By Michael Accardi

BMW has pulled the sheet on its latest roadster at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.

The Concept Z4 carries on the lithe and compact proportions of BMW’s long line of roadsters, adopting classical roadster semiotics like a long wheelbase, low-slung stance, and a svelte rear end; with the design study offering a sneak peek of the production Z4, which is expected within the next year.

“The BMW Concept Z4 in an all-out driving machine,” said Adrian van Hooydonk, Senior Vice President BMW Group Design. “Stripping the car back to the bare essentials allows the driver to experience all the ingredients of motoring pleasure with supreme directness. This is total freedom on four wheels.”

A new shark nose previews a shift in BMW’s design language which will feature new surface contouring integrated from nose to tail. The low and broad kidney grille features an intricate mesh design as a throwback to early BMW roadsters such as the 328 Mille Miglia, while the headlights were moved higher up in homage to the BMW Z8, providing a vertical treatment of the classic BMW four-eyed look.

Shaped like a wedge, the Concept Z4 brings a shorter hood and more controlled overhangs than previous BMW roadsters which give the driver a more centralized seating position. Large domes aft of the bucket seats elegantly integrate the roll bars and accentuate the car’s athletic aesthetic.

The front fascia features a large trio of air intakes, with the center one featuring a large carbon-fiber insert which perks up the front’s presence, while a clamshell hood and stylized gill vents impart a seamless look.

Moving rearward, flared wheel arches give the car broad haunches which are accentuated by slim L-shaped taillights and a svelte, short, deck lid and spoiler. Large air outlets behind the rear wheels mingle with the carbon-fiber diffuser to add a sporting pretense.

The package has been finished in a frozen Energetic Orange paint, which BMW says “contrasts the light and shade in the surfacing,” which compliments the duality of two-tone, 20-inch, double-spoked alloy wheels.

The Concept Z4’s interior surfacing includes a mix of polished chrome accents, hexagonal patterns, laser-cut motifs and a smattering of carbon-fiber on the doors sills and instrument panel. It’s all about the driver, all the time, with the driver’s seat, door trim, instrument binnacle, and center stack forming a blacked out cockpit, which contrasts from the orange tinted exterior and passenger spaces.

All the cockpit controls are grouped into what BMW calls “function islands,” which the company says will keep distractions to a minimum.

BMW remains mum on what rests beneath the Concept Z4’s hood, but rumor has it the production model will offer a choice between a four-cylinder base model and a performance oriented twin-turbo six cylinder option.

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