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Not Really an "is"

You'll pay handsomely for that straight-line superiority. For $64,225, our 2011 BMW Z4 sDrive35is tester has keyless start, a USB input and heated seats, but no Bluetooth or navigation. However, you can easily option up a standard 2011 Z4 sDrive35i past the $60,000 mark, and indeed our 2009 Z4 crested $64,000.

But here's an ugly truth: The 2011 BMW Z4 sDrive35is is less car for the money.

Maybe you won't slalom your Z4 sDrive35is, but you'll probably take it on a back road. And you'll find you can only lean on it up to a point. The composure isn't there, and it feels like there are a million things happening behind the scenes that the car isn't telling you about.

On Highway 1, it's the superb headlight coverage, not the steering feel, that gives us confidence to press harder in the Z4 sDrive35is. This might be OK in a 7 Series, but in the performance model of the Z4 line, we want more than technology. We want a conversation.

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