You’ll have to wait until the first stirrings of warming sunshine in spring next year to take delivery of BMW’s sporty new Z4 convertible.
But even as the leaves began to turn this Autumn I was able to savour the delights of wind in the hair open-topped driving in the German car-giant’s exceptionally capable new roadster which draws on generations of soft-top heritage including the Z1, Z3 and Z8 models and back as far as the pre-war BMW 328.
When the first photographic images of the Z4 emerged, it split opinion as something of a Marmite car. A bit of an ugly duckling. But up close in the metal and on the road, it really grows on you as something of a handsome beast, and almost a regal swan.
Model: BMW Z4 M40i
Price: from £49,050
On sale from: March 2019
Engine: 3.0 litre turbocharged ‘straight six’ cylinder
Acceleration 0- 62mph: 4.6 seconds
Top speed: 155mph (electronically restricted)
Average fuel consumption: 38.7mpg
CO2 emissions: 165g/km
Fabric roof: Opens and closes within ten seconds at up to 31mph
Luggage capacity: 281 litres
To protect you while you are at the wheel there are a wide range of safety features including collision and pedestrian warning with brake assist, city braking and lane departure warning as standard.
The smart cockpit is uncluttered and packed with high-tech features including 10.5 inch instrument clusters and control displays.
For the first time in a BMW roadster, the firm is offering the option of head-up display, which I find essential these days to help keep my attention on the road ahead.
Options, packaged up into various packs depending on the standard model spec, include a wind deflector, steering wheel heating for those frosty open topped drives, a through-loading flap when you want to slot your skis in, electric seat adjustment, Harmon-Kardon surround-sound loudspeakers, and active cruise control.
There are also all manner of parking aids, though frankly with the top down you can navigate perfectly well on your own.
But the clever reversing assistant stores where you have driven and automatically drive you back exactly along a given path for up to 50 metres where there is little room for error getting into a tight space.
You can also use your smart-phone to open the car using an electronic digital key which can be shared with up to five other people.
Although BMW is based in Munich, the new Z4 is being built under licence by Austria’s Magna Steyr in Graz, though to BMW standards. It’s also the product of a collaboration with Japanese car giant Toyota, who are producing their own sibling Supra model.
The first generation BMW Z4 was built at Spartanburg in South Carolina between 2002 and 2008.
The second generation Z4 was built from 2009 to 2016 at Regensburg in Germany and featured a retractable hard top.
The new third generation Z4 – a rival for the Porsche Boxster – reverts to a fabric top, paving the way for a potential hard-top coupe sibling.