The Z Coupé is the new rogue in BMW’s range, but a loveable one at that, and at £10k under the Z4M Coupé, the 3.0 is a steal.

What is it? The new coupé version of the BMW Z4. It’s strictly a two-seater, but I swear I just heard a third voice (other than the photographer’s) in the cabin. A voice whispering in my ear “261bhp and rear-wheel drive, go on, switch the traction control off”. That’s the thing with the Z Coupé: it’s like driving with the devil perched on your shoulder, egging you to go faster, make some noise and live a little. BMW penned the Z4 Coupé at the same time as the roadster, but with a raft of more mainstream models to launch it got sidelined. Last time BMW stretched a metal roof over its Z roadster, the Z3, UK buyers were offered only the M-version, but this time BMW is importing the 3.0si, too. What’s it like? With 2651bhp from the its lightweight 3.0-litre straight six, it’s anything but ordinary – there’s enough shove to get to 62mph in 5.7sec and on to 155mph. And at £31,400, the 3.0si SE costs £10,000 less than the M-version, a saving that means sacrificing the M-differential and making do with the Z4’s economy minded electric steering and run-flat tyres. But you still get a bodyshell twice a stiff as the roadster’s, a fact that’s evident from the moment you commit the Z Coupé into a bend; no hesitation, no understeer, just satisfying balance. True, the runflats rob a little composure and the steering doesn’t have the right level of feel, but it remains a great drive. You also get the same radical styling: muscular haunches and double-bubble roof. Pictures don’t do the shape justice. Should I buy one? The Z Coupé is not without its faults: rear visibility is poor, while tyre noise and suspect materials all grate. But there’s a lot to like, too: that splendid engine, the slick gearchange and feelsome brakes and the semi-useful hatchback boot. Most of all, however, it’s the car’s soul that’ll hook you: the Z Coupé is the new rogue in BMW’s range, but a loveable one at that. Jamie Corstorphine

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Lupe 7 December 2010

Re: BMW Z4 3.0si SE

I'd love one. & i'd ditch the idiotic runflat tires.