Introduced for 2003, the BMW Z4 roadster is all but unchanged for 2005.
The Z4 comes with a choice of two inline six-cylinder engines; the 2.5-litre engages a five-speed manual transmission, while the 3.0-litre hooks up to a six-speed manual.
The 2.5i includes a manually-operated soft top, automatic Xenon headlamps, adaptive brake lights, 16-inch star-spoke wheels, ventilated front disc brakes with solid rear discs, fog lights, heated mirrors, speed-sensitive wipers with rain sensor and heated washer jets, self-charging keyless remote, six-way manually adjustable sport seats in “leatherette”, leather-wrapped wheel with telescopic, manual air conditioning, cruise control, power windows, and CD/MP3 player with ten speakers including two subwoofers.
The 3.0i adds an electrically-operated soft top, 17-inch double-spoke wheels, four ventilated brake discs, matte graphite grille bars, matte chrome inner headlight housing, chrome exhaust tips, chrome door sills, and heated leather seats.
Should you not want to shift gears yourself, both models can be optioned with a $1,400 five-speed Steptronic automatic with manual mode; the 3.0i can also step up, for $1,700, to a six-speed sequential manual gearbox (SMG).
Its edgy styling, courtesy of Chris Bangle, is controversial, but there’s no question as to the Z4’s road abilities. Utilizing a suspension similar to that of the 3 Series, the Z4 is very stiff and reinforced, producing a package that can take rough roads and tight turns in a way that can sometimes be missing in a car lacking a metal roof. It’ll take on the toughest tasks you can give it, but it’s still an extremely accessible and fun-to-drive vehicle for around town.
Price-wise, it undercuts the Audi TT roadster and the Porsche Boxster, but the Nissan 350Z Roadster produces 62 more horsepower than the 3.0i for less money, and 103 hp more than the 2.5i for only $1,000 more. The Chrysler Crossfire also serves up more horsepower than the 2.5i, and German underpinnings, for $205 less.
The Z4 is built in Spartanburg, South Carolina.
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