Another 'first' for the BMW Z4 is the inclusion of the BMW iDrive control system.
Another 'first' for the BMW Z4 is the inclusion of the BMW iDrive control system. For the uninitiated, the iDrive is something of a 'universal controller' for audio, navigation and car functions amongst others. Simply put, it is a dial that sits on the tunnel console that allows changes to be made to the various functions, simply by a rotating and nudging through the menus and pressing to okay. Along with this comes a full-colour screen that rises majestically out of the upper dashboard, when the key is inserted into the slot and the start button is pressed.
The BMW Z4 trim levels are somewhat dependent on the engine size, of which there is a choice of three and all of them have a straight six configuration, driving the rear wheels.
The starting point is the £28,650 BMW Z4 sDrive23i. It houses a 2.5-litre engine with VALVETRONIC and double-vanos, which I'll come back to. The list of core features is lengthy and includes: dual-zone air-conditioning with a micro-filter, a rake-and reach-adjustable steering column, cloth upholstery, AUX port together with BMW Professional radio and single CD player, an on-board computer, soft-close boot lid, twin tail-pipes and fog lights amongst other things.
The BMW Z4 isn't lacking in electronic wizardry and safety systems, either. The Dynamic Stability Control, for instance comprises ABS with EBD, Automatic Stability Control, Brake Assist, Cornering Brake Control, Dynamic Brake Control, Dynamic Traction Control and Hill Start Assist. The list doesn't end there; the passenger seat has ISOFIX anchors, there is a Tyre Pressure Monitoring system for the run-flat, low rolling resistance, tyres.
There is so much that you can end up wondering just who is in the driving seat. Alternatively, you can embrace the technology, adapt it to suit yourself and enjoy the ride.
With such a comprehensive list, it is little wonder that the £32,665, BMW Z4 sDrive30i adds just leather upholstery, automatic wipers and lights and auto-dimming rear-view mirror. The sDrive30i is powered by a 3.0-litre version of the double-vanos engine, which might sound like another name for a turbo but it isn't.
Both of these units are normally aspirated with VALVETRONIC, variable valve management and two vanos units, whose job it is to control the intake and exhaust valve angles for flexibility while simultaneously doing away with the need for a throttle 'butterfly'.
The extra capacity is the difference between 204- and 258PS and 250- and 310Nm of torque. Both come with a 6-speed manual gearbox as standard but a 6-speed automatic 'box with sequential-change is available as a £1,765 option.
BMW Z4 Road Test Data
|Model Reviewed||BMW Z4 sDrive35i|
|Colour||Deep Sea Blue|
|Performance (manufacturers data)|
|0 - 62 mph||5.1 Seconds|
|Top Speed||155 mph|
|Transmission||7-Speed Double Clutch Transmission|
|Fuel Type||Unleaded Petrol|
|CO2 Emissions (NEDC Figures)||g/km|
|Economy (NEDC Figures)|
|Extra Urban||40.4 mpg|
|Euro NCAP Rating||TBA|
|Warranty||3 years / Unlimited miles|
|Price (when tested on the 01/12/09)||£37,065|