BMW has a strange history with its coupe versions of roadsters. The Z3 roadster got a coupe version in 1999, but it is generally considered to have been built by a renegade group within BMW. The coupe version of the Z4 obtained all proper corporate approval.

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While roadsters are popular because of their open air qualities, the coupe variants are for the serious driving enthusiast.

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For our test car, we had the M version of the Z4 Coupe, which gets a 3.2-liter straight six engine producing 330 horsepower, a lot of push for a two-seater.

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The Z4 M Coupe is very distinct from its roadster counterpart. The roofline, with its severely slanting back, changes the appearance dramatically from the convertible top. The front-end retains its muscular bulge.

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There is little compromise in this sports car. For example, although it is a hatchback, it's strictly a two-seater in the grand tourer tradition, designed for two people to get away for a long weekend.

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The cargo space in the Z4 M Coupe is tight, compromised by the slant of the hatchback.

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Four pipes and a big M badge show that this car comes from BMW's line of high-performers. The M line was originally built as daily cars for BMW racing drivers.

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Space is tight in the cabin of the M Coupe, although the powered seats have good vertical adjustment.

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The three spoke steering wheel has a thick rim and good oversteer to compensate for its small size.

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Lights on the tachometer indicate redline, along with a yellow zone that gets higher as the engine gets warmed up.

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The six speed shifter has a ratchety feel going into gears, which could be a symptom of a powertrain that's due for an update.

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This Sport button unleashes very sensitive throttle response. Turn it off while underway and the car feels like it's suddenly got a trailer attached.

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The navigation screen swivels up out of the top of the dash, a good way to make it fit in the car, but in this position it is subject to glare.

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The main interface looks unfinished. It functions well enough, but it's not very informative.

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The map resolution is good on this navigation system.

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With an MP3 CD in the disc player, the screen shows track information.

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The equalizer allows for a high degree of sound customization for the M Coupe's THX certified sound system.

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The auxiliary audio input is hidden under the dashboard overhang. You pretty much have to read the manual to find it.

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The cell phone integration in the M Coupe works very well, with full access to phone books, making it easy to dial your contacts.

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We weren't very impressed with the voice command, as it only controls the telephone function.

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