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19 August 2017

Refreshing or Revolting: BMW Concept Z4 vs BMW Concept 8 Series

Which two-door BMW concept wore it beter?

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BMW chose this weekend’s Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance to debut the Concept Z4, the nearly production-ready version of the roadster it’s been jointly developing with Toyota. But the Z4 isn’t the only BMW concept it brought to Pebble Beach. The Concept 8 Series will also be on display, making its North American debut following its big reveal at Italy’s Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este competition back in May. The production versions will sell at wildly different price points, but it does set up a fascinating comparison.

The new Z4 (not the Z5 like we originally thought) will take over for the recently discontinued roadster of the same name. We yet don’t know how much power it will make, but BMW promises it will be a truly sporty, driver-focused performance car. The 8 Series, meanwhile, returns from a two-decade hiatus with an emphasis on luxury and prestige. And the production version better deliver both in spades if it’s going to take on the likes of the Mercedes-Benz S-Class Coupe and the Lexus LC.

On the exterior, the two cars clearly share some similar design themes. They both sport horizontal twin-kidney grilles, massive air intakes, and rear ends that emphasize a wide, low stance. But compared to the Z4, the rest of the 8 Series is much more restrained. With its hard creases and sharp lines, the Z4 is definitely more in your face.

The 8 Series’ restraint continues into the cabin, as well. Other than the steering wheel, the entire interior looks ready to go into production tomorrow. The Z4, meanwhile, takes more risks. As a concept, the two-tone interior does a great job of highlighting the car’s driver focus. But who knows how well it would work on a production car.

We’re huge fans of the original 8 Series, so the new one has a lot to live up to. If it gets the right mix of sportiness and luxury, though, BMW could have a legendary halo car on its hands. Then again, the new Z4 could actually be worth getting excited about again. What do you think? Which concept gets you more excited?

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