I like McCausland's description of the BMW Z4 sDrive35is as a "tarmac-seeking missile," as it indeed is that. During a very fun weekend in the car, I spent a lot of time seeking tarmac myself: long, straight ribbons of it; short, undulating stretches of it; curvy, tightening, heaving pieces of it. It didn't much matter what kind of road I was on, the Z4 was a blast. What's nice is that it also has brakes to match the performance of the powertrain. I was giving a ride to a 15-year-old who's barely been in a convertible in her life, let alone a high-performance German car, and I did a 100-to-0-mph stop on a deserted stretch of road and she was astonished. So was I. It's also true, as McCausland says, that the 300-hp six in the standard Z4 sDrive35i is more than sufficient for this small car. But, you know, when it comes to horsepower, sometimes less isn't more; more is more! So I certainly won't deny anyone the pleasure of the sDrive35is and its 335 hp if they have $65K to spend.
The new styling of the Z4 is a great success on the road. I have driven few cars this summer that garnered so much attention, all of it from men ranging in age from teens to 20s to 40s. This includes the teenage son of the organic free-range farmers from whom I sometimes buy eggs. This young man usually demonstrates all the enthusiasm for his mother's egg-buying customers that you would expect from a sullen teen-ager, which is to say none. But when I wheeled the Z4 sDrive35is into their driveway, he was all smiles and solicitude, cheerfully asking, "Are you here to buy eggs?!?" "Yes," I replied. "Sorry, we're out," he said. "But I LOVE your car! I am a HUGE beemer fan!!"
At a gas station, a 40-something man who owns a concrete company leapt out of his heavy-duty pickup truck, bounded over, and said, "What did they do to it?" He clearly knew the Z4 was different but hadn't seen the new one on the road. I explained that it was all-new styling that, in fact, had been penned inside and out by two women in the BMW styling department. He walked around the car at the pumps, gazing appreciatively at every line, and declared that the long front end makes it look like it has a V-12 under the hood.
Joe DeMatio, Deputy Editor