GIF: Auto Express

The upcoming all-new BMW Z4 is the often-chastised German brand’s attempt to convince us all that the sports car isn’t dead, and that it can beat the Porsche Boxster. A pre-production drive reported by Auto Express promises the car is “somewhere between good and very good.” If true this also bodes well for the new Toyota Supra, which shares a platform with this car.

Steve Sutcliffe of Auto Express got a chance to test the new Z4 on BMW’s proving grounds. While not given specific specs just yet, as the company may still be in the final stages of tuning the car, the test was demonstrate the new roadster’s upgraded handling and over performance, which it apparently delivered.

Steve drove what he called the “Z40i” top spec, with a 3.0-liter twin-turbo six-cylinder engine that’s supposedly very similar to what powers the M240, which has 340 horsepower. Earlier reports indicated the Z4 could get closer to 360 HP, but we’ll have to wait and see.

The driving impressions were good, with Steve claiming it felt like the car could easily have an M badge on it, though BMW will evidently push it even farther for an actual M model in the future. Every Z4 except for the M will reportedly get the ZF eight-speed automatic.

The new Z4 weights 50 kilograms (110 pounds) less than the old model thanks to a new canvas roof and some other overall weight savings, while trunk space is reportedly 20 percent bigger with the roof either up or down. Steve claims pricing should start “just under 40 grand,” but that’s probably in British pounds, not dollars, and will go on sale early next year.

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The video has me very excited for the car, since it’s described as being possibly as quick as the M2 but with softer responsiveness while maintaining good control, with Steve claiming the handling is like old-school BMW.

I’m extremely excited for an aggressive and sporty roadster from BMW, and I hope Steve’s driving impressions carry over to the production model. We’ll know more soon enough, and I eagerly wait the inevitable Z4 vs. Supra head-to-head that someone will do.