BMW Z4 sDrive23i Review
Ace of Base

Story and photos by Raymond Lai
13 Nov 2009

Can’t stretch your budget for a Porsche Boxster or a twin-turbo Z4? The base Z4 sDrive23i could well be the one for you.

4th dimension

When it comes to premium sporty and small roadsters, models from the usual German suspects usually come to mind. There is the Porsche Boxster, Mercedes-Benz SLK, Audi TT Roadster  and last but not least, the BMW Z4. We found out how good the second generation Z4 was when we drove it earlier this year but that was the range topping sDrive35i variant. What about the almost $50k cheaper base sDrive23i model then?

Although the looks seem familiar, the newest generation Z4 is a whole lot more sophisticated and complex than its petite predecessor. It is significantly bigger than the old one thanks to a new folding metal hardtop, SLK style. The complex roof and its mechanism have added weight and girth to the Z4’s previously svelte proportions. Some might think that it looks a tad heavy when viewed from the rear due to the need for the boot to store the complex folding roof. The long bonnet design, shared with its predecessor and traditional front-engine sports cars  balances out the slightly feminine look of the rear though. The new roof also means that there won’t be a fixed head coupe version of the Z4 like the previous oddball model. 

The two-piece electro hydraulically retractable hardtop is made of lightweight aluminium. The hardtop opens and closes fully automatically with the press of a button within 20 seconds. The roof certainly works in a complex fashion when it is in operation but obviously, market demand and a feeling of security for owners has prompted BMW to go down the metal hardtop route with its small roadster model.

Externally, the sDrive23i is distinguished from the range topping sDrive35i only by its smaller alloy wheels and the badges on the front fenders.

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Engine Capacity 2497cc
Engine Type Inline 6
Bore x Stroke (78.8/82.0)mm
Power 204bhp @ 6400rpm
Torque 250Nm @ 2750rpm
Power to Weight 135.1 bhp per ton


Acceleration 7.3s (0-100 km/h)
Top Speed 239 km/h
Fuel Consumption (combined) 12.3 km/L

Misc Technical Data

Transmission 6 -speed Auto
Drive Type FR


Body Type Cabriolet
(L x W x H)
(4239 x 1790 x 1291) mm
Wheelbase 2496 mm
Kerb Weight 1510 kg