The Porsche Boxster is another, especially in its latest 718 model series guise. The days of the Boxster being a bit of an also-ran in the market are gone — it can easily be spoken about in the same conversation as the iconic 911 without someone sniggering in the corner. It has plenty of performance, great handling dynamics, and stacks of that famous Porsche engineering and attention to detail.
Mercedes has its SLK, (now known as the SLC) but it’s just not quite up there with its rivals. The AMG versions make the best noise, of course, but it fits into the cruiser category rather than driver’s car. The Audi TT used to be a great option, but the convertible is no longer available in South Africa.
Then there was the BMW Z4. I was never a big fan, to be honest. It had its merits, but didn’t really seem to tick all the boxes. Until now. Enter the new Z4, which goes on sale in South Africa in 2019. The new Z4 is a real roadster, unless you are a true purist, in which case it falls short by not having a manual gearbox. And purists will have an old Honda S2000 in the garage as their roadster of choice anyway.
The new Z4 will be available as a basic sDrive 20i or as the more aggressive M240i, which Wanted drove at its international launch in Portugal. It’s more of a snarler than previous generations — though not as much as it should be, thanks to noise restrictions. Or, at least that’s what the BMW people told us.
It has 50:50 weight balance, a major factor in creating a great driver’s car, giving the feeling that you really are at the centre of the action; that the car is working around you. On the winding roads of Sintra near Lisbon, the new Z4 was superb. The nanny systems were easily relaxed to provide the best drive — but still composed and there to catch you when needed.