BMW has given its sports car range impressive muscle with the just-announced, 252kW, M version of the Z4 Roadster.
BMW fitted the M3 sports sedan six-cylinder engine and six-speed manual gearbox to the existing Roadster to create the Z4 M which will accelerate to 100km/h in five seconds. It takes the same amount of time to sprint from 80 to 120km/h.
The Z4 M proved faster than the M3 over a lap of the Nurburgring race circuit in Germany. It took 8 minutes 15 seconds to cover the 20.8-kilometre track, compared to the M3’s 8 minutes 22 seconds.
Much of the Z4 M Roadster’s drivetrain has been brought across from the M3, including the Variable M Differential Lock. Fitted standard to the Z4 M Roadster, it replaces Dynamic Traction Control, providing up to 100 percent limited slip locking action in hard cornering and enhancing stability in all driving.
Using advanced brake technology developed for the ultra-lightweight limited edition M3 CSL, the new Z4 M Roadster can stop from 100km/h in 34 metres.
The Z4 M's underside has been aerodynamically optimised to allow smooth passage of air to the rear of the car where a diffuser creates a low pressure area, venting underbody air to reduce lift at high speeds. The diffuser also draws exhaust fumes directly away from the vehicle.
Electronic driver aids that support traction and braking performance, include Corner Brake Control (CBC); antilock bakes (ABS); Dynamic Stability Control (DSC); and Dynamic Brake Control (DBC).
BMW’s Advanced Safety System (ASE) connects the four front and side airbags and seatbelt tensioners to protect occupants in a serious crash. An Isofix child seat fitting system is standard for the passenger seat.
In a crash, ASE also disconnects the battery, switches off the alternator and fuel pump and activates the hazard flashers and courtesy lights.
The Z4 M Roadster runs on eight inch by 18-inch front and nine inch by 18-inch rear alloy wheels in an exclusive double-spoke M design fitted with 225/45 and 255/40 ZR 18 tyres.
The gear lever knob, multifunction leather-bound steering wheel and sports seats are all M items designed with a strong motorsport influence.
The Z4 M is expected to arrive in New Zealand in 2006, possibly around mid-year. There's been no indication of price, but the mechanically similar M3 is priced in the $140,000 bracket.