Cadillac adversary BMW has just unveiled an all-new model – the 2019 Z4 Roadster. The German automaker pulled the wraps off the all-new ZR4 at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, delivering the fifth generation of the Z nameplate.
The 2019 Z4 features a proper roadster configuration, comprised of a long hood, short rear deck, and the most recent iteration of the German brand’s exterior design language that’s rather expressive when compared to a significantly more conservative design language of its other models. An electrically-operated textile soft top is the only top available.
Inside, the Z4’s two seats are placed just ahead of the rear wheels in traditional roadster guise, while the interior “places the focus on the pure sports driving enjoyment of the new” Bimmer. Interestingly, the new digital gauge cluster has the tachometer layout backwards, but BMW says that the controls are arranged in a likewise fashion in order to deliver the ultimate driving experience.
Under the hood is an upgraded version of the German automaker’s well-received 3.0L inline 6-cylinder engine producing enough horsepower and torque to move the BMW Z4 M40i from a standstill to 60 mph in under an estimated 4.4 seconds. The M-tuned chassis features electronically-controlled dampers, an M Sport braking system, and an electronically-controlled M Sport rear differential.
The components, according to the Bavarian automaker, work in unison to ensure that the Z4 “can carve through the twists of the Laureles Grade as effortlessly as cruising along the Pacific Coast Highway to Big Sur.” The sport model will launch in the Spring of 2019 and will, in a rather new twist, derive the future Toyota Supra that will take on the Chevy Camaro.
And all that brings us to the topic du jour – Cadillac. Not only does GM’s BMW-fighting luxury brand not have a dedicated sports car, but it doesn’t have a convertible either – both of which BMW has just delivered with the 2019 Z4.
A quick stroll down history lane will remind us that Cadillac hasn’t had a dedicated sports car or a convertible since the bygone XLR, which was based on the Corvette C6 (sixth generation Chevy Corvette). The XLR was discontinued in 2009, allegedly due to slow sales. For all intents and purposes, the XLR was Cadillac’s flagship at the time of its existence, with XLR-V models being costlier than the mighty Escalade. A sport-luxury brand in the midst of its renaissance dropping a vehicle that serves as the pinnacle of its existence in the modern world was by no means a good sign, and perhaps even ironic in a sad kind of way.
Since then, GM’s luxury arm offered two sporty coupes – the CTS Coupe and the ATS Coupe.
Derived from the second-generation CTS range, the CTS Coupe and its high-performance CTS-V Coupe relative were released shortly after GM’s bankruptcy. They ran from the 2011 thru the 2014 model years during which time the models developed quite an ardent following, especially in their mighty CTS-V guise. The CTS Coupe wasn’t without faults, however, as many berated it for the frumpy styling of the rear end. The CTS Coupe range was discontinued in conjunction with the introduction of the third-generation Cadillac CTS, which never came to derive a coupe variant.
Succeeding the CTS Coupe range was the ATS Coupe and its high-performance ATS-V Coupe relative. The models were derived from the ATS Sedan and ATS-V Sedan. Like the CTS-V, the ATS-V enjoys quite a passionate following, though some believe the ATS-V models were hamstrung by the lack of a V8 and therefore were only “as good as” but not necessarily better than their direct rivals from BMW and Mercedes-Benz.
But as good as the CTS was and ATS Coupe is, they can’t quite deliver the gusto, styling, panache or open-air motoring experience of a roadster like the Z4 or the XLR.
And though Cadillac is on the cusp of launching its biggest offensive in history that involves introducing five (or more) new models by 2021, it doesn’t appear that any of those future Cadillac models will have a convertible variant or will be a purpose-built roadster, at least not that we know of. Here’s to hoping that the brand’s offensive pays off in a big way, thereby providing some disposable resources for a sexy open-air model along the lines of BMW’s 2019 Z4… but done the Cadillac way.