After some debate, the general consensus in the spy community now is that this vehicle is the forthcoming Z9 - a successor to the BMW Z8 and a competitor to the Mercedes SL Class.

Our spies have snapped photos of a new BMW roadster testing on public roads in Munich. After some debate, the general consensus in the spy community now is that this vehicle is the forthcoming Z9 - a successor to the BMW Z8 and a competitor to the Mercedes SL Class. Originally thought to be the next-generation Z4, closer inspection suggests that this could be BMW's SL-fighter. This prototype is clearly larger than today's Z4, but that also supports earlier reports that the next-generation Z4 would be growing up a bit to make room for an entry-level Z2 roadster. The most noteworthy details on this prototype are the side windows - a glass-to-glass like that of the Mercedes SL. Is that enough of a clue to prove this is the Z9? Quite possibly, especially when taking into account the slim, sleek convertible roof and considering that the Z9 is aimed squarely at the tin-topped SL, and is reportedly similarly equipped, and the clues further point to this as the Z9.

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SPY PHOTOS: More BMW Z9