And that is the M40i in top-line First Edition form, complete with 335bhp turbo six and M Sport suspension, brakes and electronically controlled diff. The result, asserts BMW, is a new-found dynamism and agility for a Z car, along with spirited performance and 0-62mph in 4.6 seconds.
BMW has attacked the sports car market from various angles during the near-20 years it has been producing Z-badged cars. It has tried the quirky (the Z1 with its drop-down doors), the expensive (the limited-run Z8) and the middle-of-the-road Z3. Since 2002 BMW’s sports car has worn Z4 badges, the outgoing model featuring the now out-of-favour folding hard-top. Saving weight – as much as 60kg – and lowering the centre of gravity are now seen as greater priorities.
And the looks? There are lots of distinctive new details – the vertically stacked lights, mesh backing for the BMW kidney grille and air outlets aft of the front wheels, plus plenty of driver focus in the cabin – but more than anything it’s surely the car’s new stance that signals anew this car’s intentions. Porsche watch out? We’ll see when the first cars arrive in the UK for spring 2019.