Our friend Richard Aucock is back with another interesting and detailed article on the new 2009 BMW Z4. Some of you might recall his previous article on the Z4 chassis and some of the secrets behind the development of it, but this time, Richard talks a little about the new hardtop available on the Z4.
As a quick introduction, the new BMW Z4 uses the same technology as the one found in the new 3 Series Convertible which introduced the hardtop.
The Z4 features an aluminum retractable hardtop (20 seconds to deploy or retract) and the vehicle concept has been made larger to feature a new level of comfort, better storage space.
LEARNING how to do folding hard-top roofs with the 3 Series Convertible served BMW well.
It meant it could launch a folding hard top Z4 relatively easily – simply because it had acquired so much knowledge.
What’s more, the shift over to the folding tin top is another reason for the car’s production relocation to Germany.
The Regensburg plant where it’s built has now become BMW’s official ‘centre of excellence’ for folding hard-top roofs.
It’s so well geared up, the supplier is even located there on site, an engineer insider told me.
‘This gives us the best possible means of achieving high quality levels.’
Engineering a folding hard top isn’t the work of a moment. Even one such as the Z4’s, whose lower 2-panel count reduces the number of joins and joints to worry about.
The problem come in areas you probably don’t even think about. Such as?