The new BMW Z4 is a spacious roadster

Cruise along: The 2019 BMW Z4 is not a pure sports car but a gorgeous and comfortable open-top grand tourer

Music for the ears: The engine revving of the BMW Z4 is deeply satisfying

The BMW Z4 is effortlessly fast, and easy to ride

It was in 1995 when BMW first mass-produced a roadster. It was the Z3 and was introduced to the world as the vehicle of choice for 007 in the Bond flick Golden Eye. Interestingly, this upset a lot of Bond loyalists as it was the firsttime thatthe secret agent was using a non-British car. But BMW got its money’s worth, the Z3 was a roaring success which made way for the Z4. And now 25 years later we have the third generation Z4.

Gentrified beast

The 2019 Z4 does take a lot of design cues from its predecessor. But everything is much crisper and cleaner. The iconic double kidney-grille has been re-imagined and is now integrated into the nose. BMW’s iconic double-ring headlamps are now LED stacks and pushed higher and deeper into the hood. Another notable change is the softtop fabric roof, as opposed to the hardtop in its predecessor. The roof takes 10 seconds to open and close and canoperate at speedsupto 50kmph. The fabric roof isnot the best when it comes to sound insulation. You will hear your fair share of sounds especially at stop lights. This roof does make the car lighter and also frees up boot space. The 2019 Z4 gets a 280 litre boot, which may not sound that much, but is very generous when it comes to sports cars. While the soft top does take away some of the aggressiveness, the Z4 does command a presence that befits a sports car. The Z4’s cabin is compact like a sports car but has sufficient space for both occupants. It’s rather roomy. I was able to adjust the seats to fit my 6’2”frame and still, there was room to spare. The seating position is low and the windshield header relatively higher which leaves sufficient headroom for tall drivers. The interior is well finished, it’s short on distractions, and, being a beamer, it’s driverfocussed.

Internet-of-things

Needless to say the Z4 packs BMW’s latest technology, at the heart of which are two 10.2 inch screens focussed on the driver. One of them replaces the traditional instrument cluster, and the other — a touchscreen — sits at the centre of the dash and houses BMW’s new infotainment system. Other features include dual-zone climate control, ambient lighting, head up display and a really good sounding 12-speaker Harman Kardon system. A nifty feature is that you do not need to lock or unlock the car. Step out from the car and walk a few feet and the car automatically locks itself. Walk towards it and it unlocks. With over-the-air softwareupdates,the carwill keep onlearningnewtricks. Our tester the Z4 M40i was powered by BMW’s immaculate 3.0 litre twin turbo straight six, that delivers 340 bhp and 500 nM of torque to the rear wheels with some assuring cracks and pops from the exhaust. The engine is paired with an 8-speed automatic ZF transmission which is quick, responsive and is the best thing after a dual clutch transmission. The car cantoucha 100km/hr froma standstill in an impressive 4.6 seconds. On the twisty ghat roads outside Mumbai, the Z4 was quick and offered plenty of grip. Push the accelerator pedal and the engine responds cleanly and quickly runs to the redline without any lag even at lower revs. Taking on corners was an absolute delight, with the heaps of torque readily available. The Z4pulls outfromthe tightest of corners like a rocket. Be it any gear, a slight bump on the pedal and the Z4 will pull along. The steering is accurate and delivers a good amount of feedback. However, it does not feel as natural as in its arch-rival the Porsche 718 Boxster. Driving the Z4 is fun, and the icing on the cake is the exhaust note that delivered a deep sound on shifts. The ride is quite good in Comfort mode, the active suspensiondoes a goodjobof absorbing theminor irregularities our roads and highways usually throw up. Move to Sport and Sport+ and things change while the engine gets angrier the suspension stiffens, so much so thatin Sport+ I could feel even the smallest of bumps to my spine. The 2019 BMW Z4 is not a pure sports car but a gorgeous and comfortable open-top grand tourer. It’s effortlessly fast, enjoyable to drive and ingrained in it is BMW’s philosophy of ‘The ultimate driving machine’.

Dhiram Shah is the Mumbai-based founder of LuxuryLaunches.com

Published on August 02, 2019
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