Is it a roadster? Is it a sports car? Whichever way you look at it, this stylish soft-top is the all-new BMW Z4. The German firm’s premium drop-top may have covered all manner of bases for some time, but now it’s been re-engineered to provide an even more all-encompassing driving experience.
The previous-generation Z4 was on sale for close to 10 years – selling in its thousands during that time – but BMW has seen fit to finally replace the now-ageing convertible with an all-new model. With new engines, a more complex chassis setup and sharper looks, the new Z4 promises to be more involving to drive than its predecessor. How has it changed? Let’s take a look.
The old Z4 was available with the choice of either a 2.0-litre, 2.5-litre or a 3.0-litre petrol engine, with power outputs ranging from 153bhp right the way up to 335bhp. Three choices remain, but the first two models – 20i and 30i – utilise the same 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine, albeit in two different states of tune. The former benefits from 197bhp, while the latter pushes out 258bhp.
Topping the range is the M40i. This uses a six-cylinder engine, which produces a healthy 335bhp an allows the Z4 to hit 60mph from a dead stop in just 4.4 seconds before hitting a limited top speed of 155mph.
All engines utilise an eight-speed torque converter automatic gearbox sending power to the rear wheels. Perfect 50/50 weight distribution means that the Z4 has excellent inherent balance, while Michelin Pilot Super Sport tyres have been specially developed for the car to help give the best possible grip levels.
Though the interior of the older Z4 was well-built, comfortable and ergonomically strong, the new car’s cabin has come on in leaps and bounds in comparison. The fundamentals stay the same – there’s still high quality materials used throughout and the driving position remains spot-on, but some key factors have been lifted.
The new infotainment screen is wider than before, for instance, while the traditional circular gauges have been replaced by digital dials. You also get the latest generation of BMW’s iDrive system, which is even easier to use than before.
There’s plenty of storage too. The boot is large enough for a few weekend bags, while the glovebox is generous too, allowing the cabin to stay clutter-free. The Z4’s interior is a well-appointed and classy place to sit, that’s for sure.
BMW has done well to improve on the Z4’s looks – it was a handsome car to begin with. Now, it follows a more ‘cab forward’ design, which puts the driver and passenger closer to the front of the car. Trademark BMW touches such as the iconic kidney grilles remain, but they’ve been worked alongside large air inlets and flush fog lamps to help create a car which looks purposeful without being too ‘in-your-face’.
The rear deck of the car has been raised to give the Z4 more of a ‘wedge’ shape, while the various cuts and slashes across the length of the car give it a distinct amount of visual presence out on the road. As standard all cars ride on 18-inch wheels, though top-of-the-range M40i Z4 models benefit from larger 19-inchers, which only add to the car’s looks.See Available Z4 Deals