Saturday, May 9, 2009

2009 BMW Z4 sDrive35i Dual-Clutch Automatic - Short Take Road Test

The Z4 is part of a market segment long associated with thinning hair, sexual overcompensation, and other signs of a grievous midlife crisis. So it’s interesting to note that the designers of both the exterior and interior of BMW’s latest male-enhancement tool are women. These women really seem to understand us.

BMW identity means a twin-kidney grille and halo headlights, but it also means everyday usability to go with, as the Germans say, shportiness. We’ll get to the sporty part later. As for usability, the Z4 now comes with a folding aluminum roof that offers benefits beyond just looking good with the top up or down. BMW claims the solid roof allows for 40 percent more side-window glass and a 52-percent-larger rear window, as well as easier entry and exit. It also necessitates a longer trunk, which balances out the front and rear proportions better than in the previous Z4 and makes for a more practically shaped cargo hold (volume is up one cubic foot, to 10). It’s an effective visual trick: Though nearly identical in width and height to the old car, it looks much lower, wider, and sleeker. A 5.8-inch increase in length shows up mostly in the rear, but the new car retains an almost cartoonishly long nose. The extra length and the metal top come at a price of about 150 performance-dulling pounds.


VEHICLE TYPE: front-engine, rear-wheel-drive, 2-passenger, 2-door roadster

BASE PRICE: $46,575–$52,475

ENGINE TYPE: DOHC 24-valve 3.0-liter inline-6, 255 hp, 220 lb-ft; twin-turbocharged and intercooled DOHC 24-valve 3.0-liter inline-6, 300 hp, 300 lb-ft

TRANSMISSION: 6-speed manual, 6-speed automatic with manumatic shifting, 7-speed dual-clutch automated manual

Wheelbase: 98.3 in Length: 166.9 in Width: 70.5 in Height: 50.8 in
Curb weight: 3250–3500 lb

(sDrive35i, 7-sp auto man):

Zero to 60 mph: 4.8 sec
Zero to 100 mph: 12.0 sec
Standing ¼-mile (C/D est): 13.5 sec @ 106 mph
Top speed (governer limited mfr's est): 130–150 mph

EPA city driving: 17–18 mpg
EPA highway driving: 26–28 mpg


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