BMW Z4 Test Drive

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McGuigan BMW have just finished the renovation and extension of their new showroom. It looks great, and more importantly, fits many more toys inside … so if you’re in the market for a new BMW, you’ll now be able to see more of the range in the flesh, right here in Port Macquarie.

Upon arrival at the new showroom, the hardest decision was what toy I should drive for a day?

Would I take the black M5, which has an awesome 10 cylinder power plant under the hood … maybe the four door M3, the controversially shaped X6 soft roader … then again, what about Germany’s latest release … the Z4 Roadster?

Having conducted two previous performance car reviews already (the Evo 10 and the AMG C63), I decided it was time to cool things down and test something for a different market … so the sleek and sassy Z4 was the definitive choice.

This is the second generation Z4, and for the first time, this model comes with a metal retractable hardtop which folds up or down in about 20 seconds. We had the middle brother of the model line up, the sDrive 30i which translates into a 3 litre in line six cylinder engine.

Also available are the sDrive 23i with a smaller engine or the more powerful sDrive35i which has an awesome twin turbo pumping out 225kw for those who are not happy enough to just be noticed, but want to be the first to be noticed.

I can’t wait to see the range topping Z4M from BMW’s legendary M division … should we be lucky enough to get our hands on it at location X.

> Inside the Z4 …

Before you open the door of a BMW, your expectations are already high. This car didn’t disappoint, with two soft cream leather seats with the cream cow extending along the doors and lower parts of the dash board – just one of the many highlights on offer. Inserted into the dash are spherical controls, elements that echo the legendary BMW Z8.

As soon as the car is turned on, a screen folds from the dash which displays features like downloaded music and satellite navigation. All of these functions are now controlled much easier thanks to BMW’s improved iDrive system.

Andrew Richmond

Andrew Richmond

You can access the most important functions directly using the assigned buttons or by simply using the main controller and manoeuvring it in the desired direction.

No matter how cold it is, driving a convertible with the roof down is a must … that’s why you bought it, right? After driving along Pacific Drive to town at 7.30am on a winter’s morn, I quickly found the on button for the heated seats, which lucky for me rapidly warmed to the desired temperature.

However, as I discovered from this ‘cool’ experience, I would strongly recommend you ask McGuigan’s for the BMW driving gloves and the Z4 beanie be included in the deal!

An old mate of mine, Max, reckons that to buy any car it must first pass the golf club test … simply meaning, the golf clubs MUST fit in the boot, and surprisingly they did. With the roof up and by using BMW’s variable boot loading system, you can bring your sticks along for the ride too (as long as they don’t exceed 46 inches!)

The luggage area isn’t totally sacrificed due to the folding roof, as the new Z4 offers 310 litres of boot space with the roof up, or 180 litres with the roof down …just enough for that bit of shopping.

> On the exterior…

The styling of the Z4 certainly makes it one car that is destined to always stand out in the crowd. Be warned … heads will turn!

Once comfortably behind the wheel, you overlook what seems like a small acreage of bonnet, and with its short rear overhangs and seating position so low, I almost had to check for gravel rash in places I’d rather not go. Right on your lower back is the rear axle, which completes the ultimate Roadster experience.

The front is unmistakably BMW, with its trademark kidney shaped grill and bi-xenon lights that glow like eclipses when parkers are on.

As already mentioned, at the press of a button the lightweight aluminium roof automatically folds up (or down), retracting into the boot in about 20 seconds.

Roof up, this Roadster takes the appearance of a very aggressive and sleek looking coupe … it’s two cars for the price of one, if this helps you to justify this purchase to your better half!

> For the Techs …

Under the super-sized bonnet exists a 3 litre in line 6 cylinder engine that has 190kw and 310nm. It will sprint you to 100km/hour in 5.8 seconds with an average fuel consumption of 9.2 litres per 100 km. On the track, the top speed will cut out at 250 km/hour.

If you upgrade to the sDrive 35i, you will get a seven speed twin clutch transmission as opposed to the standard six speed manual. You can expect both faster acceleration and fuel efficiency with the twin clutch version, not to mention the smile it will bring to your face.

> Conclusion

So you’ve raised the kids and now you’re an empty nester. You’ve done well for yourself and up until recently, have driven a people mover into the ground.

You’ve decided it’s time to update your image, and despite your latest superannuation statement, believe that it will eventually return to positive growth. If this sounds familiar … then this is the car for you!

At approximately $120,000 plus on road (as driven), it’s well priced and will be admired by many (including your continuously returning offspring) for years to come.

The BMW Z4 is a stunning roadster with the quality and performance that exceeds your expectations. If you’re interested and need to know more, contact Shane McGuigan at McGuigan BMW … I’m sure he’ll put one aside for you!

> Keep it safe on our roads!

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