BMW

BMW Z4 ROADSTER sDrive 20i Sport 2dr Auto

Fuel

FuelPetrol

Transmission

TransmissionAutomatic

Acceleration

0 - 62 mph6.6s

WLTP - CO2 (g/km)

WLTP - CO2161 g/km

BMW knows a thing or two about roadsters and this third generation Z4 is one of its best. It may not be the sharpest car in its class to drive but on the right day, in the right mood on the right road, you may not care. The engines are efficient and willing, the looks are stunning and the feeling you get behind the wheel still makes you feel twenty years younger. This, it seems, is a Z that might be very hard to catch. Let's try the base sDrive20i version.

MORE THAN ENOUGH Z?

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.

Ten Second Review

BMW knows a thing or two about roadsters and this third generation Z4 is one of its best. It may not be the sharpest car in its class to drive but on the right day, in the right mood on the right road, you may not care. The engines are efficient and willing, the looks are stunning and the feeling you get behind the wheel still makes you feel twenty years younger. This, it seems, is a Z that might be very hard to catch. Let's try the base 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.

  • Heated windscreen washer jets
  • Fingertip control / anti-trap function on electric window
  • Windscreen wipers with adjustable interval
  • Green tinted heat protection glazing
  • Electric heated rear window

  • Dry braking
  • Front and rear brake discs with interior ventilation
  • Brake energy regeneration
  • CBC - (Cornering brake control)
  • Dynamic brake control
  • Dynamic Traction Control - DTC
  • Automatic Stability Control (ASC)
  • Anti lock braking system (ABS) with brake assist
  • Braking readiness
  • Electromechanical parking brake with automatic drive away release and auto hold function
  • Dynamic stability control + (DSC+)

  • Front and rear velour floor mats

  • Double joint spring
  • Drive performance control with ECO PRO comfort + sport mode

  • Electric power steering
  • Variable sport steering
  • Active Guard

  • Auto start-stop
  • Pull away assistant

  • BMW ConnectedDrive online services
  • Speedometer with mph readout
  • Oil sensor for level and grade, warning by check control system
  • BMW Live Cockpit Professional with 10.25" high resolution instrument and control display
  • BMW emergency call
  • BMW Teleservices
  • Optimum shift indicator
  • Oil temperature gauge
  • Instrument cluster
  • Tachometer
  • Run flat indicator
  • Fuel gauge

  • Exterior mirrors - electrically folding with anti-dazzle
  • Interior rear view mirror with automatic anti dazzle function

  • Sensatec instrument panel

  • High precision injection
  • Double VANOS
  • Fuel tank breather system
  • Safety battery terminal clamp

  • USB connection

  • Tailgate release handle
  • Exterior mirror housing finish in body colour
  • Door sill finishers with M designation
  • Exhaust tailpipe - split left and right
  • Kidney grille in mesh design
  • Dynamic braking lights comprising activated hazard warning flashers and third brake lights
  • Model logo
  • Door sill strips
  • Visible VIN plate
  • Lightweight engineering
  • Front and rear bumper system
  • Matt black window recess finisher

  • Follow me home headlight function
  • Preparation for high beam assistant
  • LED daytime driving lights
  • Two stage brake force display
  • Automatic headlight beam throw control with load dependent regulating reaction, dynamic compensation of braking dive and acceleration squat
  • LED Indicators
  • LED rear lights

  • Microfilter and active carbon filter
  • Two zone automatic air conditioning

  • Extended storage - Z4 - 4 lashing eyes, storage net, 2 hooks and strap
  • Battery in luggage compartment
  • Sport multifunction leather steering wheel
  • 12V power socket in front storage compartment
  • Height adjustable mechanically and infinitely variable steering column
  • Vernasca leather upholstery
  • Cupholder

  • Ambient lighting
  • Welcome lighting
  • Activation of interior lighting

  • Connected package professional - Z4

  • Seat occupancy protection
  • Tyre pressure monitoring with three level warning strategy
  • Deactivation of fuel pump in the event of a crash
  • 3 point front seat belts
  • Roll over protection
  • Two tone horn
  • Seat belt force limiter
  • Crash Sensor - activates hazard/interior lighting + unlocks doors
  • Airbags - Front driver and passenger, front and side impact protection
  • Plastic fuel tank
  • Pyrotechnic seat belt tensioners

  • M Sport seats for driver and passenger
  • Front headrests
  • Driver and front passenger heated seats
  • Child seat ISOFIX attachments for passenger seat

  • Electronic vehicle immobiliser
  • Centre lock switch
  • Thatcham cat 1 remote alarm
  • Start/stop button with Comfort Go keyless engine start and auto Start/stop deactivation button
  • Closing system with central locking

  • Electronic differential lock
  • Eight speed steptronic sport transmission, with gearshift paddles

  • Sunvisors with vanity mirrors

  • Reduced rolling resistance tyres

  • BMW Mobility Kit

  • WLTP - CO2 (g/km) - Low: 223
  • WLTP - CO2 (g/km) - Medium: 160
  • WLTP - CO2 (g/km) - High: 141
  • WLTP - CO2 (g/km) - Extra High: 157
  • WLTP - CO2 (g/km) - Comb: 161
  • WLTP - CO2 (g/km) - Low - Min: 223
  • WLTP - CO2 (g/km) - Low - Max: 226
  • WLTP - CO2 (g/km) - Medium - Min: 160
  • WLTP - CO2 (g/km) - Medium - Max: 162
  • WLTP - CO2 (g/km) - High - Min: 141
  • WLTP - CO2 (g/km) - High - Max: 143
  • WLTP - CO2 (g/km) - Extra High - Min: 157
  • WLTP - CO2 (g/km) - Extra High - Max: 160
  • WLTP - CO2 (g/km) - Comb - Max: 164
  • WLTP - CO2 (g/km) - Comb - Min: 161
  • CO2 (g/km): 139
  • Standard Euro Emissions: EURO 6
  • HC+NOx: N
  • Particles: N

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

  • EC Directive 1999/100/EC Applies: False
  • EC Urban (mpg): 38.2
  • EC Extra Urban (mpg): 53.3
  • EC Combined (mpg): 46.3
  • WLTP - MPG - Low: 28.8
  • WLTP - MPG - Medium: 40.4
  • WLTP - MPG - High: 45.6
  • WLTP - MPG - Extra High: 40.9
  • WLTP - MPG - Comb: 39.8
  • WLTP - MPG - Low - Min: 28.8
  • WLTP - MPG - Low - Max: 28.5
  • WLTP - MPG - Medium - Min: 40.4
  • WLTP - MPG - Medium - Max: 39.8
  • WLTP - MPG - High - Min: 45.6
  • WLTP - MPG - High - Max: 44.8
  • WLTP - MPG - Extra High - Min: 40.9
  • WLTP - MPG - Extra High - Max: 39.8
  • WLTP - MPG - Comb - Min: 39.8
  • WLTP - MPG - Comb - Max: 39.2
  • WLTP - FC (l/100km) - Low: 9.8
  • WLTP - FC (l/100km) - Medium: 7
  • WLTP - FC (l/100km) - High: 6.2
  • WLTP - FC (l/100km) - Extra High: 6.9
  • WLTP - FC (l/100km) - Comb: 7.1
  • WLTP - FC (l/100km) - Low - Min: 9.8
  • WLTP - FC (l/100km) - Low - Max: 9.9
  • WLTP - FC (l/100km) - Medium - Min: 7
  • WLTP - FC (l/100km) - Medium - Max: 7.1
  • WLTP - FC (l/100km) - High - Min: 6.2
  • WLTP - FC (l/100km) - High - Max: 6.3
  • WLTP - FC (l/100km) - Extra High - Min: 6.9
  • WLTP - FC (l/100km) - Extra High - Max: 7.1
  • WLTP - FC (l/100km) - Comb - Min: 7.1
  • WLTP - FC (l/100km) - Comb - Max: 7.2

  • Generation Mark: 3
  • Alternative Fuel Qualifying: False
  • Standard manufacturers warranty - Years: 3
  • Standard manufacturers warranty - Mileage: 999999
  • Timing Belt Interval Mileage: N
  • Timing Belt Interval Frequency - Months: N
  • NCAP Adult Occupant Protection %: 97
  • NCAP Child Occupant Protection %: 87
  • NCAP Pedestrian Protection %: 91
  • NCAP Safety Assist %: 76
  • NCAP Overall Rating - Effective February 09: 5
  • Badge Power: 197
  • Badge Engine CC: 2.0
  • Vehicle Homologation Class: M1
  • AdBlue: False
  • Special Edition: False
  • Special Order: False
  • Based On ID: N
  • Insurance Group 1 - 50 Effective January 07: 30E
  • Did at least one aspect of this vehicle's safety give cause for concern?: False
  • Coin Series: Sport
  • Coin Description: i sDrive

  • Engine Power - BHP: 197
  • Engine Power - PS: True
  • 0 to 60 mph (secs): False
  • 0 to 62 mph (secs): 6.6
  • Top Speed: 149
  • Engine Power - KW: 145
  • Engine Power - RPM: 4500
  • Engine Torque - LBS.FT: 236
  • Engine Torque - NM: 320
  • Engine Torque - RPM: 1450
  • Engine Torque - MKG: 32.6

  • Emissions Test Cycle: WLTP
  • RDE Certification Level: RDE 2

  • Tyre Size Rear: 255/40 R18
  • Tyre Size Spare: TYRE REPAIR KIT
  • Wheel Type: 18" ALLOY
  • Tyre Size Front: 225/45 R18
  • Alloys?: True
  • Space Saver?: False
  • Wheel Style: V SPOKE STYLE 770

  • Width (including mirrors): 2024
  • Height: 1304
  • Height (including roof rails): N
  • Length: 4324
  • Width: 1864
  • Wheelbase: 2470

  • Minimum Kerbweight: 1430
  • Gross Vehicle Weight: 1740
  • Fuel Tank Capacity (Litres): 52
  • Luggage Capacity (Seats Up): 281
  • No. of Seats: 2
  • Max. Roof Load: N
  • Luggage Capacity (Seats Down): N
  • Turning Circle - Kerb to Kerb: 11
  • Max. Loading Weight: 310

  • Bluetooth hands free telephone connection with USB audio interface + audio streaming: Included
  • Enhanced bluetooth with wireless charging: £350

  • Driving assistant: £0
  • Active cruise control with stop and go: £0
  • Front/rear Parking distance control: Included
  • Cruise control with brake function: Included
  • Parking assistant - camera & ultrasound reversing, lateral with self parking facility: £500

  • Wifi hotspot preparation: £0
  • Head up Display: £0

  • High gloss black interior trim: Included
  • Mesh effect aluminium interior trim: £80

  • BMW advanced loudspeaker system: Included
  • Harman/Kardon loudspeaker system: £0

  • Solid paint: Included
  • Metallic paint: £670
  • Wind deflector: £170

  • High beam assistant: £0
  • Adaptive LED Headlights: £0
  • Low and high beam headlights in Bi-LED: Included

  • Soft top - Anthracite silver with opening/closing function up to 30mph: £250
  • Soft top - Black: Included

  • Heated steering wheel: £170
  • Through load system: £100

  • Comfort package - Z4: £750
  • Comfort plus package - Z4: £1,700
  • Visibility package - Z4: £900
  • Technology package - Z4: £1,800
  • Driving assistant package - Z4: £900

  • Metallic - Mineral white: £670
  • Metallic - Glacier Silver: £670
  • Metallic - Black sapphire: £670
  • Metallic - Mediterranean blue: £670
  • Metallic - San Francisco red: £670

  • Solid - Alpine white: £0

  • M Seatbelts: £0

  • Electrically adjustable front driver and passenger seats with memory: £0
  • Driver + passenger electric lumbar support: £265

  • Comfort access system with smart opener: £0

  • Vernasca leather - Ivory white with decorative stitching: £0
  • Vernasca leather - Magma red with decorative stitching: £0
  • Vernasca leather - Black with decorative stitching: £0
  • Vernasca leather - Cognac with decorative stitching: £0

  • 18" V spoke light alloy wheels in bicolour orbit grey - style 770: Included
  • 19" V spoke light alloy wheels in bicolour ferric grey - style 772: £850

Whilst every effort is made to verify and ensure the accuracy of the data, the information should only be used as a guide and no purchasing decision should be made without verification of the data from either the manufacturer or franchised dealer. Our offers may be on a different model year to that represented by this data and so specification may differ accordingly.

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