BMW unveiled a Bangle-designed concept coupe version of the Z4 at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 2005. The company announced on November 22, 2005 that the coupe would be available for delivery in the US starting in June 2006, including the return of the M Coupe. Production began at the Spartanburg, South Carolina BMW plant on April 4, 2006, and the production cars were introduced at the New York Auto Show in April of 2006.
From the nose to the A-pillars, the coupe and the roadster are identical. But the roof and the rear end are completely different. While one model has a rudimentary canvas top, the other displays a stylish version of the classic double-bubble roof. The cutline management is ingenious. Despite its size, weight, and complexity, the liftgate treatment makes you wonder whether the Z4 started off with a metal top and the roadster was developed later. While the neatly integrated rear window has no wiper, the rear hatch eschews any obvious aerodynamic aids. However, the tail does have some faults: three-quarter rear visibility is poor, the loading lip is too high, the trunk is shallow, and the badge-style latch is bound to get dirty and wet in no time at all.
“The Z3 coupe was loved by some and disliked by others,” says van Hooydonk. “With the new model, we didn’t want to polarize opinion. That’s why a wagon-style rear end was never on the agenda. Instead, we opted for a quite sharp-edged fastback, because we felt it would go best with the basic proportions of the Z4.”