UNFOLD THE ROAD AHEAD
Introducing the new BMW Z4, which has just about everything you could possibly want from a sporty convertible, writes Paul Agnew. Photography: Paul Currie
Come on, it’s time to open up – what does driving a car actually mean to you?
Is it simply a means to an end, or do you crave the sheer joy and freedom of zipping around on the open road?
Perhaps the answer is a bit of both, although surely the overwhelming majority of drivers want a bit of fun and a few thrills along the way. After all, life is about seeking happiness and pleasure and, in terms of cars, the new BMW Z4 delivers pleasure on a whole new scale.You love it from the moment you see it gleaming on the forecourt. It almost waves you over.The BMW Z4 (2019) has the looks and the appeal, the functionality and the gadgets, the power and the glory – just about everything you could possibly want from a sporty convertible, with a soft ‘fabric’ top.
BMW have made this year’s model even more efficient with less in the way of emissions and more in the way of driving exhilaration.
I ‘tested’ (it had passed with distinction within minutes of the engine roaring up) the magnificent M40i three-litre top-of-the-range, in San Francisco Red (metallic), with Ivory White upholstery, sport automatic transmission and a comfort package complete with a galaxy of extras.
Whichever model you choose there are a number of optional packages available – comfort, visibility and technology – depending on how much more you want to spend. But as this is a BMW, please be assured that everything from entry level is excellent.
With a capability of 0-60mph in 4.6 seconds (and still producing around 40mpg) this is a car of truly dynamic proportions, producing 340bhp, 500nm of torque and a top speed of 155mph.
In short, it can shift when it has to or when you want it to, but you needn’t always feel the need to drive it like a sports car. In and around town it offers a quite relaxing drive and long motorway hauls present no problem either.
You can slip into different modes. Maybe Comfort for the majority of the time, but with Sport and Sport Plus available when you want to really motor. On such occasions you will find the handling particularly secure with steering that is fast to react.
With an expressive roadster design, wide front with continuous ‘clam shell’ style bonnet and kidney grille finished in a unique mesh pattern, the Z4 is easy on the eye with a low centre of gravity.
It sits low, but not too low, with the driver/passenger (two-seater) live cockpit designed with ease and comfort in mind. The driver seat offers the perfect fit thanks to multiple adjustment possibilities and there is a surprising amount of boot space too.
LED headlights, draft-reducing wind deflector, everything-within-reach instrument panel in Sensatec, understated controls grouped into functional islands, variable sport steering, heated steering wheel, adaptive suspension, next-level driver assistance and instrument cluster with 10.25” control display (operated by touch), innovative BMW operating system 7.0 (linked to the iDrive controller), concierge service, Apple CarPlay, through loading system, connected navigation, head-up display projecting journey information into your field of vision on the windscreen – the list is endless. Oh, and the soft top opens up in under 10 seconds at speeds of up to 31mph.
There is an enhanced and very responsive braking system, complete with four-piston fixed brake design, and an eight-speed sport gearbox.
A ‘driving assistant’ is always there to lend support. You know the sort of thing – help you brake in emergencies, keep you in the right lane, offer speed limit info and general traffic warnings.
Infotainment – what a great word that is – brings all you might hope for and more with a high-end surround sound system with a 365W digital amplifier, seven channels, individually adjustable equalising and 12 speakers.
So, there you have it – the BMW Z4 is a car with a proud history and, on this evidence, a very bright future.
But a word of caution, if you have no intention of buying one then perhaps best to swerve a test drive. Resisting this sort of temptation would test those with even the strongest of wills.
Bowker Blackburn BMW
Trident Park, Trident Way
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