The New Z4 Roadster | Part Two

Design

A real head turner, the Z4’s principal styling feature is its bold double waistline. The upper waistline extends from the headlamp across the top edge of the bonnet, dipping through the door handle before rising to create the muscular rear wheel arch. By contrast, the lower waistline extends under the door before rising up at the rear of the door. Joining the two waistlines is a near-45 degree crease in the front wing that displays an innovative combined side repeater and BMW roundel.

The dramatic styling and a choice of four non-metallic and six metallic colours compliment the car’s proportions, offering a purposeful and visually impressive car. The long wheelbase of 2,495mm (98.2 inches), and overhangs that are 33mm longer at the front and 2mm longer at the rear than the outgoing Z3, stretch the Z4 to 4,091mm (161.1 inches), with a width of 1,781mm (70.1 inches).

But it is not just the exterior that commands attention; the interior is a triumph of ergonomics and is designed to balance its comfortable and roomy cabin with a driving position that feels cocooned and low to the ground. There is a real ‘connectedness’ to the Z4.

From the driver’s perspective, the dashboard combines design purity and traditional roadster practicality. The dash binnacle housing a circular speedometer, rev counter, fuel and temperature gauges dominates the view, with robust but elegant switchgear falling easily to hand.

Both the dashboard and low-slung seating position ensure the driver feels connected to the Z4, with the seat location 20mm nearer the tarmac and 40mm further back in the wheelbase than for a Z3 driver. The standard Sports seats envelop the occupants and are available in four different cloth and leather combinations, with an angle and reach adjustable steering column also fitted as standard.

Whilst enjoying a sports car persona, the Z4 also offers practicality, with large door pockets, a ten-litre capacity storage box between the seats and a 260-litre boot – enough for two sets of golf clubs. The capacious boot size owes much to BMW’s innovative variable soft-top storage compartment. With the roof down, 20 litres of storage space is taken up by the convertible roof. When the roof is raised, a lever in the boot collapses the soft-top compartment leaving the roof storage space to be used as boot space.

BMW Z4 | Part Three
Published 23 June 2003 Melanie Carter
 

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