What Car? says...
“Do not try to do everything. Do one thing well.” So said the late boss of Apple, Steve Jobs — a man who proved multiple times that the key to a successful product is simplicity. Now, that might sound counterintuitive; surely something that caters to everyone's tastes would be more successful? Not necessarily, as the BMW Z4 has proved.
To understand what we're on about, we need to look at the Z4's back catalogue. The first Z4, from 2002, was a focused, lithe sports convertible. A proper little driver's car that proved to be a huge success. But when BMW tried to make the second-generation Z4 user friendly, to broaden its appeal, it dulled the Z4's shine. The main problem was its folding metal hard-top roof. This was great at sealing out the elements, but it was also very heavy and ruined the car's handling.
This is the third-generation Z4, and it appears to have gone back to basics. The focus – says BMW – is on driver appeal. It has reverted to a lighter, fabric hood, which lowers the car's centre of gravity, and completely redesigned the suspension to make the Z4 corner with greater aplomb. Straight-line performance is dealt with by engines that include a couple of 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbocharged petrols, plus a butch, six-cylinder motor in the range-topping M40i.
It sounds like a convincing package, but what's it like in reality? Keep on reading to find out, because we'll tell you exactly how the Z4 drives and how it compares to its main rivals. Those include the well-rounded Audi TT Roadster at one end of the price spectrum and the dominant Porsche Boxster at the other.
When you're ready to take the plunge on your new car, don't forget to head straight to our New Car Buying page to see how much of your hard-earned cash we can save you.
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