When pre-production test drives of the new BMW Z4 M40i started to trickle out, we learned that it was a genuinely good handling car, not just some pretty roadster for hot divorcées. It’s a proper sports car. In this new video from Sport Auto, the Z4 M40i’s sport credentials are proven, as the German publication’s test driver, Christian Gebhardt, takes it to the famed Nurburgring Nordschleife.
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On the Nordschleife, Gebhardt was able to set a lap time of 7:55.41. That’s about the same time that he was able to set in a 649 hp, tuned F10 BMW M5 (7:54) and he did it here in a 340 hp roadster. That’s incredibly impressive. Now, you might think that comparing the BMW Z4 M40i to an old M5 from years ago isn’t very fair. And it isn’t, as the Z4 is considerably lighter and smaller, making it more nimble.
But what about how it stacks up against another small and nimble car, maybe like the BMW M2? Well, the BMW Z4 M40i recorded a lap time six seconds faster than Gebhardt’s own in the first M2 (7:58min). That’s right, the little soft-top convertible roadster was six seconds faster ’round the ‘Ring than an M2. With less power, mind you.
In the video, the Z4 M40i looks good. It looks sharp and accurate and he even gets twitchy with it at some points, like a proper track car. It seems to really respond to his inputs.
What’s even crazier is that this was done at the ‘Ring, in Germany, where it only makes 340 hp. In the U.S., the BMW Z4 M40i will make 382 hp, thanks to stricter emissions regulations in Europe, which rob it of some power. So if it’s faster around the famed Green Hell than a BMW M2 with only 340 hp, what’s it going to be like ‘Stateside with 42 more ponies? We all wondered why BMW didn’t already have plans for a proper BMW Z4 M. Now we know.