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BMW Z4 200 Review

I was a fan of the old Z4 — it was a sportscar that had some traditional elements to it, rather than pandering to the masses. It may not have been classically attractive, but it was a bold looking device, with a proper soft-top joined later by the coupe. There were M versions of both, which very-much catered for the driver with proper hydraulic power assistance for the steering and not a run-flat in sight.

A stint in an M-Coupe in Classic Adelaide a few years back reinforced the abilities, but the new model is here and has been accused of getting soft.

Design

The new Z4 carries the styling theme over but BMW has succumbed to the folding metal hard-top roof, beefing it up over the old model and increasing the glasshouse for improved vision as well.

It offers the best of both worlds in terms of open-topped driving but the security of a hard roof for parking it places and not worrying about twerps with knives doing serious harm to the top.

The drawback is that the boot, which isn't voluminous to begin with at 310 litres.

But drop the top — a simple 20-second full-auto exercise once the fiddly rear luggage area's cover is in place — and the roof folds back into the loadspace, where there's barely enough room for the school bags at 180 litres.

Drivetrain

We're in the 35, which is powered by the twin-turbo straight-six, with the seven-speed DCT, while the rest of the range has to make do with the optional six-speed auto. This engine is fast becoming one of the all-time favourites within the BMW range and in the automotive world in general, and nothing about its application here is going to change that.

Driving

Teamed with a double-clutch seven-speeder that is quick and clever, the new Z4 has no shortage of pace, but while electric power steering might tax the engine less for its assistance, ye olde hydraulics relays more information back to the driver.

That's part of why it falls short of the old Z4 M Roadster for outright grin-factor — that car was a crackerjack ride and is sorely missed — but this one is easier to live with day-to-day from a driving perspective.

The ride is decent thanks to the adjustable suspension system, which offers three levels — normal, sport and sport-plus, tweaking suspension, steering and pedal attitude to suit the driver's current desire. Sport mode leaves the stability control lurking in the background, something that can be an advantage for those brainfade moments when the outputs — particularly the 400Nm of torque on offer across most of the rev range — have been momentarily forgotten.

Give the 35 too much right foot and the tail squirms, giving a solid hint of what it might do should a track day be in your diary.

The top-spec model gets bigger brakes and a feature list that also includes cruise control with braking function, parking sensors front and rear, the aforementioned suspension system, all-electrochromatic mirrors, 18in alloy wheels, adaptive xenon headlights with high-beam assist and (for the first time in the breed's roadsters) the iDrive system.

While some of the cars of a similar ilk and pricetag might lack the outright mumbo of the Z4, or the versatility offered by a folding metal roof.

There's something missing from the Beemer that some of its primary opposition (of the same nationality) has more of — personality, soul, whatever you call it — but having driven the Audi TT S convertible I think I'd bank the difference, or tick some option boxes.


Z4 sDrive35i Roadster
Price: from $116,900.
Engine: three-litre twin-turbo direct-injection in-line six-cylinder.
Power: 225kW @ 5800rpm.
Torque: 400Nm between 1300 & 5000rpm.
Transmission: six-speed manual or seven-speed automated double-clutch, rear-wheel drive with electronic differential lock.
Performance: 0-100km/h 5.2 seconds (DCT 5.1), top speed 250km/h.
Fuel consumption/capacity: 9.4 litres/100km (DCT 9), tank 55 litres.
Emissions: 219g/km (DCT 210)
Rivals:
Mercedes-Benz SLK 350 convertible, from $115,637.
Audi TT S convertible, from $96,900.
Porsche Boxster, from $114,800.

 

Pricing guides

$20,715
Based on third party pricing data
Lowest Price
$12,500
Highest Price
$28,930

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
Z4 2.5SI Edition Exclusive 2.5L, PULP, 6 SP AUTO $13,400 – 19,360 2009 BMW Z Models 2009 Z4 2.5SI Edition Exclusive Pricing and Specs
Z4 2.5SI Edition Sport 2.5L, PULP, 6 SP AUTO $13,400 – 19,360 2009 BMW Z Models 2009 Z4 2.5SI Edition Sport Pricing and Specs
Z4 3.0SI Edition Exclusive 3.0L, PULP, 6 SP MAN $15,800 – 22,000 2009 BMW Z Models 2009 Z4 3.0SI Edition Exclusive Pricing and Specs
Z4 3.0SI Edition Sport 3.0L, PULP, 6 SP MAN $15,800 – 22,000 2009 BMW Z Models 2009 Z4 3.0SI Edition Sport Pricing and Specs
Stuart Martin
Contributing Journalist

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Pricing Guide

$20,700

Lowest price, based on third party pricing data

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