The Z4’s new retractable hardtop is tight, free of wind noise, and blocks out just as much road noise as a true coupe. And with all the Z4’s sophisticated new equipment and heftier weight, it can still be enjoyed at legal (or at least somewhat legal) speeds. If the Miata is a blast to drive at 30 or 40 mph on tight hairpins, the Z4, like the Boxster or the new Audi TTS Roadster, is still a rush at 60 mph, top down, on the sweepers.
But after thoroughly enjoying the new 2009 BMW Z4, we couldn’t help but get tripped up on the numbers. The new Z4 sDrive30i is more expensive than last year’s top 3.0si Roadster, and the sDrive35i is priced almost as high as last year’s M Roadster. With all the extra equipment, it largely replaces the Z4 M, but it’s a tough barrier as enthusiasts tend to attach a bit more value to a vehicle with the M badge for its supposed exclusivity, true or not. On that subject, BMW says that there are no plans for a new Z4 M.
Price seems to be the greatest obstacle to the new Z4’s success, with a fully loaded 35i now running about $69k. The two 35i models we test-drove both stickered in the sixties—which, admittedly, is the range of a Porsche Boxster S.
The other numbers to look at are sheer size and weight. The 2009 BMW Z4 essentially now has the heft of the former Z8 and is just six inches shorter than the Z8, which sold for more than $130,000 when it was last sold in 2003. Compared with the Z3, the Z4 now weighs 600 or 700 pounds heavier and is about eight inches longer.
Today’s Z4 has a very different personality than the four-cylinder Z3 that BMW brought out in 1996, and though this new, very refined and tech-savvy Z4 roadster is extremely appealing, it leaves basic, on-a-budget roadster shoppers wanting…
Perhaps for the long-awaited Z2?
Visit TheCarConnection.com’s model page on the 2009 BMW Z4 for all the rest, including image galleries, specs, and prices.