First reviews of the new 2011 BMW Z4 sDrive35is are starting to come in. This week, the folks over at Edmunds InsideLine spent some time behind the wheel of a Z4 sDrive35is. Before we jump into their review, let’s recap some of the technical information around this new model.
The sDrive35is carries under the hood an upgraded version of the popular N54 engine or in everybody’s language, the award winning six-cylinder 3.0 liter twin-turbo engine. The tuned up engine produces 335 horsepower (340hp in Europe) at 5,900 rpm and 332 lb-ft in “regular mode”. An electronically-controlled overboost function can briefly increase torque under full load by another 37 lb-ft. This brings the torque peak to 369 lb-ft.
The engine is matted to 7-speed Double-Clutch Transmission (DCT) with SPORT and SPORT+ driving modes. The DCT also features a Launch Control function for maximum performance when accelerating from a standstill. BMW sDrive35is weighs 1,525 kg (3,362 lbs).
The significant performance boost is a direct result of a higher-flow intake that allow the turbos to spin up to higher pressure. Three big software changes were added to this upgrade model as well.
Here is an excerpt from their review:
As impressive as these figures are, they fail to convey the whole story. What the Z4 sDrive35is offers is terrifically strong, infinitely usable and ultimately stirring performance. The delivery is extraordinarily flexible and linear all the way up into the upper reaches of the rev range. This car might not wear an M car’s badge, but it certainly feels like one. And the hard-edged exhaust note that rises in intensity until you find the ignition cutout at 6,800 rpm makes it sound for all the world like one, too!
Yet there’s much more to the 2011 BMW Z4 sDrive35is than just a tuned engine. Its steering, body control, grip and overall responses are in an altogether different league from those of the Z4 sDrive35i — so much so that you’re left wondering if the two really share the same origins.
The Z4’s standard electric-assist steering has been tweaked to endow the sDrive35is with a meatier feel and added levels of feedback compared to lesser versions of the two-seat roadster. It weights up nicely through corners and delivers sharp response both at lower speeds around town and as the pace increases out on the open road.
The 2011 BMW Z4 sDrive35is might not be a successor to the M Roadster in name. But in terms of styling, performance, overall dynamic ability and, most important, intrinsic character, it is more than a worthy replacement for BMW’s former signature for hard-core drivers (Dr. Burkhardt Goetschel, BMW’s former director of research and development and a member of the Formula 1 manufacturer’s council, was one).