The BMW Z models are a line of roadsters manufactured by German automaker BMW. The Z stands for z ukunft, and has been produced in four different series with six generations consisting of roadster, coupe, sports car, and concept variants.
The introduction of the M Coupe and M Roadster in the Z3 line marked the first of the Z series to have a high-performance BMW M variant. The first generation Z4 also continued to offer M Coupe and M Roadster vehicles. The current Z4 G29 uses BMWs B58B30 inline-six, its platform is the basis for the current Toyota Supra.
1. BMW Z1 E30 based; 1989–1991
The BMW Z1 is a two-seat roadster developed by BMW and was produced from March 1989 to June 1991. The Z1 featured unusual doors which, instead of opening outward or upward, dropped down into the door sills. Only 8.000 examples of the Z1 were produced.
2. BMW Z3 E36/7/8; 1995–2002
The Z3 was the first modern mass-market roadster produced by BMW. The Z3 was introduced as a 1996 model year vehicle shortly after being featured in the James Bond movie GoldenEye, and more than 15.000 roadsters were sold by the time the car was introduced. The Z3 underwent a facelift in 1999 and featured revised styling, before the end of its production run in 2002. It was manufactured and assembled in Spartanburg, South Carolina.
3. BMW Z8 E52; 2000–2003
The Z8 was produced from 2000 to 2003 and was the production variant of the 1997 Z07 concept car, which was designed by Danish Henrik Fisker at BMWs DesignworksUSA. The Z07 originally was designed as a styling exercise to celebrate the BMW 507, and the overwhelming popularity of the concept spurred BMWs decision to produce a limited production model called the Z8. 5.703 Z8s were built, approximately half of which were exported to the United States.
4. BMW Z4 E85/E86; 2002–2008
The first-generation BMW Z4 was known as the E85 in roadster form and E86 in coupe form. It was designed by Danish BMW-designer Anders Warming.
The Z4s design addressed many criticisms of the preceding Z3; and was larger and featured a significantly stiffer chassis. The Z4 was initially only available as a roadster, but a coupe version was officially launched in 2006. The last model rolled off the assembly line on 27 August 2008 at the Spartanburg plant.
5. BMW Z4 E89; 2009–2016
The second-generation Z4 was announced on 13 December 2008 and debuted at the 2009 North American International Auto Show in Detroit the following month. It is the first Z Series model to use a retractable hardtop and meant that there were no longer separate roadster and coupe versions of the car. The top is made of a two-piece lightweight aluminium shell and takes 20 seconds to operate. Manufacturing was moved from Spartanburg, United States to Regensburg, Germany.
6. BMW Z4 G29; 2018–present
The G29 Z4 is the third and current generation Z4 and was unveiled at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance on 23 August, 2018. It reuses the soft-top convertible roof found on the E85 Z4 instead of a retractable hardtop. The G29 Z4 also shares its platform with the fifth generation Toyota Supra.
7. Z9 Concept 1999
The BMW Z9 or Z9 Gran Turismo is a concept coupe introduced at the 1999 Frankfurt Auto Show, with a convertible variant later unveiled at the 2000 Paris Auto Show. The vehicle features unique gull-wing doors that also opened like a conventional hinged door and innovations such as an early concept of BMWs iDrive system, called the Intuitive Interaction Concept, were incorporated into other production vehicles. Much of the styling found on the E63 6 Series is also derived from the Z9.