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It has long been assumed the replacement for the BMW Z4 will be known as the Z5, the head of BMW North America has poured cold water on that theory.

Ludwig Willisch, the boss of the company’s North American operations, told AutoGuide “there’s no such thing” as a Z5.

To allay fears the project had been cancelled, he added: “There will be a sports car, yes, but it’s not going to be a Z5. That’s something that someone else has made up.”

When asked what the new car will be known as, Willisch said, “It will be called Z… probably 4”. The BMW North America boss noted, “That’s no indication of the number of cylinders”, hinting the new car will be available with six-cylinder power.

Rumours indicate the new convertible will be sold with both turbocharged four- and six-cylinder petrol engines.

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Production of the second-generation BMW Z4 ceased in August 2016. Its replacement is being developed in conjunction with Toyota.

As such, both the new BMW convertible and Toyota coupe, expected to christened Supra, will share a rear-wheel drive platform, and will be built in Europe.

Said to be larger, but lighter, than the second-generation Z4, the new BMW roadster features a fabric top instead of a folding hardtop.

Although the car may debut some time this year, global sales aren’t expected kick off until 2018.

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