Toyota was jointly developing the Z2 with the next generation Scion FR-S, but regardless, its price point would settle somewhere in between the new MX-5 Miata and the Audi TT.

For now, sports car fans’ only hope of a small, light BMW-developed roadster rests on a production version of the MINI Superleggera Vision Concept. That said, Peter Schwarzenbauer (what a mouthful), an executive for BMW and MINI, has already said that project would be challenging to get across the goal line.