BMW gives its Z4 sports car a two-piece retractable hardtop in the new, bigger and restyled, model which goes on sale here next year
It’s the German outfit’s first car with an electro-hydraulically operated retractable hardtop, a style of convertible roof which has become increasingly common. The new Z4’s roof raises or lowers in 20 seconds.
The 2009 Z4 also debuts Adaptive M Suspension whose electronically controlled dampers offer three different configurations and lower the ride height by up to 10mm to sharpen handling.
It also has Drive Dynamic Control which allows the driver to alter the throttle and steering response, level of ride comfort, Dynamic Stability Control response and, on automatic or Double Clutch Transmission cars, gearchange times.
BMW is offering three six-cylinder engines. The Z4 sDrive35i has a 3.0-litre twin-turbo developing 306 horsepower and 400Nm of peak torque and can hit 100km/h in 5.2 seconds (5.1s when fitted with Double Clutch Transmission).
The Z4 sDrive23i and the Z4 sDrive30i both use the same magnesium aluminium alloy engine but in different capacities.
The sDrive23i’s 2.5-litre engine develops 204 horsepower and 250Nm of torque and accelerates to 100km/h in 6.6 seconds (7.3 seconds for the Sport Automatic).
The sDrive30i has a three-litre six developing 258 horsepower and 310Nm of torque. It reaches 100km/h in 5.8 seconds (6.1 seconds for the Sports Automatic).
Six-speed manual gearboxes are standard in all models, but the 23i and 30i have a six-speed Sport Automatic optional with manual shift paddles on the steering wheel.
The 35i can be ordered with a seven-speed Double Clutch Transmission, also with gearshift paddles on the steering wheel.
BMW says all three models are capable of fuel economy in the eight to nine litres/100km bracket, and all have top speeds around 240km/h.
The new 4239mm Z4 is 148mm longer than its predecessor, 9mm wider at 1790mm and offers better cabin space. With the roof up, headroom has been increased by 44mm and there is 20mm more shoulder and 43mm more elbow room.
Behind the seats, a 15.5-litre single compartment stretches the width of the car’s interior and has nets to hold cargo in place. It can be complemented by an optional Storage Package that adds further capacity.
The boot varies in capacity from 180 to 310 litres, depending on whether the roof is raised, and there’s a through-loading system.
Driver visibility has been improved by 14 percent and the bigger windows improve side visibility by 40 percent.