Before getting to their review, let’s review briefly the technical details around this high-performance Z4 model.
The sDrive35is carries under the hood an upgraded version of the popular N54 engine, the very same 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).
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.
The second-generation Z4 came with more poise and balance than the previous car, which makes it better for an M-style upgrade. It copes easily with the extra power and torque, instead of turning into a bucking broncho, and never feels to be stretched beyond its limits. The nose will push wide if you get onto the power too hard or too early in a tight bend, but generally it just tracks around a curve and invites you to dip into the loud pedal.
When you do there is a very sweet thump from the exhaust, although it’s not the same as the howl from a non-turbo six or V8 from the M-car menu.
It is an extremely rapid car at all times on all types of roads, but is not lairy or overdone. In fact, it’s remarkably refined and that should work for people who are considering a Boxster. The gearbox is terrific for maintaining swift motoring, although the engine will drop below ideal boost in tight corners as second is a bit too tall. It recovers boost quickly, but is something you notice. The ride is firm but not shaky, the seats are great, there is good feel to the suspension and the brakes never feel troubled, even at fairly rapid speed.
The Z4 hero is a true hero and definitely capable of challenging the Porsche Boxster, but you have to wonder if people with the right money would also want the right badge – an M – to tell people what they have in the garage.
BMW Z4 sDrive35is
Price: from $129,900
Engine: twin-turbo inline six
Power: 250kW/5900 revs
Torque: 240Nm/1500-4500 revs, 500Nm overboost
Transmission: Seven-speed twin-clutch manumatic, rear-wheel drive
Performance: 0-100km/h, 4.8s
Economy: 9L/100km (claimed)
Emissions: 210g/km CO2