THE look may be familiar, but the latest, 2019, BMW Z4 roadster is a very different animal indeed to its much-vaunted predecessor.
Developed jointly with Toyota - the latest Supra shares the same platform - it brings fresh styling including a new and decidedly different kidney-shaped grille. The retractable hard-top option has been ditched - it will only be available with an electrically-operated, retractable soft-top.
Roadsters have played an important role in BMW's history and the all-new Z4 is set to write another chapter in the open-top story which started with the 328 in the 1930s. It's the fifth BMW Z-car and the third generation of the Z4.
First shown in the USA in "first edition" form earlier this year the latest model will make its European debut at next month's Paris motor show and hit British showrooms early next year.
It's longer, wider and higher than before and comes with a number of new design features including a distinctive mesh, honeycomb-patterned radiator grille, a sculpted front apron with massive air intakes and twin, vertical LED light units mounted above each other at the outer edges of a "clamshell" bonnet. At the rear there's a distinctive, boot-mounted spoiler.
Under that archetypal long bonnet, there will be a choice of three turbocharged petrol engines all mated to an eight speed steptronic auto transmission. Two four cylinder units with either 197 or 258bhp are on offer and, in the top of the range M40i model, a three-litre, 340bhp straight six, the latter with a top speed of 155mph and a 0-60 sprint time of around 4.5 seconds.
The new Z4 is no slouch when fitted with the four cylinder engines, however. The more powerful of the two also provides a top speed of 155 with the 0-60 dash taking 5.3 seconds while the 197bhp version will accelerate to 60 in 6.5 seconds on its way to a 149mph max.
Two trim levels will be available - Sport and M Sport - in addition to the M Performance model. The Sport model features design elements in high-gloss black on the front crossbar and the rear apron's insert, along with 18-inch light-alloy wheels.
The highlights of the M Sport model, meanwhile, include a three section air intake for the front apron, prominent side skirt contouring, a rear apron with highly distinctive side surrounds and 18-inch M light-alloy wheels.
Inside,all models comes with heated, leather M-sport seats as standard and all the latest electronic safety and convenience aids, including a fully digital cockpit control display including satnav, will be available either as standard or options.
As is always the case with BMW that options list is lengthy and includes active cruise control with stop and go function, lane change and lane departure warning systems, as well as a parking and reversing assistant and a head-up display.
And this latest Z4 should be more practical thanks to increased interior storage space and a boot which, with a capacity of 281 litres whether the soft top is open or closed, is 50 per cent bigger than that of the previous model.
BMW will announce UK prices when the car is unveiled in Paris, but expect the entry level model to be around £36,000 and rising to not far short of the £50k mark for the three-litre. UK deliveries will start in March next year.