2007 M New Car Test Drive
Consumers take advertising slogans with a grain of salt, and rightfully so. That's what makes it so hard to believe BMW's tagline, 'The Ultimate Driving Machine.' But BMWs really are fantastic driving machines, and the Z4 is the ultimate expression of BMW's ultimate goal.
BMW replaced the Z3 with the Z4 in 2003, initially offering only a two-seat roadster body style. The hard-edged styling was controversial at the time, but over the years consumers have come to accept it. The styling was mildly updated in 2006, when BMW introduced new engine choices, a sensuous hatchback coupe, and a high-performance M model. The Z4 carried over virtually unchanged for 2007.
With only two seats, rear-wheel drive, and a base price in excess of $36K, the 2007 BMW Z4 isn't a practical family car. It's better thought of as a second car. But, oh, what a second car it is.
Most of all, the Z4 is a blast to drive. The engines provide smooth, ample power. Coupe or roadster, the BMW Z4 offers sharp handling that is the match for anything on the road, yet the ride is compliant in base models. The interior is comfortable and well-assembled.
The high-performance M Coupe and M Roadster versions of the Z4 boast better handling, but can become harsh on rough roads when equipped with the optional Sport package.
The 2007 BMW Z4 is offered in three models and two body styles, and all have an inline six-cylinder engine. The 3.0i is available only as a roadster and has a 3.0-liter six-cylinder that makes 215 horsepower at 6250 rpm and 185 pound-feet of torque at 2750 rpm. Offered as a coupe or roadster, the 3.0si also has a 3.0-liter inline-6, but it makes 255 horsepower at 6600 rpm and 220 pound-feet of torque at 2750 rpm. The M Coupe and M Roadster feature a 3.2-liter inline-6 that puts out 330 horsepower at 7900 rpm and 262 pound-feet of torque at 4900 rpm.
A six-speed manual transmission is standard on all models, and a six-speed automatic is optional on all but the M for $1275. With the manual transmission, the 3.0i and 3.0si are rated at 20 mpg city and 29 highway; with the automatic they get 21/30. The M model has an EPA fuel economy rating of 16/24 and is subject to a $1000 Gas-Guzzler tax. All Z4s use premium-grade fuel.
The 3.0i roadster ($36,400) comes standard with a manual top with heated glass rear window, vinyl upholstery, air conditioning, interior air filter, tilt/telescoping steering wheel, cruise control, six-way manually adjustable bucket seats, heated power mirrors, power windows, power locks, remote keyless entry, AM/FM/CD player, iPod connectivity, outside temperature indicator, rear defogger, rain-sensing variable intermittent wipers, automatic headlights, fog lights, theft-deterrent system, 224/45R17 run-flat tires on alloy wheels.
The 3.0si coupe ($40,400) and roadster ($42,400) add leather upholstery, automatic climate control, center console, aluminum interior trim, THX audio system, trip computer, and map lights.
M Coupe ($50,100) and M Roadster ($52,100) get 225/45R18 front tires and 255/45R18 rear tires, a sport suspension, and xenon headlights with washers. Roadsters add a power top. Cruise control and the THX audio system are deleted.
A Premium package ($3,200) for the 3.0i includes a fully automatic top, automatic climate control, Bluetooth wireless cell phone link, eight-way power driver's seat with memory, auto-dimming rearview and outside mirrors, trip computer, BMW Assist, and interior storage nets. Leather upholstery ($1150) is also available. A Sport package available for 3.0i ($1000), 3.0si coupe ($1300) and 3.0si roadster ($1200) models includes sport suspension and BMW's Dynamic Driving Control, which has a Sport button that, when pressed, quickens throttle response, reduces power steering assist, and adds sport programming to the available automatic transmission. It also includes 225/45R17 front and 245/40R17 rear run-flat tires for 3.0i models and 225/40R18 front and 255/35R18 rear tires for 3.0si models.
Stand-alone options include the eight-way power seats ($995), M sport seats ($500), heated seats ($500), power convertible top ($750), fog lights ($260), xenon headlights ($700), navigation system ($1,800), BMW Assist ($750), and the THX sound system ($875).
Safety features include dual front airbags, front side-impact airbags, front knee airbags, LATCH-style child safety seat anchors on the passenger seat, ABS, brake fade compensation, brake standby, brake drying, EBD, traction control, antiskid control, tire-pressure monitor, and a hill-holder feature that prevents the car from rolling backward at a stop. Roadsters have two rollbars mounted behind the seats.