Z2 BMW's Miata Me-Too

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer

With BMW’s newest Z4 hiking the roadster’s size and weight, Auto Motor und Sport says the Bangle-less Bavarians are planning a downsized Z2 Roadster for 2011 (planned European release). And they waste no time making Mazda Miata comparisons. The Z2 will be built on a downsized Z4 platform, but don’t expect a trademark straight six. It seems that nothing larger than a two liter four-banger will make it into this lightweight roadster. This translates into about 150 hp from a 1.8 liter four cylinder engine at the entry level, and up to 300 hp from a possible turbocharged M version of the two liter four. There’s even talk of a hybrid version. Active steering and suspension and dual-clutch transmissions will be standard, but despite all the techno-frippery the top will be fabric. Interestingly, Auto Motor und Sport lists the price in dollars rather than euros. And they say fewer than 30k of them will make a Z2 yours. Look for an auto show debut sometime in late 2010.

Edward Niedermeyer
Edward Niedermeyer

More by Edward Niedermeyer

Join the conversation
4 of 22 comments
  • Energetik9 Energetik9 on Feb 20, 2009

    I will look forward to see what comes. The new Z4 will push up in price-point leaving room in the lineup for a lower priced model. Remember that this car won't need lots of horsepower to make it a successful car and I'm sure BMW figures if people want performance...they will move up to a Z4. A lightweight 'fun' roadster does not necessarily require high horsepower IMHO. I would also point out that historically, convertibles are not targeted towards high sales volume. As far as lightweight....we'll see. I used to own a 2000 M Roadster (based on the Z3). Stock, it was pushing 0-60 in low 5's and weighed 2900 lbs if I remember right, so they can do it. I had a couple minor mods that pushed it to 300 HP and it times it felt too light for the HP. But it was a blast!

  • Rob Rob on Feb 20, 2009

    An overpriced Miata. It's what I've always wanted! On a serious note, I'm excited about this. BMW can (did?) build good performance vehicles, and maybe some of their engineering abilities will shine through in the Z2. Oh, and I hope they don't botch the styling ...

  • Carguy622 Carguy622 on Feb 20, 2009
    edgett: The Miata has 166 hp. The new Z2 is going to be like the 1 series is to the 3 series convertible. I was seriously considering buying one of the them, and decided that the 1 series was the better choice because I could get the twin turbo I6 for less than the NA I6 of the 3 series. Also, I worried about the complex metal top becoming an issue. So maybe people will decide a nicely optioned Z2 is a better choice than a stripper Z4 with it's complex mechanical top. P.S.: I decided not to buy either and leased a Miata instead while keeping my everyday car, for less money.
  • DC Bruce DC Bruce on May 23, 2011

    While the Z3 and first-generation Z4 were built in South Carolina, the current Z4 is built in Germany. With the replacement of the cloth top by a metal one, the current Z4 is both expensive and not a particularly great performer, even with the twin-turbo 3-liter. The prior version M roadster was significantly quicker. I think the problem is that the current Z4 is an expensive two-seat "touring car" and the market for them is very, very small . . . and already well-occupied by Mercedes. The original (4cylinder) Z3 was more or less targeted at the Miata. However, it was a little bigger, a little heavier and signficantly more expensive. So, with the 4-cylinder, that didn't work. The addition of the 2.8 liter and 3 liter six solved the power problem but, as numerous commentators have noted, stuffing increasing amounts of power into the Z chassis (e.g. the M cars) increasingly showed the limitations of that chassis, only partially fixed by such tricks as the staggered wheel sizes. For my money, the 2.8 liter Z3 (with, IIRC, 180 hp) is the best balanced car of the bunch, even though I own the 225 hp 3.0 liter model. My car does not have that "light on its feet" feel of the Miata; it wants to be "horsed" around the curves. IIRC, my Z3 roadster comes in at 2700 lbs. Even with a lighter 4-cylinder engine, I wonder if BMW will be able to build something that weighs less but is acceptably rigid and meets current safety standards. Certainly, they will be able to beat the current Z4, which has gotten pretty porky.