Cars & Bikes
The new BMW Roadster definitely leans toward luxury, but not so far that it loses touch with its sporting principles
BMW has taken to India like a fish to water! And
after testing the waters, as it were, with their
highly successful 3 and 7 Series (yes, they outsold Mercedes in 2008), BMW launched its topend
Z4 Roadster in India last month.
Lovingly called ‘An expression of joy’ by its makers, the Z4 Roadster with the classic proportions of the stretched bonnet and short overhangs, is complimented by the low seats near the rear axle to grant the driver a perfect feel for the road. The modern shape, an interplay of striking contours and soft mergers, fully capture the character of this vehicle from its characteristic kidney grille to the powerful wheel arches at the rear.
The Z4 is the first BMW Roadster with a hardtop. Its sophisticated design means the haracteristic low-slung appearance remains unaltered even
with the top down. This is possible thanks to the optimal folding of the two aluminium roof shells in approximately 20 seconds. With the top closed, the roof line
of the Roadster adopts a coupé-style silhouette, and the generous side and rear windows ensure captivating panorama views. Whether you choose to drive with the roof open or closed, it's
never a question of style but always the moment - a perfect fit that leaves plenty of room for exploration.
The BMW Z4 Roadster is expertly customised to meet the needs of the driver. From the asymmetrical centre console to the optimally positioned instruments and round control elements that echo the legendary BMW Z8, a journey inside this vehicle offers a new discovery in elegance every time. Even with the roof closed, the overwhelming feeling of freedom remains and the bond between the driver, the vehicle and the road is as close as ever.
Stepping inside reveals an interior which is as radical as the exterior. It's more visually pleasing, and includes a slew of comfort and usability improvements. Notably, the traditional hand brake is gone in favour of an electronic setup. BMW's latest automatic gearshift is present.
The audio system is built around an 8.8-inch LCD screen, featuring a 1280 x 480 pixel resolution, and an 80GB hard drive, with up to 15GB of music storage. A 650-watt, 14-speaker
sound system rounds out the list of high-tech features. No BMW is however complete without
the renowned iDrive system and the Z4 is the first BMW Roadster to feature the same.
The system itself is made up of a Controller
on the centre console and a folding, high-
resolution Control Display on the instrument panel, allowing the driver to intuitively and safely mastermind all available functions through standardised movements of the controller either tipping it in one direction, turn-ing or pressing the controller as required.
The seats with integrated headrests come
stitched in high quality leather in a choice of
three colours. The same colour is used on the lower section of the instrument panel and on the
armrest of the door lining as well as the armrest on the centre console. Giving shelter from the elements of nature is a folding two-piece aluminum roof which takes some inspiration
from the BMW Z8's elongated profile. This two-piece roof structure in lightweight aluminium shell technology opens and closes electro-hydraulically within just 20 seconds.
Performance has always been the hallmark of all BMWs, and the Z4 being a Roadster is endowed with more than enough of it. Given the Z4's designation, sDrive35i, it should be obvious what sits under the bonnet.
The Z4’s Drive35i is powered by a twin turbocharged 3-litre inline six-cylinder engine using BMW's Valvetronic system, for variable valve lift, and double-VANOS system, which changes the angle of the valves to enhance performance. The turbos each force air into a set of three cylinders, raising engine output to 306 horsepower at 5,800rpm and 400 Nm of torque
from a lowly 1,300 to 5,000rpm.
According to BMW, this motor is the first inline-six to come with twin turbochargers, high precision injection, and an all-aluminum crankcase. Weighing just about 162 kg, the motor owes its light weight to its composite magnesium/aluminum crankcase, cylinder head cover made of a special synthetic material and lightweight camshafts with aluminum VANOS
To harness all that power, the Z4 Roadster sports a seven speed sports automatic with double clutch or DCT (Double clutch transmission). It shifts gears without the slightest interruption of traction, while the fast and smooth gear change allows an unusually harmonious acceleration, while reducing
both fuel consumption and emissions. But all this techno-wizardry also provides the Z4 Roadster with some scintillating performance
figures. This Bimmer blitzes its way to a 100 km/h in just 5.1 seconds. Keep the smiley pedal nailed and the car seems to hit a wall only at an electronically limited 250 km/h.
The all-new Z4 Roadster is nothing short of a technological tour-de-force. The twin turbo engine and twin clutch transmission deliver a spectacular driving experience, helped by the
adjustable suspension. The cabin tech also offers a lot of practicality, with the navigation system, and the full-featured Bluetooth phone and iPod integration. Indeed, the new BMW
definitely leans toward luxury, but not so far that it loses touch with its sporting principles.