The M3 engine in a low-slung two-seater roadster& yes please.
The Z4 M, launched at the Detroit motor show this week, has the 343bhp 3.2 straight-six, good for 0-60mph in just five seconds. The usual M upgrades include modified suspension and high-performance brakes, the addition of the M variable differential lock, plus front spoiler with larger air intakes, twin-spoke 18-inch alloy wheels, standard bi-xenon headlights, four exhaust tailpipes and a diffuser spoiler. Final pricing for the UK will be announced shortly.
BMW also confirmed updates to the standard Z4 roadster, in line with the specification of the Z4 coupe unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show last September. It gains the new 3.0-litre straight-six (265bhp), which produces acceleration 0-60mph in 5.7 seconds and the new option of six-speed automatic transmission with steering wheel-mounted shift paddles.
The other engines in the Z4 range are new 2.5-litre straight-sixes: one developing 218bhp and the other 177bhp. The entry-level version has the 2.0-litre, four-cylinder unit (150bhp).
BMW also reiterated more details of new fuel-saving technology, as outlined in Frankfurt. Its new high-precision fuel injection (HPI) technology, with jet-guided ceramic piezo-injection, will appear in production models within the next few years, as will its Brake Energy Regeneration system, which recovers energy lost under braking and feeds it back via the alternator to power auxiliary functions such as air conditioning, and stop-start technology. HPI is said to have the potential to reduce fuel consumption by up to 15%.
Also on display was the X3-based Active Hybrid, with the SuperCaps (super-capacitor) technology, which combines a converter-free automatic gearbox with an electric unit and high-performance capacitors to give extra acceleration boost. This is claimed to reduce fuel consumption and emissions by up to 20%, in addition to enhancing performance.
BMW chairman Dr Helmut Panke noted that the company increased its sales by 9.9% last year, selling 1,328,000 vehicles world-wide, with sales of the Mini topping the 200,000 mark for the first time.
Panke said: "We expect the BMW Group to remain on the course of growth also in 2006. Therefore, we aim at increasing our retail volume further and we aim at achieving a new retail peak this year."