BMW Z4 Car Review

Publié par David | 02:42

BMW's Z4 roadster (convertible) sports car employs technology that belongs in lots of cars, not just $50,000 two-seaters. The double-clutch transmission smoothly combines the power and performance of the manual gearbox it really is with the ease of an automatic (no clutch pedal). And the transflective LCD display is unaffected by sunlight. In fact, the more sun shines down, the brighter it gets. The iDrive controller finally works, and well. HD Radio is now free (some models) but the iPod adapter remains an overpriced option. It's a great car if your stock portfolio is fully recovered.
Another Practical Impractical BMWBMW's mainstream cars, particularly the 3 Series and 5 Series, do everything right: handling, safety, comfort, technology, status, residual value. They're practical cars for those with the means to afford them. The Z4 represents the other side of BMW, along with the BMW 6 Series and the BMW X6. They're what I consider impractical cars with a practical bent: Nobody needs them but when you buy one, you're delighted at how well they're suited to daily driving, unlike the the Pontiac Solstice with zero cockpit or trunk room, or the old Ferrari that only comes out on sunny weekends and needs $2,500 tune-ups.
Here's what delighted me with the BMW Z4 in the way of intelligent technology and smart design. The fact that BMW puts it into cars out of the reach of most buyers doesn't keep some or all of it trickling from down over time to more affordable brands and models. Much of this represents intelligent use of suppliers. Others could use them also.
Double-clutch transmission. It's a seven-speed manual gearbox with a clutch (two, actually) but electronics and hydraulics shift gears for you (no clutch pedal). It's quicker and more fuel-efficient than an automatic transmission and, at least for now, cooler to tell people about. Porsche invented the technology, Audi made the most use of it, and now BMW has a first-class version, unlike its clunky. Good news: At $1,525, it's only $200 more than a BMW automatic transmission and far less than the $2,900 BMW charges you for DCT when you buy a BMW M3 (more software in the M3 DCT, BMW says). Bad news: It's only available on the costlier twin-turbo Z4 sDrive35i; with the base model sDrive30i, you have to stick with the traditional automatic.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that 37,313 people were killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes in 2008. If that isn't a reason to become a better driver, then we don't know what is.

In an ideal world, drivers would execute every road maneuver with precision and ease. Sadly, we do not live in a never-never land, and not everyone walks away from metal-to-metal mayhem. Truth is that drivers are not created equal. Some are too brash, others too conservative. Some are even downright clueless. The common thread is that they can all turn a pleasant day on the motorway into a surreal nightmare in the blink of an eye.

To help you stay safe behind the wheel, here's a list of 10 driving behaviors to avoid.

The No. 1 fatal mistake made by drivers is perhaps the most simple: not staying in their own lane — i.e., running off the road or drifting into the adjacent lane. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2007, 15,574 people died in crashes where the driver simply couldn't stay in the lane.

Driving While Drowsy
"Driving a vehicle when you are fatigued is as dangerous as driving while impaired by alcohol or drugs," National Transportation Safety Board Acting Chairman Mark V. Rosenker said after a fatal highway accident in 2003 in which a college student who had been awake for the previous 18 hours was driving a carload of fellow students at 5 a.m. According to the NHTSA, in 2007 fatigued driving caused the deaths of 1,404 people, and more traffic fatalities occurred during the hours when most people are accustomed to being asleep (3 a.m. to 6 a.m.) than at any other time of day.

Drinking and Driving
Every 40 minutes someone dies in a drunk-driving accident. (In all 50 states, a blood-alcohol level of 0.08 percent or more is considered illegal, but a little-known fact is that you can be charged with driving while impaired even if you're under the legal limit.) Young drivers are particularly prone to drinking and driving: The 21- to 34-year-old set is responsible for well over half of alcohol-infused fatal crashes. Not surprisingly, the decision to get behind the wheel while intoxicated is made most often at night and on the weekends. According to the NHTSA, 60 percent of drivers who died after dark in 2007 were legally drunk. Alcohol is also a factor in half of pedestrian traffic deaths — both drivers and pedestrians are the culprits.

You get panicky when the wheels of your SUV hit the rumble patch on the shoulder of the highway, so you throw the steering wheel in the opposite direction to get the vehicle back on the road. This is a classic example of overcorrecting or oversteering, and it's a particularly perilous maneuver when you're behind the wheel of an SUV driving on the highway at high speeds. Consider it a rollover waiting to happen. More than 4 percent of automobile fatalities a year occur because of drivers overcorrecting.

Racing, driving faster than the posted speed limit or simply going too fast for road conditions — i.e., speeding — comprises the second highest cause of death in fatal crashes, according to the NHTSA. Once you hit 55 mph, you're in the danger zone: 30 percent of fatalities occur at 55 or above. The worst-case scenarios invariably involve speeding without wearing a seat belt or a motorcycle helmet. Fatality rates for speeding motorcyclists are shockingly high: In 2007, speeding was a factor in 36 percent of motorcycle fatalities. Of those, 41 percent of drivers and more than half of passengers were not wearing helmets (only 20 states and the District of Columbia require helmets).
If you are comfortable driving faster than the speed limit then you should be comfortable with the fact that speeding was responsible for over 30 percent of the auto-related fatalities in the U.S. last year.

Failure to Yield Right of Way
For drivers age 70 and above, failing to yield while merging into traffic is the top cause of crashes. In a recent study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, drivers 80 and older simply fail to see the other vehicle they should be yielding to. Drivers 70 to 79 see the vehicle but misjudge whether they have time to proceed ahead of it. Failure to yield right of way was the fifth leading cause of fatal crashes in 2007.

Erratic or Reckless Driving
At its mildest, we're talking about weaving and tailgating; at its most severe, this kind of driving involves steering down the wrong side of the road, exceeding the speed limit by 20 mph or doing more than 80 mph, and worse. Reckless driving can bring fines, jail time — and death. More than 1,850 fatalities in 2007 were the result of erratic or reckless drivers.

Running Red Lights
A whopping 75 percent of automobile crashes occur in cities, according to the nonprofit Insurance Research Council. The most common cause of these accidents? Hitting the gas when the light turns red. Of the myriad types of collisions that can result, head-on and side-impact collisions are the most dangerous. NHTSA statistics show that of the 41,059 automobile fatalities in 2007, 54 percent occurred in cars that sustained frontal damage. When you cut it too close while running a light, your front end or another car's front end is impacted. Either way, it's a recipe for a deadly accident.

Not Wearing a Seat Belt
Despite the fact that seat belt use is far more prevalent than even a decade ago — not to mention being legally required — 33 percent of people who die in vehicle fatalities failed to buckle up. Without a seat belt, car drivers and passengers put themselves at risk of being ejected from a vehicle, and 76 percent of the time the ejection ends in death.

Tradition says pure sports cars are equipped with “nothing that doesn’t make them go faster.” Long ago, that meant roll-up side windows and a heater were extravagances. Today, however, they are both sports car norms, along with power-folding convertible tops, power door locks and automated climate controls. Such amenities are now lightweight enough not to slow a car down and are considered indispensible in this fast-paced, luxury-minded world of ours.

Furthermore, some time ago, sporty coupes reached par with traditional two-seat sports cars in terms of performance while offering sedanlike practicality. Thus, a “sports car” today can be everything from a swoopy two-seat convertible to a boxy sedan look-alike that hides a powerful engine and road-gripping suspension under its family-friendly fenders.

With such diversity to choose from, fun-loving drivers can find themselves in a pleasant quandary when deciding what to buy. Should they opt for a dashing convertible when they could have just as much driving fun in a sports sedan that also offers a usable rear seat?

That decision is often compounded by the expensive, impractical nature of traditional two-seat sports cars. Their minimal seating and lack of storage space means the thoroughbred sports cars are tough to justify in single-car households. Such limited use excludes them as everyday cars for regular working folk. As a result, the sports car market often drifts very upscale — think Aston Martin or Porsche.

But the rich needn’t have all the fun. For $35,000 there are a handful of capable traditional sports cars and a wider selection of performance-oriented coupes and even sedans. We’ve gathered 10 of the best of these sub-$35,000 sportsters for your review.

Our criteria value convertible tops, sharp handling, strong performance and rear-wheel drive, but are not blind to other possibilities as long as the intent is grin-inducing driving. Enjoy!

Toyota Motor Corporation has set 2.05 million yen starting price ($20,750) in Japan for its third-generation, 2010 Toyota Prius, putting it on par with the newly released Honda Insight, according to Automotive News. That's considerably less than originally planned and could signal an upcoming price war when the car goes on sale in the U.S. on May 18th.

Originally, Toyota's revised Prius was expected to fall in around the $24,000 range, which is roughly what the current model with a similar amount of equipment costs. The report said that a newer, cheaper Prius would prove a tough rival to the Insight, as the Prius gets better mileage, is faster, and is also larger and has more room inside.

The U.S. car market is the biggest and most competitive on the planet. Still, there are several wild, exciting and unique vehicles that cannot be bought here, no matter how much money you are willing to lay down. Many of these rolling wonders are designed and built by tiny boutique automakers that cannot or simply will not shell out the millions of dollars needed to certify their creations for sale in the New World. Others are so radical in design and purpose that they just wouldn't conform to the various U.S. safety and regulatory standards. And a few more are so exclusive and built in such small numbers that they are all spoken for before even rumors of their possible existence reach American ears. Have we piqued your interest yet? Well, here are 10 of the coolest cars you can't get here in the States. As you'll see, they are sexy, powerful and very desirable. Welcome to the world of the unobtainable.


Cheap car rental seems to be the way forward as more and more of us start feeling what the clever people in Wall Street are calling, ‘the credit crunch’. Times are tough and although most of us feel the need to scale down on needless expenditures, when holiday times roll around we still get that itchy feeling that seems to scream, “It’s time to hit the road buddy!”

The good news is that whether you are looking for car rental in Cape Town to explore the sights or heading on a road trip with some friends, there are cars hire options that won’t end up costing you bits of vital anatomy. All you have to do is set aside those niggling illusions of grandeur and settle for a car that will get you where you want to be without costing the earth. Okay, chances are you won’t have the girls on Camps Bay beach waving their Jimmy Choos in your face, but that’s overrated anyway.

Let’s discuss some of the car rental options that will best suit a strained budget over this festive season.

1. Opel Corsa 1.2 LThis sturdy little guy has a decidedly youthful appearance and simple handling capability, which explains why it is the cheap car rental of choice for so many twenty-something’s. It also boasts very conservative fuel consumption and various little extra’s that should make your trip a more comfortable one (including folding rear seats, air-conditioning, cup holders and remotely adjustable side mirrors). To rent the Opel Corsa for a week will set you back around R1400, which is not too bad all things considered.

2. VW City GolfYou can hardly throw a rock in any direction in the Mother City without hitting a loved-up Golf, and for good reason. As the entry-level Volkswagen vehicle, this little car has a lot going for it. The legendary Volkswagen design has culminated in a cheap, practical ride that can be easily repaired at nominal cost should anything ever go wrong (which it hardly ever does).

Since the dashboard has been redesigned, the VW Golf has gained a lot of points in the looks department and there is a lot to be said for a vehicle that gives you approximately 14 kilometres to the litre even if you have a trigger-happy driving foot. Renting a VW Golf for a week costs around R1600.

3. Nissan Tiida 1.6LEasy to drive and practical to the core, the Nissan Tiida is known worldwide as a ‘best performance for value’ vehicle. As a car rental, you couldn’t ask for a more sensible ride. Power steering, drivetrain enhancements and sleek exterior design combine to create a vehicle that is as much a pleasure to look at as it is to drive. Sit back in air-conditioned luxury as you view all that Cape Town has to offer from the comfort of your Nissan Tiida. If you plan to rent the Nissan Tiida 1.6L for a week, you should budget for around R2500.

These are just a few of the affordable car hire options available on the market today. If you are interested in inexpensive car rental in South Africa there are many ways to go about it. Flick through the Yellow Pages and see what pops up or go the more technologically savvy route and see what Google recommends. Just make sure to do your homework properly. Reputable car rental agencies have a certain look and feel to their websites and ad campaigns. If something looks and feels dodgy, it probably is. Rather play it safe and ensure that your cheap car rental experience is a pleasant one.

Many people rent cars for vacations, business trips, temporary replacement for a car in the shop, or even for use a few days a week when public transportation is otherwise used. A lot of companies rent out autos. One with a big marketing budget is Budget. So many people consider a budget car rental. Lowest price is associated with the name. It's not true, but it's a good marketing technique.

Renting cars is only one of Budget's lines. When people need to carry a big load, they also turn to Budget for a truck. Comfort and style are key to Budget trucks. In fact luxuries like automatic transmission, air conditioning, power brakes and power steering helped set them apart from other truck rentals. That's quite a deal compared to stiff transmissions, hot interiors and loud rides. Also there's another benefit to choosing a Budget rental truck. The interior has no bulge for a wheel well. That means more cargo and ability to shift it around. Budget even sells the trucks when their time in the rental fleet is complete. So Budget trucks have yet another benefit. They're in great condition and often newer models. Nobody wants a break down on moving day.

In some parts of the country, such as New York City, people find it inconvenient to own a car. Good public transportation can be a major factor. A car is sometimes necessary, however. When the load is too much to carry on a bus, that's one time. It could also be they just want a drive.

This calls for a rental car. Budget has cars that rent for about $160 a week, a real bargain. Even a weekly rental for a weekend can be a much better value than owning a vehicle. With the price of parking, maintenance, insurance and registration, it ends up cheaper to rent on occasion.