Welcome back BMW. The last Z4 looked like a merger of compromise. It brought together round designs and aggressive cuts that made the car never too cuddly and never too aggressive. It was the girlfriend you went out with not because of how she looked, but because she had a good personality.

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Now that’s all changed. There is only one look to this car, and its pure evil. The body now has more better proportioned design, and with the new hard top up, the rear half has a profile that resembles the previous generation Z4 coupe. The most important part is the front. The new Z4 has an intimidating and shark-like look that wants to say, "I have a secret...and that is I could kill you."

The interior has improved slightly. The new Z4 has switched the position of the radio and climate controls from the previous generation, and everything comes closer to looking like the BMW Z8’s interior (without the confusing center-mounted dials.)

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The new Z4 comes in two models for North America, both using the same 3.0-liter inline-six cylinder engine. The sDrive30i has 255 hp, and the sDrive35i uses twin-turbos (one turbo designated for three cylinders each) to upgrade to 300 hp. All variants of the new BMW Z4 come as standard with a 6-speed manual gearbox. As an option, the BMW Z4 sDrive35i is available with BMW’s newly developed double-clutch sport automatic gearbox.

The BMW Z4 sDrive35i makes the 0 to to 60 mph sprint in 5.1 seconds with the manual transmission and 5.0 seconds with the seven-speed double clutch sport automatic. The sDrive30i accelerates from a 0 to 60 mph in 5.6 seconds with a manual and 6.0 seconds with the automatic. Both models are limited to a top speed of 130 mph (150 mph with the optional Sport Package).

The new Z4 will be seen in the flesh next month at the Detroit Auto Show, and sales will begin on May 9th.

Full details in the press release after the jump

Press release

Poised to lead its market segment once again, the 2009 BMW Z4 Roadster will make its North American debuts at the 2009 North American International Auto Show on January 11.

Return of a Classic

The classic roadster is back – more powerful and more stylish than ever before. It is the BMW Z4, the only car in its segment combining classic roadster proportions with a seating position moved close to the rear axle, rear-wheel drive, with a retractable hardtop.

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The new BMW Z4 offers all the driving pleasure of a BMW Roadster with particularly refined and stylish flair. Driving with the roof down, this two-seater offers a refreshingly intense experience of the sunshine and the wind rushing by – and driving with the hardtop closed it provides all the comfort of a sporting coupe in the premium segment. So through this diversity and wide range of qualities, the new BMW Z4 is the re-birth of the roadster.

The design of the new Z4 comes out through classic details interpreted in new, up-to-date style. This outstanding two-seater offers a unique combination of elegance, agility, and supreme comfort. The aluminum shells of the two-piece lightweight hardtop come to rest in the roof compartment, saving maximum space in the process. Even with the roof closed, the new Z4 retains the proportions typical of a genuine roadster.

To ensure driving pleasure, the new BMW Z4 is offered with two inline-6 engine displacing 3.0 liters: 300 hp in the BMW Z4 sDrive35i and 255 hp in the BMW Z4 sDrive30i ensure truly outstanding acceleration and response at all times.

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Comprehensive use of BMW’s EfficientDynamics technologies serves to provide an unparalleled balance of driving pleasure and fuel efficiency. While both models are available with a manual six-speed gearbox, the Z4 sDrive35i is available also with a dual-clutch sport automatic transmission featuring seven gears. The six-speed sport automatic is available on the Z4 sDrive30i. Both sport automatic transmissions feature steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters.

Featuring Dynamic Drive Control as standard, the BMW Z4 enables the driver to choose between three drivetrain and suspension settings at the touch of a button.

Design: the modern look of a classic roadster.

The new BMW Z4 takes on the classic look of the roadster in modern, flowing lines. The car’s proportions are borne out by the long and low-slung engine compartment lid, short overhangs, the long wheelbase and large wheels as well as the low seating position near the rear axle.

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The front view features a large, upright BMW kidney grille, wide air intake and the dual round headlights, typical of the BMW brand. All surfaces and lines, including the character lines on the hood, strive towards an imaginary target point on the road ahead.

The side view is dominated by the dynamic flow of the car’s shoulder line connecting the front and rear wheel arches and accentuating the stretched, athletic look of the Roadster. The horizontal orientation of the car’s lines and surfaces at the rear, in turn, emphasizes the sheer width of the new BMW Z4. Further characteristics are the extra-large hood extending far over the wheel arches, the black A-pillars, the gills at the side with their integrated LED direction indicators, as well as the slender rear fixtures with three-dimensional LED-fed rows of light.

Stylish, sophisticated, and typical of a genuine roadster: the interior.

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For harmonious unison of the exterior and interior so important in an open-air car, the shoulder line is reflected by the door panels with their unique configuration and flow from front to rear.

The contoured surface to the left and right of the steering wheel incorporates the controls for the lights and air conditioning. These elements are available trimmed in Satin Silver matte, Brushed Aluminum, and Ash Grain Wood, the respective color and trim variant also being used on the center console and door handle.

The standard seats with integrated headrests on the BMW Z4 sDrive35i feature high-quality Kansas leather in a choice of three colors. A fourth choice, Ivory White Nappa leather, is also available as part of the Exclusive Ivory White Leather Package, which includes sport seats and Anthracite wood trim.

An Extended Leather option (Z4 sDrive35i only) adds leather on the upper section of the instrument panel, the doorsills, the sun visors in Black leather as well as the leather-finish door closing handles in upholstery color on the passenger’s side.
The entire range of paintwork colors available on the new BMW Z4 is made up of no less than nine color tones including Orion Silver metallic exclusive to the new Roadster.

Cycling in 20 seconds: the retractable hardtop.

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The new BMW Z4 is the first BMW roadster to protect its occupants from wind and weather with a fully retractable hardtop. This two-piece lightweight aluminum shell opens and closes at the touch of a button within 20 seconds. The compact packaging of the folding roof enables the Z4 Roadster to retain the characteristic, slender proportions of its predecessor.
This innovative roof system offers outstanding acoustic and aerodynamic qualities and sets a new standard in the Z4’s segment. Large windows and the high-quality roof lining give the hardtop a light look. Driver and passenger enjoy a bright ambience, generous space, and optimum visibility. Compared with the former model, the side windows are 40% larger, the see-through area in the rear window 52% larger, and all-round visibility increased14% over the previous generation.

The glass rear window in the hardtop is equipped with an electric defroster and the four side windows of the new BMW Z4 may be lowered individually. The higher roofline and larger door openings allow easier and more convenient access with the roof closed.

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The retractable roof may be operated either by a switch in the center console or by remote control key fob when equipped with optional Comfort Access. Comfort Access also allows convenient loading and unloading of the luggage compartment with the roof open. To provide access to the luggage compartment in this case, the open hardtop is moved to an interim position facilitating the removal of large objects.

Flexible storage with optional through-loading.

The roof compartment and the luggage compartment are separated from one another by a moveable partition, which may be folded up to increase luggage space if the roof will remain closed.

The moveable partition in the new BMW Z4 is unique in the premium roadster segment, and offers enough luggage space with the hardtop open for a medium-sized hard-shell suitcase.

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Using the optional through-loading system to the passenger compartment, the Z4 is able to accommodate a 46-inch full-size golf bag. When the roof is closed the luggage compartment easily accommodates up to four crates of large bottles or – when using the through-loading system – two 46-inch golf bags.

Various other storage compartments are designed into the interior. The new Z4 offers storage trays in the center console, a 10-liter glove box, hinged compartments in the doors, and additional space behind the seats.

Included with the Cold Weather Package is a storage package that provides an even wider range of storage and loading functions, with fastening nets on the rear panels of the seats and in the passenger’s footwell, lashing belts in the luggage compartment, as well as a storage box in the bulkhead leading to the luggage compartment.

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Optional through-loading system together with a transport bag ensures even greater versatility, allowing the user to load slender items such as golf bags or two pairs of skis measuring up to 67" in length.


With its classic roadster proportions of long bonnet, set-back glasshouse and rear-wheel-drive configuration the latest incarnation of BMW Z4 is every inch the driver’s car. Yet its lines, its proportions and its overall style defines the very essence of elegant open-top motoring of a bygone era.

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BMW has a long and proud roadster tradition dating all the way back to the BMW to the 3/15 of 1930 and the 328 of 1936 designed by Kurt Joachimson. Every subsequent two-seat open-top car to wear the blue and white propeller since then has an element of this ethos in its design. It is hardly surprising that a manufacturer such as BMW should have a long and distinguished lineage of desirable, sexy sports cars. BMW was one of the first car makers to create a contemporary styling department when it established the Künsterlerische Gestaltung in Munich in 1938.

The design team of the latest BMW Z4 forms part of a larger network of BMW designers. Like their forebears, this talented collective is still viewed as the most forward thinking automotive design team by its competitors. The twist in the tail for the latest BMW Z4 is that, in a first for BMW, both the exterior and the interior designs that won through the marque’s rigorous design selection process were created by females.

Juliane Blasi, exterior designer of the BMW Z4, said: “I am proud to have won through the design process and I’m really happy to see my idea on the road. Driving a roadster is an expression of freedom and of sheer joy of driving. When I first created the car I wanted to make it seem alive, athletic, muscular and very sporty. At the same time a roadster should also be elegant, so getting the proportions of the car correct were key. I think we have achieved this as the car has real presence on the road.

A new style of roof for the BMW Z4

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With its two-piece aluminium roof, the new BMW Z4 offers unparalleled comfort and style in the roadster segment. The roof elements are moved to and fro by an electrohydraulic system with the central hydraulic unit integrated in a multifunction sump in the floor of the luggage compartment. The retractable roof is controlled by a switch in the centre console and may also be opened conveniently by remote control. This process takes just 20 seconds from start to finish.
Once the roof has been completely opened – or closed – and the Retractable Hard-Top fastened in place, the luggage compartment lid may be opened again in the usual way. Enhanced remote control is available with the Comfort Access option, enabling the user to control the closing process also from a distance. To avoid inadvertent operation of the closing process, however, the signal for closing the roof is not transmitted beyond a distance of four metres from the car.

Comfort Access serves additionally to conveniently load and unload the luggage compartment with the roof open. In order to enhance access to the boot in this case, the open hard-top roof is moved to an interim position by Comfort Access, facilitating the removal of large objects such as golf bags.

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The unique aluminium roof construction of the BMW Z4 creates a boot that varies in capacity from 180 to 310 litres – large enough to stow a full set of golf clubs. The maximum possible load has also increased from 300kgs by 30kgs compared to the previous BMW Z4.

For the first time on a BMW Z4 customers can specify a through-loading system for additional storage capability. A hatch between the two seats permits a second full set of golf clubs to be carried or, if it’s wintertime, a pair of skis measuring up to 170cms in length.

In developing the roof’s kinematics, BMW’s engineers also considered the ideal way to drain rainwater from the roof courtesy of a fully integrated water management system for the roof structure. A special drainage system takes up residual drops of water while the roof is moving and allowing any remaining drops to evaporate above the rear-end air vents. This efficiently prevents any formation of moisture in the interior or luggage compartment.

A new, more grown up BMW Z4

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The new BMW Z4 is larger than its predecessor measuring 148mm longer at 4,239mm and 9mm wider at 1,790mm, and this results in greater interior space and luggage capacity. With the roof up, headroom has been increased by 44mm while the greater car width and design enhancements have led to 20mm more shoulder room and 43mm more elbow room. Access to the car is now easier thanks to the doors being 26mm longer than the previous model creating a wider opening.

Nadya Arnaout, the interior designer for the BMW Z4, said the growth in the car’s size gave her the chance to incorporate some new features such as more storage areas, but overall it helped for a larger space perception and improved comfort. However, she was keen for those inside to still feel they were driving a sports car.
“Because a roadster is a very sporty car, I wanted a strong driver orientation with the interior to put the driver in focus, but I didn’t want to leave the passenger totally neglected. So the design was a flow of balancing driver and passenger which, to me, is comparable to how the body flows with the play of convex and concave surfaces.

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“In a roadster you are very much exposed to the elements and the original idea was to give the feel of protection or cocooning with a surrounding ‘horizon line’. You want to feel exposed to the elements but still have an element of protection. I’m very pleased that we have managed to blend a roadster character with the practical elements of the design that customers said they wanted.”

The BMW Z4 comes with a variety of storage options. For the first time on a BMW Z4 there is a bespoke storage facility located behind the driver and passenger seats. A 10-litre glovebox is joined by folding compartments in the door linings, a storage tray in the centre console and additional storage space behind the gearshift or selector lever to provide stowage possibilities. There is also a 1.6-litre compartment beneath the armrest and yet another storage box adjacent to the instrument panel.

BMW’s latest generation of iDrive makes its first appearance on a Z4. The BMW Professional Multimedia Navigation system features a hard disc drive capable of 12Gb of audio file storage and BMW ConnectedDrive functionality. The system also comes with eight programmable Favourite buttons as system shortcuts.

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Driver visibility in the BMW Z4 has also been improved. All round visibility is up by 14 per cent while, courtesy of the four electric windows creating a larger glasshouse, side visibility is up 40 per cent. The Retractable Hard-Top roof features a glass rear window and this too improves visibility by 52 per cent.

BMW’s innovative SunReflective Technology can be specified on the BMW Z4 to keep the occupants cool even on the hottest of days. SunReflective Technology is a unique treatment that prevents leather upholstery from becoming overheated or damaged by sunlight. This ingenious system was originally developed by BMW’s Motorrad motorcycle division and used initially in clothing products. Designed to keep riders cool in hot conditions, it was further developed by BMW Individual for use on leather.

It works by special cooling pigments incorporated into the surface of the leather that reduce surface heating by up to 20 degrees C – even after long exposure to direct sunlight. As a result, a BMW Z4 specified with leather upholstery will never get too hot to sit in even if the roof is left open and is much more resistant to fade or damage caused by excessive heat.

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The new BMW Z4 comes as standard with a double-joint spring strut front axle made largely of aluminium. The rear axle suspension consists of a central link with track control arms for the optimum set-up.

Heinz Krusche, chassis and driving dynamics development engineer for the BMW Z4, said the suspension of the new BMW Z4 represents a new change for BMW in terms of set-up. The spring rates on the car will be softer while the damper will be set stiffer. This allows for the best mix of compliance yet sporting behaviour.

He added: “The basic body shell of the BMW Z4 is 25 per cent stiffer than before. Torsional rigidity is the starting point when creating a new car, a vital gear in the cog. Without such a good starting point it is very hard to make a car drive well as you’re starting from a position further back. You can’t turn a fundamentally bad car into a good one by tweaks alone. Engineering always works closely with our design and production colleagues so we can create the basis of a car that will let me and my team be able to develop the new vehicle.”

inline-6 engines in the BMW Roadster.

Elegant roadster lines, the BMW kidney grille, and a inline-6 engine form a combination that, in 1934, made the BMW 315/1 an unprecedented success both on the road and in motorsport. That combination has been retained to this day in the BMW Z4.
The new Z4 is therefore being launched exclusively with inline-6 engines, a choice of two engines providing both power and performance. These unique engines exhibit refinement and fast-revving response typical of a BMW six-cylinder, offering an unparalleled balance of performance and fuel efficiency in the premium roadster segment thanks to the BMW EfficientDynamics engineering strategy. The individual versions of the new BMW Z4 come with on-demand management and control of the car’s accessory drives, a variable oil pump, intelligent lightweight technology, and optimized aerodynamics.

BMW Z4 sDrive35i: performance with efficiency thanks to Twin Turbo and High Precision Injection.

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The most dynamic version of the new Z4 comes with the world’s first inline-6 engine to feature twin turbochargers, High Precision Injection, and an all-aluminum crankcase.

The use of two turbochargers (each supplying three cylinders) ensures responsiveness never seen before on a turbocharged engine. The engine achieves peak torque of 300 lb-ft without the slightest delay, and maintains this high level of torque throughout a broad rev range from 1,400–5,000 rpm.

Maximum output of 300 hp comes at 5,800 rpm, and the BMW Z4 sDrive35i accelerates to 60 mph in just 5.1 seconds (optional seven-speed double clutch sport automatic transmission in 5.0 seconds). The acceleration continues all the way to an electronically-limited 130 mph (150 mph when equipped with the optional Sport Package).
High Precision Injection is a key element in the Z4’s efficient performance. Injecting fuel directly into the combustion chamber offers a cooling effect allowing a higher compression ratio and optimized combustion efficiency. This second generation of direct gasoline injection developed by BMW ensures significant benefits in fuel efficiency without restricting the dynamic qualities of the engine.

The 6-cylinder normally aspirated engine: powerful and light thanks to magnesium.

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Offering spontaneous power and performance, excellent motoring refinement and outstanding efficiency, the 6-cylinder naturally-aspirated engine in the BMW Z4 sDrive30i again offers the very best in its segment. Weighing just 355 lb thanks to its composite magnesium/aluminum crankcase, cylinder head cover made of a special synthetic material and lightweight camshafts with aluminum VANOS control unit, is exceptionally light.

While BMW’s VALVETRONIC engine management controls valve stroke on the intake valves, double-VANOS varies the angle of the intake and outlet valves in an infinite process. This allows particularly efficient use of fuel, providing a “beefy” torque curve and giving the engine instant response.

The engine in the BMW Z4 sDrive30i develops maximum output of 255 hp from 3.0 liters capacity at an engine speed of 6,600 rpm. Maximum torque of 220 lb-ft, in turn, comes at just 2,600 rpm.

With this kind of power, the BMW Z4 sDrive30i accelerates from a standstill to 60 mph in 5.6 seconds (with optional sport automatic in 6.0 seconds). Top speed is electronically limited to 130 mph (150 mph when equipped with the optional Sport Package).

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6-speed transmission with short gearshift travel featured as standard.

All variants of the new BMW Z4 come as standard with a 6-speed manual gearbox. Developed specifically for BMW’s new Roadster, the various transmission options are particularly sporting in their character. Indeed, this is borne out in particular by extremely short gearshift travel much shorter than on all other current BMW models with a manual gearshift.

Optional: 7-speed sport automatic with double clutch and 6-speed sport automatic with paddle shifters.

As an option, the BMW Z4 sDrive35i is available with BMW’s newly developed double-clutch sport automatic gearbox. Based on the M DCT transmission introduced in the BMW M3, this 7-speed gearbox ensures faster acceleration and extra performance in comparison with the 6-speed manual gearbox, while providing the comfort features of a BMW automatic transmission. The 7-speed double-clutch sport automatic shifts gears without the slightest interruption of power.

The BMW Z4 sDrive35i with its seven-speed sport automatic accelerates to 60mph in just 5.0 seconds, while fuel consumption is expected to outperform the fuel economy on the same model with a manual gearbox.

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Sport automatic gives the driver the choice of either automatic (Program D) or manual gear selection. If desired, the driver may shift gears manually by means of paddles on the steering wheel.

The 6-speed sport automatic transmission available on the BMW Z4 sDrive30i promotes not only driving comfort, but also the sporty performance of a BMW Roadster. Indeed, the characteristics of the car are attributable to the direct connection linking the transmission to the engine, based on modern torque converter technology with an integrated torsion damper, avoiding unnecessary slip and therefore helping to eliminate any loss of power and performance. Even the slightest movement of the gas pedal, therefore, is converted spontaneously into a quick response with gearshift times reduced to a minimum.

The sport automatic transmission offers the driver the opportunity to shift gears manually when desired. Apart from selecting gears via the selector lever on the center console, the driver also has the option to use the gearshift paddles on the steering wheel.

Sophisticated suspension technology, high-performance lightweight brakes.

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Rear-wheel drive, near perfect weight distribution, the long wheelbase and the low center of gravity on the roadster create ideal conditions for supreme agility.

Featuring traditional spring-struts, a “double-jointed” front suspension made largely of aluminum, and a constant-geometry rear axle, the new Z4 comes with proven suspension concepts in a configuration perfectly tailored to the characteristics of the car.

Electric power steering plays a role also in the BMW Z4, enhancing the precision and comfort of steering maneuvers and reducing fuel consumption, since the electric motor for steering power assistance is activated only when required or desired by the driver.

The new Z4 comes with new high-performance brakes, featuring low weight and low brake pad wear. At the same time the BMW Z4 is the first car in its segment to feature an electrical parking brake activated and released by a button on the center console.

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Both versions of the new BMW Z4 come as standard on 17-inch light-alloy rims and with runflat tires as well as a Tire Pressure Monitor.

BMW’s standard Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) serves not only to activate the ABS brakes and ensure stability on slippery surfaces by activating the brakes or reducing engine power, but also comprises other functions such as Brake Drying and Brake Standby as well as a Start-Off Assistant. Acting in a similar way to a mechanical limited slip differential, DSC electronic rear brake management is used to simulate a limited slip differential for stronger acceleration in turns.

Activating Dynamic Traction Control at the touch of a button, the driver is able to raise the response thresholds for intervention by the DSC, thus enjoying the option, for example, to set off on loose snow with the drive wheels slightly spinning. And when desired, the driver is also able to deactivate DSC altogether (ABS remains active).

Adaptive M Suspension featuring Electronic Damping Control (EDC).

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The agility of the BMW Roadster may be further enhanced by ordering the optional Sport Package featuring Adaptive M Suspension with Electronic Damping Control. A central control unit varies the “compression” and “rebound” stages on the four twin-sleeve gas pressure dampers to provide optimum response at all times. The response time is so fast that a signal coming from a front wheel crossing a hole in the road reaches and re-adjusts the rear dampers even before the rear wheels reach the same uneven road surface.


Comfort and sportiness in one: Dynamic Drive Control.

Dynamic Drive Control allows the driver of the new Z4 to choose the drive characteristics of the car. In addition to changing damper forces on the Adaptive M Suspension, DDC also conditions the responses of the gas pedal, the power steering, and the response thresholds of Dynamic Stability Control. And if the car is fitted with either sport automatic transmission, the adaptive gearshift logarithms are adjusted.

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The driver operates Dynamic Drive Control via a button on the center console next to the gear selector. By pressing the button, s/he is able to choose from the NORMAL, SPORT and SPORT+ modes, thus activating a pre-configured, perfectly balanced set-up. The SPORT mode, for example, offers more-direct steering behavior and a more-direct response to the gas pedal. The SPORT+ mode, in turn, serves additionally to activate the Dynamic Traction Control mode of DSC, intentionally allowing slight wheelspin and thus enabling the driver to take a bend in a controlled drift.

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BMW always adheres to the guiding principle of near perfect 50:50 weight distribution and the new BMW Z4 is no different. Its configuration is classic roadster with a long bonnet covering a front engine while the driver and passenger sit close to the rear axle where power is transmitted to the road. Building on this winning formula is the addition of a two new features to a Z product: Drive Dynamic Control and M Adaptive Sport Suspension.

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Standard on every BMW Z4 is Drive Dynamic Control. A first for BMW, this system allows the driver to fine tune the car to their preferred set-up. The driver can configure the car to be in Normal, Sport or Sport+ modes via the button the centre console. The chosen performance criteria affects the throttle and steering response, Dynamic Stability Control response and, on automatic or Double Clutch Transmission cars, gear change times and shift points are altered.

Those customers who select the optional Adaptive M Sport Suspension can also vary the level of ride comfort with Drive Dynamic Control. Adaptive M Sport Suspension features electronically controlled dampers that further enhance the BMW Z4’s agility. A car fitted with this innovative suspension also has a 10mm lower ride height for even more precise response to steering manoeuvres.

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The appropriate damper forces are ensured by four infinitely adjustable twin-sleeve gas-pressure dampers with combined compression and rebound stroke adjustment. The central vehicle dynamics control unit receives data from three accelerometers to control the four dampers independently of one another thus ensuring an unparalleled, extra-fast response to changing driving situations and road conditions. Damping rate is adjusted via valves on each shock absorber which control the flow of oil within the twin tube gas pressurized shock units. Such is the capability of the system that its short response time means the rear dampers can pre-empt the impact of a road imperfection the front wheels have just experienced regardless of vehicle speed.

Run-flat tyres

The BMW Z4 now comes with third generation run-flat tyres. Unlike cars with conventional tyres that can experience a slow puncture or even a blow-out situation, the DSC+ system and Run-flat tyre combination still function for optimum safety. Conservative advice says a driver can continue for 150 miles at 50mph with a punctured Run-flat tyre. However, during testing expert drivers continued driving at varying speeds on a deflated tyre for more than 600 miles before it eventually failed.

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Krusche said: “By working out the intricacies of where Run-flats need compliance in the structure and where they’ll benefit from extra stiffness, we have been able to tune and filter the natural frequencies of the body shell to dramatically improve ride quality.”

The use of Run-flat tyre technology goes hand-in-hand with the Tyre Puncture Warning System fitted as standard on the Z4. An audiovisual signal warns of a possible puncture and the driver can then moderate his driving style before checking the tyres at a convenient opportunity.


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The steering ratio of the latest BMW Z4 has been revised to cater for a wider customer base. For the previous E85/86 Z4, the steering rack was engineered to be more direct and sensitive at initial turn in. Now the latest BMW Z4 has the same level of steering ratio regardless of applied lock for greater directional stability.

Dynamic Stability Control +

All BMW Z4 buyers will benefit from the most advanced form of traction control currently on offer in a production car – Dynamic Stability Control+ (DSC+). DSC provides the driver with a safety system that includes Automatic Stability Control, Corner Brake Control and Dynamic Traction Control. When required to keep the car on the road and stable, these functions combine under the banner of DSC to cut engine power, brake individual wheels and switch traction between wheels for optimum grip.

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The driver of a BMW Z4 is able to select the Dynamic Traction Control (DTC) function of DSC to allow for a greater degree of wheel slip. This enables a driver to pull away on loose surfaces such as snow or gravel without the DSC intervening. With DTC engaged a more spirited driving style is permitted courtesy of the 10 per cent degree of accepted wheel slip. DTC can be selected via a button located next to the Drive Dynamic Control switch.
DSC+ builds on the already accomplished set-up of DSC by adding five further features: Brake Pre-tensioning, Brake Drying, Hill Start Assistant, Brake Fade Compensation and Soft Stop.

  • Brake Pre-tensioning shortens stopping distances by priming the brakes if the car detects that the driver has lifted off the accelerator sharply in preparation for an emergency stop.
  • Brake Drying improves braking performance in the wet. The activation of the windscreen wipers or a signal from the screen-mounted Rain Sensor enables a periodic gentle (and imperceptible to the driver) application of the brakes to scrub off any build up of residue. When full stopping power is needed the maximum force is available.
  • Hill-start Assistant allows a manual transmission car to pull away smoothly on a gradient without rolling backwards. This is achieved by maintaining brake pressure for the short time taken to apply the accelerator after releasing the foot or handbrake. The system judges the gradient of slope and the subsequent degree of brake pressure needed for a smooth start.
  • Brake Fade Compensation applies a greater braking force to achieve the same stopping power when sensors detect that the brakes are hot and might be prone to fade. This occurs without any extra effort from the driver.
  • Soft Stop allows every driver to provide a smoother journey for all the car’s occupants. By releasing a small proportion of the braking pressure at the end of the braking cycle the perfect soft stop is performed every time.

A new home for the BMW

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The BMW Z4 is built at BMW Plant Regensburg in Bavaria alongside the BMW 1 and 3 Series. Plant Regensburg is one of the most advanced car production facilities in Europe and has been producing BMWs for more than 20 years. Its 10,000 strong workforce produce 300,000 cars a year at the 3,458 acre site. The decision to move Z4 production from Plant Spartanburg in the States to Germany was an easy one. The BMW Z4 shares some of its technology with the 1 and 3 Series, while the move allowed the X3 to be installed in the States which is that model’s biggest market.

Extra space, more safety.

The new BMW Z4 is slightly larger outside than its predecessor, at the same time offering significantly more comfort in terms of space and a lot more loading space: BMW’s new Roadster is 5.8” longer, 0.4” wider, and 0.3” lower. Wheelbase has grown 0.1” to measure 98.3".

Apart from all-round visibility, the interior offers greater headroom (+0.20"), extra shoulder room (+0.79") and more elbow freedom (+1.69"). The door opening, increased in size by 1.02", allows even more convenient access with the roof closed.

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The extremely stiff bodyshell, lightweight construction and near 50/50 weight distribution enhance both the safety and agility of the new BMW Z4. High load-resistant subframes, optimum use of crush zones, the extremely stiff passenger cell and highly efficient restraint systems ensure outstanding accident safety. Frontal and head/thorax airbags, belt latch tensioners and belt force limiters are activated by the sensor-controlled electronic safety system as a function of the type and severity of a collision. The head/thorax airbags are integrated on the outside of the seat backrests and inflate over a large surface in the event of a collision from the side.

Making its premiere in the BMW Roadster: the latest generation of iDrive.

The new Z4 is the first BMW Roadster to feature the iDrive control system as part of its optional navigation system. In the new Z4 the iDrive serves to activate all entertainment, information, navigation and telecommunication functions.

The system itself is made up of a Controller on the center console and a folding, high-resolution Control Display on the instrument panel, allowing the driver to intuitively and safely mastermind all available functions.

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Pressing the direct selection buttons on the newly configured Controller, the user is able to spontaneously change to the CD, radio, telephone and navigation functions. The range of direct selection buttons has now been rounded off by the three MENU, BACK and OPTION command buttons, and programmable favorite buttons in the instrument panel allow the user to save and directly select radio stations, telephone numbers and navigation destinations, and other menu items available directly through iDrive.

Measuring 8.8 inches in size, the high-resolution Control Display with its resolution of 1,280 x 480 pixels offers excellent clarity in presenting graphics or pages from the internet. A picture of the Controller shown in the Control Display gives the driver greater and clearer orientation in choosing the next step in the operating process.

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Using the navigation system is even easier thanks to iDrive. Full-screen map presentation, for example, offers an incomparably detailed overview of the region in which the driver is currently traveling. As an alternative the Control Display also offers an assistance window presenting further highlights and maps independent of the main map.

With navigation data saved on an 80 GB hard disc installed in the car, access times are faster than before. And at the same time the hard disc may also be used as a 15 GB music archive.

Roadster-specific climate comfort and leather with Sun Reflective Technology.

The new BMW Z4 is equipped as standard with air conditioning and seven blower stages. Optional automatic climate control allows separate temperature selection on the driver’s and passenger’s side, individual, automatic temperature control in five stages of intensity, and manual adjustment of air stratification. With the roof open, automatic climate control includes convertible mode.

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Like BMW’s Convertibles, the leather in the new Roadster incorporates Sun Reflective Technology. A special, highly innovative type of leather on the seats, interior panels, and steering wheel that significantly reduces the heat effect of bright sunshine: Treatment of the leather in Sun Reflective Technology serves to integrate special color pigments into the material to reflect infrared radiation in the sunlight.

Top-end audio and communication systems.

The audio systems available in the new BMW Z4 set standards in the segment in every respect.

The CD player fitted as regular series equipment also serves to play music files in the MP3 format. The available premium hi-fi system comes with up to 14 loudspeakers and two additional subwoofers for an intense and precise experience in sound, with amplifier output of up to 650 watts. A standard AUX-In port is provided, allowing the integration of various external MP3 player. A 6-disc CD/DVD changer in the glove compartment is also available.

A Bluetooth interface is available in conjunction with optional BMW Assist to offer greater safety and convenience for making telephone calls while driving. To fully integrate the latest smartphones in the car, the new BMW Z4 is also available with a smart phone integration option.

New production plant: BMW Roadster coming from Regensburg.

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The new BMW Z4 is built at BMW Plant Regensburg alongside the 3 Series and the BMW 1 Series. This is because BMW Plant Spartanburg, where the former model was built, is concentrating from now on entirely on the production of BMW’s X models.

BMW Ultimate ServiceTM: Providing owners with incredible value and peace of mind

The 2009 BMW Z4 Roadster will feature BMW Ultimate ServiceTM, a suite of services that includes the BMW Maintenance Program (formerly called Full Maintenance), Roadside Assistance and the New Vehicle Limited Warranty. BMW AssistTM with TeleService is part of the optional Premium Package or can be ordered separately as a stand-alone option.

BMW Ultimate ServiceTM includes:

The BMW Maintenance Program is the only no-cost maintenance program in the industry that covers wear and tear items like brake pads and rotors for four years or 50,000 miles, whichever comes first. BMW owners pay nothing for all scheduled inspections, oil changes, brake pads, wiper blade inserts and other wear-and-tear items.

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BMW Roadside Assistance is one of the industry’s most comprehensive plans available. Not only is it no-charge for the first four years, but there is no mileage limit. BMW drivers enjoy the assurance of on-the-road help 24 hours a day, seven days a week, anywhere in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. This includes everything from flat tire changes, emergency gasoline and lock-out assistance, to towing, alternative transportation and even trip-interruption benefits. This service also includes valuable trip routing advice.

BMW New Vehicle Limited Warranty: All 2009 BMW passenger vehicles are covered by BMW’s excellent Limited Warranty, which includes:


  • New-vehicle warranty – four-year/50,000-mile coverage of the vehicle. 
  • Rust-perforation warranty – 12-year/unlimited-mileage coverage.
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BMW AssistTM provides the driver with services that enhance on-the-road security and convenience, for added peace of mind. The BMW Assist and Bluetooth® System is included in the Premium Package or available as a stand-alone option. BMW includes the Safety Plan for 4 years at no additional cost. BMW is the only manufacturer that offers this duration of service as other manufacturers only include the first year of service. The BMW Assist Safety Plan is a subscription based service that is subject to certain limitations.

The in-vehicle equipment for BMW Assist includes GPS technology and hands-free communication functions to deliver emergency and other services, accessed via buttons in the overhead or center console. The BMW Assist system transmits the location and vehicle information to the BMW Assist Response Center. A response specialist speaks with the vehicle occupants to coordinate dispatch, notify emergency contacts on file, and link BMW Roadside Assistance or emergency services as needed and/or requested. A severe accident automatically activates the Automatic Collision Notification function. The BMW Assist Safety Plan also includes Door Unlock and Stolen Vehicle Recovery services, which can save the owner time and money. New to BMW Assist is MyInfo, which allows users to send business listings and street addresses with associated phone numbers from the internet, directly to their BMW.

TeleService automatically notifies the BMW center when a vehicle will need service. A service advisor then proactively calls the customer to set up a convenient appointment and have the needed parts ready. 

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BMW Assist subscribers can also enroll in the BMW Assist Convenience Plan (available at an additional cost of $199 per year) to avail themselves of many BMW Assist concierge services, from finding the lowest fuel price or the best French restaurant in the area to information on flight arrival gates or times, as well as receive directions, and traffic and weather information. On 2007 and later models, a selected destination and its phone number can be sent directly to the BMW Navigation system (if so equipped) and the customer’s Bluetooth linked mobile phone, after a push of the Concierge menu option. New for 2009 is BMW Search, which allows those vehicles equipped with both the BMW Navigation and BMW Assist system to gain online access to the Google Maps database inside the vehicle to quickly find a desired business with just a key word. The Convenience Plan also includes Critical Calling, a service that can connect the driver to a requested party via a response specialist in case their mobile phone is not in the vehicle or its battery is discharged.

Lastly, the BMW Assist system includes Bluetooth hands-free phone connectivity with phonebook access and speech recognition for dialing by name or number via the steering wheel controls. Use of this feature requires a customer-provided compatible Bluetooth mobile phone. To learn more about BMW Assist, please visit www.bmwassist.com.

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Performance with a conscience

BMW strives to produce its motor vehicles and other products with the utmost attention to environmental compatibility and protection. Integrated into the design and development of BMW automobiles are such criteria as resource efficiency and emission control in production; environmentally responsible selection of materials; recyclability during production and within the vehicle; elimination of CFCs and hazardous materials in production; and continuing research into environmentally friendly automotive power sources. Tangible results of these efforts include the recycling of bumper cladding into other vehicle components; water-based paint color coats and powder clear coats; near-future availability of hydrogen-powered models; and various design and engineering elements that help make BMWs easier to dismantle at the end of their service life.

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U.S. Models Z4 sDrive30i Z4 sDrive35i
Base Price U.S.A. Port of Entry $45,750 $51,650
Base Price Euro Delivery Munich Pick Up $42,550 $48,035
Base Price Diplomatic U.S.A. Port of Entry $43,465 $49,070
18" Light alloy wheels (style 293) with run-flat performance tires NA $750
Sport automatic transmission with shift paddles $1,325 NA
7-Speed double clutch Transmission NA $1,525
Anti-theft alarm system $400 $400
Comfort Access system $500 $500
Power front seats with driver seat memory $995 $995
Heated front seats $500 $500
Brushed Aluminum trim $500 STD
Ash Grain Wood Trim $500 NC
Through-loading system with integrated transport bag $175 $175
Park Distance Control $750 $750
High Beam Assistant $200 $200
Navigation system $2,100 $2,100
BMW Assist $750 $750
HD radio $350 $350
Satellite radio with 1 year subscription $595 $595
iPod and USB adapter $400 $400
Smartphone Integration $150 $150
Colors / Upholsteries
Non-Metallic paint STD STD
Metallic paint $550 $550
Leatherette STD NA
Kansas Leather $1,250 STD
Nappa Leather NC NC
Extended Kansas Leather NA $1,350
Cold Weather Package $1,000 $1,000
Premium Package $3,900 $2,500
Premium Sound Package $2,000 $2,000
Sport Package $2,300 $2,300
Exclusive Ivory White Extended Leather $2,150 $2,050
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Alina Moore
Alina Moore
Alina Joined the Topspeed.com team in the early 2000s as one of the outlets very first experts, and she’s been with Topspeed.com ever since. Over the years, she’s served various roles, but today she’s is relied on heavily to verify automotive facts, assist with formatting, and discover new and engaging topics.  Read full bio
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