It’s not often that we in Singapore get to enjoy a brand new car’s unveiling before the rest of the World does and it’s not often that a car is brought here that’s worth a mention by automotive news outlets outside of Asia. But over the weekend, that was exactly what happened as BMW Asia somehow managed to quietly bring over the only other production prototype of the latest BMW Z4 to Singapore for the BMW World event, and we became the first people outside of Pebble Beach USA to lay our eyes (and hands) on BMW’s latest “Future” car (yes, the Z in Z4 stands for Future). Ladies and Gents, presenting to you, the G29 Z4. What a beaut.
Right off the bat, i really have to talk about the design. Penned by Aussie designer Calvin Luk, the latest Z4 definitely projects a much more muscular and purposeful design than its predecessor.
Gone is the hardtop and the more graceful flowing character lines that arc along the side and in their place is a single stroke that starts out just after the front wheelarch, accentuating the side vent scallops before tapering off along the rear lights where the lines blend into the bodywork towards a very pronounce duck tail spoiler. It is a very beautiful line, giving the car more aggressive attitude than the outgoing model.
One thing that has kept me wondering is how did they manage to press out this rear book deck from a slice of sheet metal.
Those dramatic side cutouts and scalloped surfacing also give more off more than a hint of the original Z4 and new 8 Series.
Unfortunately, the front end has courted A LOT of controversy and has garnered a ton of criticism for having a face that resembles a Kia Stinger’s. Great news for Kia, not so for BMW. This is rather unfortunate because yes, there are some merits to those complaints, no thanks to BMW’s choice of colour for the car and (mesh) grille. I reckon had BMW stayed with a traditional chrome grille with vertical slates, half of those complaints would have gone away. Also unfortunate is how when transitioning from Concept to Production ready, the grille lost its characteristically BMW shark-nose rake which was a very striking feature of the Concept.
I’m guessing the design department lost that battle due to upper management wanting to have a high pedestrian safety rating (which is probably also why the Z4, the Kia Stinger and the Fiat 124 Spider have rather similar front fascias), but ditching aesthetics for pedestrian safety (pffft) has really caused the overall design to suffer. This was one area i wish the design department had fought and won, the shark-nose BMWs need to make a return!
But honestly, in the flesh, this car is lovely to look at and kudos to BMW for being brave enough to give the Z4 a fresh new redesign instead of just an evolution of the previous model.
The revolutionary design approach continues inside with what is quite possibly one of the biggest jumps in BMW interiors, once again taking cues for the flagship 8 Series Coupes. Gone are the more traditionally styled readouts and in their place is now a very fashionable, fully digital screen with a redesigned UI, now bringing the navigation on board.
The overall dashboard design has also moved up a notch in the premium aesthetic with the iDrive screen now beautifully integrated next to the instrument cluster.
The centre console has also undergone a makeover with a new iDrive control dial now having a rather tactile knurled outer rim and the engine start-stop button has also been moved down next to the gear selector.
Personally? I really like the new Z4. I don’t care what anyone else says about the grille because I really love how it looks regardless of what people on the internet think and given that this will be the only 6-cylindered Roadster in its class, I can’t wait to one day drive one. I reckon it’ll be pretty good.
And then of course because this was something that was constantly bugging me when I saw the car, I had to photoshop a Coupe version. The top variant has the roof from the stunning Zagato Z4 and the one below has the same roof but the rear quarter glass from the latest 8 Series.
Which do you prefer? Do you think BMW will ever build a Z4 Coupe again?
A man can dream…