Under the hood, the Z4 features a pair of revised 3.0-liter inline-sixes. The sDrive30i comes with a naturally aspirated version of the engine producing 255 hp, compared with 215 hp in the current base Z4. Top-level, sDrive35i roadsters will receive the 300 hp, twin-turbo six used in the 335i. The sDrive30i comes with a choice of a six-speed manual or automatic, while the sDrive35i adds the option of BMW's seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. BMW estimates the dual-clutch transmission equipped, turbocharged model will go from 0 to 60 in 5.0 seconds.
At the moment, BMW has no plans for an M-model. Our man in Europe, Georg Kacher, indicates the reason is BMW can't fit the M3's V-8 into the Z4's engine bay. He adds that we might see some four-cylinders to the lineup in the near future.
Little has changed in the roadster's suspension, which retains the traditional strut front, multi-link rear configuration. Z4s equipped with the optional Sport Package get electronically adjustable dampers. Drivers will also be able to configure throttle and steering response, stability control, and the shift points on the automatic transmission.
The Z4 will launch late in the second quarter of 2009, just in time for summer. BMW has yet to release official pricing information, but expect the increased accomadations and the hardtop to add about $5,000 to $10,000, depending on the trim, meaning a base price around $40,000 for the sDrive30i and $50,000 for the sDrive35i. Stay tuned for more information.
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