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2011 BMW Z4 Roadster Test Drive by Martha Hindes

2011 Sexy Car Buyer's Guide by Martha Hindes

2011 BMW Z4 Roadster sDrive35is

Ever hear the expression "point and shoot" when referring to an auto? There's one car company that virtually invented that expression, or glommed onto owning it long ago. Think of a 2011 BMW Z4 hardtop convertible and you can visualize putting an object in your sights, flooring it, then spinning the steering wheel at the last second and knowing exactly how much space will be left between you and the object as you blow on by. That's called nice handling.

Of course this is best done with inanimate objects such as orange traffic cones since that's always a judgment call. But it has to be almost as close as a persistent paparazzi can get to sneaking tight photos of Beyonce's bouncy backside without getting slapped in the process. (Probably not a problem with Lady Gaga or Katy Perry.)

We chose the Z4 deliberately here since it is virtually synonymous with "sports car" for us, and comes only in droptop demeanor for two without pretending it's a sporty family-friendly sedan. We love its no apologies purpose. Jump in and go. Just you and me baby burning up road with abandon on a long, wild drive up the canyon or down the coast. Need clothes when it's time to peel off those Speedos at party time? Consider buying something new, since it's unlikely much luggage can stash in the trunk once the intricate foldable coupe hard top is hidden inside.

Naturally when something is so right, there could be a hiccup, like expecting someone to actually say "2011 BMW Z4 sDrive35is." Maybe the folks at BMW know that "Z4" or the familiar "Beemer" will do for most and let the purists duke it out phonetically. (Rather like "TomKat" subbing for Tom Cruise and Katy Holmes.)

All this leads to a key point. BMW has packed extra performance and "enhanced management" into the Z's turbocharged inline-6 engine that puts the "35is" in the equation. The seven-speed "double clutch" transmission shifts without letting off power to the rear tires. Horsepower now hits 335. Blast off acceleration comes from an "overboost" function said to kick torque as high as 369 lb-ft (quoting BMW). Translation: Find yourself pasted against the seat back and hang on for the ride.
Gearheads undoubtedly will have their day with this one, bemoaning its stinging $62,500 base price tag and less than sports car purpose. No word on the 17/24 mpg rating on premium.
Our assessment? If you find that low slung front fascia, kidney shaped grilles and distinguishable engine roar sniffing at your rear bumper, better move aside. With aim like that, you wouldn't want to become race car road kill.

For more information on the BMW Z4, click here.


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