Is there a sweeter, sexier BMW? I think NOT!
Okay – I admit
it, I was less than enthusiastic when I heard about BMW’s revamping of
the less-than-loved Z4. The old Z4 represented much of what many
dislike in modern design…ugliness. I could go on and on about what made
the former Z4 not so great, in the end it was a muddled machine
searching for a soul.
It found one.
about the last generation. This new machine betters the original in
every way. Want proof? Just look at it! I mean WOW what a looker. Roof
up or down, the curves, lines and silhouette are sensational. I
especially like the way the wheel arches are accentuated with pinched
creases that blend into the body. Headlights and taillights are much
improved with a more purposeful design.
gave the base model Z4 sDrive30i a normally aspirated 255 horsepower
(which makes 200 lbs feet of torque) inline 6-cylinder. It purrs. Ah,
but the asphalt blistering Z4 sDrive35i's 300 horsepower, 300 lbs feet
of torque, (twin) turbocharged inline six-cylinder engine is the one
for me. This is the same power-plant I’ve sampled in the 335i xDrive
many moons ago and it is a stellar combination.
launches got me from 0 to 60 in a bit over 5 seconds. However, I got a
few 4.7 0 to 60 times when I did everything right (read: didn’t drive
like an idiot). Power is progressive and builds in a linear fashion.
There is no turbo-lag, once you pop the manual transmission into 2nd,
the driver will feel the surge from the turbocharger along with a
unique, metallic I6 wail.
Sure, you can get a 6-speed
“SHIFTRONIC” automatic in the Z4 sDrive30i or the dual-clutch 7-speed
in the Z4 sDriver35i – but you’ll be missing out. Clicking through the
gears using the 6-speed manual is a thrilling and rewarding experience.
Please try the stick, it’s THAT good.
Steering is very precise. The only learning curve for me was the
massive distance from the front wheels to the steering wheel. Sitting
so far back, it’s hard to triangulate exactly where the front wheels
are – at first. In time, I was able to precisely position the Z4 on any
curve. With a little extra stick (with the traction control off), the
rear end slides out on command. On more than one occasion, sliding all
fours was not only possible but ridiculously fun.
This is not
a full blown sports car, which is a good thing. The BMW Z4 is a grand
touring vehicle of the highest order. Rather than beat you senseless
with an over stiffened ride for track driving, the BMW Z4 sDrive35i in
which I drove had an adjustable suspension. I left it alone and enjoyed
the smooth – yet firm ride.
sweet looking, sculpted roof folds up or down in less than 20 seconds.
Do you want to impress the neighborhood kids? Just let them have a
gander at the origami dance the roof performs. Once down, the roof sits
solely in the trunk. Still, there is enough space for a fairly good
sized suitcase. Best of all, with the top stowed in the trunk, the Z4
looks uncluttered with an extra lump above the trunk (like many hardtop
For a two-person sporty car, this is one of the best I have driven.
only complaint is in regards to the cockpit. I was supremely
comfortable, although on occasion my arm brushed against the iDrive
(multimedia control system) which is south of the gear lever. Also, I
dislike the electronic parking brake. I know it saves space, but it
removes some of the sporty feel and option to do massive power-slides –
not that I would. Still, the rest of the interior is well made and
there is more headroom when the roof is up, compared with the last Z4.
Z4 sDrive30i’s base is $45,750. A full featured Z4 sDriver35i comes in
at about $65,000. Not cheap, but with BMW, you get what you pay for –
especially with the new Z4. Unlike many of its brethren, this vehicle
speaks to you and has loads of personality.
If you have a chance to sample a Z4 you will not be disappointed. BMW made all the right moves with this one.
Well done BMW!
Automotive media, racing, vehicle evaluation, wrecking yards, and car
sales are just a part of Nathan Adlen’s vehicular past. He writes out
of high octane passion! To read more reviews by Nathan Adlen or just to
enjoy more of excellent writing please visit him on at his examiner.com
page HERE. Photos by: N.D