With the press embargo on the new Z4 lifted this morning tons of reviews started hitting the web. The international press was able to drive the top of the line Z4 sDrive35i throughout Spain. We have covered the new Z4 and all its features at great lengths here in the past and hope to complete our own in depth review in the future but for the time being here are some excerpts and links to other reviews.

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These reviews paint the picture of a larger more sophisticated car that has lost some of the previous generations rawness. Handling, fit, finish, acceleration and performance appear to be much improved over the past models but at a cost of the driver being less connected to the overall experience. That is not necessarily a bad thing for most drivers today but for a true enthusiast it may put this car at the bottom of the short list of sports coupes; we will leave that up to you until we can put the car through the paces. Regardless of performance, this car is a looker on the inside and out!

Next Autos:

The only testers available in our Spanish try-out were top-of-the-line sDrive35i models with the new seven-speed dual-clutch Sport Auto transmission, though we did manage a quick try in a manually equipped 35i for you. Both are terrific to be sure, but with the seven-speed we are miffed by the automated upshifts close to the 7000-rpm redline even in the Sport+ mode of the Drive Dynamic Control and kickdowns whenever we jam on it for overtaking. This is a safety choice by BMW and it states clearly that this Z4 even at the top end is now meant for average drivers. Still, if you don’t mind anticipating the ECU police by 100 rpm or so, the shifting is swell and the exhaust sound is burly without being brash.

Playing with the new DDC — normal, sport, sport+ — also modifies the suspension and steering and the differences are more subtle than any previous mode system, but Sport+ is our overall choice especially if we find ourselves on these sensational roads above the Andalusian coast.

Our other favorite mode is roof down. The two-piece hardtop weighs 66 pounds more than the old ragtop, takes twenty seconds to open or close, and thankfully looks really good either open or shut.

Motor Trend:

For good mountain roads, Sport+ stiffens things up further, making it a sharp-edged sportster. Turn off the stability control in this setting and you can dive for second- or third-gear corners with very little body roll and exit with just the slightest bit of oversteer as the rear tires slide out a bit. The steering feel and directness makes for a nice partner in shussing the esses.

Still, it ‘s a fairly large car for anyone used to Z3 or Z4 Mk I, and simply feels a bit big going into a sharp curve too strong. It takes a little getting used to, but not much. Imagine switching directly from a Miata, where you can use a lot of available power, to an Aston Martin V8 Vantage, a larger car you ‘ll want to rein in just a bit. The new Z4 is somewhere in between the two.

It ‘s much closer to the Aston in terms of creature comforts and high technology, though, and that ‘s what will give some purists pause. If you embrace all the new technology, including a twin-clutch automatic that can operate like a very smooth, convenient manual gearbox, you ‘ll want to give the new Z4 a close look. If you believe that layer upon layer of electronic gizmo only serves to separate the driver from the car, the Z4 is not the car for you.

Automobile Magazine:

The hard top crowns an all-new exterior that sees the previously gawky styling transformed into a striking and handsome new design. The skillfully reshaped sheetmetal is stretched five inches in overall length and fractionally in width. The cabin is again set well back in the car, creating a cab-rearward, old-school roadster feeling. You look out over the long, stylized hood and in front of you is a curving, swept-away dash, which faintly recalls the BMW Z8. The passenger compartment has a bit more elbow room than before and, in our test car, was decked out the optional Nappa full-leather trim, with materials quality that was above reproach. The new cabin also boasts additional stowage, but the cupholders are awkwardly located under the center armrest. BMW ‘s iDrive makes its first appearance here (with the optional navigation system), and this latest version, with more dedicated buttons making for less menu surfing, now actually borders on user-friendly.

Edmunds Inside Line

At this point, saying that we were pleasantly surprised by the all-new 2009 BMW Z4 sDrive35i during our drive on Spain ‘s Costa Blanca would be like saying we were shocked our luggage got lost on the return trip through Madrid.

BMW never fails to raise its own self-set bar, and Iberia Air never fails to lower its. If we had to write a national motto for Spain, it would be, “España! It ‘s our first day on the job, so give us a break. ” If we had to write one for the BMW Z4 sDrive35i, it would be, “Z4 sDrive35i! Never mind the alphabet soup and cute reputation. This roadster is for real. “

Photos: Motor Trend/BMW