Launched in early 2019, the latest Z4 is an all new design by Australian designer Calvin Luk and while it continues the Z4 heritage, it also represents a fresh approach.
We have tested the BMW Z4 a few times over the years and was looking forward to spending some time in this latest version.
There are three variants available, the Z4 sDrive20i (which we are driving currently), Z4 sDrive30i and Z4 M40i M Performance.
Externally the Z4 is stunning. Unusually the vehicle looks great with both the roof up and down. It is better looking than the recently released M2 Competition.
The overall look is low, with a wide track leading to a squat appearance. Typically the long bonnet slopes to the fresh take on the kidney grill and vertical LED headlights.
From the side the clean lines are accentuated by the character lines and the forward leaning black trimmed air intakes. The rear is rounded but I’m not a fan of the integrated spoiler,
The electronic roof is weather proof obviously and lighter than other options and takes about 10 seconds to operate, sitting neatly behind the seats and can be raised or lowered at speeds of up to 50km/h.
A choice of one solid and three metallic exterior paints are available, including the San Francisco Red Metallic we drove and with the additional option of ‘Frozen Grey II’ finish from the BMW Individual collection.
Designed as purely a two seat vehicle, there is surprising space inside. The M Sport seats have an integrated headrest design and are clad in soft ‘Vernasca’ leather. The driver’s seat has multiple electronic adjustments, including lumbar and side bolsters. There is also a manual squab extender.
Interior layout is definitely driver centric with a 12 inch customisable instrument cluster. The heads up display is excellent. Z4 also comes with a thick leather ‘M steering wheel with the usual array of controls and paddle shifts behind.
Between the seats is a long centre console bin with a clever twin lid design that allows access to the cup holders and storage, while still providing an elbow rest for the driver. The console houses the transmission lever, drive mode selection buttons, the controls for BMW centre screen and the lever for the electronic roof control.
On top of the centre stack is a 10.25inch screen that is the hub of BMW Operating System 7.0. It can be operated by the dial on the centre console, by touch or voice command. The level of individualisation for the vehicle is impressive. The screen itself is crystal clear whether the roof is up or down.
Internal storage is limited to the glove box, a reasonable size, the clever centre console bin, tiny door pockets that are impossible to use and a small netted area behind the seats on a shelf.
One design feature I really appreciate is that with the roof down, the boot space isn’t affected. There is a surprising amount of room in there.
The Z4 we drove is the ‘entry level’ version, but that doesn’t mean poverty pack.
As standard, The BMW Z4 sDrive20i features an impressively high standard specification. Additional highlights include: M Sport Package, Wind Deflector, electro chromatic mirrors, Two-zone Automatic Air Conditioning, Cruise Control with Braking Function, High-Beam Assistant, DAB digital radio with HiFi Loudspeaker System with 10 speakers, Connected Package Professional, including Apple CarPlay, BMW Live Cockpit Professional, Wireless Charging and Chinese Language Display (no-cost option).
Drive and Engine
The Z4 sDrive20i is equipped with a 2.0-litre, turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine. In this tune, the sDrive20i engine develops 145kW from 4,500rpm to 6,500rpm. Torque is 320Nm torque peak, ranging from only 1,450rpm to 4,200rpm. Fuel economy is listed at 6.5L/100km on the combined cycle, with 148g/km of CO2.
According to BMW, the sDrive20i accelerates to 100km/h from standstill in about 6.6 seconds. All Z4 models come with an eight-speed sports automatic transmission with launch control and paddle shifters fitted as standard.
Given its rigid chassis, low centre of gravity, 50:50 weight distribution and rear-wheel drive, the all new BMW Z4 has a natural dynamic advantage. With a shorter wheelbase and wider front and rear tracks, the engineers’ intention was clear: make the Z4 a driver’s car.
Put the top down on a beautiful day, or even better, a balmy evening, and all is revealed. Given that the Z4 is all about simple driving pleasure, I’m not sure anyone would need anything more than the 2.0L engine. It provided enough acceleration at almost any speed and felt balanced.
Overall visibility is poor, over the bonnet, over the shoulder and through a small rear window. Having the roof down helps. With the roof down, there is little wind noise or buffeting thanks to the wind deflectors.
While not having been through the ANCAP process as yet, the Z4 is still packed with safety features, as you would expect.
The critical feature for a convertible is the individual rollover bars that provide an additional safety layer when the roof is down.
There are the usual plethora of features such as multiple airbags, driver assist programs, Lane Keep Assist and Warning, Collision Warning both forward and rearward, ESC, Traction Control, Blind Spot indicators and a heap more.
- Stunning design
- Hedonistic pleasure
- Overall balance and Engine/transmission
- Having to slide down into it with a dodgy right knee
- Overall driver visibility
- Road and tyre noise
The BMW Z4 is designed purely for hedonistic pleasure. It’s all about the look and feel and driving experience.
Being able to lower the convertible top and head off for a drive is one of life’s great experiences. If you are never going to drive with the top down don’t buy this car, there are better coupes. However there aren’t any better convertibles for the price.
I loved my time in the Z4, however it definitely is a second car, but a dam good one.
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Facts and Figures: 2019 BMW Z4 sDrive20i Convertible
- Engine: 2.0-litre four cylinder turbo petrol produces 145kW/320Nm
- Transmission: 8-speed AT RWD
- Warranty: 3 Yrs / Unlimited km 3 Yrs Roadside Assist
- Safety: TBA ANCAP
- Origin: Germany
- Price: From $84,900 MLP*
*Includes GST and LCT but excluding statutory charges, dealer costs and dealer delivery. See your dealer for RDAP. Does not include price of options. Some features mentioned in the article are options
BMW Z4 sDrive20i
BMW Z4 sDrive20i – Launched in early 2019, the latest Z4 is an all new design by Australian designer Calvin Luk and while it continues the Z4 heritage, it also represents a fresh approach.