BMW has unveiled an updated interpretation of the classical roadster concept. The new BMW Z4 is ready to steal the show as a premium open-top sports car boasting an emotion-packed body design, a fully-electric soft-top roof, compact proportions and a squarely driver-focused interior. Agility, dynamic performance and precise handling were all top priorities when developing the two-seater’s body, powertrain and chassis. The extremely high rigidity of the body structure and chassis mountings, the intelligent lightweight design and optimised aerodynamic properties provided the ideal basis for meeting these objectives. The new design of the front and rear axles benefits not just the car’s sporty on-road prowess, but its ride comfort too. And the new BMW Z4 combines its pure sporting pedigree with a wealth of highly advanced, topclass equipment features on the driver assistance, operation and connectivity fronts.
From the outside, the way in which the roadster concept has evolved is particularly plain to see from the car’s proportions. The new BMW Z4 has a low-slung, sporty, compact appearance when viewed from any angle. It is 85 millimetres longer than its predecessor (at 4,324 millimetres), 74 millimetres wider (now 1,864 millimetres) and 13 millimetres taller (1,304 millimetres). The shortening of the wheelbase by 26 millimetres to 2,470 millimetres serves to sharpen agility, as do the notably wider tracks – 1,609 millimetres at the front (+ 98 mm) and 1,616 millimetres at the rear (+ 57 mm). The car’s central seating position, low centre of gravity and minimised weight, as well as ideal 50 : 50 weight distribution, also contribute to the intoxicating dynamism of the new BMW Z4.
A precise use of forms and a number of signature details form the defining features of the emotion-packed, pure-bred exterior design of the new BMW Z4. The combination of just a few lines and a clean-cut surface design create a very distinctive take on sporting appeal. A powerfully sculpted front apron with large air intakes, a low, broad BMW kidney grille and headlights positioned at the outer edges ensure there is no mistaking the car from the front. The new-look mesh-design BMW kidney grille combines a track-inspired honeycomb pattern with a three-dimensional structure, whose elements have a vertical arrangement reminiscent of traditional kidney grille bars. The headlight units are another first, with the two light sources positioned one above the other for the first time. The vertical design is cut off at the top by a diagonal accent strip with integral direction indicator. The new BMW Z4 is equipped with LED headlights as standard, while the optional Adaptive LED headlights add a matrix function for the non-dazzling high beam and cornering lights.
The elongated bonnet with arrow-shaped contour lines directed at the kidney grille straddles the wheel arches in the “clamshell” style characteristic of classical sports cars. The joins at the bonnet’s sides merge into the flanks’ upper character line, which runs back to the tail lights. A second character line emerges from the large Air Breathers behind the front wheel arches. This interplay of surfaces mimics the flow of air sweeping along the new Z4. The boot lid’s harmoniously integrated spoiler and the slender, horizontally arranged light assemblies in the brand’s customary L-shape help to give the tail of the new BMW Z4 a wide, road-hugging appearance. The rear apron’s powerful look is further strengthened by the side surrounds and the exhaust tailpipes flanking the eye-catching diffuser.
There is a choice of one non-metallic and eight metallic shades for the car’s exterior paintwork. The soft-top roof comes in Black as standard and Anthracite with silver effect as an option. It is electrically operated and can be opened or closed in the space of ten seconds, even while travelling at speeds up to 50 km/h (31 mph). Some striking individual touches can be added by opting for the Sport Line or M Sport package. Sport Line features design elements in High-gloss Black on the front crossbar and the rear apron’s insert, along with 18-inch light-alloy wheels. The highlights of the M Sport package, meanwhile, include a threesection air intake for the front apron, prominent side skirt contouring, a rear apron with highly distinctive side surrounds and 18-inch M light-alloy wheels. The new BMW Z4 M40i advertises its particularly sporty character with a Cerium Grey finish for the surround and front face of the mesh-design BMW kidney grille, the exterior mirror caps and other design features, plus trapezoidal exhaust tailpipes.
With its driver-focused cockpit design, lines that surge forward with dynamic élan and use of trim finishers restricted to just a few areas, the cabin of the new BMW Z4 is a picture of unadulterated driving pleasure. Both driver and passenger settle into model-specific sports seats with integral head restraints. The BMW Z4 sDrive30i is upholstered in Vernasca leather as standard, available in a choice of Black, Ivory White, Cognac and Magma Red, each with coordinated contrast stitching and piping. Standard specification for the BMW Z4 M40i includes a leather and Alcantara interior with blue contrast stitching and blue piping. As an alternative to the standard Quartz Silver, the trim finishers can also be specified in High-gloss Black, Aluminium Mesh Effect or Aluminium Tetragon. The optional draught stop fits flush between the fixed rollover bars. The bars are finished in Aluminium satinated on Sport Line, High-gloss Black with the M Sport package and Cerium Grey on the BMW Z4 M40i. Specially designed door sill strips and trim finishers, a Sensatec instrument panel, and M sports seats with additional adjustment options can also be ordered for these model variants. The M Sport package and BMW M Performance model add an M leather steering wheel, M pedals and an M driver’s footrest.
With compact proportions, a low centre of gravity, low weight, perfect 50 : 50 weight distribution, a very rigid body and chassis structure, and optimised aerodynamic properties, the new BMW roadster comes with the ideal credentials for exhilarating, sporty performance. The requisite power is supplied by a choice of three petrol engines, each making their debut in the new BMW Z4 in their most recent incarnation. Assuming the role of rangetopper in the new BMW Z4 M40i is a further improved straight-six unit featuring M Performance TwinPower Turbo technology. Four-cylinder petrol engines with BMW TwinPower Turbo technology and increased output take their place in the BMW Z4 sDrive30i and BMW Z4 sDrive20i models for the first time. The line-up of technology designed to boost both dynamism and efficiency includes a twin-scroll turbocharging system, High Precision Injection, VALVETRONIC fully variable valve timing and Double-VANOS variable camshaft control. There is also a new generation of eight-speed Steptronic transmissions to handle the task of directing the engines’ power to the rear wheels. The Z4’s chassis technology has been designed and tuned with a very clear objective in mind: to harness the engines’ zest and turn it into unbeatable driving pleasure.
The roadster’s model line-up is spearheaded by a BMW M Performance version. The new BMW Z4 M40i conjures the power required for its breathtaking performance from a 3.0-litre six-cylinder in-line engine, whose inherently instantaneous response, hearty appetite for revs and smoothness combine with improved efficiency and reduced emissions. The new power unit’s standout features include a water-cooled exhaust manifold integrated into the cylinder head, sharper turbocharger response and superior acceleration, and direct injection technology which now works at increased maximum pressure of 350 bar. Drivers have a maximum output of 250 kW/340 hp at their disposal between 5,000 and 6,500 rpm, plus 500 Nm (369 lb-ft) of peak torque can be summoned from 1,600 to 4,500 rpm. A ceaseless build-up of power enables the car to sprint from 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 4.5 seconds. The new BMW Z4 M40i posts combined fuel consumption of 7.4-7.1 litres per 100 kilometres (38.2-39.8 mpg imp), equating to CO2 emissions of 168-162 grams per kilometre.
The chassis technology in the new BMW Z4 has been designed squarely to deliver supreme agility and handling dynamics, and comprises a newly designed double-joint spring strut axle at the front and a five-link rear axle making its debut in a BMW roadster. This combination strikes just the right balance between sportiness and ride comfort. The front axle subframe and control arm mountings are extremely rigid, which lends itself to precise cornering characteristics and also has a beneficial effect on the drivetrain’s acoustics. The sports car tuning of the front axle elastokinematics aids the new Z4’s steering precision at the same time as making its lateral handling characteristics more dynamic. Fitting aluminium control arms and swivel bearings has reduced unsprung masses, resulting in superior agility and efficiency. The new rear axle likewise employs a lightweight aluminium/steel design that saves weight. The large supporting base and very rigid structure of the rear axle subframe as well as the shear panels used for connecting it to the body result in extremely precise wheel guidance. All of which makes it possible to blend agile handling with a high level of ride comfort.
Another feature to be found on the standard equipment list is the variable sport steering with adjustment of both power assistance and steering angle to suit the situation at hand. This particular version of the Electric Power Steering system is designed to promote not just straight-line stability in the new BMW Z4, but also slick cornering and effortless low-speed manoeuvring. The car’s impressively sporty handling characteristics are further aided by a powerful lightweight braking system and the Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) system, whose wealth of features includes the Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), Dynamic Traction Control (DTC), Cornering Brake Control (CBC), Dynamic Brake Control (DBC) and Start-Off Assistant. The Performance Control function also included as standard gives the new BMW Z4 even nimbler handling by varying the distribution of drive torque to the rear wheels according to the situation at hand.
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