- The Washington Times - Friday, March 14, 2003

BMW's Z4 Roadster is a feast for the senses. Its visual effect is positive for the majority. It is lower, more aerodynamic, and exudes an aggressive attitude, bordering on mean but a good mean.
The Z4 is loaded with a variety of safety and performance-enhancing features such as: Dynamic Stability Control; Dynamic Traction Control; electric power steering; integrated rollover protection bars; dual door-mounted air bags; dual smart air bags for driver and passenger; active knee protection; and four-wheel anti-lock brakes with Dynamic Brake Control.
The Z4 draws its motive power from either a 2.5-liter inline six-cylinder or a 3.0-liter inline six engine your choice. For the true enthusiast, there really isn't an option here, the 3.0-liter mill is the only way to go. While the rest of the car is all new, the engines are, in reality, evolutionary. The 3.0i offers up to 225 horsepower compared with the 2.i's 184 horses. Torque output is 214 and 175 foot-pounds respectively. Standard gearboxes are of the manual variety the 3.0i gets a six-speed and the 2.5i a five-speed. Options include a Sequential Manual Gearbox (SMG) or a five-speed automatic StepTronic with adaptive transmission control and selectable sport mode.
As with all BMWs, the drive comes from the rear wheels. The Z4 is 100 percent sniffer than the outgoing Z3 it is also lighter. The top is fully lined and manual, with the optional automatic version taking only 10 seconds to raise or lower. A removable hardtop will be available in the future.
Driving the car is even more rewarding it is well balanced, responsive and spirited. Acceleration is instantaneous and braking is equally reactive. The steering can be a bit twitchy over curved, bumpy surfaces nothing that paying strict attention can't overcome. The wheel itself is actually a four-spoke unit, but configured in a way that appears to be only three spokes, with single spokes at 9 and 3 on a clock face and dual spokes at 6.
The interior is exceptionally comfortable and supportive. Controls are well placed and reasonably intuitive. The ride quality is unquestionably firm, but not unpleasant. The Z4 strengthens the definition of a roadster. It is a superb and exhilarating machine to pilot, either in an urban, civilized setting, over a challenging back road or on a racecourse.
For the individualist, there are a host of accessories with which to personalize the Z4, or one's self to match your ride, in terms of apparel or jewelry. Even as it sits on the showroom floor, the Z4 is a winner the eyes have it.

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