Published on November 19th, 2010 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez0
BMW Z4 35is M Sport, Still A Muscle Car
The 2010 BMW Z4 is no longer just a sports roadster. It is a high performance sports car. It chases the Porsche Cayman S, Mercedes SLK55 and the Audi TT S now. The visual aggression is stronger with the flame red paint set against the oxide silver matt inserts in the side view mirrors and grille. But can it command the street cred that Porsche and Benz have?
Under the long designer bonnet is a straight-six petrol engine, which has a set of Turbos, bolted on to release 340bhp at 5900rpm (306 bhp at 5,800 on the previous model) and a max torque of 450 Nm from just 1500rpm ( just 400 Nm from 1,300–5,000 rpm previously).
This new Z4 will accelerate from 0–100 km/h in just 4.8 (5.1 secs before) using an all new seven-speed sports gearbox and improves on the smart thinking double clutch system. The result is quick shifting gears when the throttle is depressed with a familiar sounding engine note which we can describe as a roarty ‘bark’ at every quick change from 1st to 3rd gear.
As impressive as the numbers and its technology might seem, the personality change with this new Z4 is more evident when the car is strung around a series of corners on country roads and allowed to dig deep into the loose tarmac at insane corner speeds.
There is also a whole new level of throttle response as the 2 turbos work at different levels during acceleration, while a stronger rush of power at the top end extends the redline this Z4 feels a good deal more determined than ever before to reach insane speeds in the shortest time possible. This impression is backed up by BMW’s official test track figures. When you’re going straight down the road, the steering is geared very much the same as before. Using Dynamic Drive Control the driver of the new BMW Z4 is able to choose the specific control map through which the Adaptive M Sports Suspension varies damper forces. This system also influences the progression of the accelerator pedal, engine response, the steering power control map, and the DSC response thresholds.
The driver operates Dynamic Drive Control by means of a button on the centre console directly next to the gearshift or, respectively, selector lever. Using the toggle function, the driver is able to choose among the NORMAL, SPORT and SPORT+ modes, thus activating a pre-configured and carefully mapped overall set-up comprising the appropriate settings on the drivetrain and chassis components.
The driving experience shows a clear difference between the individual modes, the SPORT mode, for example, offering far more direct steering behaviour and more spontaneous response to the accelerator pedal. The SPORT+ mode additionally activates the DTC function of the DSC Dynamic Stability Control, intentionally allowing minor slip on the drive wheels and therefore enabling the driver to take bends in a controlled drift or power slide if he needs to show the fun side of his Z4 roadster. Fitted with wider tyres (225/40/18 in front and 255/35/18 in the rear), the Z4 is now a more rewarding drive than it has ever been.
Taking on the SLK, quite possible, but the Porsche……we think not.
BMW Z4 Specifications
Engine: In-line 6 Twin Turbo
Gearbox: 7-speed Double Clutch
Torque: 450Nm @ 1500rpm
Horsepower: 340bhp @ 5900rpm
0-100km/h: 4.8 secs
Top Speed: 250km/h Limited