What is it?
Previously pitched on the strength of its styling and sporting on-road attributes, this time around the BMW Z4 is being sold on its sophistication and added comfort. This move pitches it towards the Mercedes-Benz SLK and away from the Porsche Boxster.
The big news for the BMW Z4 is the adoption of a folding hard-top roof. BMW says the switch from fabric is in response to requests from customers. Accommodating the roof, which retracts in 20sec, has altered the dimensions of the Z4; the new model is 148mm longer and 46mm wider than before. But as the new roof boasts a flatter turret, the car’s height has been trimmed by 8mm, at 1291mm.
What’s it like?
Three versions of BMW’s classic straight-six engine will be offered with the new Z4. They include an entry-level 201bhp 2.5 litre with 184lb ft of torque in the sDrive23i, and a 255bhp 3.0 litre with 310lb ft in the sDrive30i. Our test car, however, was fitted with the range-topping twin-turbocharged 3.0 litre serving up 302bhp and a gutsy 295lb ft. All three models come with a six-speed manual gearbox, but BMW expects the optional six-speed automatic and the seven-speed double-clutch unit (as fitted to our test car) to prove most popular.
Despite weighing 1580kg (270kg more than the previous model), the sDrive35i has plenty of punch off the line and through the gears. It hits 62mph in 5.1sec and a limited 155mph, figures that make it quicker up the strip than a Boxster S.