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Reader test: BMW Z3 Roadster

2008-05-27 11:39

Riaan Swanepoel, Paarl

For as long as I can remember, I have always been fascinated by the "James Bond" movies, the über spy and the gripping life of a secret agent.

But more so, I was fascinated by all the gadgets he employs to thwart the plans of the evil mastermind ... especially his cars.

From the beautiful Aston Martins to the somewhat strange choice of a BMW 7 Series, the cars and their vast array of devices have always formed a big part in all the Bond movies - except for the BMW Z3 Roadster.

All it had to show was a parachute popping out in Q's test lab. While Q nattered on about rocket launchers and machine guns behind the lights, we had to imagine the rest since we never got to see any of it being used in the movie.

This, I guess, was because the movie was nothing more than a worldwide launch for the car itself and BMW didn't want too much to happen to their new car. But it was still a Bond car - and a beautiful one, too.

I can be a spy, too

So after years of playing spy, I can now drive the car he drove after I bought myself a 1997 Z3 Roadster. I have to say that I can't get enough of it. 2.8-litre straight six pushes out 141kW, enough to get your heart racing very quickly in a little car like this.

But strangely I find myself not gunning it at every streetlight I stop at, but rather driving slowly to make my journey last as long as possible. This is not just because of the way it drives, but also because of how it looks and the way it makes me feel when driving it.

It is, to use BMW's own slogan, "sheer driving pleasure" and not nearly as thirsty as I expected it would be given the engine size and petrol prices always going up these days. Highway driving easily returns 8l/100km, even on cruise control, and in town 10l/100km is easy.

There's history in this roadster

Sitting behind the wheel and staring over the long bulging bonnet reminds me of many of the very first roadsters. Even the 50's BMW 507 left big footprints on the Z3 that are easily recognisable today. The gills on the side incorporating the BMW badge and the wide hips over the rear tyres are straight from the 507, for instance.

It has the history and the beauty of a true Roadster, but it has something else, too. BMW's Z3 Roadster has the status of having been a Bond Car - and that's just cool.


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