Austrian Wine Country – Driving the BMW Z4 sDrive23i to Vienna
My all-too-brief stay in the Kamptal (Kamp Valley) was over. I reluctantly left the Loisium hotel in Langenlois around 10:15 for Vienna.
First order of business: top down. The top takes only 20 seconds to retract and it appears far more robust than earlier generation retractable hardtops, which seemed a bit fragile in construction. The interior features generous amounts of space; even with the top up, I never felt claustrophobic. With the top down, which is the way this car is meant to be driven, the cabin isn’t overly noisy or draft; with the top up, you would never know you were in a convertible.
The Z4 comes with a choice of two engines in the U.S., the naturally-aspirated 3.0-liter inline-six with 190 kW/258 hp at 6,600 rpm and 310 Nm/228 pound-feet of torque at 2,570, and the twin-turbo 3.0-liter inline-six with 225 kW/306 hp at 5,800 rpm and 400 Nm/295 pound-feet from 1,300-5,000 rpm. The NA engine does 0-100 km/h in 5.8 seconds; the twin-turbo does it in 5.2. My Z4 had a third power plant, offered in many European markets, a 2.5-liter inline six that produces 150 kW/204 hp at 6,200 rpm and 250 Nm/184 pound-feet of torque at 2,950 rpm, with 0-100 km/h in 6.6 seconds (manual transmission).
The new Z4 also comes with a rather cumbersome badge. The twin-turbo is designated the BMW Z4 sDrive35i. Similarly, the NA version is the BMW Z4 sDrive30i, and the smaller power plant is (somewhat inexplicably) the BMW Z4 sDrive23i.
With perfect 50/50 weight distribution and extraordinarily comfortable seats, I found the Z4 to be ready for everything from leisurely touring to high-speed cornering. The car went exactly where I pointed it and didn’t allow rough road surfaces to intrude.
Once on the Schnellstraße, I drove directly to the Zentralfriedhof, IV. Tor (Central Cemetery, 4th Gate) to visit my great grandparents.
After a short stay, I drove into the city to the Steirereck Meierei Restaurant in the Stadtpark (literally, city park) in the city center for lunch (review to come!). I hadn’t yet checked into the hotel so a quick drive down the Ringstraße led me to the recently opened Hotel Herrenhof, on the Herrengasse in the First District (1. Bezirk).
Next I was off to a walk in the Viennese vineyards with Fritz Wieninger (Stammersdorf), Rainer Christ (Jedlersdorf), and Richard Zahel (Mauer), some of the city’s leading winemakers. One of the topics they covered was the rising interest in Gemischter Satz, a field blend which means that grapes of different varieties (Grüner Veltliner, Traminer, among others) are planted, harvested and vinified together. This was a common practice many years ago but the Gemischter Satz wines weren’t appreciated for their fullness and rich body so the practice stopped and only recently is experiencing resurgence.
A tasting of some of their recent vintages followed.
Last, but not least, was dinner at the Kulinarium 7, a restaurant and wine shop.
Enjoy the show.
–Jonathan B. Spira is the Editor of Executive Road Warrior and Chief Analyst at Basex, a knowledge economy research firm.