BMW Z5

It’s been nearly four years since BMW and Toyota first formed a partnership to jointly develop a sports car, and now it seems we’re finally seeing the first fruits of their labour, as our European spies have captured BMW’s version, a two-seat roadster rumoured to be called the BMW Z5.

The one number up from the Z4 suggests that the new car will be slightly larger than the current car, which could perhaps mean abandoning pursuit of the Porsche Boxster in favour of cheaper variants of the 911, possibly as a sportier, less complex and less expensive alternative to the million-ringgit i8.

This would make sense given that the Toyota 86 already competes at the lower end of the sports car market, so a Toyota version of the car – we’ll just call it the Supra from here on out – would need to be justifiably bigger and more powerful to distance it from its more affordable sibling.

BMW Z5

In the photos the car does appear larger than the Z4, with a longer rear end that better balances out BMW’s characteristic long bonnet. Also apparent is a fabric roof instead of the Z4’s folding metal top, further suggesting that this would be a more minimalist and more hardcore proposition than the laid-back Z4.

Expect the roadster to feature BMW’s usual turbocharged 2.0 litre four-cylinder and 3.0 litre straight-six engines, as well as an M version with the M4‘s 425 hp twin-turbo straight-six. Also rumoured is a hybrid variant shared with the next Supra.