While our BMW Z4 sDrive35is review is going through some final touches, let’s take a look at the test drive posted by LA Times. The new upgraded, more powerful Z4is went public at the Detroit Auto Show when the 2011 roadster opened the doors for more “is” performance oriented vehicles.
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).
he electric power steering (EPS) features very sporty programming providing a greater feedback to the driver; cornering and aggressive shifting at its best.
Even though it doesn’t carry the M badge, the BMW Z4 sDrive35is includes new M Sport upgrades such as adaptive M Suspension and M Aerodynamics. The adaptive M Suspension combines a ride-height reduction of 10 millimeters (almost 0.4”) with electronically controlled shock absorbers. Special M-Sport 18-inch light-alloy wheels in five-spoke design round off the sporty character of the Z4 sDrive35is. Optional, the buyer can choose 19-inch wheels.
Here is an excerpt from their driving experience:
God bless the Democrats.
Such was my thinking as I threw the horrifically named 2011 BMW Z4 sDrive35is hardtop convertible through turn after turn, high in the mountains in Malibu.
The top was down, the radio was off and the car’s brain, which BMW calls Dynamic Driving Control (DDC), was in “sport plus” mode. The steering and throttle response, the transmission’s shift points, and the suspension were all set to “Whoa!”
It was all the soundtrack I needed.
Acceleration with DDC in any mode unleashes an auditory amalgamation of everything that is right with a turbocharged engine. It only gets sweeter — and louder — as you dial up the system from normal to sport to sport plus. Stomp your foot on the gas and let the 35is race toward its 7,000-rpm redline and you’re treated to a whoosh from the turbos and a sharp exhaust note with an intense, barely refined edge. Think of a velvet dagger.
Which brings us to the Democrats.
When BMW engineers sat down to create this latest Z4 roadster, they were faced with a choice nearly every automaker must make when producing a performance variant of a sports car: Republican or Democrat?
With the Republican route, less is more. Lighten the car up as best you can, be it with engineering sleight of hand or by excising porcine creature comforts. Power is increased slightly, if at all. If done right, the lighter version is faster and handles better. Heck, Lotus has based its entire existence around this philosophy.
Conversely, with the Democrat route, more is more. More horsepower and more torque are the usual suspects, whether it’s by turbocharging, supercharging or just cramming in the biggest motor that will fit in the engine bay. Sure, weight is a consideration. No one is suggesting cast-iron bumpers here. But it’s much lower on the list of priorities.
[Photo: Shawn Molnar ]