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BMW Z4 2013 review

BMW Z4 is a true roadster, with a very long bonnet, a stubby tail and seats all the way back, within a few centimetres of the rear wheels. We love the shape of this sporting little BeeEm, which has just been given a mild update with extra equipment packages.

Value

The model range for the new BMW Z4 is: Z4 sDrive 20i: $79,900 (automatic), Z4 sDrive 28i: $89,900 (automatic), Z4 sDrive 35i: $119,545 (automatic). Prices are virtually unchanged from the previous series and represent considerable savings when the added equipment is factored in.

These prices aren’t likely to hold for long. Phil Horton, the MD of BMW Australia, admits they were set when the Oz dollar was close to its peak and that his company’s profits will be trimmed because of the recent drop in the dollar’s value.

Technology and upgrade packages

Upgrades for the 2014 model year include the installation of the BMW Professional satellite navigation system. There are several optional packages as BMW Australia is continuing its strategy of bundling items that had proven popular as individual features. The Design Pure Balance package includes sport seats, wood trim and leather upholstery to the seats.

The M Sport Package is offered for the four-cylinder models and includes 18-inch alloys, sports seats, aluminium and carbon fibre interior trim, a leather steering wheel, M sport suspension, and an aerodynamics package.

Finally, the new Design Pure Traction package, available across the range, features sports seats, Alcantara/leather upholstery, interior trim finishers in ‘metal weave’ design and an individual roof-liner in Anthracite trim.

Styling

Styling changes to the body of the latest Z4 are minimal, with the headlights now having DRLs (Daytime Running Lights) running rings around the quad headlights; there are metal arches over the lights and more chrome around the front blinkers. Reshaping of the side ‘gills’ gives a tapered effect. New paint colours complete the picture.

Inside the cosy cockpit a bolder effect has been achieved by using piano-black in several key locations, as well as mild revisions in style.

Engines and transmissions

Engines are all turbo-petrol units; choices are 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol in two stages of tune, 135kW and 180kW, and a 3.0-litre six-cylinder with a rip snorting 250kW. A big change from the previous BMW Z4 is the use of an eight-speed automatic transmission with the four-cylinder engines. The six has a dual-clutch seven-speed unit.

Driving impressions

During our road testing we fell in love with the 180 kW four-cylinder unit as mated to the new eight speed automatic transmission. It provides almost as much performance as the six-cylinder and its lighter weight adds to the already good agility of the Z4 in the twisty bits.

Then again, the lower powered four-cylinder costs significantly less and still gives good push in the back. And when we floored the pedal in the six-cylinder model the smoothness and ease of acceleration was exhilarating. As you may have gathered, I couldn't quite make up my mind...

On the road, the Z4 continues to be an excitement machine, with excellent chassis balance, huge levels of grip in corners and the ability to answer to steering and throttle inputs in a pure sports manner. Anyone who doesn’t come off a drive in the Z4 on mountainous roads with a big smile on their face hasn’t been trying hard enough.

On the downside, there’s a lot of tyre noise on coarse-chip bitumen, to the extent that conversation can be difficult even when the roof is closed. Noise that, frankly, became rather wearing after an hour of cruising on sub-standard roads.

As seems to be the norm at a media launch of any open top car, it rained on our parade; fortunately not to the extent of curtailing our driving pleasure for too long. In any case it gave us the opportunity to test the sealing of the folding hardtop. Which was, no surprises here, excellent.

Verdict

If you’re even halfway thinking of getting your backside into one of these great little roadsters we suggest making your move asap.

Pricing Guides

$45,100
Based on third party pricing data
Lowest Price
$32,560
Highest Price
$57,640

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
sDrive 20i 2.0L, PULP, 8 SP AUTO $32,560 – 38,720 2013 BMW Z4 2013 sDrive 20i Pricing and Specs
sDrive 28i 2.0L, PULP, 8 SP AUTO $38,060 – 44,770 2013 BMW Z4 2013 sDrive 28i Pricing and Specs
sDrive 35is 3.0L, PULP, 7 SP AUTO $50,160 – 57,640 2013 BMW Z4 2013 sDrive 35is Pricing and Specs
Pricing Guide

$33,660

Lowest price, based on third party pricing data

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