It’s been a long time since BMW came up with a show car that made me weak at the knees.
This review was first published in MOTOR Magazine's December 2005 issue.
This year at Frankfurt however, almost out of the blue, the Bavarians unwrapped a piece of kit that scored a solid ten out of ten on my personal I-want-one scale. Two days after the show closed, I zoomed in on the new Z4 Coupe Concept.
After spending time with the cute crowd-stopper in a derelict factory complex on the outskirts of Munich for the photoshoot, I was smitten. This thing’s not only a good looker, it also plays one of the catchiest street-legal soundtracks I’ve ever heard.
Unlike the oddly shaped roadster, the coupe radiates a rare visual balance. Suddenly, the proportions are spot-on rather than ho-hum, the solid stance is substantially improved by the 19-inch wheels, and the paint, which lacks gloss and shimmer, emphasizes the characteristic contours rather than the controversial cutlines.
From the nose to the A-posts, coupe and roadster are identical. The roof and the rear ends are a different story.
While one has a canvas top, the other one displays a stylish version of the classic double-bubble theme. Despite its size, weight and complexity, the tailgate meets existing lines in a way that makes you wonder whether the Z4 didn’t start off as a tin-top with the roadster being developed afterwards.
My only quibble with this car are the tiny X3 instruments, which sit in deep recesses where the poorly calibrated dials are difficult to read. Also, I’ve finally found a car that’s simply too small for me to fit into. Unlike the roadster – which is a tight fit, but not unacceptably so – the coupe makes you feel like a woodpecker trying to occupy a knothole perfectly sized for a nuthatch.
Yep, I know I’m well over six-feet tall but I’m clearly too tall for this micro machine. Putting size aside, no one is worried about the dynamic element of this new sports car. After all, it’s equipped with the latest generation Valvetronic equipped Z4 3.0-litre six-pot.
Limited to a maximum of 250km/h, the Coupe Concept manages the 0-100km/h dash in 5.7secs. What we’re really hanging out for, though, is the new M roadster which will be on display at the Detroit motor show in January and powered by a modified version of the current M3’s straight six.
Then, in Geneva 2006, the team from Munich will unleash the M coupe, the face-lifted Z4 roadster and the accordingly modified Z4 coupe. The key changes concern revised bumpers (more elegant for the mainstream models, more aggressive for the M derivatives), the re-styled rear lights and the upgraded interior which gets classier surfaces and equipment-related adjustments.
2006 BMW Z4 Coupe specs:
ENGINE: 3.0-litre, DOHC 24-valve six-cylinder
PRICE: $105,000 (est)
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