When the new BMW M5 first appeared with the smaller twin turbo V8 engine I was frightened. The car had amazing performance but I am a person who has come from an era of naturally aspirated machines and they always make me feel at home. I have always loved the E92 M3s which would growl like a mad feline everytime I started it. But gone are the days of heavily casted and large displacement engines and here is the period of turbocharging knocking at our door of all the environmental fiascos shaking up the world.
Enough of my bickering. The reason I am talking about naturally aspirated and turbocharged machines is because we have the new BMW Z4 with us, and the weather in Delhi could’nt be any better to test drive this beauty.
Half of me was down to thinking, who in this commonsensical world would buy a low slung hard top convertible which has space less than half of the 3 series and a hood longer than the dinning table of aristrocrats. I had lesser words to how down in dumps I was taking delivery of a car that was designed back in 2002 by Anders Warming and has seen lesser change in the body shape than the G Wagen from Mercedes. Has a start stop button, I am pleased.
Here’s the thing. When I was a kid, a convertible top was the coolest thing on the planet and a combination of it with good performance should be right up my street. But I skepticized if I would really like the Z4…
It took me a few days to warm up to the charm of this little ‘drop top red riding hood’. Under the hood is the older generation 3 litre, inline 6 cylinder turbocharged petrol engine producing 306bhp and 400Nm of pulling force, which is healthy and not much to write home about. All of this power is channelized to the rear wheels through a 7 speed dual clutch automatic gearbox which is seamless to shift at higher revs. With a weight of roughly around 1600 kilos it isn’t very light either and it does struggle a bit to get off the line and quicker than what it competes against.
The exhaust sounds beautiful though, throwing out the cracks and burbles off its throat from the smooth 6 cylinder motor. You hear it even more with the roof down and your head out in the open. And that’s the thing about convertibles, they are meant to add that extra bit of drama in driving and oh god that’s what we really need these days. Modern cars are brilliant but they are all same and let’s say, predictable. Anything that can add that extra bit of drama and excitement, a healthy exhaust note, a little bit of slip through the corners and wind rushing through your hair, just those small things you need to make your daily commute a little bit more exciting.
The gearbox could have been a touch sharper but the throttle felt good enough on sport and sport+ modes while the steering felt responsive enough to handle any overdoing without much hassle. The car being a rear wheel drive is enjoyable to drive at half speeds but once you really push it to the upper limits thing do get a handful and the front biased weight distribution shows its colours.
But for me a convertible lives or dies by the way it looks because unlike any other car this is the one to be seen in and if it does not have the looks to match the performance it will fall down in no time. The front of the car has beautifully carved cuts and aero creases, which feel like being sculpted by hand on a clay sheet. This goes through to the sides, finally meeting the boot with a little kick-esque spoiler on the boot lid. The alloy wheel design with those multiple spokes are just outstanding. The car just doesn’t seem out of place by design and it does make one drool over its curvaceous proportions. Absolutely tasty.
After living with it through weekdays using it as my daily driver I’ve had more eye balls both pleasing and envious, at every parking, porch and signal I’ve taken this car to. 3 times more expensive than the cars I’ve had in my garage, it has oodles of snob value dripping at every corner of it. Yes, indeed it has lesser space to sit and the seats don’t go back fully, there isn’t any auto start stop system to save the plant earth and ground clearance is pretty darn low. The central armrest needs to be opened up to access the cup holders and there isn’t much space to keep your knick knacks.
To many pragmatic human beings this would be one of the most pointless cars there in the market. But what is the point in driving a car that are made to make a point. People who buy this car do not buy it for practicality. They do so out of aspiration, out of love of art and out of that natural experience one needs in this era of supreme technological revolution.
The car that I was not impressed at first look, if it would ever please me, I bid adieu to with misty eyes and solicitude of bringing it back home very soon with non press car registration plates.
BMW Z4 Performance
|Capacity in ccm||2,979|
|Stroke/bore in mm||89,6/84,0|
|Max. output in kW (hp) at 1/min||225(306) @ 5,800rpm|
|Max. torque in Nm||400 @1,300rpm|
|fuel economy in km/l||10.37|
|CO2 emissions in g/km||229.143|
|Tank capacity, approx. in l||55|
|Top speed in km/h||250|
|Acceleration 0–100 km/h in s||5.1|
|Tyre dimensions front||225/40 R18|
|Tyre dimensions rear||255/35 R18|
|Wheel dimensions and material front||18″ light alloy wheels Multi-spoke style 293 with mixed tyres|
|Wheel dimensions and material rear||18″ light alloy wheels Multi-spoke style 293 with mixed tyres|
BMW Z4 Dimensions
BMW Z4 Specs
Image credit The Modern Shutter