BMW’s Z4 has dramatic love-it-or-hate-it styling, a three-litre straight-six engine and a dynamic drive control option invoking a function last seen during the days of “Knight Rider”.
BMW’s Z4, the successor to the Z3, has dramatic love-it-or-hate -it styling, a three-litre straight-six engine and a dynamic drive control option invoking a function last seen in South Africa during the days of “Knight Rider”.
Unveiled to the public at the Auto Africa Expo this week, the Z4 drew a lot of attention. The 3,0i on display has a 170kW powerplant and six-speed manual gearbox. (As an option, the Z4 will be available with a six-speed SMG transmission).
Its has a long, sleek and stretched-out engine compartment, snugly-fitting cockpit wrapped around the driver and passenger, and stubby, muscular rear end.
According to BMW South Africa, the Z4 is the first open-air BMW to feature a folding roof in a Z design. The folding mechanism allows the “frontmost” part of the roof to extend like a cover over the soft top, merging flush with the body of the car. As a result, the Z4 requires no roof lid.
And for those who were fans of the ’80s television show “Knight Rider”, in which a talking Pontiac Trans Am could accelarate at break-neck speed at the touch of a button, BMW has something for you.
Available as an option, the Z4’s special “boost” button gives the engine even more kick at the command of the driver. The system is called dynamic drive control (DDC) and calls up maximum engine power on activation.
The Z4 is also the first BMW with electric instead of hydraulic power steering. The steering is thus controlled by software and, according to the manufacturer, “offers a much higher standard of flexibility and ensures optimum harmony of the steering damper effect and feedback to the driver”.
BMW engineers have stiffened the bodyshell and improved the suspension, which has been modified to provide an even sportier ride.
The interior of the car is retro… The speedometer and rev counter are deeply cowled and dominate the tube-like instrument nacelle, which also prevents any reflection of the instruments in the windscreen.
The car will go on sale in South Africa around July next year.