Full frontal is rarely a good thing. It messes with people’s heads and adds a dynamic that just doesn’t translate to effective performance.
I’m talking, of course, about front-wheel drive.
It’s the most common type of drivetrain on the market today, but I attribute that to the fact that most cars are appliances, and the front-engine, front-drive format typically provides the most economical and versatile driving setup for most people.
The truly great cars, though, are rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. Porsche, Ferrari, Aston Martin, Lamborghini and BMW build cars that don’t use FWD. Well, for now. BMW is about to fall off that list.
Coming for the 2017 model year is the BMW Z2, a hot n’ spunky little roadster that should compete with the Audi TT, Mazda Miata and Subaru BRZ. With a starting price of around $30,000, it looks on the surface to be a no-brainer. Except all of its competition has RWD or AWD. The Z2 will have FWD. And be based on the MINI platform.
That all adds up to a BMW roadster that is basically a neutered Z4, right?
With a fabric top, a curb weight of around 2,500 pounds and a couple of 4-cylinder engine choices, the car should be a spirited drive that serves as an entry point into the BMW brand.
Base models, potentially with a 160-hp 4-cylinder, might feel a little underpowered, much like the BRZ. Step up to a 230-hp version and have a lot more fun, but with a price well over $30K, it might be worth stepping over to a proper RWD Z4. Or a Porsche Boxster.
If I were shopping for a BMW with a $30,000 budget, I’d much rather shop for a used RWD roadster than a new FWD Z2. Rather than pump out new models that serve as entry-level models and compromise the brand, I think used cars are a much better means of entry into a brand so a buyer can experience the carmaker’s true personality.
Which makes more sense to you: Getting a new FWD BMW Z2 or a used RWD BMW Z4?