BMW Z4 Launch: Behind the Scenes Part 2

BMW Z4 | March 22nd, 2009 by 5
2009 bmw z4 alicante 052 BMW Z4 Launch: Behind the Scenes Part 2

We have just published the first part of the 2009 BMW Z4 International Media Launch and courtesy of Richard Aucock, we introduced you to the …

2009 bmw z4 alicante 037 498x332 BMW Z4 Launch: Behind the Scenes Part 2

We have just published the first part of the 2009 BMW Z4 International Media Launch and courtesy of Richard Aucock, we introduced you to the new BMW Z4. We’ve seen some beautiful photos of the Z4 being driven in Alicante, Spain, and now, we will let Richard tell us about the Press Conference held by BMW and at the end, some new amazing photos.

Thanks again Richard for taking us into this great journey of yours and also for the funny, but very informative review.

Look for more information and photos on www.richardaucock.wordpress.com and Flickr

Continued after the jump

2009 bmw z4 alicante 027 498x332 BMW Z4 Launch: Behind the Scenes Part 2

Hello, what’s this?

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Smell the dry ice.

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Chief design man Warming, who brought together and managed the whole project. Dry ice has cleared by this stage, note. ‘Expressive’ was the design intent. It was the result of a big competition, in which every team had to put up proposals. These were pitched to the rest of the team, and voted on. The best got made into full scale models, and shown to the BMW Board – who had the final say on yay or nay. Juliane Blasi was the winner. To much envy. Within BMW, any Roadster project is the ‘Royal league’ of design…

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Juliane Blasi, talking us through her design. She wanted to create an ‘alive’ sculpture, she said. Bit like (designer speak alert) an athletic torso, with bulging muscles and soft surfaces merging. Two lines from the front stretch all the way to the rear, housed within the sculpted wrapover bonnet (which actually forms part of the front ‘wings’ too: it’s all rather complex and cool here). That single line enhances the long-wheelbase impression from the side, stretching the front end way ahead of the passengers. This is enhanced by a visual ‘trick’ – black A-pillars. The doorhandle is also important, she said, ‘linking’ front to rear. Like every car designer on the planet, her stated aim at the rear was to ‘visually widen’ it. Nobody asked whether another aim was to mimic the 6 Series, as she went on to reveal her biggest challenge was designing around the folding hard top. As Peugeot proves, creating a low, cohesive rear when using one isn’t easy…

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This light shows off a BMW design cue – the sharp lower line on the door. Seems that the sportier the car, the more pronounced this becomes. Check out the 1 Series Coop for further evidence: the designer of that, Kevin Rice, once told me the sheer amount of manhours put into this single feature, in ensuring it ‘catches’ and ‘accelerates’ the light correctly. Blimey.

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This single slide sums up the entire new Z4 experience. With Adaptive M Suspension, it’s both more comfortable, and sportier, than the old Z4. Note, though, just how much less sporting it is in most modes… and also note that if you want something as racy as the old ‘un, you need to spend £980 on Adaptive M Suspension. Seriously, it’s a must-have, in my opinion. My blog explains more on this..

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The engineering talent behind the Z4. My main chassis man in the centre, Heinz Krusche, told me that for him, the top guy was Anders Warming, who did the ‘Body In White’ – the base metalwork of the Z4. Without him, said Krusche, it would be impossible to make the Z4 handle as well, be as well balanced, tune in such an absorbent ride quality. Basically, everything Warming does is fundamental to the entire development and abilities of the car. Well, who’d have thought..

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BMW loves sticking up all these ‘original’ design sketches of its models. Bit of a risk. Because they always look that bit more cool than the real thing..

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BMW loves sticking up all these ‘original’ design sketches of its models. Bit of a risk. Because they always look that bit more cool than the real thing..

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After eating breakfast (and also eating a typically STRONGGGG Spanish coffee), the hotel doors slid open to present this.

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And turning the corner, it was Z4s as far as the eye could see

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Seriously, have you ever seen as many Z4s, in the same colour, in one place?

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Early morning sunrise over Z4s aplenty.

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Yes! Sat Nav’s taking me over THERE.

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Standard xenons – and the wheels of the test car? Optional 19″s. Despite them, the ride was generally fine. Shedload of grip, too.

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Perfect view spoiled by… yes, that aerial.

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The bonnet? Eesa huawge. Blasi prefers to call it ‘hood’. Cue, in the press conference, all the journos puzzling about where these dynamic engine-enhancing lines were on the all-aluminium, lowers-in-20-seconds roof, until she explained…

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This shows off the lines Blasi spoke of well. That’s a LOT of forward bias, fo sho.

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Early morning sun and a few angles for you.

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Now this feature is cool. front AND rear windows with the new Z4, which not only give 40 percent more interior light – but also mean you can lower the rear windows only, and listen to the exhausts! Bingo… especially on upshifts, where the crack of fuel flow being snapped off rouses the most delicious snap-firework effects.

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Adaptive M Suspension means 10mm lower ride height. Which, with these 19″s (and their infintesimal sidewalls – which Krushe tells me will become shallower STILL in the future!), means it’s approaching Porsche levels of wheelarch-to-tyre ratio. Which is A Good Thing.

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15 seconds later, I was puffing after the climb back up. All the time, the engine was running – and the burble echoing off the surrounding walls was pretty sweet.

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This shows off the steepness a bit more. Check out those steps in the background. Also note one thing BMW overlooked… yes, that ugly aerial! Blame the CC roof. It’s so tight in there, even packing in a fin on the rear deck isn’t possible. Shame they couldn’t have made a better fist of integrating this, though. And to think we journos slated Jaguar for it…

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If only I could show you how steep this hill was.

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Sat Nav clearly wanted me to do a bit of an Alicantan back road tour.

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And… the end. First back. Been productive, it has…

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