Top speed 155mph
My favourite was the little green Mini, but the Superfast Corvette with exposed engine block and flame decals was a close second. There was also the Land Rover Defender with those rubbery wheels you could pull off, the ambulance with its tiny opening rear doors and the green truck with a swinging hook on a piece of tangled red thread… Mention the word Matchbox and for many people you open a box of memories. In my case a box that came with two blue mesh trays and a pushbutton lid, the contents of which were lined up and driven round the patterns on the kitchen lino while I made soft yowling and growling sounds which left me with a sore throat.
It is 60 years since Jack Odell first designed a dinky car for his daughter to take into class. Her school only allowed toys that could fit inside a matchbox, so Odell crafted a scaled version of a green and red road roller. A dump truck and a cement mixer followed and then, over the decades, everything from Alfas to Zodiacs.
All those years spent pushing small cars across the floor helps us prepare for day when we finally get behind the wheel of a dream car such as this BMW Z4 roadster. Just like all those Matchboxers, it too is scorchingly fast and can pull itself through the most amazing bends. It even makes its own soft yowling and growling sounds. And, just like those pocket rockets, it’s totally impractical. The boot actually is matchbox-sized. But worrying about such boring pragmata is to miss the point of the Z4 – it’s not about transport, it’s all about driving.
The Z4 is a two-seat, front-engined, rear-drive roadster that traces its genes back to the crazy Z1 of 25 years ago – most famous for its bizarre drop-down doors which folded into the sills. You could drive roof down and doors folded for a full “open car” experience. This Z4 has regular doors. But slip into the low-slung bucket seat and pop open the roof and you’ll be transported back in time. The driving position is extreme. Your eyes are virtually on a level with the long, vented bonnet and the interplay of forces from the rear axle at your back and the humming engine in front of you is exhilarating. The immediate, gravity-defying handling makes it easy to imagine some great hand is careening you across the kitchen floor.
Look down into the open Z4 from the pavement and you’ll see that more than half its length is given over to the engine. Back seats, boot, pah! Beneath its veneer of civility it is that most basic thing – four wheels, two seats and a big engine. The power from the direct-injected 2-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine means you’ll hit 60mph in about five seconds. You can opt for the six-speed manual or the eight-speed automatic – either way the top speed is limited to 155mph. That’s fast enough, really. Stamp on the throttle and you jump away from the lights like one of those trick waterskiers being jerked off the jetty.
The car comes with a folding metal hardtop which takes 19 seconds to open or close and it works at up to 35mph. I opened it at 30mph – but I couldn’t escape the sense that the roof was going to catch the wind and whip the car into the air – or was it just that old Matchbox feeling again?
Source Article from http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2013/jul/21/bamw-z4-car-review-martin-love
BMW Z4: car review – The Guardian
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