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BMW Z4 ROADSTER

sDrive 20i M Sport 2dr Auto

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Key Info

Optional Extras

Technical Data

Review

Key Features

Transmission Type
Transmission TypeAutomatic
Fuel Type
Fuel TypePetrol
Fuel Efficiency
Fuel Efficiency46.30mpg
Emissions
Emissions160.00g/km
Top Speed
Top Speed149mph

Driver Convenience

  • Active guard plus
  • Auto start-stop
  • BMW emergency call
  • BMW Live Cockpit Professional with 10.25" high resolution instrument and control display
  • BMW Online services
  • BMW Teleservices
  • Electric power steering
  • Fuel gauge
  • Instrument cluster
  • Oil sensor for level and grade, warning by check control system
  • Oil temperature gauge
  • Optimum shift indicator
  • Pull away assistant
  • Run flat indicator
  • Speedometer with mph readout
  • Tachometer
  • Variable sport steering

Entertainment

  • BMW advanced loudspeaker system
  • USB connection

Exterior Features

  • Automatic headlight beam throw control with load dependent regulating reaction, dynamic compensation of braking dive and acceleration squat
  • Door sill finishers with M designation
  • Door sill strips
  • Dynamic braking lights comprising activated hazard warning flashers and third brake lights
  • Electric heated rear window
  • Exhaust tailpipe - split left and right
  • Exterior mirror housing finish in body colour
  • Exterior mirrors - electrically folding with anti-dazzle
  • Fingertip control / anti-trap function on electric window
  • Follow me home headlight function
  • Front and rear bumper system
  • Green tinted heat protection glazing
  • Heated windscreen washer jets
  • High gloss shadow line
  • Interior rear view mirror with automatic anti dazzle function
  • Kidney grille in mesh design
  • LED daytime running lights, corona ring style
  • LED Indicators
  • LED rear lights
  • M aerodynamic body kit
  • Model logo
  • Tailgate release handle
  • Two-stage brake lights
  • Visible VIN plate
  • Windscreen wipers with adjustable interval

Interior Features

  • 12V power socket in front storage compartment
  • Activation of interior lighting
  • Ambient lighting
  • Battery in luggage compartment
  • Child seat ISOFIX attachments for passenger seat
  • Cupholder
  • Driver and front passenger heated seats
  • Extended storage - Z4 - 4 lashing eyes, storage net, 2 hooks and strap
  • Front and rear velour floor mats
  • Front headrests
  • Height adjustable mechanically and infinitely variable steering column
  • M leather steering wheel
  • M Sport seats for driver and passenger
  • Microfilter and active carbon filter
  • Sunvisors with vanity mirrors
  • Two zone automatic air conditioning
  • Vernasca leather upholstery
  • Welcome lighting

Packs

  • Connected package professional - Z4

Safety

  • 3 point front seat belts
  • Airbags - Front driver and passenger, front and side impact protection
  • Anti lock braking system (ABS) with brake assist
  • Automatic Stability Control (ASC)
  • Brake energy regeneration
  • Braking readiness
  • CBC - (Cornering brake control)
  • Crash Sensor - activates hazard/interior lighting + unlocks doors
  • Deactivation of fuel pump in the event of a crash
  • Dry braking
  • Dynamic brake control
  • Dynamic stability control + (DSC+)
  • Dynamic Traction Control - DTC
  • Electromechanical parking brake with automatic drive away release and auto hold function
  • Front and rear brake disks with interior ventilation
  • Plastic fuel tank
  • Roll over protection
  • Seat belt force limiter
  • Seat belt tensioners
  • Seat occupancy protection
  • Two tone horn
  • Tyre pressure monitoring with three level warning strategy

Security

  • Alarm
  • Centre lock switch
  • Closing system with central locking
  • Electronic vehicle immobiliser
  • Start/stop button with Comfort Go keyless engine start and auto Start/stop deactivation button

Technical

  • Double joint spring
  • Double VANOS
  • Drive performance control with ECO PRO comfort + sport mode
  • Eight speed steptronic sport transmission, with gearshift paddles
  • Electronic differential lock
  • Fuel tank breather system
  • High precision injection
  • M sport suspension
  • Safety battery terminal clamp

Trim

  • Sensatec instrument panel

Wheels

  • 18" Double spoke M light alloy wheels in bicolour ferric grey - style 798M
  • BMW Mobility Kit
  • Reduced rolling resistance tyres

Driver Convenience

Exterior Features

Interior Features

Packs

Paintwork

Trim

Emissions - ICE

  • CO2 (g/km)
    139
  • HC+NOx
    Not Available
  • Particles
    Not Available
  • Standard Euro Emissions
    EURO 6
  • WLTP - CO2 (g/km) - Comb
    160
  • WLTP - CO2 (g/km) - Comb - Max
    163
  • WLTP - CO2 (g/km) - Comb - Min
    160
  • WLTP - CO2 (g/km) - Extra High
    155
  • WLTP - CO2 (g/km) - Extra High - Max
    158
  • WLTP - CO2 (g/km) - Extra High - Min
    155
  • WLTP - CO2 (g/km) - High
    140
  • WLTP - CO2 (g/km) - High - Max
    142
  • WLTP - CO2 (g/km) - High - Min
    140
  • WLTP - CO2 (g/km) - Low
    223
  • WLTP - CO2 (g/km) - Low - Max
    227
  • WLTP - CO2 (g/km) - Low - Min
    223
  • WLTP - CO2 (g/km) - Medium
    160
  • WLTP - CO2 (g/km) - Medium - Max
    162
  • WLTP - CO2 (g/km) - Medium - Min
    160

Engine and Drive Train

  • Camshaft
    DOHC
  • Catalytic Convertor
    Yes
  • CC
    1998
  • Compression Ratio
    10.2:1
  • Cylinder Layout
    IN-LINE
  • Cylinders
    4
  • Cylinders - Bore (mm)
    82
  • Cylinders - Stroke (mm)
    94.6
  • Engine Code
    B48B20O1
  • Engine Layout
    NORTH SOUTH
  • Fuel Delivery
    TWIN TURBO
  • Gears
    8 SPEED
  • Number of Valves
    16
  • Transmission
    SEMI-AUTO

Fuel Consumption - ICE

  • EC Combined (mpg)
    46.3
  • EC Directive 1999/100/EC Applies
    No
  • EC Extra Urban (mpg)
    53.3
  • EC Urban (mpg)
    38.2
  • WLTP - FC (l/100km) - Comb
    7
  • WLTP - FC (l/100km) - Comb - Max
    7.2
  • WLTP - FC (l/100km) - Comb - Min
    7
  • WLTP - FC (l/100km) - Extra High
    6.8
  • WLTP - FC (l/100km) - Extra High - Max
    6.9
  • WLTP - FC (l/100km) - Extra High - Min
    6.8
  • WLTP - FC (l/100km) - High
    6.2
  • WLTP - FC (l/100km) - High - Max
    6.2
  • WLTP - FC (l/100km) - High - Min
    6.2
  • WLTP - FC (l/100km) - Low
    9.8
  • WLTP - FC (l/100km) - Low - Max
    10
  • WLTP - FC (l/100km) - Low - Min
    9.8
  • WLTP - FC (l/100km) - Medium
    7
  • WLTP - FC (l/100km) - Medium - Max
    7.1
  • WLTP - FC (l/100km) - Medium - Min
    7
  • WLTP - MPG - Comb
    40.4
  • WLTP - MPG - Comb - Max
    39.2
  • WLTP - MPG - Comb - Min
    40.4
  • WLTP - MPG - Extra High
    41.5
  • WLTP - MPG - Extra High - Max
    40.9
  • WLTP - MPG - Extra High - Min
    41.5
  • WLTP - MPG - High
    45.6
  • WLTP - MPG - High - Max
    45.6
  • WLTP - MPG - High - Min
    45.6
  • WLTP - MPG - Low
    28.8
  • WLTP - MPG - Low - Max
    28.2
  • WLTP - MPG - Low - Min
    28.8
  • WLTP - MPG - Medium
    40.4
  • WLTP - MPG - Medium - Max
    39.8
  • WLTP - MPG - Medium - Min
    40.4

General

  • AdBlue
    No
  • Alternative Fuel Qualifying
    No
  • Badge Engine CC
    2.0
  • Badge Power
    197
  • Based On ID
    Not Available
  • Coin Description
    i sDrive
  • Coin Series
    M Sport
  • Generation Mark
    3
  • Insurance Group 1 - 50 Effective January 07
    31E
  • NCAP Adult Occupant Protection %
    97
  • NCAP Child Occupant Protection %
    87
  • NCAP Overall Rating - Effective February 09
    5
  • NCAP Pedestrian Protection %
    91
  • NCAP Safety Assist %
    76
  • Did at least one aspect of this vehicle's safety give cause for concern?
    No
  • Service Interval Frequency - Months
    24
  • Service Interval Mileage
    18000
  • Special Edition
    No
  • Special Order
    No
  • Standard manufacturers warranty - Mileage
    Unlimited
  • Standard manufacturers warranty - Years
    3
  • Timing Belt Interval Frequency - Months
    Not Available
  • Timing Belt Interval Mileage
    Not Available
  • Vehicle Homologation Class
    M1

Performance

  • 0 to 62 mph (secs)
    6.6
  • Engine Power - BHP
    197
  • Engine Power - KW
    145
  • Engine Power - RPM
    4500
  • Engine Torque - LBS.FT
    236
  • Engine Torque - MKG
    32.6
  • Engine Torque - NM
    320
  • Engine Torque - RPM
    1450
  • Top Speed
    149

Test Cycles

  • Emissions Test Cycle
    WLTP
  • RDE Certification Level
    RDE 2

Tyres

  • Alloys?
    Yes
  • Space Saver?
    No
  • Tyre Size Front
    225/45 R18
  • Tyre Size Rear
    255/40 R18
  • Tyre Size Spare
    TYRE REPAIR KIT
  • Wheel Style
    DOUBLE SPOKE STYLE 798
  • Wheel Type
    18" ALLOY

Vehicle Dimensions

  • Height
    1304
  • Height (including roof rails)
    Not Available
  • Length
    4324
  • Wheelbase
    2470
  • Width
    1864
  • Width (including mirrors)
    2024

Weight and Capacities

  • Fuel Tank Capacity (Litres)
    52
  • Gross Vehicle Weight
    1740
  • Luggage Capacity (Seats Down)
    Not Available
  • Luggage Capacity (Seats Up)
    281
  • Max. Loading Weight
    310
  • Max. Roof Load
    Not Available
  • Minimum Kerbweight
    1430
  • No. of Seats
    2
  • Turning Circle - Kerb to Kerb
    11

The classical Roadster. This, apparently, is what we have here in the form of the third generation version of BMW's Z4. Jonathan Crouch drives the sDrive20i version.

Background

Ah yes, the Z4; the model that some said wasn't quite a true BMW sports car last time out - the head of the company's performance 'M' division didn't think the old MK2 model was quite dynamic enough to get a full 'M' status. Some say it isn't quite a true BMW sports car this time round either, but usually for a different reason - the fact that it's shared its development with a Toyota (the new GR Supra). We might also mention the fact that it isn't even built by BMW, the Munich maker having farmed production out to Magna Steyr in Austria. Lots of issues then. Affordable modern-era BMW roadster models have always faced them. This time though, with this 'G29'-series model, there are grounds for believing that this Z4 could actually give us the really serious driver's experience its predecessors struggled to deliver. It's grippier, has a lower centre of gravity, a considerably wider track and, because the previous model's heavy old metal folding roof has been dumped this time round, there's also the promise of perfect 50:50 weight distribution. Let's put this MK3 model Z4 to the test in base sDrive20i form.

Driving Experience

Sporting BMWs may have been inseparably associated with six cylinder engines down the years but the key powerplants on offer in this 'G29'-series Z4 line-up squirt fuel into the quartet of cylinders boasted by a TwinPower Turbo 2.0-litre unit that's offered in two states of tune. It's the 197hp sDrive20i variant that I tried, but this engine is also available in a 258hp state of tune in the alternative sDrive30i variant. You can talk to your dealer about a manual version of the base sDrive 20i, but otherwise, all Z4 variants come fitted with an 8-speed Steptronic Sport auto gearbox with gearshift paddles. Rest to 62mph in the '20i' takes 6.6s en route to 149mph. You're probably going to want to pay extra for adaptive damping. The way the suspension interacts with the steering, the throttle and the differential is key to the way this car responds dynamically, so proactive use of the provided drive modes is crucial if you're pressing on. Do that and you'll find that this car lacks the razor-sharp steering responses of a rival Porsche 718 Boxster but the helm is quick and accurate, which in combination with superb front-end traction means that corners can be attacked with surprising confidence. Which is the kind of driving experience you'd want a proper roadster to be able to deliver. Is this one 'fun'? Well it can be - and that's a big step forward in Z4 development.

Design and Build

Brand loyalists will immediately recognise this as a BMW Z car - and it's not just down to the classic long-bonnet / short-roof format and the famous kidney badge on the grille. It's a shape certainly more arresting in reality than on the printed page, but one that you can't help feeling has been developed around its shared platform rather than with free-flowing stylistic expression. We should talk about the fabric roof, since that's a major change over the previous 'G89'-series Z4 with its metal folding top. It folds or erects in just ten seconds - the previous model's rather awkward display of metallic origami took almost twice as long to complete - and can be operated when travelling at speeds of up to 31mph. Inside, you get the nicest and classiest interior you'll find in any small roadster on sale; if anything, it's almost too sophisticated for what's supposed to be a back-to-basics sports car. Most of the fixtures and fittings are lifted from BMW's luxury saloons, including the 10.25-inch centre-dash and instrument binnacle screens that make up the Bavarian brand's sophisticated 'Live Cockpit Professional' package. Apart from that, what strikes you most is the roominess of this cabin, which is one of the things that makes this car feel so everyday-usable. Out back, there's a decently-sized 281-litre boot.

Market and Model

The phrase 'affordable roadster' is a relative one in this case, given that even this least expensive sDrive20i variant with 197hp was priced from launch at around £37,000. That's with the paddleshift 8-speed auto gearbox that most Z4s have to have; for this base version, there's also the option of manual transmission if you want to save a fraction and involve yourself in the driving experience a touch more. Around 70% of Z4 buyers are expected to go for this sDrive20i derivative, with the remainder of sales split between the two more powerful auto-only models that make up the rest of the range. On to rivals that compete directly with this sDrive20i variant. The most obvious competitor to what's on offer here is Audi's TT Roadster in base 40TFSI 194hp guise, which at first glance looks quite a lot cheaper, costing from around £33,500 - around £3,500 less than this directly comparable Z4 sDrive20i. BMW though, thinks that much of that difference would be eradicated if you equipped the Audi to match a Z4's level of spec. Perhaps. We'd be less inclined to consider the other direct option, the Mercedes SLC 200, which offers 184hp and in this form costs around £2,000 less than a Z4 sDrive20i. You might like the Merc if you retain an affection for the kind of metal-folding roof that the Z4 has now rejected. Otherwise though, the SLC's a rather aging design and, in comparison to this BMW, much less practical and somewhat unrewarding to drive.

Cost of Ownership

Let's get to the stats. Regardless of your choice between four cylinder auto models - either this sDrive20i or the sDrive30i - you're looking at up to 38.7mpg and up to 138g/km of CO2. These very creditable readings actually compare extremely well to the rival Audi TT, though the fairly small plastic fuel tank's relatively small size - 52-litres - rather disguises the fact. In theory, a touring range of up to around 500 miles is possible. Across the range, various 'EfficientDynamics' technologies are used to keep running costs in check. There's an engine 'Auto Start-Stop' system, as you would expect. And at highway speeds, the cruise control can seamlessly de-couple the engine from the transmission to reduce friction and consequently save fuel. Of course the driver will also need to do his or her part. The figures we've just quoted assume that the car is being run in the 'Drive Performance Control' system's most frugal 'ECO PRO' mode. In this setting, the air conditioning and power steering only work when required to save energy. Optimised aerodynamics obviously make a significant difference to economy too. BMW has developed what it calls 'Air Breathers' and 'Air Curtains', these devices respectively located behind and ahead of the front wheel arches, their purpose being to reduce turbulence - and therefore drag - in the area around the front wheels.

Summary

So what's been delivered here? A Porsche Boxster-beater? Not really. That might be what the magazines wanted but I'm not sure that likely owners are that bothered by such a comparison. This isn't the uncompromised driver's machine that its Porsche rival can be, but it gets close enough to that benchmark for many likely owners to start prioritising the lower pricing, nicer cabin and stronger standards of safety that you get with this Munich model. BMW has been building roadsters for over 80 years - and it shows with this third generation design, a car that's matured extremely well, slowly and methodically developing into an all-rounder that's tough to beat. It's annoying though, that you have to spend so much more to get the Adaptive M suspension we think this car really needs for the completion of its ride and handling package. What it all means is that though the Z4 might not be the first car you look at when choosing a sports roadster, look at it you must. It's now just too good not to.

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