This was the first car of the day, and I already knew the dealer somewhat, since I asked them if I could have a go with this car when the Geneva car show was underway. I was told they'd try to get a test drive for April/May period, but the only car they had was in the dealers show room, to be watched, but not to be touched... errr, driven (touch you can, just not drive it). It had been there for a month now, and I just had to give it a go, so with some determination I went to the dealer, and told him I was still waiting for the test drive and wanted to drive one asap. After a few seconds the dealer said "do you have a moment?" and I said "sure, right now?" and he said "ok, I'll get the plates". So a few minutes later we started the beast (a relatively normal sound from the exhaust, a bit raspy and droning, not as soft as a standard Z4's). Checked seating, etc... standard Z4 stuff, I've already driven Z4's on... oooh, more times then I can count on one hand, so none of that was new. However, what WAS new was when I started driving off the dealers lot, the ease at which it moved and the sound It felt like there was a noticeable amount of torque, maybe it had standard tires rather then run flats (sorry, forgot to check), but the tires were nice and quiet, the steering was similar to a standard Z4's but felt a bit more like it wasn't as connected (but very, very easy to move the steering wheel around, it was precise as can be, usual BMW stuff), and the sound was a very nice rumbly noise when driving at 2nd gear and 2000rpm (normal speed to exist a parking lot... about 20mph/30kph). Yeah, that rumbling noise is sweet, not too loud as to be distracting, but imposing enough to ask for some respect from the driver and those around you And then we're off, going down some uneven roads (mmm, seems a bit softer then my car, but my rear tires are balding and I MUST change them... it affects my ride a lot these days), there's a little less sway/body roll then in my car when taking a roundabout at speed (well, the SLK is quite a bit heavier), and then about 10 minuted into the drive, the dealer (he wanted to come along for the ride as he hasn't been able to give it a go yet) told me to punch it hard, and hard as a bat out of he11 I did From a steady rumble, the car began to howl, and then SCREAM as I approached the redline, which by now was indicating the 8000rpm line! Oh yeah, each shift was quite precise, although not as good as in an S2000, but going to redline in a tunnel on 2nd gear (the top was down, of course ) and then shifting to 3rd and STILL going to redline mere seconds after (think we just passed 120kph in a tunnel ), the rasp and chainsaw noise was quite something to behold! And I think this car makes not only a better noise then an M3 (too raspy, too metallic and artificial), felt lighter and quicker too, and planted to the road, a pure joy to drive. The clutch felt a bit funny tho', it has quite a fair amount of travel, during the first 3rd, nothing happens, and then the clutch is lifted off, so if you're changing gears, you need to time it pretty well by accelerating the moment you come in back to the first 3rd of travel to avoid jerkiness. Also, you need to push it a bit if you don't want the engine to shut down when driving off on first gear, or changing between first and second, it's quite sensitive and the Audi TT/S2000 were much easier to get moving without fear of the engine stopping (if you see what I mean). I was pretty glad the dealer didn't mind me pushing the car hard, and taking it down the roads at considerable speeds. The curves and bends were taken with easy, the quality of the car seemed quite fine (no, the shifter didn't come off in my hands), and whilst I'm not as fond of the interior anti-glare material on the dash as I do in my SLK, I have to give this car top marks for being a very good car. Now, good of course is subjective, and some don't like the looks, but I do, I think they're quite nice, and the new hood is really cool with the creases on each side of the middle portion. The black color was impressive, the sound was nice, although I'm not that fond of the raspy noise (I prefer my SLK by far), and there seemed to be a little gap between 6000 and 8000rpm where a sort of torque empty/bald spot resided. I don't know how to explain it, but whilst the rpm's rise very fast up to 6000rpm, from there on, it seems to slow down just a bit. Not really something to worry about, it's just different from my SLK where the higher the RPM's go, the greater the amount of push and force. The thicker steering wheel is something I had my doubts about at first, but I actually like it and think it's really nice. It's smaller then in the SLK (and thus a bit more sportier when you hold on to it, and hold on you will need to, hehe), and being thick was not a problem, gave you a good opportunity to wrap your hands around it. Now, the problem is that it's not comparable to the SLK. They're really very different cars. The Z4M has a high-revving engine coupled with a great (but alas not "fabulous") gearbox, whilst the SLK gives you a V8 with gobs of torque and very GT like style. One's more suited to cruising and taking it easy, but fishing out punishment when you want to do so with ease (very easy with the SLK), and the other one asks to be punished, constantly coaxing you on and taunting you to "c'mon, gimme your best, go on, see if you can shift the guts outta me" style car. I still prefer the SLK due to the more relax feel I can have when driving it, and I'd much rather have a 360 Modena for my manual shifting needs, but if you're a fan of BMW's, this is a good car, a very good and very fun car, and the best BMW I've driven to date.