BMW has announced details of the latest M car – the new BMW Z4 M Roadster. Three-years after the Z4’s launch, BMW M has turned their attentions to the Z4, creating BMW’s fastest accelerating open-top. With 343hp equating to 106hp per litre, zero to 62mph acceleration of 5.0 seconds and an electronically limited top speed of 155mph, BMW hopes the new M Roadster will re-write the rulebook for performance, agility and dynamism.
The Detroit Auto Show in January 2006 will also see the launch of model updates for the entire BMW Z4 Roadster range. The new Z4 will feature a new engine line-up, new gearbox options and various styling enhancements.
Like the current BMW M3 Coupé and Convertible, the new BMW Z4 M Roadster features the five-time International Engine of the Year. The reigning three to four-litre champion delivers 343hp at 7,900rpm and 365Nm of torque at 4,900rpm from its 3,246cc six-cylinder Motorsport engine. The powerplant is mated to a six-speed manual gearbox and BMW M’s variable M differential. The result is excellent stability and traction, especially when accelerating out of bends.
Unlike the ‘standard’ Z4 that uses an electromechanical steering system, the new Z4 M Roadster uses a hydraulic power assistance system. The ‘standard’ car also uses Run-flat tyres as opposed to the M Roadster’s non-Run-Flat items – both features that M, as a separate division, believes give the car its own ‘M’ character. These features are reinforced by BMW M’s floating compound high-performance braking system, originally conceived for the BMW M3 CSL, resulting in a 62mph to zero stopping distance of just 34 metres.
Visually, the new Z4 M Roadster is differentiated from the ‘standard’ car by numerous details inside and out. From the front, the lower valance, large air intakes and dual styling lines on the bonnet clearly identify the M car while, at the rear, BMW M’s trademark quad-tailpipes and aerodynamic diffuser highlight the car’s potential. The M-styling is finished off with exclusive M double-spoke 18-inch alloy wheels with 225/45ZR18 tyres on the front and 255/40ZR18s on the rear.
The Z4 M Roadster is available in eight exterior colours, with three exclusive M colours – Sepang Bronze, Interlagos Blue and Imola Red.
Internally, the familiar Z4 interior is complemented by new leather finishes in Black, Imola Red, Light Sepang Bronze or Sepang Brown and trim strips in Hexagon Aluminium, Black Carbon Leather or Madeira Walnut wood. In front of the driver a bespoke BMW M instrument binnacle featuring a black background with white numerals and red needles helps keep the driver in touch with vital driving information.
Coinciding with the launch of the BMW Z4 M Roadster, the entire Z4 Roadster range receives visual and substantial mechanical enhancements.
Topping the new range is the Z4 3.0si, featuring BMW’s innovative magnesium alloy in-line six-cylinder engine. Featuring Valvetronic valve lift and VANOS valve timing, the Z4 3.0si develops 265hp at 6,600rpm and 315Nm of torque at 2,750rpm. These impressive statistics help power the car from zero to 62mph in 5.7 seconds and, if left unchecked, continues to a maximum electronically limited top speed of 155mph. However, these levels of performance aren’t at the expense of economy, with the 3.0si delivering 32.8mpg over the combined cycle.
Two in-line six-cylinder 2.5-litre variants will be offered – the Z4 2.5si and 2.5i. Based on the same engine, but differentiated by output, the 2.5si offers 218hp and 250Nm of torque from its 2,497cc powerplant. This gives the power to sprint from standstill to 62mph in 6.5 seconds and on to a top speed of 149mph, while still delivering 33.6mpg on the combined cycle. By contrast, the 2.5i delivers 177hp and 230Nm of torque.
The only engine carried over from the out-going range is the four-cylinder Z4 2.0i that was launched in April 2005. Produced at BMW’s Hams Hall plant near Coventry, the 1,995cc engine features BMW’s Valvetronic and VANOS technologies to develop 150hp at 6,200rpm and 200Nm of torque at 3,600rpm. The lighter weight of this engine helps deliver sharp performance, with the Z4 2.0i dispatching the zero to 62mph sprint in 8.2 seconds before hitting a top speed of 137mph.
Like the Z4 M Roadster, all new Z4 models come as standard with a six-speed gearbox. Alternatively, customers purchasing 2.5si and 3.0si models can specify a six-speed automatic gearbox which, for the first time, features paddles on the rear of the steering wheel to select the appropriate gear manually.
Sport models are available to enhance the ‘standard’ Z4 line-up, featuring 18-inch M double spoke or optional composite alloy wheel, M Sports seats covered in Active Sports leather upholstery, three-spoke M leather steering wheel and M Sports suspension. Sport models will add further appeal to those demanding a particularly sporting drive.
At launch in 2003, the BMW Z4 instantly became one of the company’s most distinctive designs. This design positioned the car as much more of a driver’s car dynamically than the Z3 it replaced. This performance focus remains, with subtle enhancements rather than wholesale changes.
From the front, the shoulder line extends all the way to the front air dam rather than stopping at the bonnet edge, a wider air intake dominates the lower valance and the kidney grille receives minor changes. Additionally, the headlights have been re-designed and now include corona light rings as standard on all cars specified with xenon lamps (standard on M Roadster models).
From the side, US-style side reflectors are integrated into the front wheel arches that also house new alloy wheel designs.
From the rear, all-new tail lamps feature Z8-style horizontal light conductor rods and BMW’s Brake Force Display braking system while a second spoiler lip adorns the rear air dam. Finally, all Z4 Roadster models feature a new colour choice including Monaco Blue, Flamenco Red, Silver Grey and Deep Green.