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BMW Z4 Convertible

 

BMW's original Z4 was a radical-looking roadster, with a coupe sibling. This time there's just one model, a roadster with a folding hard-top roof.

The complex design that looked so good in motion and so OTT at rest has been toned down, and the result is a muscular-looking car that's as eye-catching at rest as it is at play.

The car's focus has also changed. It's a tad more comfy for everyday, and a touch more sporting to drive.

In part that comes courtesy the adaptive dampers, with normal setting more compliant, and sport-plus more radical in set-up than the previous car could manage.

I spent most time in 'normal' which delivers acceptable ride - a touch compromised by the unforgiving rubber of the run-flat tyres - if not as assured body control.

Sport tightens her up but ride becomes markedly firm; sport-plus switches the stability control off, unwise given our wet winter conditions.

Fortunately the steering offers good weight and feel, though it is a tad uncommunicative on more open roads.

We tested the $124,900 35i SE with its powerful 225kW/400Nm 3.0-litre twin turbo engine mated to an efficient seven-speed double-clutch transmission with paddle shift.

This powerplant delivers a broad, linear spread of power and is capable of urgent acceleration if desired.

There's plenty of grip, but Z4 won't beat the supple Porsche Boxster on a tight and demanding road. Still, the BMW does deliver more performance than most owners will ever access, and enough power to slide the rear end at will.

The Z4 is also easy to live with. The driver-focussed cabin feels opulent, there's a generous features list, and though the 310-litre boot shrinks to 180 with the roof down, that's enough to fit a largish suitcase.

With Merc's SLK, Porsche's Boxster and this BMW Z4 on their list, convertible buyers with $125,000 or so to spend should find something to suit their taste.

See new and used BMW Z4 for sale.


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