When we broke the news of BMWs new naming scheme and the future badge changes to the Z (sDrive35) we had no idea that it would end up forcing BMW to change its scheduled plans.
For months we had been informed that the Z4 sDrive35 would premiere in LA, with marketing materials released the first week of November (5th to be exact). Initial plans: sDrive registration finished in October, press release in November, production start in December. There was a wrinkle in those plans; in Yokohama. The tire manufacturer also held the sDrive moniker so that is the main hold up and the reason for the delay. All of the marketing items and press information contained photos, and reference to sDrive so it would have taken weeks to correct everything up to product release standards.
With LA already occurring, the Regensburg plant now to be closed for a month from the middle of December there is no rush to release the model. Production would not begin until the end of January now at the earliest.
Whether the car will be released in the US at Detroit, or in Europe at Geneva is debatable but what we do know is that BMWAG has no part in financing the Detroit show and everything in at Geneva.Geneva will launch a lot of other cars from German competitors, Porsche Panorama, Audi A5 cabriolet, and MB E-Class just for starters so the attention would be spread thin. Detroit will be a smaller show this year due to financial strains on many brands so BMW may decide to use that to their advantage and launch the car there. The main market for the Z remains the US but BMW wants to emphasize it is a European sports car, not an American one. This was something that was not considered as much in the past.
Just as a reminder sDrive refers to rear wheel drive with an electro-mechanical differential; also known as Dynamic Performance Control (X6); sDrive will also be featured in the X1 for the EU market. Other features will include dynamic dampening and other technologies to increase ride and performance of the suspension.
We will update you as we hear more.