BMW Z2 and BMW 123d Information
This is the greatest thing about going to an auto show, you get to interact with people that you see on TV or write about them. And the Detroit Show is no different, being slow in the morning, the BMW executives or head designers are just roaming on the floor and waiting for media people to ask them questions.
So, I had the opportunity to speak with Juliane Blasi, Exterior Designer BMW Z4, Nadia Arnaud, Interior Designer Z4, Adrian Van Hooydonk, Director of BMW Design, Manfred Porschenrieder, 1 Series spokeperson and the guy that introduced me to everyone else, so I would like to take a moment and say Danke to him.
These type of interactions with the BMW execs or designers are less formal, so it allows us to ask questions that we wouldn't usually get an answer if asked through official channels. While I know that many of you are waiting for me to tell you more about the Z4, please be patient and I will be back soon with "stuff" that I learned from conversing with Juliane, who goes by Julia btw, and Nadia.
So, back to the original topic, in those "unofficial, under the table" conversations I had with Manfred and the Z4 Product Manager (I can't recall his name at the moment), I learned that the so rumored, half-approved BMW Z2 is definitely in plans for BMW. While the Z4 Product Manager didn't come forward with these information, by asking the right questions and getting a smile and some nodding along with some whispered words, I came to the conclusion that the Z2 is closer than we think. So, if you're looking for an efficient smaller roadster and with a soft top, your wish will come true.
Now, as far as the 123d, there is no definitive answer. But Manfred did confirm that he would like to see, quoting him, the "best BMW diesel" coming to the U.S. He confirmed that BMW is looking at this possibility and while we will not see the car within the next months, they might surprise us in the near future, but most likely not before 2010. He also mentioned that this is a very common request these days from BMW customers and it might be a decisive factor.
He also loves the fact that people ask him about the 123d and the U.S. market, and since he is a 123d owner, he had only great things to say about the car. Beside the amazing 400Nm of torque and great handling during the winter, the 123d is a great efficient car, getting almost 900km per full tank.
Asked if he would trade the BMW 123d for the more powerful 135i, he simply responded: "Not yet, the small diesel is such a fun car".
Now hopefully, we wil get to see both cars hitting the North America market sooner rather than later.