new-look z4 a sexy baby

AN EXPERIENCED motoring journalist recently cornered me in a crowded bar and explained the importance of avoiding writing about the design of a vehicle in a review.

AN EXPERIENCED motoring journalist recently cornered me in a crowded bar and explained the importance of avoiding writing about the design of a vehicle in a review.

His reasoning was that whether you like or dislike the design is a personal and subjective viewpoint and should not distract you in any way from assessing and reporting on the true motoring capabilities of a vehicle.

"Just because you have a distorted view of what looks or doesn't look nice shouldn't be used when evaluating a car," he said with a slight slur.

So let me start this review by saying the new BMW Z4 must be one of the sexiest little drop-tops around.

Unveiled to the South African motoring press in Cape Town last week, the new-look Z4 is guaranteed to appeal to a wider audience than its predecessor.

Most notable is the fact that it has done away with the rag-top roof and replaced it with a retractable hard top similar to that of one of its rivals, the Mercedes-Benz SLK.

Roadster purists might miss the old canvas top and bemoan the fact that BMW are simply following the retractable hard top trend but after admiring its sleek new look and putting the car through its paces in the Cape mountain passes I believe the pros definitely outweigh the cons.

First up, driver vision is greatly improved with the roof up. Add to this a lower centre of gravity and increased head and leg room and even for very tall motorists.

On test we had both the 3,0 and 3,5-litre versions but it was the latter that grabbed my attention and lust.

Another scribe described the exhaust as making a "snap-crackle-and-pop" sound as it idled away. For me it was more a case of "rumble-in-the-jungle" as I put foot to the floor and let the 7-speed automatic gearbox launch the car forward like a missile.

Spitting out an angry 225kW, the guys at BMW reckon it takes 5,2 seconds to race from standstill to 100km/h. The top speed is electronically governed to 250km/h.

I don't doubt them for one moment. Select "Sport" mode on the dashboard and the tyres stick to the tar like gum as you propel forward with indecent haste.

Its handling is precise and the twisty bits that much easier as the vehicle laps them up with glee.

Consumption-wise - and driving conservatively - expect just under 10 litres per 100km. But then again, this is a sports car, so I wouldn't think "conservatively" is part of its vocabulary.

The people at BMW believe the new Z4 "speaks the language of the people".

I believe them. Listening carefully I could hear this baby crying out: "Buy me!"

X