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BMW plots new supercar

The Z6: lighter, greener and a tech showcase

By / Thursday, May 25, 2006

Z8: more of a California cruiser

Z8: more of a California cruiser

BMW plans an eco-friendly supercar to replace the low volume Z8.

According to this week's Autocar magazine, the new Z6 will be more focused, lighter and greener than its predecessor, and will belly up to the Merc SL and the Ferrari F430. It's alleged to be more than just a follow-up to the Z8 though, as volumes are expected to be higher. BMW hopes to make some 15,000 a year, compared to the total of almost 6,000 during the four-year lifespan of the Z8.

Flame-surfaced, it looks in outline like a cross between the Nissan 350Z and a bulky 911. it'll be around the same size as a 6-Series -- some of whose parts it'll use -- although it'll be more of a sports car than a the 6-Series GT.

It's front-engined and could be powered by a turbocharged V8 or straight six. It'll use an aluminium spaceframe chassis, with the whole thing weighing under 1,500Kg.

The Z6 is designed to showcase BMW's advanced technologies in the weight- and fuel-saving areas, so it may well get a carbon-fibre skin, along with extensive use of exotic materials such as magnesium.

Autocar suggests that the technologies deployed in the Z6 are likely to trickle down into lesser models over the next 10 years, including the next 3-Series. These include controlled air-flaps for improved cooling management, smaller, more powerful turbocharged engines with cam-less valvetrains, hybrid transmissions, foam cores, and sensors.

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