2009 BMW Z4 sDrive35i

Jeffrey Jablansky
#BMW, #Z4

Yes, Joe, this has to be a contender for the most-ridiculous-name-on-a-modern-car title. Let's just call it a Z4.

Aside from the crazy name, this is a perfectly good roadster. The Z4 is quick, eye-catching, and handles well. I was fortunate enough to have light traffic during my night with the Z4, but that light traffic was partially due to the fact it was a rainy day. Leaving traction and stability control on, the Z4 never wanted for grip and the intervention was generally pretty smooth. I was expecting the explosive, yet linear, power of the twin-turbo engine to overwhelm the rear tires on wet pavement on a regular basis, but that only happened when I started playing with Sport and Sport+ modes.

This was also my first experience with BMW's DCT gearbox and I walked away impressed. Other than the shift paddles being the push up/pull down variety instead of the standard right up, left down variety, I found the DCT to be easy to live with. I prefer to leave these DSG-style transmissions in "S" mode, which gives a more aggressive, sporty shift strategy than fuel economy-focused "D" will.

I also agree with Joe DeMatio that a car like the Z4 is perfectly acceptable with a cloth top. Initially, the folding hard top craze seemed like a great idea, but there's an elegant simplicity to the cloth top. The Mazda MX-5 Miata is a perfect example of a car that's worse with a hard top and the Z4 is likely in that group, too. In a roadster, it's not like you're going to have that much cargo inside the vulnerable soft top, so you might as well enjoy the reduction in weight and complexity.

Phil Floraday, Senior Online Editor

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