Thursday, June 25, 2015

Die Summe aller Sinne

Picking up the new wheels at Autos of Dallas in Addison, TX
The Sum of All Senses. This was the advertising slogan back in 2004 when BMW introduced the Z4 roadster as an antidote to Porsche's Boxter. Forget about the "Ultimate Tanning Machine." That one was way too utilitarian, lacking all the emotion and panache that this two-seater is evoking and exuding.

And now I own one.

About two weeks ago I picked up my 2012 Z4, with a measly 15,500 miles on it, for an even measlier $29,880. It was an opportunity and a deal that I just couldn't pass up. The Miata—our/my dependable and fun companion for 23 years and more than 200,000 miles of its 210,000 odometer reading—had finally reached an age where needed maintenance and quite-likely repairs were going to start costing some real money. At the same time, the BMW came knocking at my door .... What started as a harmless look at what Z4s cost and what is available, I came across an online listing at Autos of Dallas for this amazing buy. Saving more than $20,000 for those few miles driven, for a car that is as immaculate as when it originally left the dealership in 2012, appeared almost unreal. Somehow it all worked out—flying to Dallas on award miles, getting the news that the car was actually $1,000 less than the internet price (who has ever heard of anything like that?), and then being able to sell the Miata the very next day to a used-car dealer in Lubbock for $1,500 in cash. Wow, what a flurry of activity.
Original poster for the 2004 launch of the Z4
By now, I have driven the Z4 for about 1,000 miles. First there was the drive back from Dallas to Lubbock, two weeks ago Friday. Oh man, I just couldn't believe how much more refined this car is in comparison to the Miata. Don't get me wrong: The Miata is a fabulous little sports car that is being taken to the track by myriad enthusiasts and that is simply a lot of fun, even if you don't race. I had even been looking at another Miata as the 4th-generation 2016 MX-5 had just been introduced. But this Bimmer is in a totally different league: It's what they call a premium roadster, and I have never owned anything like it. It is comfortable and stable, looks stylish, has more power than one can apply unless one wants to risk a ticket (around 250 hp), and runs as quiet and smooth even with the roof down as I would have never imagined possible.
Outside of Angel Fire, NM
I love the electronic hard-top—forget the Miata's manual ragtop that was always a struggle to get back up. The seats (red leather!) adjust in any which way, and of course they are heated. Oh my, the air conditioning works! And there is vastly more leg and trunk space than the little Mazda had. (I can pack my Ritchey, disassembled, into the trunk and still have some extra space, even if not much.) The mirrors electronically fold in when parking, and there are electronic things that I still haven't totally figured out. The sound system, with the top open, allows me to listen to even classical music and hear it!
The Ritchey fits in the trunk!
After that initial drive to Lubbock I was obviously tickled, and I was surprised by what I thought was  amazing consumption for such a large and powerful car. I thought that approximately 35 mpg were astonishing, what with an hour's worth of stop-and-go Friday-afternoon metroplex traffic thrown into the mix. In the Miata I could generally expect somewhere around 32 mpg, but that seldom included driving at 75 mph (or 80, as I did once the roads cleared up and I was beyond the Weatherford 65 mph zone).
And then I went on my first real road trip, up to Angel Fire, NM, for a race last weekend and then onward to Rico, CO, where I am writing this. So far I have driven about 650 miles on this trip, and there have been quite a few mountain roads (like the one from Mora up to AF, or the climb up here to Rico at 8,500 feet. I had the roof dropped the entire time, which doesn't help aerodynamics, and I've stayed just a little north of the speed limit on the entire trip. The board computer says that consumption sits at 39.2 mpg! That's unreal. The Germans are on to something. At this rate, I may have to go on a few extra road trips this summer/fall, especially since I can take my Ritchey along.
Above Abiquiu Lake in New Mexico
Die Summe Aller Sinne. I tell you, I am simply ecstatic over my purchase and am glad that I took this step that I had often thought about but never seriously contemplated. If road trips beforehand were fun, they are now simply a new experience, and I hope that this sensation will last for a long time.
5.9 liter/100 K equals 39.8 mpg—on the way to Cortez, CO
So, even though I am enjoying my time in the mountains tremendously, I'm already looking forward to the drive back home.


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