Pure roadster shape of the latest BMW Z4 works well with the top up - or down

Pure roadster shape of the latest BMW Z4 works well with the top up – or down

BMW Z4 has one of the purest body shapes on the road whether it’s used as a closed coupe, or a top-down roadster in which to appreciate the joys of cruising in Australia. It has a very long bonnet, a short tail and you sit all the way back in the cabin. We love the shape and have just enjoyed a great week in our home territory on the Gold Coast.

Changes to the body shape of the BMW Z4 in this midlife makeover are minimal, daytime running lights sit in rings around all four headlights, there are metal arches over the headlights and the chrome around the front blinkers has been enlarged. Reshaping of the side air extractors are part of the picture and new paint colours are on offer.

Inside the cabin a bolder effect has been obtained by using piano-black in several locations, there are also mild revisions in style.

Upgrades for the 2014 model year include the installation of the BMW Professional satellite navigation system in all models.

BMW Australia is continuing its strategy of bundling items that had proven popular as individual features into what it calls ‘Lines’.

The Design Pure Balance Line has sport seats, wood trim and leather trim.

The M Sport Package has 18-inch alloys, sports seats, aluminium and carbon fibre interior trim, a leather steering wheel, M sport suspension, and an aerodynamics package.

BMW’s Z4 Design Pure Traction Line is available across the range. It features sports seats, Alcantara/leather upholstery, interior trim finishers in ‘metal weave’ design and an individual roof-liner in Anthracite trim.

Engines are all turbocharged-petrol units as BMW Australia couldn’t see there being a market for turbo-diesel units on our market. There’s a 2.0-litre four-cylinder in two stages of tune, giving either 135 kW or 180 kW, and a 3.0-litre straight-six with 250 kW.

During our road testing at the new Z4’s launch in far north Queensland a couple of months back we fell in love with the 180 kW four-cylinder engine that sits behind an all-new eight speed automatic. It provides almost as much performance as the six-cylinder and its lighter weight adds to the already good agility of the Z4 when cornering hard.

Our week’s retest on the Gold Coast in day-to-day driving confirmed that this is our powertrain of choice.

The six-cylinder engine in the BMW Z4 has a sports unit – a dual-clutch seven-speed automatic.

You wouldn’t expect a high-performance roadster with a 180 kilowatt engine to have fuel consumption as low as 5.9 litres per hundred kilometres, but that’s the number we had during the stages of testing at 110 to 120 on motorways. That’s amazing efficiency and shows why BMW continues to sit at, or near the top, when global ‘engine of the year‘ awards are handed out.

In day-to-day driving in the suburbs and when pushing hard in the country the consumption was generally in the eight to ten litres per 100 km range, which is still impressive in a sports machine like this.

It’s no surprise that the BMW Z4 continues to provide excitement. It has near-perfect chassis balance, provides huge levels of grip in corners and answers virtually instantly to steering and throttle inputs from the driver.

Anyone who doesn’t come away from a drive in a Z4 on challenging roads with a big smile on their face hasn’t been trying hard enough.

There’s a lot of tyre noise on coarse-chip bitumen as found on many Australian roads, at times conversation can be difficult even when the roof is closed.

Boot space is quite limited when the roof is folded down and life is further complicated by the fact the opening is small.

Prices of the BMW Z4 are virtually unchanged from the superseded model and represent considerable savings when the added equipment is factored in. The sheer joy of driving continues to be a factor in all BMWs and nowhere is this felt more than in this fun roadster.


2013 BMW Z4

Z4 sDrive 20i 2.0-litre two-door convertible: $79,900 (manual or automatic)
Z4 sDrive 28i 2.0-litre two-door convertible: $89,900 (manual or automatic)
Z4 sDrive 35is 3.0-litre two-door convertible: $119,545 (DSG automatic)
Note: These prices do not include government or dealer delivery charges. Contact your local BMW dealer for driveaway prices.

ABS Brakes: Standard in all models
Cruise Control: Standard in all models
Dual Front Airbags: Standard in all models
Front Side Airbags: Standard in all models
Electronic Stability Program: Standard in all models
Rear Parking Sensors: Standard in all models
Reversing Camera: Not offered
USB/Auxiliary Audio Inputs: Standard in all models
Satellite Navigation: Not offered in 20i, standard in 28i and 35is
Bluetooth: Standard in all models
Steering Wheel Mounted Controls: Standard in all models

SPECIFICATIONS (BMW Z4 sDrive 35is 3.0-litre two-door convertible)

Engine Capacity: 2.979 litres
Configuration: Six cylinders in line
Head Design: DOHC, four valves per cylinder
Compression Ratio: 10.2:1
Bore/Stroke: 89.6 mm x 84.0 mm
Maximum Power: 250 kW @ 5900 rpm
Maximum Torque: 450 Nm @ 1500-4500 rpm

Driven Wheels: Rear
Manual Transmission: Not offered in 35is
Automatic Transmission: Seven-speed DSG
Final Drive Ratio: 3.08:1

Length: 4224 mm
Wheelbase: 2496 mm
Width: 1790 mm
Height: 1284 mm
Turning Circle: 10.7 metres
Kerb Mass: 1525 kg
Fuel Tank Capacity: 55 litres
Towing Ability: Not recommended for towing

Front Suspension: Adaptive M suspension
Rear Suspension: Adaptive M suspension
Front Brakes: Ventilated disc
Rear Brakes: Ventilated disc

0-100 km/h Acceleration: 4.8 seconds

Type: Petrol 98RON
Combined Cycle (ADR 81/02): 9.0 L/100km

Greenhouse Rating: 7/10
Air Pollution Rating: 6.5/10

Three years/unlimited km

About Ewan Kennedy

Ewan Kennedy, a long-time car enthusiast, was Technical Research Librarian with the NRMA from 1970 until 1985. He worked part-time as a freelance motoring journalist from 1977 until 1985, when he took a full-time position as Technical Editor with Modern Motor magazine. Late in 1987 he left to set up a full-time business as a freelance motoring journalist. Ewan is an associate member of the Society of Automotive Engineers - International. An economy driving expert, he set the Guinness World Record for the greatest distance travelled in a standard road vehicle on a single fuel fill. He lists his hobbies as stage acting, travelling, boating and reading.
Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *