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BMW Concept Z4 Preview

                         BMW Concept Z4 Preview

A more forward-raked, angular update of the curvier current Z4

Defining characteristics: Long wheelbase, long hood, bobbed rear end, all in the Z4 tradition

Ridiculous features: Skinny showcar side mirrors and the sculpted head restraint extensions that look great but seem neither aerodynamic nor sufficient as roll bars

Chance of being mass-produced: 100 percent, with a production version of this concept to be unveiled in the coming year

BMW's Concept Z4 is an evolutionary, not revolutionary, design study for a redone Z4 roadster production model the company says it will show in the coming year. The concept is being unveiled today in front of high-rollers at the posh Concours d'Elegance in Pebble Beach, Calif.

Related: BMW Concept 8 Series Preview

A new wedge silhouette, painted flashy Energetic Orange, packs more visual motion than the curvy current-generation Z4 two-seater, but it remains true to its roots. It retains the roadster's long hood and bobtail proportions sitting low on a long wheelbase. BMW says, however, that the driver is moved a bit closer to the midpoint of the car.

Get 2016 BMW Z4 DetailsFind a 2016 BMW Z4 Near You

"The BMW Concept Z4 in an all-out driving machine," said Adrian van Hooydonk, senior vice president of 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."

In a conscious nod to its roadster tradition, BMW says the low kidney grille and relatively higher headlights deliberately evoke lines from the old BMW Z8, but it's updated with a forward rake and huge triple lower air intakes with carbon-fiber trim; the high, slim taillights at the rear also bring to mind that car. And the Concept Z4 drops bars in the kidney grille for a mesh meant to recall, says BMW, its vintage 328 Mille Miglia. But the current small front fender side vents are supplanted by dramatic, forward-raked side openings (BMW dubs them the Air Breathers) that seem to evoke, more than anything, a Corvette.

None of these details look too outrageous for a transition to production, unlike the skinny showcar side mirrors and eye-catching head restraint extensions. Those are beautiful matte-silver sculptures but look inadequate as roll bars and seem less than aerodynamic.

The Energetic Orange color extends into the interior in combination with black surrounding the driver like a cocoon, says BMW. Instrumentation and multimedia are via a pair of large coordinated screens, along with a head-up display for essential information. The clean interior design is accented with minimal flourishes - a spare amount of chrome and carbon-fiber trim, and a laser-cut pattern in the upholstery.

BMW gave no details of what might lurk under the hood of the concept, nor what might be available in the coming production car.

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