Z4 goes back to its roots

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Prestige -

TWO cylin­ders will fall off the BMW Z4 as the sportscar re­turns to its four-cylin­der roots. The Z4 is ru­moured to get a 180kW-plus 2-litre en­gine with a twin-scroll tur­bocharger to re­place the 2.5-litre sDrive23i and 3-litre sDrive30i nor­mally as­pi­rated six-cylin­der mod­els.

It would leave the Z4 with the four plus its 3-litre tur­bocharged six that comes in two lev­els of out­put. Ex­pect an an­nounce­ment within a year. It’s hardly the first time BMW has put a four un­der the bon­net of its open-top sportscar range.

The last one was the Z3 with a 103kW/180Nm 1.9-litre four and a 0-100km/h time of 8.6 sec­onds, ditched in 1999 by a 2.3 or 2.5-litre six.

The Z3 — in­ci­den­tally the US-made road­ster was the first new-model BMW to be built out­side of Ger­many — was pre­viewed in 1996 in the James Bond film which helped sales.

BMW has also an­nounced that Karim Habib is the new head of ex­te­rior de­sign. The 40-year-old de­signer al­ready spent the first 10 years of his ca­reer work­ing for the BMW Group, dur­ing which time he was re­spon­si­ble for the cur­rent BMW 7 Se­ries range and the BMW Con­cept CS.

Habib stud­ied in Cal­i­for­nia and held var­i­ous roles in BMW, in in­te­rior and ex­te­rior de­sign be­fore be­ing ap­pointed team leader, ad­vanced de­sign for the BMW Group.

NEIL DOWL­ING

SPEED looks to be far more im­por­tant than ap­pear­ance to the lit­tle-known Rod­ing Au­to­mo­bile com­pany. There is noth­ing re­motely good-look­ing about the Ger­man com­pany’s up­com­ing Road­ster 23 — even its cam­ou­flage is ugly.

But Rod­ing is not aim­ing to win any de­sign awards.

It just wants the Road­ster 23 to match the high per­for­mance of a Porsche 911 GT2 turbo. Carparazzi caught the pro­to­type of the Road­ster 23 dur­ing hot laps at the Nur­bur­gring race­track in Ger­many, where the com­pany is fine-tun­ing the car to match its per­for­mance claims.

Those tar­gets are a top speed of 280km/h and a 0-100km/h sprint time of 3.9 sec­onds.

Once the ugly cam­ou­flage is stripped away, the Road­ster 23 will com­pete against stripped- down road rock­ets such as the KTM X-Bow and Ariel Atom.

Rod­ing in­tends to build only 23 cars to match its name.

Carparazzi says the Road­ster 23 is fit­ted with a tweaked six-cylin­der en­gine pro­duc­ing 225kW and 400Nm of torque, and will weigh just over 900kg, with seats for two and ab­so­lutely min­i­mal body­work.

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