The latest in BMW’s long and successful roadster family has been revealed. The all-new BMW Z4 will go on sale in May 2009 and features a host of innovations never before showcased during BMW’s 75 years of roadster heritage.
The BMW Z4 is the first to come with a two-piece, electro-hydraulically operated Retractable Hard-Top roof that can be raised or lowered in 20 seconds. The new roadster is also the first vehicle to be offered with Adaptive M Suspension. Electronically controlled dampers offer three different configurations and lower the ride height by up to 10mm for a more dynamic drive. By way of comparison, the Sport+ setting of the new car is comparable to the outgoing Z4’s standard ride comfort level.
The standard Drive Dynamic Control function is another first and allows the driver to alter, depending on model specification, the throttle and steering response, level of ride comfort, Dynamic Stability Control response and, on automatic or Double Clutch Transmission cars, gear change times.
Powering the new BMW Z4 is a choice of three six-cylinder powerplants. The range flagship is the current International Engine of the Year-winning 3.0-litre twin-turbocharged engine. Producing 306hp at 5,800rpm, the BMW Z4 sDrive35i powers its way from zero to 62mph in 5.2 seconds (5.1 seconds for a Double Clutch Transmission-equipped car) and on to an electronically-limited top speed of 155mph. The twin-turbocharged 2,979cc engine with high-precision direct injection technology produces 400Nm of torque from just 1,300rpm for effortless in-gear acceleration. The strong performance credentials are matched in terms of economy and emissions. The Z4 sDrive35i records a combined consumption figure of 30.1mpg (31.4mpg) and CO2 emissions of 219g/km (210g/km).
Joining this model in the launch line-up are the Z4 sDrive23i and the Z4 sDrive30i. Both use the same magnesium aluminium alloy engine with Double VANOS and VALVETRONIC technology, but with varying capacities. The 2,497cc entry-level Z4 sDrive23i produces 204hp at 6,400rpm and 250Nm of torque from 2,750rpm. This equates to a zero to 62mph time of 6.6 seconds (7.3 seconds for the Sport Automatic) and a top speed of 151mph (149mph). In contrast the Z4 sDrive23i is capable of 33.2mpg (34.4mpg) on the combined cycle and CO2 emissions of 199g/km (192g/km) respectively.
All three six-cylinder powerplants surpass the latest strict EU5 emissions standards.
The BMW Z4 sDrive30i comes with a 2,996cc powerplant offering 258hp at 6,600rpm and 310Nm of torque from 2,600rpm. The six-cylinder engine records a zero to 62mph time of 5.8 seconds (6.1 seconds for the Sports Automatic) and an electronically-limited top speed of 155mph. Like the Z4 sDrive23i, the Z4 sDrive30i posts impressive combined consumption and CO2 emissions figures, recording 33.2mpg (34.0mpg) and 199g/km (195g/km).
Transmitting the power to the road in all three Z4s is a six-speed manual gearbox as standard. Customers of the Z4 sDrive23i and the Z4 sDrive30i who prefer the characteristics of an automatic can specify a six-speed Sport Automatic transmission featuring gear change paddles on the steering wheel. Buyers of the Z4 sDrive35i can choose the more advanced seven-speed Double Clutch Transmission, again with gear shift paddles located on the steering wheel.
All of the latest BMW Z4s come as standard with facets of BMW’s award-winning EfficientDynamics programme. Technologies that improve engine performance while enhancing economy and cutting emissions include Brake Energy Regeneration, Electric Power Steering with Servotronic, Reduced Rolling Resistance Tyres, on-demand control of the engine’s ancillaries and Optimum Shift Indicator on manual transmission cars. The BMW Z4 also adheres to a philosophy of lightweight construction with the front suspension and subframe being largely made from aluminium.
The new BMW Z4 is larger than its predecessor measuring 148mm longer at 4,239mm and 9mm wider at 1,790mm, and this results in greater interior space and luggage capacity. With the roof up, headroom has been increased by 44mm while the greater car width and design enhancements have led to 20mm more shoulder room and 43mm more elbow room.
For the first time on a BMW Z4 there is a bespoke storage facility located behind the driver and passenger seats. This approximate 15.5-litre single compartment stretches the width of the car’s interior and features netting to hold the contents in place. It can be complemented by an optional Storage Package that adds further stowage capacity. BMW’s latest generation of iDrive makes its first appearance on a Z4. The BMW Professional Multimedia Navigation system features a hard disc drive capable of 12Gb of audio file storage and BMW ConnectedDrive functionality. The system also comes with eight programmable Favourite buttons as system shortcuts.
The unique roof construction of the BMW Z4 creates a boot that varies in capacity from 180 to 310 litres – large enough to stow a full set of golf clubs. For the first time on a BMW Z4 customers can specify a through-loading system for additional storage capability. A hatch between the two seats permits a second full set of golf clubs to be carried.
Driver visibility in the BMW Z4 has also been improved. All round visibility is up by 14 per cent while, courtesy of the four electric windows creating a larger glasshouse, side visibility is up 40 per cent. The Retractable Hard-Top roof features a glass rear window and this too improves visibility by 52 per cent.
Prices for the new BMW Z4 will be announced in 2009.