BMW M Series Z4 M40i Review
Poster Roadster

clifford chow
28 Feb 2020
 

The best way to enjoy the full-on soundtrack of the straight-six and those lovely exhaust pops, is driving with the top down. The fabric folding roof takes only 10 seconds to fully deploy or stow, and can operate up to speeds of 50km/h. 

We had the privilege to take the all-new BMW Z4 for a spin in Australia’s scenic wine country a while ago, and were delighted that Christopher Wehner, the then Project Manager of the Z4 was there to present the car to us in finer detail. 

One of the most unique production cars to be built by the German automotive giant, the BMW Z4 may not be a mainstream model; however if you were to think of it as sort-of a mid-tier halo car, you can understand the amount of thought that goes into cars BMW builds.

The bodywork is penned by Australian, Calvin Luk, who was also behind the exterior styling of the very capable X3, and recently refreshed X1; The Z4 is quite a bold departure from the norm. Stacked headlamps bend the rules in BMW’s usually predictable design language, and since it is a droptop, there is no need to hunt for that Hofmeister Kink. Overall, the Z4 to me, is brilliantly styled from ground up.

BMW also did away with the hardtop found on the previous car for two very good reasons, the first being the added weight, which proved to also be a challenge, since a BMW is supposed to have perfect 50:50 balance, and you would be moving quite a fair bit around during opening and closing; the other was that it created restrictions to how the rear of the car could be designed, as it did simply take up more space.

The Z4, which is the smallest BMW to be built on their Cluster Architecture (CLAR) platform (which also forms the base for its flagship 7 Series sedan), is built with the intent of being a full-on driver’s car. And this, my friends, is truly one of the better drives you can buy, without shelling out supercar money!

Inside

The driver-oriented dash is styled similar to their new range of cars, and features familiar componnentary from the BMW parts bin. A 10.25” screen, fronts the infotainment system, while modern touches like a wireless charging pad, ensures that you would not be out of juice while paired up to the car’s entertainment system for music. The all-new BMW Operating System 7.0, which is voice-activated, also makes its way into the Z4. Other goodies like its Reversing Assistant, which can be found in most of their new cars, like the 3 Series, is an important addition.

A 10.25” digital instrument panel provides clear communication to the driver, however, some may not take too well to the new format instrument dials which operate in opposing directions.

Seats are supportive, yet still comfortable; and getting that perfect seating position is quite easy. There is also some thoughtful crisscross stitchwork at the headrest, which crinkles up the leather, improving on comfort… little touches that matter.

Cargo space at 281 litres is similar to that found in the Audi TT Coupe, regardless of whether the hood is up or not; and includes a ski hatch which leads into the cabin to accommodate longer items, or perhaps to slip in a Sunday Golf bag.

The Drive

The M40i is powered by BMW’s signature smooth-spinning 3.0 turbocharged straight-six engine, which easily delivers 340hp. An expansive torque band from between 1,600 to 4,500rpm, ensures ease of drivability, and almost any-gear pull-away ability. 

The Z4 is available in two other engine options, the 30i and 20i, both which are using the same 2.0 engine in different states of tune. The base car, in my thoughts is still quick, benefitting from less weight than this six-cyl, and still being able to clock in an impressive 100km/h in just a shade above 6.5 seconds. This cream-of-the-crop 3.0 however does the benchmark in 4.5 seconds, identical to the super lightweight Alpine A110, and 0.1 seconds slower than the Porsche 718S Boxster. Mighty impressive, especially given its weight.

Paired to a ZF-developed 8-speed transmission, which swaps cogs quickly, even if it is not a dual-clutch unit. Punching the Z4 through the ratios in Sport+ mode induces slightly rougher gearchanges, as the transmission goes all out to commit to each gear, with minimal play. First-to-second gear, even with the Z4’s driver safety nets switched on, induces a little wheelspin chirp. 

Putting the roadster through a quick turn, reveals a car which allows the rear end slip just that little, just as you coax it out of a bend; and with you positioned near the rear wheels, you can tell where the Z4 is pointed to just by the seat of your pants. Apart from the large, but necessary strengthened A pillars, which hinder your view a little, the ideal driving position, coupled with the Z4’s accurate steering makes it a joy to flick around.

The best way to enjoy the full-on soundtrack of the straight-six and those lovely exhaust pops, is driving with the top down. The fabric folding roof takes only 10 seconds to fully deploy or stow, and can operate up to speeds of 50km/h. 

But driving it hard would only be an occasional part of your ownership experience. Dial it back down to its normal day-to-day drive mode, and the Z4 is civilised, delivers such a comfortable drive, and is largely linked to the very good decision to not use run-flat tyres… Thank you BMW.

Our Thoughts

For the added premium for two more cylinders, the satisfaction of hearing it spin up in-front with the sound of authority… and damn smooth authority it is; would have me to say that even if the 30i is the most sensible buy among the three Z4 models available, the six-cylinder version here, simply is more emotional, naturally has more grunt… but more importantly has that larger-than-life persona, that makes owning a roadster just so satisfying.

#G29 #BMW #BMWZ4 #SG #M40i #Singapore #Autos #Cars #Roadtest #Review

In Summary

We Like

That straight-six. That balance. That larger-than-before boot. That handling. Did I mention that straight-six?

We Don't

A little on the heavier side. Necessarily thick A pillar, Quirky virtual instrument dials might not be to everyone’s liking.

Verdict

The Z4 competes with the likes of the Porsche 718, and while it may not have that mid-engined magic, it is more practical.

Car Loan Calculator - BMW M Series Z4 M40i (A)

SGD 342,888 (25 Jun 2020)

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Engine

Engine Capacity 2998cc Turbocharged
Engine Type Inline 6
Compression Ratio 11:1
Bore x Stroke (94.6 x 82)mm
Power 335bhp @ 5000rpm
Torque 500Nm @ 1600rpm
Power to Weight 208.1 bhp per ton

Performance

Acceleration 4.5s (0-100 km/h)
Top Speed 250 km/h
Fuel Consumption (combined) 13.5 km/L

Misc Technical Data

Transmission 8 -speed SST
Drive Type F4
Steering Electric

Measurements

Body Type Cabriolet
Dimension
(L x W x H)
(4324 x 1864 x 1304) mm
Wheelbase 2470 mm
Kerb Weight 1610 kg
Boot Capacity 281 L

Brakes

Brakes (Front) Ventilated Discs
Brakes (Rear) Ventilated Discs