Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 31 August 2014

BMW Z4: Z for zest

DrIving is too often a chore, which is why sports cars were invented – to inject an experience of pure joy, without compromising to considerations of comfort, convenience or cost.

For starters, a thoroughbred sports car needs to be a visual delight with sensual lines and a purposeful demeanour. That’s certainly the case with the sleek, low-slung BMW Z4.



It’s a thoroughly modern car but bears body styling elements that trace back all the way to 1930 and the German company’s first ever performance car – the famous 3/15 PA Wartburg roadster.



The bonnet is long and curvaceous and the two seats are set well back, close to the rear axle.



So what if portly, long-legged gents like myself have to contort to get their heads under the low-slung roof and squeeze their size 11 clod-hoppers over the high door sill? Once sunk down into the hip-hugging driver’s seat they’ll feel perfectly at home in a totally fit-for-purpose cockpit in which all the dials and controls are exactly where they should be. “Dynamic elegance” is the phrase coined by BMW themselves.



“EfficientDynamics” is further company terminology, this time defining BMW’s award-winning programme of advanced technologies designed to reduce carbon emissions and improve fuel consumption without compromising on performance. Auto stop-start, brake energy regeneration, electric power steering and reduced rolling resistance tyres are just some of the elements,



The folding roof is a two-piece metal one that can be lowered or raised in just 20 seconds. The price, as usual with such devices, is a massive loss of boot space. Enthusiasts will deem that fair exchange for the delights of wind in your hair motoring without the drawbacks of a cloth roof.



Drive is to the rear wheels and the 3.5-litre version – biggest engine in the range – takes just 5.2 seconds from standstill to 62 mph, with a 155 mph limited top speed. Expect combined cycle fuel consumption of around 30-35 mpg.



Z4 on the road prices range from £29,480 for the entry level Z4 s Drive 2.0i to £45,330 for the Z4 sDrive 3.5is. There is a choice of seven variants.

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