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BMW’s successor to the Z4 sports car, dubbed the ‘Z5’, has been spotted again during cold weather testing.

The next-generation model, the company’s first to be co-developed with Toyota, is expected to make its motor-show debut sometime in 2017 before going on sale in 2018.

Although not yet confirmed, the next-generation car is expected to wear the Z5 badge, pointing to a larger, and potentially more expensive model that the Z4 it will replace.

The prototype in the images looks very similar to the one spied earlier in January this year, which was undergoing cold weather testing in northern Europe.

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Enthusiast website BMW Blog recently reported on several details of the new car, including body styles and design.

The website reports that the Z5 should be offered in two body styles – a roadster with a canvas roof, and a companion hard-top coupe, just like the BMW Z3 from nearly 20 years ago.

The coupe body style could explain the test mule’s omission of a rear windscreen and clamshell-style bootlid.

The Z5 will also borrow design cues from the BMW 328 Homage and Vision ConnectedDrive concepts, combining a classic yet futuristic design with a long bonnet and a short rear overhang.

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Its underpinnings will be shared with an upcoming sports car from Toyota, rumoured to be a  spiritual successor to the  Japanese brand’s iconic Supra.

Both cars will share the same rear-wheel-drive platform, with rumours suggesting that Toyota’s version will feature a hybrid powertrain.

The Z5 is expected to be offered with the choice of turbocharged four- and six-cylinder engines, sent to the ground through the rear wheels, although BMW Blog claims that an xDrive all-wheel-drive option could also be on the cards.

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The Z4’s replacement isn’t likely to be revealed until sometime in 2017, with sales of the new car commencing in 2018.

By that time, the ageing second-generation Z4 will be into its tenth year, making this new car a much-needed replacement to take on the recently-refreshed Mercedes-Benz SLC (if it, too, has not been replaced by then).

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