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Pre-launch impressions: BMW Z4 2009 March 21, 2009

Posted by Richard Aucock in Pre-launch impressions.
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Sitting on the plane, going through the press information for the Z4, writing this, I’m really rather intrigued.

See, I have a fair impression of what this car is going to be like. Fast, very crisp and agile. Sublimely cultured and smooth. Bigger and more grown up than the old one. And, vitally, smoother riding.

I don’t expect it to have lost the original’s alacrity and rear-balanced precision. Indeed, I expect this to be enhanced, as there’s surely no way the new one can tramline and follow the road surface as badly as the old?

pre-launch-impressions-bmw-z4-2009And, with the improvement in ride quality, it’s going to be a much easier car to drive on rough surfaces.

There should be a sat-back, powerful feeling, judging by how close the seats are positioned to the rear axle. That will be enhanced by an engine I adore – the 3.0-litre twin-turbo. 306bhp, 62mph in 5.2 seconds… it’s just dawning on me how fast this is likely to be.

Negatives? Well, I reckon they could have done more with the interior which, apart from a Z8 style centre console, lacks the special style of Audi’s TT. The instrument panel also looks a bit cheap, still, despite apparent improvements elsewhere.

Back to ride, though. They’ve got to, got to, have improved it, surely? In fact, I can guess they have. The press pack tells me the optional electronic damper’s stiffest setting is only as stiff as the old car’s standard set-up…

I have doubts over the price, though. The sDrive35i I’m driving today is £4400 dearer than the sDrive30i – that car’s almost as fast. What are the benefits of the sDrive35i? I’ll be grilling them to find out the intricacies.

My aim now is to always record these pre-impressions, then to see how the reality fares. You can follow my thought processes, and any preconceptions I take into the road test, for a more accurate representation of how a car actually is.