Island life is better in a BMW

No summer on Vancouver Island is complete without some motorized fun. Be it on foot at one of the many car shows taking place in communities north to south, or behind the wheel tackling the innumerable scenic routes snaking along the coast, the island is no doubt an excellent place to be an automotive enthusiast.

Just in time for such excursions, BMW’s newly redesigned Z4 and 850i models have made their way to the island’s Victoria West location. These turbocharged delights, a roadster and a cabriolet respectively, are both available in convertible soft-top form, perfect for enjoying the ocean air while driving through the west coast countryside.

Debuting in 1990 and discontinued in 1999, the 8-series is back and better than ever. The original generation was the first consumer vehicle to offer a V12 engine with a six-speed manual transmission, and one of a select few vehicles fitted with electronic drive-by-wire throttle.

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Now, sporting a 4.4-litre, 523-horsepower twin-turbo V-8, pushing 553 lb-ft of torque and an all-wheel-drive eight-speed automatic transmission, the new 850i cabriolet is the natural progression of this legacy of innovation and luxury.

Lighter and more nimble than the 850i, the fourth generation Z4 is the progeny of the legendary BMW 507. Manufactured from 1956 to 1959, the 507 suffered from unexpectedly high production costs resulting in limited distribution, and severe financial losses for BMW.

Despite this, the German roadster’s iconic styling has been re-imaged over several generations through the Z-series, resulting in 2019’s sumptuous offering: a turbocharged 3-litre, 382-horsepower inline six-cylinder with an eight-speed Steptronic sport transmission, paddle shifters, and launch control. With its low, firm position and short wheelbase this vehicle is a windy backroads dream.

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Compared to their historical counterparts, these new vehicles are both futuristic marvels. In addition to their stunning performance, both offer a host of high-tech features inside and out including touch and gesture-controlled instrumentation, over-air software upgrades, and electronically adjustable suspension.

To experience these new models or potentially their historical counterparts in person, BMW Victoria hosts many events throughout the year. Upcoming events include the annual Motor Gathering and charity fundraiser at the Vancouver Island Motor Speedway in August, or the annual Esquimalt Classic Car Show in September.

For a more hands-on experience, BMW Victoria organizes recreational drive events several times a year. Clients and friends are invited to spend the day driving cutting edge BMW vehicles through the beautiful Cowichan Valley and savour wonderful meals at the newly renovated Villa Eyrie Resort.

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