Our long-term BMW Z4 M Coupe is coming up to its 10,000-mile update. And there's one word that needs to be repeated 10,000 times. Yes. Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes. What a fabulous machine this is. Most modern cars are pretty vanilla in their appeal; to jump in and drive something like this is such a departure from the norm. It's like five courses of finest French cuisine to a starving man. Pardon the gushing, but when you come across a car that really gives you something to get your teeth into, something more focused toward proper driving instead of mere commuting, then the purple prose is bound to happen.
Like to know what makes it so good? The responsive engine, the taut chassis and the rear-drive layout, for sure, but it's the tactility that makes them all gel-the feel of the steering, information coming up to the seat of the pants, how the throttle, brakes and gear lever need just the right amount of effort (not too heavy, not too light) to operate. The gearchange is as keen and sweet as an espresso with three sugars. After 10,000 miles, all the components feel nicely bedded in.
A naturally aspirated straight-six engine such as this is wonderfully responsive and a joy to rev, just to hear the induction snort and exhaust note vie for best sound. Not that the cabin lets in too much noise, but listening to the engine do its work is all part of the driving experience.
So is feeling the road. Some have criticized the M Coupe for being too stiff. Not me. It's fairly close to ideal for my tastes. There's still enough give to maintain a level of ride comfort, but I like to feel connected to the road and I don't like body roll.
Please bear in mind that I come to this car with skepticism. The previous generation (the Z3 M Coupe) never really did it for me, despite having driven several thousand miles in it, including a few laps of the Nrburgring. I thought it lacked finesse. This has some, but not too much.
A challenging canyon road will bring to light a certain scrappiness at the limit. But that's no bad thing. It keeps the level of driver involvement high, demands more attention and concentration. When you come down from the mountain, you're exhilarated. Even more so when the Sport button on the center console is pushed. This takes throttle response from an already eager level to positively hyperactive.
Faults? Not many. If I wanted to be really picky, I'd say the steering wheel was too thick and the otherwise comfortable seats could use some more lateral support for the upper torso, considering how capable the car is at cornering. And our managing editor noted that it's a car that prefers to be driven fast, which might or might not be construed as a fault. But so often in life we find it's the flaws that help create the beauty and hold the interest. The Z4 M Coupe could be considered a prime example.
At A Glance
+ Almost everything, but especially the engine
- Practically nothing. Oh, OK-the steering wheel is a bit thick
Mileage: 9785 Fuel economy: 18.3 mpg