It is not just the BMW 2er and 4er BMW are thinking of for a resurrection.
One such name always endeared to BMW enthusiasts in the last decade a car that had it's humble beginnings although as static product placement as the vehicle of choice for the new Bond series,
which looked upon now could count as embarrassing for the famous spy , with the Blofields and industrialist super villains unable to control their bursts of laughter that their greatest adversary drove a BMW Z3 with a 1.9 engine.
The Z3 had looks and style what handicapped the car mostly with enthusiasts was the cost effective use of sub structure from the BMW compact and suspension and rear axle from the last decade of 3er the E30. Although the semi-retro design elements appealed as did the cache and lure of the BMW badge , Z3 did not become overly exciting until the next year introduction of the Z3 2.8i using BMW's acclaimed Straight-line Six which gave the car the performance urge it needed.
Even though the Z3 was launched on the back of "Goldeneye" the car was successful - sales wise. Demand in the US brought delays to other markets with some markets the UK for example being offered LHD models to appease customers who were on waiting lists for up to Two years , but it was not just the UK that had to endear to such periods of time , Germany and the US were also affected.
The Z3 was successful for BMW but many thought of time it moved upwards and onwards.
Hence why the Z4.
The new Roadster strategy included a Z2 but whilst the Z2 was originally part of the F20 Modular matrix expansion. BMW have now downsized the car onto another cost-effective platform - The UKL Matrix - The modular structure that will be accomodate the next MINI and the BMW FWD family. The decision is to allow BMW to have an entry level Roadster as part of it's new FWD family which will be under the designation of the BMW 1er. The BMW 1er Sporthatch which will be seen this week will accomodate sDrive badges to distinguish the RWD from the FWD 1er models.
Now the proposal is seen as Z1 which will allow BMW to share the Z1 Roadster with the next generation MINI Coupe/Roadster/Spyder. The new MINI Coupe and Roadster are very short lifecycle cars. The idea is for the Z1 Roadster to sustain the small Roadster segment whilst a new MINI Coupe and Roadster will arrive in the second half of the decade. The direction the next MINI Coupe and Roadster take will depend on the reaction to the new car which will break cover in a few weeks time. The car could take on a more individual appearance from the next MINI.
Z1 will allow the BMW 1er FWD family to offer a variety of cars to customers who are expected to migrate from other brands to BMW. BMW recently held workshops in cities in Germany where they test-clinic'd the FWD City Compact and the FWD GT. Subjects chosen were not BMW customers but from other brands but found the two cars different and very appealing , the Compact was very well received as was the GT which was tested amongst current owners of euro- mini MPV's.
With the movement of the Z2 to the UKL matrix, but under a newer design guise to bring it into contention with the other UKL cars.
The original Z2 proposal will now move upwards to effectively replace the Z4 as the Premium entry Roadster which is proposed as Z3 - The resurrection of the 1995-2002 first modern BMW Roadster. Given that the segment grows not only in markets but also in dimensions , The Z3 allows for the Z4 to take another surge upmarket and retain it's current appearance with a folding hard-top as the Z5. Effectively in what the Z2 was - RWD , Soft-top , compact and additional Coupe will now be the Z3 if BMW's executives get their way.
The return of the name is something that could bring the nostalgic owners back and another choice for the "Homecoming" visitors who take their annual pilgrimage to Spartanburg each year to it's home. Z3 could even return to Spartanburg for production if it proved cost effective for BMW?
The Z4 is seen as a more Premium Roadster than the Z3 before it whilst the progression is evident - By moving the vehicle upwards BMW could retain a premium product with the Z5, slightly larger in every respect and remain with a folding metal hard-top , Z5 could become more luxurious and be positioned below the 6er and below a more Premium Roadster proposal. In a way how Mercedes-Benz will have the SL and SLS AMG Roadster.
If the strategy gets the go-ahead then the Z3 will become a more modern engineered (based on the F20/F30 modular matrix. lighter , agile and sportier competitor to the current Roadster competition.
And the Z5 could appeal to more customers who want something more premium. Whilst the Z1 will be that entry level BMW Roadster - Stylish, effective and Premium to appeal to first time BMW customers.