Define irony: BMW is well known for producing machines very much worthy of their own slogan, “The Ultimate Driving Machine,” and despite this, most of BMW’s efforts to produce an all-out sports car have yielded limited success. Such examples include the 507, the 503, M1, Z1 and the Z8, all of which gained popularity by becoming cult favorites. And lo and behold, BMW’s latest effort to produce a compact sports car has received much criticism.
The Z2 is on its way to being launched, BMW’s plan to make an affordable sports car since the Z4 made a shift up market. With rumors of a front-wheel drive platform that will underpin the new Z2 dubbed the UKL1 architecture, which will also underpin future MINIs, could the new Z2 be destined from failure from the get go?
The uproar in the BMW community isn’t bespoke to fans of the Roundel as BMW’s chairman, Norbert Reithofer, is supposedly also not a fan of the Z2 idea. But despite the negative perspective, insiders in BMW said that they aren’t cool with the compact sports roadster segment being dominated by the Mazda “Miata” MX-5.
But if there’s any consolation from BMW, rumor has it that the Munich-brand is hard at work to make sure the Z2 doesn’t end up being FWD and BMW’s R&D is pondering over either a RWD platform or AWD. BMW sees the potential success of offering an all-wheel drive compact sports convertible, but the biggest issues they see with this option are ones that all of us enthusiasts see as well: AWD means increased weight, less space and higher cost despite the increased traction.
Other ideas from the Roundel suggest that a 2015 or 2016 release will solidify the Z2’s potential of being RWD since a 1-Series replacement would be launched around that time. That said, the new Z2 could be based on that RWD platform with a coupe model following and ensures that both the 1-Series and Z2 will remain RWD beyond 2020…that is if we’re still around for all 2012 believers.
In terms of engines, four-bangers are rumored to be the only options for the Z2 rated in between 170hp and 272 with a 2.0L turbodiesel rated at either 184hp or 204hp as options too.
– By: Chris Chin
Image Source: Jon Sibal