The veteran Z4, with its hardtop folding and cute dynamics, primarily targeted the Mercedes SLK (now SLC). The latest one has a fabric roof, decreasing weight, and center of gravity. It’s clearly taking a jab at the Porsche 718; itself in a weak position after the old flat six’s departure.

The Z4 M40i comes with a turbo six with 340bhp. Other engines are four-cylinders in the 30i and 20i.

The two four-cylinder Z4s are both rated at 47.1mpg with 138g/km CO2. Best get the 30i of the pair then, as it gets to 62mph in 5.4sec. The M40i’s time is 4.6. Its fuel consumption isn’t great, mind, at 38.7mpg and 165g/km.

The physical dimensions of the Z4 are fantastic for hot laps. For agility, the wheelbase was shortened by an enormous 20 cm. The body is a whole lot stiffer than the old Z4’s, and it’s light. Unlike other BMWs, the front suspension mounts for precision onto a special aluminum subframe. These are not the only deliberate claims.


“…if you care that a car has ‘brand purity,’ you’re going to want the Z4.”



You should sincerely thank Toyota for the Z4. Toyota needed a new Supra but lacked a platform. BMW saw a deformation of the roadster market and wasn’t confident it could sell enough to justify substituting the Z4. So, the Supra gets most of the Z4’s basic engineering, which is BMW stuff. Engine, suspension and basic platform parts, and electronics too, come from BMW’s current set that’s used on every longitudinal car they’ve launched since the 7-er of 2017. The Supra is tuned and set-up differently from the Z4. Both the cars are built at a BMW-overseen line in the Magna plant in Austria.

So, if you care that a car has ‘brand purity,’ you’re going to want the Z4. If you want a roadster, then that will be the Z4 as well. The Supra, a coupe appeals to a particular JDM infused vibe. Thus these cars genuinely cater to various markets, given similar rootstock.


Six cylinders. These two words lead you a long way into the M40i’s appeal. It revs to 7,000rpm, and all the sensations – in its pull and its tone – suggest it’s pretty delighted to do so.

The steering doesn’t bring out a whole lot of front wheel sense. That work is left to the rear end. You sense the e-diff working as you lean on the power, the rear half of the Z4 crouching down and gripping tightly to the friction edge as it bleeds out of a curve.


“Even in the sport mode, where you get a clear sharper turn-in, the dampers allow the suspension to relax on the straights a certain amount.”


The engineers say the handling target was the M2. The Z4 M40i has adaptive dampers as opposed to the M2, so full-on recreational driving isn’t its only happy place. Even in the sport mode, where you get a clear sharper turn-in, the dampers allow the suspension to relax on the straights a certain amount. Objects often are surprisingly supple in relaxation mode, rounding off much of what a fractured surface throws at it.

So the frame of the Z4 relaxes beautifully into long-haul or commuting service. And when you’re at it, what you’d get from new German premium are the driver aids and headlamps.


The seats were not pulled out of a saloon. They are customized to the Z4 and are fitted with electrical bolsters to plug you into the car whatever your girth.

The iDrive comes with virtual instruments and the climate controls are ‘version 7.0’, the same as all this year’s BMWs (X5, 8 Series, Z4, 3 Series) and beyond.

In most ways, it is an easy system to manipulate. Our fingers are less frustrated in manipulating climatic hardware buttons and an actual rotary controller and shortcut buttons for other things than they are when jabbing on the new all-touchscreen system from Audi. And now anyway, the central BMW screen is touch-sensitive.

Folding hardtops were developed because weather and hoodlums with Stanley knives penetrated the soft tops too comfortably. A well-done cloth roof is almost what you might ask for coziness these days, and the hoodlums are too busily involved in social media bullying.

Play with a button for 15 seconds to lower the fabric but keep the windows open and the sleek little wind deflector between-the-roll hoops in place. So you can still enjoy the great stereo at great open-roof speeds

Still, there’s a lot to be said about the way it can relax out of a knickers-on-fire style and behave for daily use with civility and long motorway hauls. It is also practical.