DRIV­ING THE ZED BACK CAT­A­LOGUE

CAR (UK) - - NEW BMW Z4 -

THE GOR­GEOUS ONE: 328

1936 1940 + 1971cc 6-cyl, 80bhp + 93mph i 328 played a piv­otal role in es­tab­lish­ing BMW’s cre­den­tials as a maker of ‹ine en­gines and race-win­ning cars – in ’36 a pro­to­type 328 took vic­tory at the Nür­bur­gring, es­tab­lish­ing BMW’s sport­ing pedi­gree. In 2018 the silky en­gine’s still the star, smooth and pow­er­ful, and the whole car feels tight de­spite its age. Pon­der­ous rack-and-pin­ion steer­ing means you have to get phys­i­cal to hus­tle it.

THE ODD­BALL ONE: Z1

1989 1993 + 2494cc 6-cyl, 170bhp + 141mph i Con­cept car styling means the Z1’s clas­sic sta­tus was a given from day one. Just as well, be­cause this isn’t the Ul­ti­mate Driv­ing Ma­chine by any stretch of the imag­i­na­tion. The six is wheezy and needs revs to pro­duce any­thing mean­ing­ful, while the front end lacks feed­back – a prod­uct of the E30 chas­sis be­neath. Feels roughly twice as fast as the claimed 141mph thanks to the cock­pit’s ex­treme breezi­ness.

THE BIG MONEY ONE: Z8

1999 2003 + 4941cc V8, 400bhp + 155mph i The 507 might be the pret­ti­est car BMW has ever built but the big Z8 stands out as one of the very best. Sen­sa­tional to cruise in, it has a far nicer in­te­rior than any­thing BMW makes to­day, with real de­sign ‹lair and art­fully im­ple­mented retro de­tail­ing. Ex­cep­tional ride works hap­pily with the big V8 and its mon­strous torque band. Man­ual shift is also among Mu­nich’s ‹in­est. Joy­ous.

GOT SIX Halo M40i gets the snarling 336bhp B58 straight-six for tune­ful thrills and a se­ri­ous turn of speed. SOUND BA­SIS 50:50 weight dis­tri­bu­tion and lizard low cen­tre of grav­ity prom­ise much, as does an ul­tra-sti‰ struc­ture (for a soft-top…). RE­FINE­MENT TO BURN Roof up, soft­top is ac­tu­ally more rešined than most tin­top two-seaters. Adap­tive dampers help stretch new Z4’s im­pres­sive band­width. THOU SHALT NOT EN­CROACH The fold­ing metal roof has gone, sav­ing weight and help­ing en­sure the boot doesn’t oc­ca­sion­ally have to store bits of your roof.

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