Much of what I said about that car applies to the 130i of course. A big engine driving the rear wheels of a small car is equally appealing – maybe more so – with a 261bhp naturally-aspirated BMW straight-six. If perhaps lacking the manic turbocharged power of the M135i’s motor this particular engine remains one to celebrate, especially for BMW fans. Racy, atmospheric straight-sixes have powered some of the brand’s most iconic cars and are, arguably, to BMW what boxer sixes are to Porsche, V8s to AMG or V12s to Ferrari – an engineering and emotional signature if you will. So, you’ll indulge me in referring to it by its N52 internal code – if we’re going to get intimately geeky we should probably be on first name terms!
There were other BMWs with the N52 engine. This one for instance. Now there was, of course, a proper M version of the Z4 Coupe. But in some ways, I think the 3.0Si version is even more appealing, not just for the fact they go for about a third of the price.
Look at it this way. If you were craving that first step on the Porsche 911 ladder (as, indeed, I was) but have been watching even the supposedly unloved 996 climb out of reach I think the Z4 3.0Si might be the reasonably priced alternative, with plenty either side of the £10K mark.