You do not have to wait for the first rays of sunshine next year to receive the sporty new Z4 Cabriolet from BMW.
But even as the leaves began to turn in the fall, I could enjoy the pleasures of the wind in the open hair of the exceptionally powerful new roadster of the German car giant, which attracts generations of soft top heritage, including the Z1, Z3 and Z8 models and back to the pre-war BMW 328.
When the first photographic images of the Z4 appeared, he split the opinion of a Marmite car. A bit ugly duckling. But near the metal and on the road it really grows like a pretty animal and almost a royal swan.
ZZ top down: We drove the brand new BMW Z4 Roadster before landing in the UK
The new Z4 Roadster relies on generations of soft top heritage, including pre-war module 328 (far left) Z1 (second left), Z3 (third from left) and Z8 models (far right).
It is expected that more than 2,400 Britons will buy the new Z4 in the first full year of production.
In the global market launch in Portugal – an attempt to guarantee some sun – I drove the top class Z4 M40i from £ 49,050.
It is powered by a 340-horsepower, 3.0-liter, turbocharged straight-six engine tuned to a very flat Steptronic 8-speed manual gearbox with manual paddle override.
I can not deny the thrust when I pressed the pedal on the metal to achieve an acceleration from 4.6 seconds to 62 miles per hour.
The top speed is electronically limited to 155 mph, which is restricted for German motorways but could cost your license elsewhere.
There is also a start control function for real gasoline heads that want to start hard from scratch without losing traction.
However, it is a wonderfully liberating feeling to have such a civilized power under the hood as you rush down on an otherwise deserted beach road with its roof and windows down and the sun on your face.
Ray Massey traveled to Portugal for the official start to test the convertible in sunnier climates
The roof can be lowered by pressing a button in 10 seconds. You can also drop the lid while driving, but only at speeds of up to 30 km / h
BMW estimates that it will sell 2,400 Z4 roadsters in its first year of sale in the UK
The Z4 is a strong presence on the road with the eye-catching BMW Racing mesh on the traditional, albeit growing, kidney-shaped grille.
The long bonnet and distinctive styling with reasonably accurate handling, supported by a low center of gravity and a stiff chassis, give a firm, secure and fleshy feel.
But it also has impeccable manners when you walk along the coast at slow speeds or through quiet villages.
You can customize the vehicle to suit your driving style and riding conditions, from a comfort comfort mode to a responsive sport mode to full sport.
The ride height of the car can also be lowered by up to 10 mm for an appealing response.
The MSport rear differential also keeps you on track by using an electric motor to assist the two rear wheels when cornering and to move the vehicle out of corners.
Although it represents a significant style update compared to its predecessor, it still has this traditionally long bonnet
You can customize the vehicle to suit your driving style and riding conditions, from a comfort comfort mode to a responsive sport mode to full sport
Ray loved the comfortable seats and said the cockpit was a corrosive place
The comfortable and supportive M high-back leather sports seats with lumbar support and integrated headrests provide safety and attention in a cuddly Alcantara leather cockpit.
The M40i comes standard on 18-inch twin-spoke alloy wheels with the 19-inch option.
Two more engines will be available in March next year.
The entry-level model of the sDrive20i costs £ 36,990 and has a 2.0-liter 197-hp four-cylinder gasoline engine that accelerates from a standstill to 62 mph in 6.6 seconds and a top speed of 149 mph fuel efficiency of 47.1 mpg and CO2 emissions of 138 g / km.
The sDrive30i costs from £ 40,690 with the same 2.0-liter engine, but 258 hp, which will accelerate from rest to 62 mph in 5.4 seconds, but the same fuel economy and CO2 emissions as the sDrive20i have.
The new Z4 has grown both in size and in growth and is 85 mm longer, 74 mm wider and 13 mm higher than its predecessor. The shortening of the wheelbase by 26 mm, however, has contributed to the improvement of mobility and balance.
At launch, we were at the top of the Z4 M40i series, which costs from £ 49,050
The entry of the sDrive20i costs 36,990 pounds and is powered by a 2.0-liter 197-hp four-cylinder gasoline engine
The sDrive30i costs from 40,690 GBP with the same 2.0-liter engine, but with 258 hp, which accelerate from standstill to 62 mph in 5.4 seconds
The all-electric fabric roof opens and closes at the push of a button within ten seconds at speeds of up to 30 km / h. So you can quickly fall into the ground in a sudden shower on the go, without you having to hang on the nozzle road side.
It is available in black as standard with the option gray anthracite with silver effect.
You have the choice of eight metallic shades and a non-metallic color palette. You have a lot of leeway to set individual accents, if your budget fits. BMW extras are not cheap.
The protective roll bars on my M40i were in a cerium gray. The models of other models, however, have a matt aluminum or a high-gloss black.
Roadster owners worth their salt should not have to pack much more than a credit card and a toothbrush, but if you insist on carrying excess baggage, the trunk capacity has been increased by more than half to 281 liters.
The Ray Drive has a 3.0-liter turbocharged 340-hp straight-six engine tuned to a very flat 8-speed automatic transmission from Steptronic
The M40i can accelerate from rest to 62 mph in 4.6 seconds. Top speed is electronically limited to 155 mph, with speed displayed on this futuristic digital screen
There is still room behind the driver and front passenger seats to squeeze into a jacket or small soft bag, and a handy narrow net along the back to store bells and whistles. Under the central armrest are also large cup holders, which can be opened in two sections.
In the UK, LED headlights are standard, though non-dazzling high beam and cornering light are optional.
The Auto M40i I drove, many sports enhancements – such as the powerful M Sport brakes and adaptive sports suspension, the high performance tires and the M Sport differential – are available as standard or offered for other lower trim levels.
BMW Z4: Does it fit in my garage?
Model: BMW Z4 M40i
Price: from £ 49,050
On sale by: March 2019
Length: 4324 mm
Width: 1,864 mm
Height: 1,304 mm
Wheelbase: 2,470 mm
Engine: 3.0 liter turbocharged six-cylinder
Acceleration 0-62mph: 4.6 seconds
maximum speed: 155 mph (electronically restricted)
Average fuel consumption: 38.7mpg
CO2 emissions: 165 g / km
Roof: Opens and closes within 10 seconds at up to 30 km / h
Luggage capacity: 281 liters
To protect you while driving, there are a variety of safety features, including a collision and pedestrian warning with Brake Assist, city brakes and lane departure warning.
The Smart Cockpit is clearly laid out and equipped with high-tech features including 10.5-inch instrument cluster and indicator lights.
For the first time in a BMW Roadster, the company offers the option of head-up displays, which I consider indispensable today to keep my attention on the road.
Options packaged in different packages, depending on the standard model, include a wind deflector, steering wheel heater for frosty open top drives, a hatch door when you want to load your skis, electric seat adjustment, Harmon-Kardon surround sound speakers and active cruise control ,
There are also all sorts of parking aids, but frankly you can navigate yourself very well.
But the clever Back-up Assistant remembers where you've been driven and will automatically drive you back up to 50 meters along a given path, where there's little room for error when you're in tight spaces.
You can also open the smartphone with an electronic digital key that can be shared with up to five other people.
Although BMW is based in Munich, the new Z4 will be built by the Austrian Magna Steyr in Graz under license, but according to BMW standards. It is also the product of a collaboration with Japanese auto giant Toyota, which produces its own Supra-model sibling.
The first generation of the BMW Z4 was built between 2002 and 2008 in Spartanburg, South Carolina.
Save money while driving