You sit in your new BMW Z4 35i, roof down, sun shining and a winding road ahead — there aren’t too many instances in life when you can enjoy a car like this. You put your foot down on the straight bits, feel the 302 horses under the bonnet get you up to speed indecently fast and revel in the sporty exhaust note bouncing off the mountain walls. There may not be many cars in India in which you can live out a such fantasy, but the Z4 is here and if you’ve got Rs 61.98 lakh, this dream can come true. The Z4 isn’t an impractical convertible to own either: It’s got an electrically-operated metal roof that folds away into the boot at the touch of a button.
There’s a great low-slung driving position, there’s that lovely, thick-rimmed steering wheel in front of you, the classic long bonnet ahead of you and a short, stubby boot behind you.
Given its compact size, the Z4 is a lot more comfortable than it looks. With the roof up, there’s a decent 310 litres of space, but fold the roof into the boot and there’s just an A-star-rivalling 180 litres. With the roof up, there’s good space (legroom, headroom, shoulder) and with the electric seat adjustment, it’s easy to get comfortable behind the wheel.
With its twin-turbo straight-six engine, rear-wheel-drive platform and two seats, the Z4 is anything but ordinary. The 3-litre engine has a wide torque band, so it pulls strong and clean right from 1,300 rpm. It loves to rev and the power delivery is linear. There’s enough shove to get to 100 kph in 6.2 sec and on to 200 kph in 23 sec before the speed limiter cuts in at 250 kph.
Our car had adaptive suspension. Even in 'Normal' setting, there’s loads of grip, little body lean and the steering is sharp, if a bit short of feel. The ride is stiff at low speeds, and sharp bumps sound painful. It hates any form of broken tarmac but, for the handling on offer, it’s not that bad. It even surprised us by clearing some really big speedbreakers without grounding out.