BMW has finally confirmed officially that the new Z4 roadster, which replaces the Z3, production of which ended on Friday, on the assembly line in South Carolina, will be shown publicly for the first time at the Paris Motor Show in late September.

The company says its new roadster "proudly bears all the classic features of a typical roadster -- a long and sleek engine compartment, a long wheelbase, short overhangs and a low seating position. The exciting design of the car is characterized by the intriguing curves of soft and hard surfaces, creating new transitions of light and shadow from every angle, shaping the character of the Z4."

Features will include a 9.1 cu ft luggage compartment large enough for two golf bags; Z-shaped soft roof fold with rear heated glass window, integrated tonneau cover and optional power operation to raise or lower it in about 10 seconds; a 225 bhp three-litre in-line six in the Z4 3.0i,  with either a six-speed manual or Steptronic five-speed automatic, or a 184 bhp, 2.5-litre with five-speed manual or Steptronic in the Z4 2.5i ; optional dynamic drive control (DDC) with Sport setting; a wide track and standard run-flat tyres; and dynamic stability control (DSC II).

A sequential manual gearbox will be offered next spring.

European versions get slightly more power no doubt due to a different state of tune for the higher petrol octane ratings available on the other side of the Atlantic. According to BMW (GB), the three-litre car will have 231bhp and the 2.5i 192bhp.

 Standard features include leather sports steering wheel, sport seats, rollover safety system, and remote keyless entry.  Options include DVD-based sat-nav with retractable 16:9 display, premium sound system with Carver technology for powerful bass reproduction, and integrated hands-free phone.

The BMW Z4 roadster will be available for sale in the US market this fall, then will make its appearance in Europe in spring 2003.