Z4 No Longer Just a Fancy Miata


I finally saw a newer Z4 on the road the other day. At first glance, the tail lights looked more like a 6 series, but I quickly realized it was the new Z4. See, the last time I took note of the new Z4, it was in featured in a blog in the "baby boomer beige" color. It had instantly made am impression on me that it was no longer a sports car, but just a luxury convertible. I would like to say that the old adage,"you never get a second chance to make a first impression," does not apply to the automobile.

I first notice how much smoother and sleeker it is overall. It still has some very nicely chiseled lines, but they don't interrupt the body like on the previous model. I am particularly fond of the sweeping character line that starts with the curve of the bonnet, and dives towards the rear wheel to meet with the muscular, yet sexy wheel arch. The lower line between the wheels angles up nicely, and helps accentuate a slight coke bottle curve behind the front wheel. Above that, the vent gets thinner and pointer, yet still looks like  it serves a purpose. The BMW roundel no longer serves as a turn signal. It was clever, but is too clunky for this Z4.

I can't forget to mention the retractable hardtop. It's not incredibly obvious that it's a convertible. Not many do that well. Whether it fools you or not, the roof line, shape and proportions are so undeniably classic, that I can't help but compare the silhouette to a Jaguar e-type or a Ferrari GTO 250. Too soon? Okay, maybe I got just a little too excited.

There's not much that I don't love about this new car. And, in nearly every way, I think it is superior to it's predecessor in design and sex appeal. Unless it's in beige.


I heart back to the future

Man am I a sucker for gullwing doors. Sure, the practicality is questionable, but I like them because they're sexy. Sometimes, that's what design is all about. Sometimes you need to throw practicality, value engineering, and even sometimes ergonomics aside to design a true piece of art. I'm not saying this is a true piece of art, but I certainly admire the designer's uncompromising vision.

Besides the doors, I'm not sure I like it. It certainly mixes well with the other Mercedes in the line up, which I tend to like in some, if not most cases. The BMW Z8 was a near perfect example, in form, of what Mercedes should have emulated, but at some point, there were too many air ducts, and they just kept on going. There are so many interruptions in each body panel that the over all form is lost.

If I ever see one of these on the road, I may just follow it to it's destination, just to see the doors in action. Hopefully Michael J. Fox will be inside. It's a predictable upgrade from the DeLorean.