BMW updated its Z4 roadster for the 2009 model year, offering two engine choices for the U.S., a 3-liter inline six cylinder engine, and a twin turbocharged version of the same engine.
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The Z4's styling didn't get a radical change, although the formerly smooth sheet metal down the sides gets broken up with some stylized lines.
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The nose of the Z4 is longer than on many roadsters, and bulges upwards, into the driver's line of sight.
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The twin turbo 3-liter six cylinder engine puts out 306 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque, enough to get the Z4 to 62 mph in 5.1 seconds.
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The Z4 retains a good front to rear weight ratio, with the seat area near the back wheels.
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The convertible is a hard top, with panels that cleverly fold into the trunk. It's a little slow, but the hard top is a good thing to have in bad weather.
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With the top up, the Z4's profile looks somewhat like the Coupe version of the car.
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The trunk space gets compromised by the convertible hard top. With the top down, access to the trunk is particularly difficult.
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This car is equipped with the optional M suspension, with three modes labeled Normal, Sport, and Sport Plus.
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An expensive car, the interior reflects its luxury nature.
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Handling is really good with the new Z4, employing classic BMW style, which lets the back end come out a little in the corners.
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Typical with BMWs, the gauges are simple, and a small display between them shows trip and other information.
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The Z4 came equipped with the optional DCT, a twin clutch transmission, although this shifter is the same as you get with an automatic.
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This new iDrive controller is a little more intuitive than the previous generation, although you can still spend a lot of time digging through menus on the car's LCD.
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The hard-drive-based navigation system has beautifully detailed maps, with a 3D mode showing topographic and architectural features.
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Live traffic reporting is also integrated with this navigation system.
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A port in the console handles iPods, USB drives, or any audio device with a 1/8th-inch output.
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The iPod navigation menu isn't the most intuitive we've seen, but it is usable.
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Satellite and HD radio are options in the Z4.
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As in other BMW models, Bluetooth phone integration is very good in this car, giving you access to a paired phone's contact list.
Photo by: Josh Miller/CNET
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