2019 BMW Z4 Review
Car Tested: 2019 BMW Z4 M40i; Road Test No. 1124; Test Location: Mumbai
Price OTR Mumbai: Rs. 99,05,220/-
The BMW Z4 blends the attractive two-door convertible shape with outstanding performance and dynamics
Sexy, driver-focussed two-door convertibles are every petrolhead's dream. The Indian market has a good range of convertibles but most of them are more practical, more touring-oriented drop-tops. BMW has stepped in to cater to the pursuits with the all-new Z4. This roadster claims to be more than just a pretty face. BMW wants to take on the competition head-on by offering an authentic driver's car. The Z4 is claiming big with performance and dynamics while retaining the easy to use character. But can a BMW roadster really work in India? We hit the very rainy roads of Mumbai to find out.
Motor Quest: BMW's Z range of cars started their life with the Z1 in 1989. Subsequently, BMW launched the Z3 and Z8 as its successors. The Z1, Z3 and Z8 had plenty of novelty value and engineering prowess. However, they failed to find the commercial success BMW was looking for. In 2002, BMW launched the first generation of the Z4 and it became a hit. The second-generation model was launched in 2009 and it found an impressive global audience. In 2010, it found its way to our shores and had been a part of BMW India's niche line-up for quite some time. The third-generation Z4 was globally unveiled late last year and it was developed in tandem with Toyota's iconic Supra. Both cars share the same platform and the same straight-six petrol engine. The new Z4 also loses the hardtop for a weight-efficient soft-top.
Exteriors - The Z4 is a BMW and yet not a BMW in its design. What we mean to say is, it has the traditional elements but BMW has made sure the Z4 does not end up looking like any other BMW. The kidney grille is wide and slick. The bumpers on our M-Sport model look muscular and domineering. We like the swept-back headlights and the pattern on the grille.
With the long bonnet, frameless doors and the soft-top, the Z4 looks very sexy
The long bonnet and stubby rear give it that unmistakable roadster silhouette. To save weight, BMW has ditched the hardtop for a soft top. In our opinion, the soft top adds a lot of character to the design. When lowered, you cannot help but notice the cuts and creases that brilliantly reflect light. And, how we admire the red shade on our car! Factor in the black wheels and taut rear design, the Z4 is going to attract a lot of eyeballs.
Interiors - The exterior looks distinct from other BMWs but that distinguished feel does not continue on the inside. The dashboard is identical to the likes of the new X5, X7 and the upcoming 3-Series. But that is what nearly all brands do and this cabin impresses on all other aspects. The seating position is good with great seating support and numerous adjustments. The cabin feels properly snug and the thick-rimmed steering wheel makes you feel special.
The Z4 comes with the new iDrive & instrument cluster and the layout takes some time getting used to
The dashboard is titled towards the driver which is just what you need in a car like this. The new all-digital instrument cluster has a vivid display and amazing detailing. We like the anti-clock-wise rev counter which reminded us of some Aston Martins. We find the 10.2-inch touch screen to be a tad big in a sports car, lessening that analogue feel. However, people appreciate touch screens and we cannot find flaws with BMW's iDrive interface.
Quality is supremely good. The roof mechanism also works as it should and we did not find any rattles or squeaks when the roof was in place. The rich leather and brushed trim make it a pleasant place on long drives. We wish the interior was more practical though. There is not much space for knickknacks and the outside visibility is only above-average. The small boot is further limited by a spare tyre.
Quality of materials used is impressive and the seats feel very comfortable
BMW has made sure you don't miss the essentials in the Z4. Two-zone climate control, electric seats, wireless charging and heads-up display are offered. There is ample interior upholstery and colour options available. Pay attention to the brochure though, not all of it is a part of the standard equipment.
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.
Safety - The car gets a slew of safety systems including blind-spot assist, adaptive cruise control, collision warning and lane keep assist, all of which can be turned to early, medium or late frequency of intervention. Additionally, the Z4 comes with 6 airbags and other electronic aid to keep you out of harm's way. Rollover protection is offered by the handsome looking, fixed humps behind the seats.
Verdict - The BMW Z4 is a potent roadster that does quite a few things well. It has a striking design, an upmarket cabin and stunning performance in the M40i guise. BMW has priced the Z4 at Rs. 81.57 lakhs for the base 20i variant and Rs. 99 lakhs for the top-end M40i trim (all prices on-road, Mumbai) The sDrive20i variant makes more sense if you just want drop-top motoring and while the straight-six petrol has ample performance, for the true-blue enthusiast, we recommend spending more and going for the more thrilling and more practical M2 coupe.
* Attractive design with great road presence
* Luxurious and feature-loaded cabin
* Linear performance with insane ride and handling dynamics
* Comes with all the safety features
What's Not So Cool
* Ground clearance could be an issue on our roads
* Many features are optional
* Steering could have offered more feel
Alternatives: - Audi A5 Cabriolet, Mercedes-Benz C-Class Cabriolet
2019 BMW Z4 Specifications
* Engine: 2998cc, 6-Cyl, Petrol
* Power: 340 HP @ 5000-6500 RPM
* Torque: 500 Nm @ 1600-4500 RPM
* Transmission: 8-Speed AT
* 0-100 km/hr: 4.5 seconds
* Top Speed: 250 km/hr
* Fuel Consumption: 4-8 km/l
* Fuel Type: Petrol
* Tyre Size: 255/35/19 (Front), 275/35/19 (Rear)
* Suspension: Adaptive M suspension (Front & Rear)
* Brakes: Disc (Front & Rear)
* Safety: 6 Airbags, ABS with EBD, ESP
2019 BMW Z4 Dimensions
* Overall length x width x height: 4324 mm X 2024 mm X 1304 mm
* Wheelbase: 2470 mm
* Fuel Tank Capacity: 52-litres
* Kerb Weight: 1610 kgs
Further Reading -
2019 BMW Z4 M40i
2019 BMW Z4 M40i Review
The new BMW Z4 is available with two engine options and we tested the 3.0-litre variant. It has more than enough power on tap and builds speed very nicely. The car looks quite striking and has the right balance between sportiness and luxury. The interior, though a bit limited in space, has the latest tech and feels top-class.