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2008 BMW Z4 M

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2008 BMW Z4 M Review

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Since the late 1970s BMW's renowned Motorsport GmbH division has been turning out ultra-performance "M" cars. While the best-known of these remains the M3 and M5 Sedans, the U.S-built Z4 roadster has spawned a pair of equally scintillating offspring: The M Coupe and M Roadster. With notable upgrades to their powertrains, performance, appearance and attitude, these two-seaters are fully capable of putting their performance levels and images up to such competitors as the Porsche Boxster S and Cayman S, Chevrolet Corvette, Honda S2000, Lotus Elise and Exige, Mercedes-Benz SLK55 AMG and Nissan 350Z in its Grand Touring iteration.

You'll Like This Car If...

Both the Coupe and Roadster versions of this high-styled high-performance machine have the potential to fulfill the driving demands of even the hard-core enthusiast -- and to do to do so at a remarkably competitive pricepoint.

You May Not Like This Car If...

The 2008 BMW Z4 M Coupe and Roadster are most definitely not for the uncommitted. Neither offers an automatic transmission, and the extremely responsive handing exacts a tangible cost in ride comfort that can make their Porsche Boxster S and Cayman S counterparts feel almost cushy by comparison.

What's New for 2008

No major changes for 2008.

Driving the Z4 M
Driving Impressions

Expanding the Z4's already formidable dynamic envelope, the 2008 M versions complement their larger 3.2-liter 330-horsepower engines and sweet-shifting six-speed gearboxes with stiffer suspension, wider track dimensions, bigger wheels and...

... tires, more direct power steering and a variable-locking differential from the M3. The result is remarkably quick acceleration and extremely crisp responses, all supervised by a fairly non-intrusive Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) setup. Huge cross-drilled and ventilated anti-lock disc brakes (ABS) deliver plenty of confident stopping power. The trade-off for this handling capability is ride comfort, which is notably impacted by rough or uneven road surfaces.

Precise Steering Feel
Borrowed from the M3, the beautifully communicative and well-weighted rack-and-pinion power steering gear in the M Coupe and Roadster relies on straight hydraulic boost in place of the more technically complex but far less driver-connected assist systems that BMW uses in most of its other offerings.

3.2-Liter M-Spec Engine
BMW has a worldwide reputation for its superb in-line six-cylinder engines, and this M-massaged 3.2-liter stands as one its finest efforts. Redlined at a lofty 8,000 rpm, it makes an exhilarating 330 horsepower -- 75 more than the Z4 3.0i's 3.0-liter six -- and endows both the M Coupe and M Roadster with outstanding quickness and responsiveness.

2008 BMW Z4 M Details
Interior

Compact but well finished, the 2008 BMW Z4 M cabins make a most inviting driving environment. Exceptionally supportive sport buckets -- swathed in the same premium Nappa leather that wraps the steering wheel, shift knob and handbrake grip -- legible analog gauges and well-positioned pedals, function levers and switchgear are complemented by distinctive "M" logos on the doorsills, headrests and steering-wheel center pad. Brushed-aluminum dash and console accents are set off by a "pearl gloss galvanic" finish on the door pulls and handles, climate controls and instrument surrounds, but buyers can opt for no-cost Carbon Leather in place of the standard aluminum trim, or move up to optional polished Madeira Wood.

Exterior

Both the Z4 M Coupe and Z4 M Roadster boast numerous tweaks that impart a more visually aggressive character to the basic Z4 bodywork. Up front, a deeper front spoiler houses larger air intakes while bi-xenon headlamps replace the Z4's halogen units and longitudinal "precision lines" add extra visual emphasis to the hood. The distinctive rear treatment includes LED Adaptive Brake Lights that respond to the intensity of the stopping effort and a revised lower diffuser punctuated with chrome-tipped quad exhaust outlets. The Z4 M models also benefit from upsized wheel and tire fitments, with Z-rated 225/45R tires up front and 255/40R in the rear on unique 18-inch alloy wheels.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

Standard equipment on the M models includes a full array of power assists, Nappa leather upholstery, remote keyless entry, on-board computer, automatic climate control, a 10-speaker AM/FM/CD/MP3 sound system, ultra-supportive six-way bucket seats, a three-spoke multifunction sport steering wheel on a tilt and telescoping column, comprehensive Dynamic Stability Control (DSC), a special M-spec variable-locking differential, 18-inch staggered-width wheel and tire packages and the weight-saving "M" Mobility System in place of a spare tire. The Roadster adds a fully-lined one-touch power top and fixed rollover hoops, while both cars have front, front-side and knee-protection airbags.

Optional Equipment

Individual extras on both the M Coupe and M Roadster include metallic paint, eight-way power seats with a three-position driver-side memory, heated seats, iPod Seamless Integrated System, SIRIUS Satellite Radio, extended Nappa leather (covering the dash, console sides, door panels, sun visors and windshield pillars) and BMW Assist with Bluetooth hands-free phone technology. The Premium Package includes eight-way power seats, cruise control, auto-dimming interior and exterior mirrors, a 10-speaker Carver/THX Certified sound system, BMW Assist with Bluetooth and interior stow nets. The Z4 M Roadster also offers a bolt-on hardtop and hardtop prep kit.

Under the Hood

The 2008 BMW Z4 M Coupe and M Roadster share the same 3.2-liter DOHC in-line six used in the 2006 M3. Fitted with BMW's Double-VANOS variable valve timing on both intake and exhaust valves, it further benefits from a host of M upgrades, including a compression ratio of 11.5:1, individual throttles on each cylinder, high-performance lubrication and cooling systems and a freer-flowing exhaust, all of which helps it make 330 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque. Backed by a quick-shifting, six-speed manual gearbox, it will send either of these stormers to 60 miles per hour in a claimed 4.9 seconds. There's even a special console-mounted "Sport" button that quickens throttle response.

3.2-liter in-line 6
330 horsepower @ 7900 rpm
262 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4900 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 15/22

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