Z a big SOFT

Whether it was the in­ten­tion or not, the re­sult of the BMW Z4’s rein­ven­tion is a softer, more gen­tle crea­ture, re­ports KEVIN HEP­WORTH

The Weekend Post - Motoring - - Front Page -

2.5-litre 2 5 lit sDrive Di 23i 23i. Whil While th the ex­te­rior t i d de­sign i h has b been soft­ened, it would be much fairer to de­scribe the work done un­der the skin as re­fine­ment.

The Z4 rides bet­ter, it is less ner­vous than the orig­i­nal and the gen­eral feel is of a car that has had far more thought put into it – from both the point of view of driver en­joy­ment and driver com­fort.

In­te­rior space is im­pres­sive. There is am­ple shoul­der, leg and head­room for a pair of econ­o­my­sized pas­sen­gers who need not spend the day looking ner­vously at each other as gear changes lead to un­wanted hand-leg con­tact.

The Z4 gains a huge win in that its i-Drive con­trol cen­tre is the far more prac­ti­cal and in­tu­itive re­vi­sion un­veiled in the lat­est gen­er­a­tion of the top-end 7 Se­ries lim­ou­sines. With less lay­ers of com­plex­ity and most func­tions sign­posted by a se­lect ar­ray of but­tons, the new i-Drive is not only less in­tim­i­dat­ing but it has the el­e­gant sim­plic­ity that can only come with a cou­ple of gen­er­a­tions of tweak­ing – both by BMW and some of its ri­vals.

Yet, with that box ticked, it is a dis­ap­point­ment to find that against the trend of al­most ev­ery other con­vert­ible of note, the Z4’s roof can only be raised or low­ered when the car is sta­tion­ary and Park en­gaged. The prac­ti­cal ad­van­tages of be­ing able to close the roof on the move – and there are plenty of man­u­fac­tur­ers who of­fer this – are man­i­fest.

Z-force: The new BMW Z4 looks big­ger, wider, and shows a real fam­ily re­sem­blance to the more up-mar­ket 6-Se­ries coupes. There are three six cylin­der en­gines avail­able, in­clud­ing a po­tent twin turbo unit.

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