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CarConnection drives the BMW Z4 sDrive30i

BMW Z4 | May 13th, 2009 by 8
2009 BMW Z4 sDrive30i test drive

Most of the 2009 BMW Z4 reviews we have seen lately focused entirely on the high-end roadster model, the sDrive35i. Our friends and once almost …

Most of the 2009 BMW Z4 reviews we have seen lately focused entirely on the high-end roadster model, the sDrive35i. Our friends and once almost partners over at TheCarConnection decided to give some love to the “step brother” as well, the 3.0 liter in-line six model. While we all love the twin-turbo 3.0 liter engine, the truth of the matter is that many of us might have to settle for the less powerful, but still amazing, sDrive30i.

Sporting the same bodystyle as the top Z4 roadster, the BMW Z4 sDrive30i outputs 255 horsepower, plenty for many BMW fans. But don’t worry, for those of you looking to hear more about the sDrive35i, the fellows at TheCarConnection decided to combine both test drives into a single article. Talk about spoiling you……

CarConnection drives the BMW Z4 sDrive30i

In most types of driving, there’s not a huge difference in performance between the 30i and the 35i, though they have very different character. The 35i has a nice, linear throttle response, yet it’s incredibly responsive; peak torque is achieved at just 1400 rpm and maintained all the way up to 5000 rpm. Peak torque for the naturally aspirated engine comes at 2600 rpm. With the manual transmission, we found ourselves driving the two models quite differently; you’re rewarded if you rev the 30i’s engine all the way up to redline, but revving the 35i’s turbo engine past 6000 rpm doesn’t make the thrust all that much more urgent.

In most types of driving, there’s not a huge difference in performance between the 30i and the 35i, though they have very different character. The 35i has a nice, linear throttle response, yet it’s incredibly responsive; peak torque is achieved at just 1400 rpm and maintained all the way up to 5000 rpm. Peak torque for the naturally aspirated engine comes at 2600 rpm. With the manual transmission, we found ourselves driving the two models quite differently; you’re rewarded if you rev the 30i’s engine all the way up to redline, but revving the 35i’s turbo engine past 6000 rpm doesn’t make the thrust all that much more urgent.

What’s the conclusion? Read further

  • George

    Don’t forget to mention that the 30i has less maintenance cost, because you don’t have to worry about changing the turbos ;)

  • Jordan

    That 35i is a sweet engine for sure but I do love N/A engines because you get to work them and adding more revs gives you more and more of a thrill where it isn’t really true with a turbo engine.

    I don’t have a lot of experience on the topic but my gut says I’d rather have N/A if im gonna have some fun and race it a bit and a small turbo engine if you want a commuter car with good gas mileage.

    All the great performance cars I list don’t have turbos: 911 GT3, 911 GT2, CGT, Ferrari, Lambo, the M cars (at least for now ha), the R8 and R8 V10, Corvette, and even the regular Porsche 911, and these are all modern cars.

    I’m a pilot and in aircraft, turbos are used on a piston engines to maintain sea-level pressure in the climb so you get the same performance, there is no performance “increase” so to speak. As you climb up you loose about 1 inch of manifold pressure/1000′ in altitude so it maintains SLP by slowly increasing the pressure up to a limit, not always the same as your cruising altitude. So I could be a little biased!

    • carritofino

      The 911 GT2 is twin turbo. Don’t add it to your list.

  • Jordan

    …not to mention N/A engines sound a lot better IMO!

  • Doug

    @Jordan: I’d think they’d want to take advantage of turbocharging’s power/weight advantages especially in aircraft because of what every pound means.

    Is it a question of reliability?

  • L1ndja

    The Sdrive30i over the 35i anytime…

  • Jordan

    @Doug:

    Yea, it’s more to do with reliability. When your turbo engine blows you can just pull to the side of the road, airplanes just can’t do that. Safety is huge in aviation, there are always back up systems or mechanisms. Turbo engines in aviation are fantastic. You’re really not putting any extra stress on the engine as with a car because you’re only maintaining sea level pressure and not creating “boost” and yet you’re at say 14,000ft where you would have lost 14″ of manifold pressure, you’ve still got the same pressure at sea level.

    If you’re looking for a power/weight advantage you’d have to step up to turboprop aircraft which are basically a jet core with a prop on it. They are very good for power/weight but they are heavy compared to a 4-6 cylinder piston engine and so they aren’t good in the small aircraft like a Cessna 172, therefore they are used in heavier and faster aircraft. The PT6 is the most popular turboprop and it produces up to 1500shp (2300shp for helicopters) and weighs 485lbs. The Piaggio P180 Avanti II is pretty much the King of turboprops and uses the PT6 engine. A little off topic though because it’s pretty much a jet engine :P

    • http://www.bmwblog.com Horatiu B.

      What a great conversation guys, thank you. Learned some new things…

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