Long bonnet, short overhangs, low centre of gravity, soft top: the new Z4 two-seater doing its laps at the BMW test centre in Miramas in the south of France is instantly recognisable as a purebred roadster.
The new BMW Z4 is currently undergoing another particularly important stage of the process towards serial production maturity, in this case involving driving dynamics testing of a heavily disguised prototype.
Trials at the Autodrome de Miramas are focusing on fine-tuning of all drive and suspension systems.
Some dynamic handling and nimbleness is to be expected from this new Z4. Just look at the BMW Z4 M40i. A new, extremely powerful in-line 6-cylinder engine, a lowered sports suspension with electronically controlled dampers, a newly developed front axle, M light alloy wheels with mixed tyres, an M sports brake system and an electronically controlled lock in the rear axle differential create an overall package that sees this BMW M Performance model setting a benchmark for driving pleasure in the roadster segment.
“The vehicle concept of the new BMW Z4 is geared consistently towards agility and driving dynamics,” explains Jos van As, Head of Application Suspension. “The high level of body stiffness and the very rigid suspension attachment provide the perfect basis for a set-up that guarantees the performance qualities of a genuine sports car in terms of steering precision as well as longitudinal and transverse acceleration.”
Like the Nürburgring-Nordschleife, the Miramas test centre offers perfect conditions for the new BMW Z4 to demonstrate its driving dynamics potential. Used by BMW to develop and test new models for more than 30 years, the centre comprises a long asphalt oval and a motorway ring road for high-speed tests as well as slalom, serpentine and circular tracks and a number of handling courses and circuits featuring highly diverse types of surface.
These are currently being used for detailed analysis and optimization of the roadster’s acceleration, steering and brake response. For example, the final form of the adaptive M suspension as it interacts with the rear axle limited-slip differential is developed on the same circuit as is also used for testing purposes by BMW Motorsport.
The new generation Z4 will give you agile handling, spontaneity and steering precision when changing direction and will allow you to accelerate in dynamic style out of bends – without neglecting creature comfort…
Needless to say that, as an enthusiastic Z3 owner, we are very keen to get behind the wheel of this new Z4!
Hans Knol ten Bensel