The New BMW Z4 Roadster


2006 BMW Z4 M roadster
2006 BMW Z4 M roadster

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12th April, 2006

Blazing into Australia toting 252 kW and 365 Nm of torque, the sleek, 3.2-litre BMW M Roadster arrives in unison with new, fresh-faced and agile 2.5si and 3.0si Z4 models that rewrite the rules on how to build a muscular, confident, front-engined two-seat sports convertible.

The arrival of the M Roadster increases the Z4 range to three models.

“The expanded Z4 range offers the unique opportunity to choose the sports car you want,” says Franz Sauter, Managing Director of BMW Australia.

Sunshine Aston Martin 
Southport QLD

    “With its overtly purposeful style, near-perfect weight balance and the choice of three powerful BMW in-line six-cylinder engines, the Z4 Roadster captures the very essence of what a sports car should be."

    “It is underwritten by the BMW reputation for building cars with a distinctly sporty emphasis."

    “In fact the Z4 is the distillation of what the company is all about. And the arrival of the Z4 M Roadster version establishes it as the most exciting sports car in its segment."

    “It is the epitome of the BMW slogan: the Ultimate driving Machine,” Dr Sauter said.

BMW Z4 Roadster- What’s new.

  • Top of the range 3.2-litre Z4 M Roadster introduced in Australia
  • New, more powerful 2.5-litre and 3.0-litre straight-six cylinder engines
  • New front bumper design with rectangular fog lights for 2.5si and 3.0si
  • Modified kidney grille
  • New front air dam with more pronounced edges
  • Modified tail light cluster
  • New rear bumper design
  • Ruthenium inlays on 3.0si climate control, air vents and roll bars
  • New interior trims

The Z4 continues a BMW tradition of Roadsters that, for 70 years, has always embraced the same essential elements: sportiness, elegance and purism.

The structural elements – front engine, long wheelbase and bonnet, low seating position and short overhangs front and rear, can be found in BMW sports cars dating back to the minimalist BMW 3/15 PS Wartburg Roadster of 1931 and continuing through the 328 in 1936 and 507 in 1956, to the more recent Z1 in 1988 and Z8 in 2000.

Distinguished visually from the Z4 2.5si and 3.0si Roadsters by a more aggressive front air dam with three air intakes, and a rear bumper featuring a wide diffuser below the number plate as well as outlets for the twin dual-pipe exhausts, the Z4 M Roadster is fitted with exclusive, mixed double-spoke 18-inch M alloy wheels measuring 8x18 at the front and 9x18 at the rear.

The high-performance tyres are also mixed, measuring 225/45 ZR18 at the front and 255/40 ZR18 at the rear.

Inside, the M Roadster is identified by an M gearshift knob, an M leather steering wheel, with its distinctive profile incorporating thumb contours on either side, and nappa leather M sports seats for optimum passenger location and comfort.

The M logo appears on the aluminium doorsill, on the headrests, steering wheel and the illuminated gearshift knob.

The Z4 M Roadster uses a Tyre Pressure Control (TPC) system that advises if pressure in any tyre drops by more than 50 per cent. In the event of a puncture, the driver is able to seal holes up to 6 mm across via the M Mobility System (MMS), which uses a mini compressor and a fast-acting sealant. The car can then be driven to the nearest workshop without the need to change the wheel.

BMW M Power: The force behind the Z4 M Roadster.

The high-revving 3.2-litre in-line six-cylinder engine, already proven in the BMW M3 Coupé and convertible, is able to propel the M Roadster from zero to 100km/h in 5.0 seconds, and on to an electronically speed-limited maximum of 250km/h.

It produces its 252 kW at 7,900 rpm, along with 365 Nm of torque at 4,900 rpm – 80 percent of which is available from engine speeds as low as 2,000 rpm.

These figures are exceptional for a normally aspirated powerplant, and rate among the highest specific outputs of any production engine in the world.

This engine won the overall Engine of the Year Award on debut, and such is its appeal to enthusiasts, it has won its category each year for the past five years.

The BMW Z4 M Roadster’s engine uses a crossflow-cooled, light alloy cylinder head cast at the BMW Landshut plant in Germany, a perlite cast crankshaft, graphite-coated aluminium pistons cooled by oil injection and forged cracked steel connecting rods.

The engine management system employs a 32-bit micro-controller and operates at a mind-boggling 64 million calculations per second, while the M Roadster’s high-pressure double-VANOS system infinitely varies the camshaft timing according to control maps in the engine management system.

BMW M: Athleticism equals more than just muscle.

Underlying the BMW Z4 M Roadster’s powerplant is a six-speed manual transmission, a finely tuned suspension system, powerful brakes and an almost 50-50 weight distribution - all combining to extract the very best from the engine’s accelerative abilities.

And, putting an even firmer stamp on this sports car specification, are leading-edge BMW technologies that further refine the interaction between driver and car, and car and road.

The speed-sensitive, variable M differential lock, for example, allows optimum traction, particularly when accelerating out of a corner with a different coefficient of friction on either side of the car. The M differential lock used in the BMW Z4 M Roadster works in conjunction with a specially configured DSC system.

The Z4 M Roadster also utilises the high performance braking system that was conceived for the BMW M3 CSL. With its extra-large ventilated discs it is able to stop in just 34 metres from 100 km/h.

To extract the most from the capabilities of the 252 kW engine, the M Roadster utilises a 10 mm lower riding suspension with more negative camber, as well as a specially developed single-joint front axle with forged aluminium track control arms.

At the rear, the central arm axle uses two track control rods, the upper one made of aluminium, and one longitudinal arm mounted on a central support on the body. A V-bar extending from the rear axle to the body floor provides an additional stiffening effect.

Unlike the Z4 2.5si and 3.0si Roadsters, the M Roadster uses hydraulic power steering with a faster 15.4:1 ratio, giving even sportier, more rapid response to driver input.

BMW Z4 2.5si and 3.0si:

The BMW Z4 becomes more than ever a true expression of the essential two-seat sports car with the arrival of the new Z4 M Roadster.

Toting a 252 kW of power and 365 Nm of torque, the M Roadster compliments the 2.5si and 3.0si Z4 models.

But while the Z4 M Roadster shoulders its way to the head of the two-seat, open-top sports car pack, the 2.5si and 3.0si models introduce improvements that enhance the already captivating Z4 style, while adding to performance and improving fuel economy.

All this comes via the adoption of the same light-weight aluminium-magnesium engine technology used in 1 Series, 3 Series and 5 Series BMW models, with the use of Bi-VANOS and VALVETRONIC to unleash more power and torque, while meeting strict European EU4 emission requirements and returning even better fuel economy.

The result is that the Z4 3.0si slingshots to 100 km/h in just 5.7 seconds, yet is able to return a frugal average fuel consumption of 8.6 litres/100km.

This comes from a rise in power output, compared with the previous 3.0-litre engine, from 170 kW to 195 kW, and a torque increase from 300 Nm to 315 Nm.

The BMW Z4 2.5si, which uses the same VANOS and VALVETRONIC technologies, produces 160 kW and 250 Nm compared with 141 kW and 245 Nm from the previous 2.5-litre engine. This model will reach 100 km/h in 6.5 seconds, while averaging a meagre fuel consumption figure of 8.4 litres/100km.

Enhancing the athletic look.

While the Z4 M Roadster, with its hunched, low-slung stance, distinctive 18-inch five-spoke alloy wheels, front spoiler and quad-pack exhausts, might barely disguise its readiness to spring into action, the Z4 2.5si and 3.0si look more poised than ever.

The aggressive, long-bonnet profile, low-slung driving position, short overhangs and crisp, edgy styling are hallmarks of the BMW Z4 Roadster.

A new front end with a modified, more flush-mounted BMW grille and a re-shaped, cleanly-sculpted air dam containing rectangular fog lights and a wider, reshaped air intake all serve to further accentuate the powerful, long-bonneted Z4 look.

At the back, the wide stance of the Z4 is further dramatised by a new bumper with a sharply-defined line running below the boot lid across the width of the car, as well as cleaner, reshaped mouldings below the new taillights and, on the 3.0si, a larger, chrome-plated tailpipe.

Inside, the Z4 cabin, with its signature horizontal dashboard and twin circular instruments complimented by the stylish leather-rimmed three-spoke steering wheel, speaks of pure sports car function combined with traditional BMW style and luxury.

The white on black instruments feature a tachometer that responds to the oil temperature, advising the maximum upshift points as the engine warms up.

The leather seats are designed to offer the best possible comfort and offer a wide range of fore-aft adjustment to suit all drivers. The Z4 also provides generous headroom (with the roof up), while the steering column enables the driver to find a comfortable seating position with its ability adjust for both reach and height.

On the 3.0si, pearl gloss ruthenium inlays on the climate control, air vents and roll bars add to the Z4’s sense of individuality, while revised interior trims help impart a fresh new look.

Storage space is especially generous for a sports car, and includes, in addition to the glovebox, several storage boxes as well as a large, lockable 8-litre compartment in the rear bulkhead.

With the fast-acting, power-operated folding roof in the closed position, boot space in the Z4 2.5si and 3.0si models increases from an already generous 240 litres to 260 litres, sufficient to store two sets of golf clubs.

Music aficionados will also experience the aural delight of the high-quality HiFi systems available in the Z4.

Whether it’s the multi-speaker, 10-channel system with four 40-Watt woofers and six 25-Watt subwoofers, or the BMW Professional HiFi system with a digital 10-channel amplifier complete with sound processor and 100-Watt subwoofers on the rear bulkhead, the Z4 provides a genuine symphony of sound.

The Z4 is also available with either DVD-based Business radio navigation, or Professional navigation with a retractable 16:9 colour monitor located in the centre of the instrument panel.

Bi-Xenon headlights are standard on the Z4 M Roadster and optional on the Z4 3.0si Roadster delivering maximum high and low beam intensity, while also adopting the BMW signature “halo” rings around the circular reflectors.

The new BMW Z4 Roadster: Safe as houses.

The body of the Z4 Roadster is not just torsionally very rigid – it’s also very light as a result of weight-optimised manufacture and design, as well as the use of lightweight materials where appropriate. The roll bars, for example, are integrated into the body structure, while the boot lid is made of aluminium and high-strength steel is utilised throughout the body.

The Z4 Roadster body is exceptionally rigid, with a torsional stiffness of 14,500 Nm/degree making it the leader in its class and helping ensure not only outstanding handling qualities, but also a structure that provides high degrees of safety.

Ultra-strong steel pipes integrated into the A-pillar provide an immensely strong structure and compliment the stainless steel roll bars behind the seats.

EuroNCAP testing has given the BMW Z4 a four-star rating. The BMW Z4 collected 15.64 points out of a possible 16 in a head-on collision test, and the highest possible score of 16 out of 16 in a side-on collision.

Using dual front and side airbags, the Z4’s Advanced Safety Electronics (ASE) system masterminds the deployment of all four airbags, as well as the belt latch tensioners, according to the type of accident involved.

ASE also monitors the Safety Battery Terminal, making sure it is properly disconnected in a collision, while also switching off the fuel pump, unlocking the doors and switching on the interior lights and hazard warning flashers.

BMW Z4: Engines to make your heart sing.

The new, award-winning aluminium-magnesium R6 in-line six-cylinder engine forms the basis for the new BMW Z4 2.5si and 3.0si Roadster models.

The lightest six-cylinder in its class –the 3.0si version weighs just 161kg - adopts weight-saving measures in addition to its aluminium-magnesium composite block - including hydro-formed camshafts, an electrically-driven water pump that operates independently of engine speed, a single drive belt for all ancillaries and a magnesium engine cover.

BMW experience in designing highly efficient and powerful engines is demonstrated in the advanced systems used in the R6 engines, including VALVETRONIC, which varies intake valve lift as well as duration, enabling maximum power and torque to be delivered through the entire rpm range, and Bi-VANOS, the infinitely variable camshaft timing system that operates on both the inlet and exhaust camshafts.

Twin balance shafts ensure smoothness across the rpm range, while the three-stage DISA intake manifold, as well as helping power delivery at all engine speeds, provides even more torque at low rpm.

The result is exceptional power and torque figures, whether it be the 160 kW and 250 Nm developed by the 2.5si, or the 195 kW and 315 Nm developed by the 3.0si.

And the Z4 experience is also one of aural, as well as tactile pleasures.

The R6 engine would hardly rate as a BMW design if it didn’t deliver a powerful, melodious sound, so the Z4’s intake and exhaust systems underwent a special development programme designed to do just that.

BMW Z4 transmissions: Six speeds across the board.

All manual BMW Z4 models are fitted with a precise, fast-shifting six-speed transmission with closely spaced ratios that allow for exuberant, instant power delivery when required, while also enabling relaxed, economical and comfortable highway cruising.

The Z4 2.5si and 3.0si are also available with a six-speed Sport Automatic transmission that allows the driver to choose between shifting gears manually via the lever on the centre console, or via paddles on the steering wheel.

The closely spaced Sport Automatic transmission ratios are matched to the sporting character of the Z4 and are designed to ensure maximum acceleration, with eager response to downshifts.

Rather than using an overdrive top gear, the automatic transmission is geared so the Z4 is able to reach maximum speed in sixth gear, whilst achieving reduced fuel consumption at lower speeds.

BMW Z4: Suspension.

The Z4’s suspension is tuned for the cut-and-thrust of sports car driving to provide tenacious, precise road-holding while allowing fatigue-free on-road comfort.

With its low centre of gravity, an almost 50-50 weight distribution and very wide front and rear track dimensions, the Z4 is configured to provide the ultimate sports car experience.

At the front is a spring strut suspension with forged aluminium control arms, an anti-roll bar and twin-sleeve gas dampers.

At the rear, the Z4 employs a central arm axle providing an optimum link between the rear axle subframe and the body, twin-sleeve gas dampers and an anti-roll bar.

The Z4 Roadster’s run-flat self-supporting safety tyres, 225/45R17 on the 2.5si and mixed 225/40R18-255/35 R18 on the 3.0si, use reinforced side flanks and additional inserts, along with temperature-proof rubber compounds.

They are fitted to special rims designed so that a tyre suffering loss of pressure is prevented from coming off the rim.

These run-flat self-supporting safety tyres can operate at speeds up to 80 km/h for up to 250 km, with all control systems such as ABS and DSC fully functioning.

The run-flat self-supporting safety tyres on the BMW Z4 are combined with an electronic Tyre Pressure Control system that advises of a possible loss of tyre pressure via a visual warning on the instrument panel.

Early warning keeps the driver alert to potential tyre problems, helping to avoid inconvenience. If the tyre is punctured, the self-supporting feature of the tyre allows the car to be driven safely, with steering, braking and cornering control intact, to a tyre repairer or BMW dealer. The driver is not stuck at the side of the road, potentially in a dangerous position.

Additionally, the driver is not exposed to passing traffic when changing the wheel.

The rims of the Z4 Roadster are fully compatible with conventional tyres, meaning a standard tyre can be fitted if necessary.

BMW Z4: Steering.

The electromechanical Electric Power Steering (EPS) featured in the BMW Z4 2.5si and 3.0si provides numerous benefits extending beyond the ability to provide the driver “feel” so necessary in a sports car, as well as the correct amount of assistance according to vehicle speed, whether it be on the open road, or in a parking lot.

The EPS system also provides effective self-centering, further enhancing the Z4’s on-road stability.

EPS links to the DDC system as well, which means the driver is able to reduce the amount of power assistance, giving an even more “connected” feel when required.

And, because EPS uses no engine power when in a straight-ahead position, fuel consumption is also reduced, by as much as one litre every 400 km compared with a conventional power steering system.

BMW Z4: Brakes.

The braking system is a vital element in any car, and this is particularly so with the performance and dynamics inherent in the BMW Z4.

Here, the employment of high-performance brakes using discs on all four wheels, along with ABS, DSC and DTC, means powerful, stable control in all conditions ranging from light use to emergency high-speed applications.

In the 3.0si, a new 17-inch braking system, featuring vented discs on both front and rear wheels, provides tenacious stopping power suiting the car’s outstanding performance characteristics.

The Z4 Roadster also uses two-stage Adaptive Brake Display (ABD), which varies the intensity of the stop lights, depending on how hard the brakes are applied, to better warn following drivers.

DSC+ helps maintain stability in a wide variety of situations

The latest generation Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) system used in the BMW Z4 Roadster does a lot more than merely controlling understeer or oversteer.

Today, it offers a far wider range of functions including Stability Control (ASC) which monitors wheelspin and stabilises the vehicle by reducing power and torque if necessary, or brakes the driving wheel that is about to spin, and Cornering Brake Control (CBC) which selectively regulates the brakes to keep the car on line if they are applied even lightly in a bend.

The latest generation DSC+ also includes:

  • Brake Pad Wear Control which monitors the condition of the brake pads,
  • Dynamic Brake Control, which maximises brake pressure under heavy emergency braking,
  • Hill Set-Off, which applies the brakes on an uphill gradient when the car is stopped, preventing it from rolling back,
  • Automatic Brake Drying, which subtly brings the pads momentarily into contact with the discs to dry them out in wet-weather conditions,
  • Brake Standby which pre-loads the pads if the system detects the driver abruptly releasing the throttle, and
  • Automatic Fading Compensation, which further boosts pressure when the brakes are exceptionally hot.

DSC also integrates Dynamic Traction Control (DTC) which, at the press of a button, enhances the threshold before intervention at low to medium speeds.

DDC: Extra dynamism at your command.

Just when you thought the BMW Z4 Roadster was more than adequately powerful and dynamic, BMW offers Dynamic Drive Control (DDC), which unleashes even more urgent response from the engine while further sharpening the steering and, in automatic transmission versions, exploiting more forcefully the upper reaches of the rpm band.

DDC brings into play a more sporting control map for the engine, while also changing the response pattern of the electric power steering for even crisper handling.

In DDC mode, the automatic transmission executes even faster shifts, while also taking the engine to higher rpm on each gearchange.

BMW Z4: 2006 Prices.

Manual Auto
Z4 2.5si $77,600 $80,200
Z4 3.0si $90,800 $93,400
Z4 M $129,500 N/A

Other BMW news: here.

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