2019 BMW Z4 M40i Review


High level bean counters love the notion of economies of scale so it’s no great surprise when you see car companies sharing platforms, engines, even technology. Every now and then however this strategy can unearth an automotive gem and I reckon that might be a case in point with this car. BMW’s third generation Z4. Okay, sure the Z4 might be purely BMW but it can’t hurt the cars longevity that its key platform and drive train components are shared with the forth coming Toyota Supra. Available in Australia from this month, the latest BMW roads to employ its familiar rear drive underpinnings, rear stubby proportions and a 50/50 weight distribution. A formula that has struck a chord with many since the original Z1’s inception in 1989. The new Z4 is offered in three grades. Priced from $85,000 plus on road costs. Now put all the talk of the Toyota type to one side because the Z4 feels intrinsically like a BMW.

The tuning and the suspension, the steering, even the sound of the straight six engine. It feels vintage BMW and that’s no bad thing. The four cylinder 20i entry model might be enticing but it is the flagship M40i fitted with a turbo charge straight six that really plays to the Z4’s strengths offering up 250 kilowatts and 500 newton metres it can notch 100ks from rest in four and a half seconds. Though it does ask a lot for the privilege at 125 grand. From a ride and handling perspective the Z4 sits on the sportier side of the ledger. Even in comfort mode there’s a firmness to the suspension and a business to the overall ride that isn’t quite as closeting as some rivalling cars. The steering is also a little bit darty for mine and spooned. The Z4’s strength lies simply in ground-touring.

Switch the car to comfort mode, get up to highway speed, there’s minimal wind interference in the cabin and the eight speed automatic works really well the engine to develop a nice generous taut curve. Whip things up a little bit more and it’s evident that this is a fun car but it’s not that sort of out and out excitement as something like the Porsche Cayman or the Porsche Boxter. If you do decide to venture a little bit further down the pecking order, the four cylinder engines do feel a little bit flat and vanilla in the company of the straight six.

There’s nothing wrong with them and they do perform quite well on twisting roads but they just don’t leave you with that same excitement as a large capacity engine. BMW proudly claims the turbo six Z4 is faster around the Nurburgring then its dedicated M2 Sports Coupe. But on Australian roads it simply doesn’t impart the same charm and enthusiasm as the M2 and it will cost a bucket load more. That said the Z4 does move the Roadster game forward for the German carmaker and as much as anything else it sets up an exciting showdown with its Toyota cousin.


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