The open top BMW Z cars from 1 to 8 with 3 and 4 in between have always been right at home in surroundings like this on the Costa del Sol.
Classic front engine rear drive proportions.
Kudos from the propeller bunch.
They've always looked right at home with a pair of sunglasses near a seafront or storefront.
That to me a sports car from BMW, the supposed purveyors of the ultimate driving machine should be a rival for a Porsche Boxster.
Just an Audi TT.
It should be really dynamic, not just a bit sporty.
So to see if this latest version of the Z4 fits the descript or rips it up entirely, we're gonna go on a bit of a road trip.
Up to the hills.
Leaving the bling and the beachfront behind, we set off through town and then onto the motorway.
Although this particular model the top of the range 50,000 pounds Z4M40i has an M in its name and will do not 62 miles an hour and 4.6 seconds.
It's obviously not a full on motor school car.
However, the m 135 i and they will prove that this needn't necessarily be a bad thing.
And turbocharged straight six has the force of the boxer Lyft for sand fuel economy claim 33.2 mpg on the new WLTP cycle.
The tank will take 52 liters
Tank brimmed and roof on fells which takes a mere 10 seconds.
We headed east along the southern Spanish coast for a couple of hours before turning north at Almeria and into somewhere that looked curiously like America.
Well now we've got the roof.
It's worth mentioning this roof because of it's gone through a fabric roof rather than the folding hot tub that we've had in the previous generation.
Has it affected the visibility, the practicality at all?
Not really, as promised a tiny bit more wind noise but overall this is a really nice place to spend time there's plenty of room in here.
It doesn't feel like a cramped sports car at all and all the technology of course, and these big screens and being a fabric roof, saves 50 kilos or helps save 50 keynotes to the previous model and lowest the center of gravity overall as well.
Talking about practicality, the boot is enormous 50% bigger.
And what I mentioned that will because one of the boxes curious attributes is the fact that it is very practical in front and reboot but this I think it probably varies anyway We're nearly at the road we want to be.
I can see it up in the distance there.
I'm very excited about the road we're going to.
I've wanted to get here for years.
I'm just hoping it's as good as I think it is.
On the approach all the signs were promising.
For a start it was open.
And after leaving the last vestiges of white walls habitation behind.
Things got even better with turn after happened turn.
But it was only when we got to the top.
Put the roof down.
And saw what was below that we knew we'd really struck up some loot.
If you want an amazing road in Europe that isn't covered in snow or salt during winter, where do you go?
Well, this, Europe's only mainland desert is a pretty good place to start.
Of course even in a desert, it can still get a little chilly.
verging on the downright freezing up in the mountains.
Thankfully, there's Ed for has got excellent heated seats and even a heated steering wheel.
But nonetheless stopping to put a coat on the roof can stay down seems like a good idea, but scenery like this It would be criminal not to revel in your surroundings as much as possible.
This is the Tibetan desert.
He also developed.
An absolutely amazing.
Talaq is pristine changes sort of colors your along the road, so some bets are really really pale.
Some bits are new and wonderfully sort of dark.
The road runs across the Sierra Dallas for libraries mountain range Starting at the small settlement of Villa fee on the southern side, from here, the tarmac twists and turns for 16 incredible miles, reaching 1860 meters above sea level and process.
From the summit you can look back down on the desert floor far below.
And that Hollywood style sign.
Well it belongs to one of several film studios that produced so called Spaghetti Westerns back in the day.
Beyond that is Almeria and apparently on a good day you can even see Africa.
On the northern side of the mountain, the road has a slightly different but no less beguiling character.
It is faster and more flowing.
Plot an elusive course through the mountains where ancient caves still remain.
At the bottom is an even smaller cluster of houses that goes by the name of [UNKNOWN].
Like Villa Fete, it's buildings retain the traditional white walls of this part of Spain, making it stand out like a dollop of ice cream on an apple crumble.
Fewer than 250 people are listed as residents There is miraculously a hotel.
A hotel in which we stayed.
It's basic, but was actually everything we could have asked for.
With spotlessly clean rooms, good beer, well, I think just the one variety.
Strong coffee and a tariff that was well within even the confection budget.
So, what is this Z4M40I?
Like to drive on this amazing piece of road where suddenly quick single turbocharged straight six engine, putting out 335 brake horsepower, 369 pounds of torque, not 62 miles an hour and 4.6 seconds And crucially, what BMW's been trumpeting is that this is actually quicker around the N��rburgring than an M2 competition.
So this should be a really sporty car, hence bringing it up here.
Now, first thing you see is, I can see why This would be quicker than [UNKNOWN] It's extraordinary we've got a longer car than previous ads said Ford is also wider also taller but the wheelbase is shorter by 26 millimeters.
Also got wider tracks front and rear.
So 98 millimeters wider at the front 57 millimeters wider at the rare.
All of which obviously should add up to a much more agile car and it does feel it.
Gone is the slightly sort of ponderous hefty whirly feeling of the previous generation Z4.
This has much more alacrity to the way gets into corners.
What it doesn't have is quite the interaction of an M2.
It rolls and it makes really good use of its supersport tires but it's not a playful car.
While the steering is important because.
If you put it into sports it still just feels like as a bit of lay you have to put in sport plus now previously there was a rocket down here which made it very clear that there was a sport plus level above.
Now it just says sports you have to press that twice to get to sport plus I'm not does certainly make a difference as far as the car feels certainly very effective.
But this just a little softness to all the edges the gearbox is not a DCT.
It's an automatic so the gear shifts then it's slower exactly, but they're not, they're not snappy they're not [SOUND]
What this actually reminds me of in terms of driving is perhaps more the i8 in fact which might sound like a slightly odd comparison but the way that car has huge amounts of grip and it's not as though this is all grep and no handling you can certainly feel the balance of the car.
If you really try, you can unstick the rear end.
But it doesn't feel like it wants to be driven that way particularly and it's got an enormous amount of traction.
[SOUND] We've got an active limited slip differential and you can really feel it cloaring at the [UNKNOWN].
On the way out corners he, give it time, no charge talk.
This is extraordinary doesn't laid out below us.
I love this run down here, down to this hack and it looks as though you've just got to drive straight off.
The end of the road.
Into fresh air.
Thankfully the brakes are pretty good.
They have stood up very well actually.
One thing I haven't mentioned so far is the appearance of the Z4.
I love the design of the barge but the rest of it I'm not so sure about.
It's just not a beautiful car.
I quite like the look of it in profile and possibly from the red three quarters but overall I can't help thinking that it should be slicker or sharper but definitely not quite so fussy.
Perhaps that's just me, but certainly can be criticized Is the structural rigidity of this car, rides the bumps really well, and there's no shape through the steering wheel, structure at all.
Very impressive for an open top car.
So has this Z4 Torn up the script, not exactly.
Those soft edges mean it's still doesn't feel like a [UNKNOWN] sports car like a Boxster.
It's agile and certainly not unenjoyable on a road like this.
You get the feeling that At the end of the day, it's hard, not quite in it in terms of ultimate driving pleasure.
If you're looking for a car that really wants to let you explore its dynamics, have more of an input.
Slide it around a bit, perhaps This is not the car for it ready.
So the Z4 remains somewhere between an SLK and a boxer because while its underpinnings mean that it can be pushed very hard and not go to pieces dynamically it actually feels happier at about six or seven tenths.
And perhaps that's what people want.
It seems a shame that there won't be a full on Z for m. But the chassis potential does at least, bode well for Toyota who might serve up with the Supra, however, I suspect I will always remember the G29 Z4 M40i.
I will remember it because it brought me