2020 BMW Z4 M40i REVIEW

BMW_Z4_M40i_frontBMW Z4 M40i Roadster is a genuine sports machine with superb styling, serious punch from a straight-six engine and – of course – it’s driven through the rear wheels.

This can be a practical daily driver, even when the weather is threatening. The roof can be raised or lowered in just 10 seconds at speeds up to 50 km/h. It is stored above the boot without intruding into cargo space.

At 281 litres, luggage capacity is half as much again as the previous Z4. Still not huge but it can carry enough for two on a long weekend trip without you having to leave too much behind.

The M40i as tested had the standard BMW ConnectedDrive, which features Intelligent Emergency Call and Connected Package Professional, which includes remote services, real-time traffic information, wireless Apple CarPlay and concierge services, wireless smartphone charging and Bluetooth connectivity.

This is Australian Calvin Luk’s fourth BMW design. We’ve chatted to him several times and he’s a thoroughly likeable young fellow who’s very modest about the work the German prestige maker has entrusted to him. Long may it remain that way.

The front LED headlights have a vertical layout. The trademark BMW kidney grille and has a 3D-look in its mesh finish. The long bonnet, with its arrow contour lines, flows from the front kidneys, with a little imagination you can see traces of the legendary BMW 507 Roadster.


The 3D tail-lights are slim and wide to fit in with the roadster’s The lower area features sharp breather sections, dual trapezoidal exhaust pipes and an interesting diffuser design.

An M Aero package on our test car had the front apron, side sills, and rear apron in body colour, but the contrasting diffuser insert was in Dark Shadow metallic.

The Z4 M40i rolls on bespoke 19-inch alloy wheels with an M Performance Cerium Grey finish incorporate M Sport brakes.

The BMW Z4 test vehicle featured stand-out Misano Blue metallic paintwork, a $2000 option that we reckon is well worth the outlay

The M Sport seats with integrated headrests are upholstered in black leather with contrasting stitching. The test vehicle was fitted with M Seat belts.

A BMW Live Cockpit Professional is viewed by way of a 10.25-inch digital instrument, it has a sat nav display screen featuring BMW’s Operating System 7.0.


BMW Connected Package Professional incorporates remote services, real-time traffic info, concierge services and Apple Carplay. BMW’s ConnectedDrive includes free use of vehicle apps, including news and weather, through BMW Online. A built-in SIM card is 4G compatible.

A Harmon / Kardon 408W surround sound system includes 12 speakers and seven channels.

The 3-litre turbo-petrol straight-six engine in its latest iteration has a water-cooled exhaust manifold integrated into the cylinder head and direct injection that sprays fuel at up to 350 bar pressure. I puts out 250 kW of power and 500 Nm of torque.

Also new is the eight-speed sports automatic transmission with launch control. Steering wheel-mounted paddles give access to full manual operation.

As you would expect the sporting BMW Z4 is crammed full of gear to, (a) try to prevent a crash and (b) minimise injuries to the occupants.

The M40i has BMW ConnectedDrive that has Intelligent Emergency Call that under some conditions can send help to the occupants even if they are unconscious in a car wreck.

Fire up the 3.0-litre straight-six engine, a BMW trademark, and an eight-speed sports automatic transmission with launch control feeds its 250 kW and 500 Nm efficiently to the road through the rear wheels.

All the action is accompanied by a raw engine note that on overrun produces an excellent snap, crackle and pop from the twin tailpipes.

Variable sports steering and limited-slip M Sport differential, serve up a sharp response to driver input, resulting in outstanding agility. Adaptive M Suspension and M Sport brakes add to the fun.

Drive Experience Control offers Sport, Comfort, Eco, Pro and Adaptive modes to keep the adventurous happy. Comfort mode is quite adequate for stop-start city stuff, but engage ‘Sport’ and the Roadster throws off the shackles and shows what a sportscar can really do. For a start there’s zero to 100 km/h in just 4.5 seconds.

A wind deflector keeps the cabin atmosphere relatively calm with the roof down. You can’t really chat in an everyday voice, but who cares?

BMW Z4 M40i is a sportscar for all reasons and seasons, it can be a boulevard cruiser – and a terrific tearaway when given its head on the open road.


BMW Z4 M40i 3-litre Roadster $124,000
Options fitted on test vehicle
Misano Blue metallic paintwork $2000
M seatbelts $560
Note: These prices do not include dealer or government charges. Contact your local BMW dealer for drive-away prices.

SPECIFICATIONS ((BMW Z4 M40i 3-0-litre turbo-petrol two-door convertible)
Capacity: 2998 cc
Configuration: Inline six, eight-speed automatic
Maximum Power: 250 kW @ 5000-6500 rpm
Maximum Torque: 500 Nm @ 1600-4500 rpm
Fuel type: Petrol 91RON
Combined Cycle (ADR 81/01): 7.4 litres per 100 km
CO2 emissions: 169 g/km

Drivetrain: 8-speed Steptronic Sport automatic, RWD.

Length: 4324 mm
Width: 1864 mm
Height: 1304 mm
Wheelbase: 2470 mm
Gross vehicle mass: 1860 kg
Fuel Tank Capacity: 52 litres
Turning circle: 11 m

Front: Ventilated disc
Rear: Ventilated disc

3 years / 100,000 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.
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