The last BMW Z4 has rolled off the production line, marking the end of a two-generation, 14-year run for the Bavarian two-seater sports car.
German publication BimmerToday reports the last Z4 rolled out of the factory on August 22. Previously, the company had confirmed production would end sometime this month.
Pitched as a competitor to the likes of the Audi TT, Porsche Boxster and Mercedes-Benz SLK (soon-to-be SLC), the BMW Z4 never matched the popularity of its rivals - though it offers a significantly lower entry point, currently starting at $64,900 plus on-roads for the base sDrive20i.
By comparison, the Mercedes-Benz SLK200 kicks off at $87,200, while the Audi TT starts at a more competitive $73,950 plus on-road costs. The new Porsche 718 Boxster is nearly twice as much, a $112,800 proposition.
The current E89 BMW Z4 was first introduced in 2009, while the original ‘E85’ Z4 roadster commenced production in 2002.
Part of the mid-life update was a folding metal roof, replacing the original’s fabric lid. BMW introduced the ‘N20’ 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder powerplant in two different tunes as part of a 2011 refresh.
A highlight during the model’s 14-year history is the first-generation Z4 M performance version that was produced between 2006 and 2008.
Featuring the 3.2-litre naturally aspirated inline six-cylinder engine from the ‘E46’ M3, the Z4 M produced 252kW of power and could sprint from 0-100km/h in just 4.7 seconds - quicker than the Porsche Boxster S and Cayman S twins.
Above: BMW Z4 M
It’s no secret that BMW and Toyota have been co-developing sports cars, however, very few concrete details of both models have come to light other than prototypes that have been spied recently.
Reports suggest the Z5 will be larger and more upmarket than the Z4, powered by a selection of turbocharged four- and six-cylinder engines.
Power will be sent to the ground via the rear wheels, though an xDrive all-wheel drive option could also be on the cards.
With the Z4 out of production, BMW has left itself without a competitor to the facelifted and re-named Mercedes-Benz SLC, which launches locally later this year, nor the recently-released Audi TT or Porsche 718 Boxster until the next-generation sports car hits showrooms - likely to be sometime in 2018.
Speaking to CarAdvice, Adam Davis, product communications manager at BMW Australia, said despite the Z4’s demise, the brand’s local arm will continue to offer the sports car through dealership until stocks run out.
“We’ll have more stock arriving in November", he said, adding that the car should still be in showrooms until early 2017.
He could not confirm any details regarding the Z4’s replacement, however, so we’ll have to wait until next year to see how the next-generation BMW sports car shapes up.