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Intoxicating Dynamism: The all-new BMW Z4 Roadster

Imagine entering a venue that is lined outside with six strikingly beautiful BMW Z4's...This was the very picturesque scene that greeted motoring scribes in Cape Town recently as we were to be briefed on the all-new BMW Z4 Roadster.
This really got my pulses racing to such an extent that I could hardly pay attention to the media briefing. All I wanted to do was to get behind the wheel to put this ‘machine’ to the test. At the outset, I report that I was not disappointed at all as the two-seater was just ‘sheer driving pleasure’.
BMW has a proven track record of roadsters and their Z3 was a huge hit with open road aficionados. And now another is about to join the hall of fame in the shape of the new BMW Z4 – a premium open-top sports car boasting a classic fabric soft-top, an emotion-packed body design and a puristic, driver-focused interior. The two-seater has been systematically designed for maximum agility, thrilling dynamism, plus supremely precise steering characteristics with instantaneous response. The new BMW Z4 combines its sporty on-road prowess with a wealth of highly advanced, top-class equipment features on the driver assistance, operation and connectivity fronts.Taller, wider and longerThe new Z4 has grown in length by 85 millimetres to 4,324 millimetres, is 74 millimetres wider (now 1,864 millimetres) and 13 millimetres taller (1,304 millimetres). The shortening of the wheelbase by 26 millimetres to 2,470 millimetres serves to sharpen agility of the Roadster, especially when cornering and around bends. The new design of the front and rear axles give the car a far sportier edge. Smart exterior designA precise and clear design and a number of signature BMW details serve up the defining features of the new Z4’s rich, pure-bred exterior design. The two-seater has a low-slung, sporty, compact appearance whether the soft-top is up or down. With its new-look, mesh-design BMW kidney grille and – for the first time – a vertical headlight arrangement, the car cuts an unmistakable figure from the front. The new BMW Z4 is equipped with LED headlights as standard, while the optional Adaptive LED headlights to add a matrix function for the non-dazzling high beam and cornering lights.The elongated bonnet with arrow-shaped contour lines directed at the kidney grille straddles the wheel arches in an almost sweeping style so characteristic of classic sports cars. There is a choice of five exterior paint shades and the fabric soft-top comes in Black as standard or Anthracite with silver effect as an option. It is electrically operated and can be opened or closed in ten seconds, even when travelling at up to 50 km/h.A driver's cockpitThe cockpit is unmistakably BMW and designed around the driver, with lines that surge forward with dynamic trim finishes. The cabin of the new BMW Z4 paints a picture of unadulterated driving pleasure. The clearly structured arrangement of the controls focuses the attention even more on the driving experience.Both driver and passenger settle into model-specific sports seats with integral head restraints. The BMW Z4 M40i is upholstered in leather and Alcantara interior. Boot capacity is 281 litres whether the soft-top is open or closed – an increase of more than 50 per cent compared to the outgoing model. This is a big plus. New powerful enginesThe engines available for the new Z4 benefit from myriad detail upgrades and promise a pulsating brand of typical BMW power delivery. They send that power to the road through the latest-generation eight-speed Steptronic Sport transmission. Hard at work in the BMW Z4 M40i is a 3.0-litre straight-six unit featuring M Performance TwinPower Turbo technology. The 250 kW engine generates peak torque of 500 Nm and propels the roadster from 0 to 100 km/h in 4.6 seconds. The line-up of engines is completed by the 2.0-litre four-cylinder unit. In the new BMW Z4 sDrive20i, a maximum output of 145 kW and peak torque of 320 Nm translate into a 0 to 100 km/h time of 6.6 seconds. Comfort and safetyThe class-leading variety of driver assistance systems to offer further underlines the highly advanced character of the new BMW Z4. The Collision Warning, Pedestrian Warning with City Braking function and Lane Departure Warning system all come as standard. The list of options includes Active Cruise Control with Stop & Go function, distance information, the Lane Change Warning System, Rear Collision Prevention and the Speed Limit Info system with No Passing Info display and – for the first time in a roadster – the BMW Head-Up Display.

Price at launch

  • sDrive20i: R755,900
  • M40i:R1,030,500
Standard BMW Motorplan 5 years/ 100 000 km’s included
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About Naresh Maharaj

Naresh Maharaj is a petrol head who loves cars and writing about them. He is also a Member of the SA Guild of Motoring Journalists. Naresh is also an international sports correspondent and an acclaimed corporate MC and voice-over artist. Naresh is a sports/news producer for community radio stations and also an award-winning sports journalist. Contact Naresh on .

Read more: BMW, Naresh Maharaj