Detroit 2009: Five Favorite Designs

2009 BMW Z4

Whether you like this hypercivilized, retracting-hardtop, two-seat convertible or not, you must admire the restraint expressed on the exterior and the warmth of the cockpit design, by far the best from BMW in a very long time. The Z4's body-surface development is so subtly done that not everyone will appreciate how beautifully handled are some of the difficult convex-concave transitions. Its top-down proportions do nothing to tell you that there is a hard top tucked in back. Unlike typical convertible-coupes, this is not a fat-tailed compromise, thanks to carefully painstaking work done by lead exterior designer Juliane Biasi and Nadya Arnaout for the interior.

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