BMW has officially announced that the upcoming Z4 would be offered in M40i guise, releasing fresh images of a camouflaged prototype of what it promises will be a “purebred roadster”.

The photographs of the two-seater were shot at the BMW test centre in Miramas in the south of France (we have, of course, already published images of the Z4 being tested in the Northern Cape here in South Africa). The Munich-based brand says the new model will display “genuine roadster characteristics” and deliver “pure driving pleasure” with a “captivating sporty flair”.

BMW confirmed that the “most intense form” of its upcoming roadster will come in the guise of the Z4 M40i. This derivative, BMW says, will draw its urge from a “new, extremely powerful in-line six-cylinder engine”, and boast a lowered sports suspension with electronically controlled dampers, a newly developed front axle, M light alloy wheels with mixed tyres, an M sports braking system and an electronically controlled rear differential lock.

"The vehicle concept of the new BMW Z4 is geared consistently towards agility and driving dynamics," said Jos van As, head of application suspension.

"The high level of body stiffness and the very rigid suspension attachment provide the perfect basis for a set-up that guarantees the performance qualities of a genuine sports car in terms of steering precision as well as longitudinal and transverse acceleration."

Compared with the previous-generation Z4, the Bavarian automaker promises that the new model will offer “a tangible increase in sporty flair”, introducing “effective enhancements in terms of agile handling, spontaneity and precision when changing direction and accelerating in dynamic style out of bends”, without sacrificing comfort.

BMW has yet to announce exactly when the new Z4 – which has been developed alongside the upcoming new Toyota Supra and will reportedly be built by contract manufacturer Magna Steyr in Austria – will be revealed.