BMW AG unveils a new Z4 coupe, a version of which reportedly will go into production next summer at the auto maker’s Spartanburg, SC, plant.

It marks the return of BMW to the coupe segment after the disappointing performance of the M-coupe/Z3 coupe that was discontinued in 2002 after selling less than 18,000 over five years.

However, BMW cites the increasing buyer demand for “high-profile premium sports cars” as a reason for developing the new coupe.

It is based on the Z4 roadster’s body and interior layout. “But BMW’s designers have done much more than just put a roof on the car,” the auto maker says.

BMW Z4 coupe concept

BMW says the production version of this concept “might well become one of the fastest and most dynamic driving machines on the road,” and claims the new coupe will be equally outstanding in safety performance.

“The foundation for this superiority is provided by body stiffness of the highest caliber compared with similar sports cars,” BMW says. “This contributes to a standard of crash safety quite unusual for a sports car.”

A new 3.0L straight-6 develops 265 hp and 232 lb.-ft. (315 Nm) of torque. BMW says it will accelerate from 0-62 mph (100 km/h) in 5.7 seconds. Top speed is limited to 155 mph (250 km/h).

The Z4 coupe concept rides on 19-in. wheels mounted on 8-in. wide rims designed exclusively for this show car.