2006 BMW Z4 Coupe Concept

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The BMW Z4 Coupe Concept is really not a concept at all: it's a production car we'll see next summer. As the name implies, it's a Z4 roadster with a stationary roof. The fixed top makes it stiffer and lighter, so it should be a better driver and a viable track toy, a use hinted at by roof bulges perhaps intended to accommodate helmet-wearing occupants. On the track, the Z4 coupe would probably be outshined by the new, though likely more expensive, Porsche Cayman, which is essentially a hardtop Boxster. Still, it's a Teutonic comparison we're looking forward to.

The Z4 roadster's new engine--a 3.0-liter straight-six that puts out 261 hp and 232 lb-ft of torque--resides between the front fenders of the Z4 Coupe. BMW estimates the concept will perform 0-to-62-mph acceleration runs in 5.7 seconds and reach an electronically limited top speed of 155 mph.

We have criticized the Z4 roadster, which debuted in 2003, for its disjointed exterior and interior design. It was the second production BMW to show off the highly abstract "Bangled" design style brought to us by Adrian Von Hooydonk and his boss Chris Bangle. The coupe loses the roadster's ungainly trunk in favor of an attractive hatchback that, from the rear, evokes recent Ferraris. The side profile is fast and sleek, not unlike the Lotus Exige. Never has a hardtop looked so much better than a convertible.

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