Performance – The BMW Z4 is powered by a 3.0-litre, inline six-cylinder engine (B58 that replaces the N55 whose performance version S55 is used by M cars) which produces 340 HP between 5000 to 6500 RPM, making it a screamer in the top-end while torque output is 500 Nm at a rather low 1600 RPM, peaking all the way at 4500 RPM, giving it a very wide torque band. The result is an engine which just feels ready for action every given moment with more than enough juice to propel you ahead with a slight nudge on the accelerator pedal. Using twin-scroll turbocharging for the single turbocharger, there is no turbo lag so to speak, thus drivability is great and refinement levels are stellar, till you reach the mid-range when the exhaust becomes sporty and loud, with fake sounds coming from the speakers too!
The inline-six engine is supremely refined and responds quickly to throttle inputs
The BMW Z4 comes with 4 drive modes with Individual settings for the Eco Pro and Sport modes while the latter also gets a Plus mode, the other modes are Comfort and Adaptive which alters the engine, gearbox, steering and dampers basis the road condition and driving style. In Sport mode, the active exhaust turns on and makes quite the racket which is more audible with the roof down, there being a bark on upshift and pops and crackles on downshift, what a symphony! The 8-speed gearbox is fast with shifts and there are 3 modes for the transmission too – Drive, Sport and Manual with the steering mounted paddles giving you complete manual control, holding the redline at 7000 RPM. The Z4 also gets launch control to get to 100 km/hr from standstill in 4.5 seconds, top speed is limited to 250 km/hr.
Driving Dynamics – The BMW Z4 is a rear-wheel-drive car but the M40i variant is equipped with some M bits like the M rear differential, M adaptive suspension and M brakes too which play their part in giving this car stellar balance. The suspension is on the stiffer side which is expected and thus the car does move around a bit over bad roads, especially in Sport modes. However, body roll is very well contained and there is a good amount of traction on offer, in spite of all that power going to the rear wheels, in fact, the Z4’s wide rubber does offer it great grip but on wet surfaces, the traction control intervenes a lot, it can be turned to Sport mode or completely off which equates to drift mode, given the tail-happy nature.
Body roll is well contained and the Z4 has exceptional high speed stability
The steering weighs up well at high speeds and feedback is good but the feel isn’t as great as one would expect from a BMW car. Agility too isn’t this BMW’s forte as it’s more comfortable through long sweepers than tight corners, clearly, this isn’t a car for the track but more for gobbling up long distances in style. High-speed stability is great and in spite of the soft-top roof, there is no noise filtering in. BMW has achieved 50:50 weight distribution on the Z4 and has managed a weight reduction of 50 kgs over the G29’s predecessor. The brakes are superb and offer very surefooted stopping power, with ABS calibrated just right.