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BMW Z4 (2009): first official pictures

Sat, 13 Dec 2008

By Tim Pollard

First Official Pictures

13 December 2008 23:00

After the leaked Z4 photos last week, today we finally see the first official photos of the new BMW Z4. The 2009-spec Z4 gains a folding hard top and offers a softened design language over the flamboyant banana curves and arcs of today’s roadster. Think of a bar of a soap that’s been through some palm duties and you get the idea.

It’s bound to provoke debate, but the new 2009 Z4 retains its long-bonnet classic roadster proportions. Sure, it’s a tad less extreme than the original and the detailing more mundane, but that’s where BMW design is right now. And perhaps they’ll alienate fewer buyers as a result.

BMW calls this its first roadster with a retractable hard top and – yes – it replaces the separate convertible and coupe models hitherto sold. The hood is a two-piece affair crafted from aluminium and does its origami street theatre in 20 seconds.

Munich claims the boot space is 310 litres with the roof up, 180 ice cream boxes with the tin-top stowed. There’s naturally a heated glass screen to ensure better visibility for third-hand buyers in 12 years’ time.

Now it’s official. There will be three straight sixes on offer, stretching from a 201bhp 2.5 to a 302bhp twin-turbo 3.0 motor. Each is equipped with Efficient Dynamics in a bid to trim fuel economy (although read our slightly disappointing ED experiences in our long-term Mini Cooper S here).

The new Z4 range will be available with seven-speed twin-clutch boxes – like the latest 3-series – and Dynamic Drive Control remaps the responses of the throttle, steering, stability control and engine management so drivers can tailor the Z4's responses to their mood. This generation also ushers in a new naming policy. Out go nice straightforward badges, replaced by:

• Z4 sDrive23i, straight six 2.5, 201bhp, 184lb ft, 199g/km, 34.4mpg
• Z4 sDrive30i, straight six 3.0, 255bhp, 228lb ft, 199g/km, 34.0mpg
• Z4 sDrive35i, twin-turbo straight six 3.0, 302bhp, 295lb ft, 219g/km, 31.4mpg

Those names (redolent of thegrammarbustingX6range)? Perhaps the space bar isn’t working in Munich’s typewriters…

The interior has received much attention and there's a typically modern BM cockpit feel inside. There's also iDrive for the first time, plus a folding 9in digital display.

Expect the Z4 on sale by May 2009 costing from £30,000 in the UK...


By Tim Pollard