BMW: BMW Z4 Coupe 2006
2006 BMW Z4 COUPE 3.0si: BMW’s Contemporary Interpretation of the Classic Grand Touring Sports Car
In 2003, BMW launched an all-new 2-seater sports car, the Z4 Roadster. The Z4 lineup offered a pair of models, each powered by a version of BMW’s famously smooth and sonorous inline 6-cylinder engine. Firmly planted suspension, standard run-flat performance tires and state-of-the-art stability electronics were anchored in a remarkably rigid Roadster body/chassis structure; all of this was clothed in a unique and captivating look. Inside, the driver could enjoy the Z4’s innate sportiness while also savoring extensive comfort and convenience features as well as innovative design and materials.
And now, still within the 2006 model year, the Z4 acquires a new family member: the Z4 Coupe 3.0si. As the Series‘ first closed-body model, the new Coupe encloses its two seats and a larger cargo area in a graceful fastback body that retains the Z4’s unique aesthetic character while looking expressively new. With this addition, the Z4 lineup now consists of three models: Z4 Roadster 3.0i at $36,295 including destination as the “base“ variant; Z4 Roadster 3.0si at $42,795 with higher performance and other increments of technology and features; and the new Z4 Coupe 3.0si, which shares its performance and equipment level with the Roadster 3.0si.
The Coupe has a base price of $40,795 including destination charge; like the Roadsters it is produced at BMW’s newly configured and updated production facility in Spartanburg, South Carolina.
of the Coupe begins on May 1, 2006.
The new Coupe body
Reporting the Coupe’s debut at the Geneva Automobile Salon, Switzerland’s authoritative Automobil Revue described the design in its February 1, ‘06 issue: “The Z Coupe embodies the new BMW design in its purest form. It is characterized by round, flowing lines. Curved, long hood, pronounced wheel arches and a “trough“ down the roof’s center are classic sports-car design cues, but here they’re newly mixed in the BMW way.
Even stronger in its aesthetic impact is the fastback roofline.
For one thing, in cross-section its center depression or “trough“ is reminiscent of certain GT coupes of the Italian coachbuilder Zagato in the Fifties and later. In profile view, it flows in a line parallel to the side windows‘ top edge, then continues on down to meet a crisp, stand-out cutoff point that forms a rear spoiler. Then it concludes at the bumper as the bottom edge of a rear hatch.
This hatch, including the entire roof from the rear window’s top edge to the bumper, opens wide and high to provide excellent access to a relatively roomy cargo area that can accommodate two golf bags.
An intimate cabin for two
In its interior design, the Coupe adopts the primary design themes and materials of the Roadster 3.0si. BMW’s “High Performance“ leather upholstery is standard; the seats, upper door-panel inserts, console-side kneepads and center armpad are in this leather and it is available in three color schemes: Black, Dream Red/Black and Beige. Brushed-aluminum trim highlights the dash and console; Poplar Grain wood trim is available at no extra cost in Light or Dark tone.
The Z4 Series just became the first European cars to win the coveted THX Certification for their premium audio system. THX Ltd. was established in 1983 by filmmaker George Lucas, and has taken its mix of technology and certification programs to emerging entertainment media, including home theater systems, DVDs, video games and high-performance automotive audio systems.
In the closed-body environment of the Coupe, this system promises even more enjoyable listening. It includes a reception-enhancing diversity antenna system, and an iPod adapter kit is available to broaden the range of audio inputs.
All-new engine: BMW’s advanced N52 6-cylinder concept
The Z4 Coupe comes with a new generation of 6-cylinder engines, called N52. Compared to its predecessor, the M54 engine family, the N52 achieves notable progress on all fronts (N52 3.0-liter of 3.0si models vs. previous M54 3.0-liter):
Transmissions: all choices are 6-speeds
Now the Z4 joins other BMW Series in offering a 6-speed automatic; compared to the previous 5-speed it’s fully 10% lighter, has a more efficient torque converter and new shift programming for improved responsiveness, actually operates with fewer internal clutches, and can reduce fuel consumption, particularly at cruising speeds when 6th gear is in frequent use.
As with other current BMW automatics, the STEPTRONIC feature offers drivers a choice of Normal, Sport and Manual modes. The Sport mode, in which shifts occur at higher engine speeds, is engaged by moving the lever leftward from Drive; the Manual mode is engaged when the driver manually chooses a gear by tipping the lever forward (for downshifts) or rearward (for upshifts).
(11. May 2006)
Photos: BMW AG