New BMW Z4 patent images leaked before reveal at Pebble Beach

New BMW Z4 patent images leaked before reveal at Pebble Beach

Patent images of the all-new BMW Z4 – announced by the brand back in 2015 – have surfaced online. These images show the car's swept-back headlights, flat rear lights and wide kidney grilles. They reveal every angle of the car's styling to remain true to that of the 2017 concept. The automaker previously confirmed a 2019 unveil of its new Z4 at Pebble Beach in August – a month before its specifications are to be announced at the Paris motor show.

The upcoming Z4 model is expected to go on sale in March 2019 and has been caught by cameras during testing for more than a year. The latest sighting showed the car wearing production-spec bodywork covered by a light camouflage. The new sports car sits on smaller-diameter wheels than previously spotted cars, which suggests that the spotted car is a lower-spec model. An earlier video showed the car cornering at pace, wearing winglets on its nose (suggesting that BMW was assessing the car's performance when under load).

On a mechanical level, powering the new Z4 will be a choice of BMW's latest turbocharged petrol engines. The Z4 sDrive30i will get a turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder that produces about 251hp, while more powerful variants will get the turbocharged 3.0-litre six-cylinder unit shared with the M240i, producing about 355hp. Both engines will come with standard rear-wheel drive and a ZF eight-speed automatic gearbox.

BMW's decision to equip the Z4 with the same rear axle as the M3 and M4 suggests its hardware will be compatible with their 430hp, twin-turbo, 3.0-litre straight-six or the M2’s 370hp, turbocharged, 3.0-litre six-cylinder engine. These motors get a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission driving the rear wheels. This also indicates that the Z4 would have an M variant, which will get bespoke bodywork and a more focused chassis set-up.

The Z4 shares parts with the upcoming Toyota Supra and is similarly expected to be offered with a hybrid drivetrain. Such a drivetrain would likely come with four-wheel drive. The car's relation to the Supra is part of Toyota and BMW's decision to co-develop a new sports car platform.

While the Z4 will be a convertible, Toyota's new Supra will be a spiritual successor to the original Supra and as such will be a hardtop – as shown by spotted development cars. Inspiration for the new Supra's design has been taken from the striking FT-1 concept, first seen at the Detroit motor show in 2014.

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