2010 BMW Z4 Interior Makes A Sneak Appearance

Illustration for article titled 2010 BMW Z4 Interior Makes A Sneak Appearance

Those KGP spy photographers get themselves into the darndest locations. In this case, it's the inside of the upcoming 2010 BMW Z4. We have seen a glimpse of the interior before, but this time around, it's nearly unprotected, which gives us the first good look at the center stack and controls. It seems BMW is going with a more button-and-knob-centric approach this time (thank God) and brightening the interior with some aluminum accents. One thing that gives us pause is the apparent lack of emergency-brake lever. Could it be? Is BMW abandoning the ever-delightful E-brake turn in favor of an electric brake? Let's see what our spies have to say:

We have just snagged our best shots yet of the interior of the 2010 BMW Z4. Although the exterior of the car was wearing its heavy camouflage armor, the interior center stack was uncovered for the first time, revealing the roadster's new climate control interface—spread across the dash in four separate parts. The two outer dials control air temperature for the driver and passenger, while the center buttons control the fan speed, defrost, etc. The stereo is also all-new, and sits lower on the dash face.

The brushed metal surface that decorates the center console on this prototype seems to suggest that the angularity of some of the current Z4's interior design will be softened, in favor of some new rounded forms (note the rounded edge to the brightwork at the far right of the passenger's temperature control dial).

Although the central tunnel between the seats was well covered on this prototype, some earlier interior photos revealed what lies beneath. Taking a closer look at the center console reveals a curious omission: there is no sign of an emergency brake lever. The current Z4 has an e-brake that reaches just aft of the shift lever, gobbling up important elbow room in a very snug interior. The center console on the new Z4 is definitely significantly cleaner, with room for a proper arm rest and a couple of little cubby holes for oddments. There is clearly no room for an e-brake handle between the seats and the transmission tunnel, so BMW's solution is an open question. We suspect that BMW may have be employing some sort of electronic e-brake solution in the guise of the small silver device resting flat behind the shift lever. The new design frees up important interior space for a comfortable passenger living space. But is it really living if you can't yank the handle for a proper e-brake turn?

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I will applaud the use of knobs and buttons vs. things i-drivey, but I'm already on record as saying that current German interiors are bland and sterile as hell, and I'll reaffirm that opinion here again.

Too much aluma-look plastic and wide expanses of charcoal grey plastic. Yuck.

I would trade up from my Z3 coupe for the newer suspension and sexy lines of a Z4 coupe if it weren't for the interior. You listening BMW?!?!?!