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A hairdresser's car? A worthy alternative to the Porsche Boxster? The savior of BMW's sports cars at a time when this market falls? A Toyota Supra? 201
9 The BMW Z4 M40i can be all these – and maybe a little more than people will give it credit for.
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(Full description: BMW needed me to run the new 8 Series and Z4 so bad it flew me all the way to Portugal and paid for my food and spirits .
It seems like we have always been waiting for replacement for the E89 Z4. Thanks to the much hyped (over-hyped at this point I would argue) partnership with Toyota to collaborate on the new Supra, the expected Z4 has been a lot higher than you would normally expect. The people here at Jalopnik have dutifully reported the crazy rumors around this new sports car since 2012 if you can believe it. (Remember when there should be a hybrid replacement for LFA?)
It's a lot The thrill of Z4, which to be fair, has not really been on many radar raiders since Clive Owen races the devil through Las Vegas in them.
Hell, the last of the Z line I was very excited was the Z3M Coupe and that was 20 years ago. Did BMW have the magic to g Does this thing matter again? To find out, I went to the M850i race in Portugal, where BMW also gave us a taste of the new Z4 M40i.
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] Inside and Out
First thing first: G29 (the new term for the current gene Z series) Z4 is as good in the meat as it is in pictures. It's not really a bad angle on the car. Now I explained that by saying that I was a big fan of the look of the old car, the E89 Z4, as well.
Sure, it does not have wide fender flare or a super aggro look at it, but then what? Neither class contestant, Porsche Boxster, and I would very much argue that the Z4 is the more stylish car of the two.
The interior is equally good. From the driver's seat, the appearance is unmistakable BMW. You get the latest iDrive system and the all-digital dashet that comes to the new 3-series. This is good, as BMW has really occupied his inner game in the last couple of years, but Mercedes is still the current leader in that department.
However, the important bit is that the Z4 has a large amount of interior for a small two-seater, and is all covered with leather and Alcantara standard. It's so spacious that I was able to adjust the seats to fit perfectly with my 6 "frame and still had some adjustment again if I suddenly grew slightly higher – a valid concern in any car and also definitely for me, a 40-year-old man with the safe potential for a mid-week spurt anytime.
With the top down you can do in 10 seconds at speeds up to 31km / h, the cabin is obviously open and spacious , which may just be, maybe, may be because there is no thanks. Wind intrusion is minimal so you can chat with the passenger without having to shout into a hurricane.
More importantly, Z4 does not become claustrophobic when the peak goes up. It feels like a real sports car and not a coffin on wheels, which some smaller convertibles can feel. Even with the roof in place, it's a pretty spacious and comfortable place to be.
The reason for the sense of space is that the new Z4 has, well, more space. Ove ralt. The sports car is now based on BMW's new modular CLAR architecture, a super flexible platform that supports everything from this to the new 3 Series, 8 Series and X5. And, yes, Supra.
As a result it is 3.35 inches longer, 2.9 inches wider and a half inch higher than the old car. The good news is the one area that Z4 has not grown in, its weight: the 4-cylinder Z4 comes in at 3,285 pounds and the six-cylinder is 3.549 pounds, about the same as the last car. It has a lower center of gravity and a 50:50 weight distribution as well. An increase in traces (+ 98 mm in front and + 57 mm behind) and shortening of the wheelbase (-26 mm) point to a car that is more serious than the pedestrian.
One major reason for the Z4 staying away from a big weight gain is the new peak, which returns to a soft peak from the last-generation car's folding hardtop. As much as I liked the hard top, the weight bit was just too big – and in the wrong place – in a car this size with sporty pretensions. The soft top looks really well in the raised position, and once on the road did a solid job of keeping out noise to a tolerable level.
My only problem is the suitcase. You only get 9.9 cubic meters of luggage room with the top down or upwards. BMW claims that it's 50 percent more spacious than the last Z4, but even though there's hardly enough space to get more than a couple of softy weekend bags.
Can The Show Match The Go?
So it's easier and it looks good, but does it move? To me, it does not matter if there are no achievements to back up it. But BMW made sure that Z4 had cutlets to deliver, which started with the power plant.
The M40i is motivated by a classic BMW 3.0-liter straight-six device assisted with a single twin scroll turbo. The engine sets out a very healthy 340 horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque. It's only five horses more than the old i35, but a significant torque of 37 lb-ft, and all these moments are available from just 1600 RPM. There is enough juice to drive roadster from zero to 62 mph in just 4.6 seconds. Forget the tired joke about the "hairdresser's cars." With the speed of the highway achieved it quickly, I made sure to include my entire head in hair spray just in case.
2.0-liter turbo 4-cylinder sDrive30i also provides a respectable 258 HP and 295 lb-ft with torque. Expect it to hit 60 km / h in five seconds, but when we could not drive the car, I just have to take BMW's words for it.
Regardless of both the four and six-cylinder power, only through the BMW's 8-speed, paddle-shift ZF-picked Steptronic Sport gearbox. That's it. There is no manual option on Z4 in the future, which is definitely a blow to Z's sports car tensions.
However, according to BMW, this gearbox will be the best of both worlds, providing fast and responsive manual shifting when you want it and automatically change when you can not be bothered. In addition, the M40i box is specially adapted to the characteristics of the engines. And the ZF8 is good-we know it. It's in many cars these days for a reason.
Whatever the press release says, this is still an automatic gearbox in the heart. And its relatively dull shift and lack of coupling involves boring a bit of the sports car shining from the Z4.
On the suspension side, this roadster is also equipped with Adaptive M Sport suspension, M Sport brakes and an electrically controlled M Sport differential-all included as standard on the M40i. With all these active systems in place, choose Comfort, Sport or Sport + everything dramatically changes the car's character from the boulevard cruiser to the canyon carver.
On The Road
As we lived in Sintra, Portugal, the home of some epic motorways, it was sensible to beat the walking pedal and put Z4 through its steps. Absolutely ignoring the route programmed by my BMW guides, I was looking for the sharpest lines I could handle on the map. It took me north in the hills above the Atlantic Ocean.
As I mentioned earlier in other posts, the roads here can be described generously as glorious goat paths. I think even the Portuguese goats are looking for better routes to get around. Between the tough, narrow road and the infinite flow of cyclists and massive coaches, you must be 100 percent focused on what's coming up or you can end up with a BMW infection on the side of the road.
But Z4 was more than up to the task. When I drove the incredible 850i through these roads the day before, that was all I could do to keep the big bimmer on my side of the road. But these roads were made for the sealed convertible.
I can tell you this: it's not a clean sports car. Boxster is definitely more difficult and more focused on performance over comfort, although it is also a fairly lively daily driver. But on these bad roads Z4 was an absolute pleasure. The adaptive suspension sucked up all the coarse spots, and there were many of them – all while providing solid repayment and stability.
Switched to Sport + definitely settled on the handling front, but also sent all the cracks and bumps through my spine. Again, there is a fairly radical change of character when switching through the driving modes. Sport + does not result in Ferrari FXX levels of masochism, but unless the roads near you are forever newly built, it's not a mode I would recommend for anything but a quick blast up canyon.
Where Z4 really shines is with its engine. The 3.0-liter straight-six propeller Z4 of the tight corners like a rocket. With torque of apparently some RPM, you can just leave the car in what gear you like and the little Z will just pull. Having said that, you might want to drop it down a gear or two just to hear the engine sing.
Now I know that there must be all kinds of audio techno trickery going on behind the scenes to make this engine sound so good even when it's turned off a turbo, but I do not care about it. With the top down, I do not even mind turning on the radio, the engine's note was all the music I needed at this station.
Z4 is with the same instrument cluster and 10.25-inch screen as its big brother 850i has. I raved about them in the 8 series and they are no less impressive here. Together with Harman International, BMW has developed one of the better systems on the market. It offers so many features that there is no way, in a short time I had assigned by car, to go through and test them all.
But one of the cool features I found after my drive was finished is digital key. This will allow the car to be unlocked and started with the smartphone, just as Tesla has done for a while, and access can also be shared with other people. This electronic key works via Near Field Communication, which means the phone must be within inches of lock to work. So if you start to notice that people put their asses up to the doors of their BMWs soon, this is why. (At least it should be.)
At the end of the day, the very annoying hardcore sports cars (and BMW) fans are likely to criticize the new Z4 as just another in a wide range of "hairdressing cars . " But I think that pigeonholing them in that category does not do car justice.
The price of Z4 has not been released yet (we expect to see an announcement from the upcoming LA Auto Show), but expect 30i to be in the middle of $ 50,000 and will be featured in dealers in the spring of 2019. The Z4 M40i will follow later on the year with prices in the $ 60,000 series. This makes both cars competitive from a price point with their intended rival Boxster.
On the track, Porsche's roadster will be seconds ahead of BMW. But at the station at home, Z4 would be a much more fun place to be. This does not mean that BMW is a smaller car – just different focus.
And the competition is slimmer than ever. The bumpy convertible sports car segment shrinks, as BMW himself admitted. There are the Ford Mustang and Chevrolet Camaro dropups, but I do not know how many people will actually cross them against this. The now more powerful Mazda Miata is smaller, more focused, cheaper and less powerful, but not as close as luxurious. It is the Audi TT, which lacks rear-wheel drive and is even less a clean sports car. ( Update: Somehow, we've forgotten Jaguar F-Type and Chevrolet Corvette convertible, which are equally priced and in the latter case much more powerful. And they can be had with a stick.]  So, in addition to Boxster, this car's most interesting match can be with his platform mate, the upcoming Supra. I'm keen to see how it traced the battle.
I do not feel that Z4 may have a hard edge to be considered a "real" BMW sports car. If you want to get rough, you can buy an M2 but enjoy the Z4 for what it is: a sporty roadster that is viable for everyday driving around the city, but still remains to be a skilled canyon carver on weekends when your shift in the hair salon is done.