The writing was on the wall, but many of us were in denial when it came to a full-fledged M version of the new BMW Z4 Roadster. The Z4 M subject has been on tap since the previous generation Z4, but even with the arrival of the G29 Z4 platform, it was clear that BMW won’t be looking to make an M version.
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The top model is the Z4 M40i, a highly competent open top which is already competing in a shrinking segment.
This week, M boss Markus Flasch confirmed reports from MOTOR’s European Editor Georg Kacher that a dedicated M version of the Z4 wasn’t part of the development program.
According to Flasch, a new Z4 M would require the installation of the S58 3.0-liter twin-turbo six, which would be a complex engineering challenge.
“We thought about [a Z4 M],” said Flasch, “however putting in a different engine in a smaller car such as the Z4 means a lot of effort. So far we have not found a way that is possible.”
“The Z4 M40i has so much performance, it even gets close to an M2, so the Z4 already is a true M car, very competent, very fast.”
The engine in the M40i model is BMW’s brilliant B58, which in the Z4 M40i makes 382 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque. BMW claims a 0-60 mph time of 4.4 seconds, though we reckon it will be quicker than that as BMW times are always criminally underrated. Paired with the punchy B58 engine is a ZF-sourced eight-speed automatic that routes power to only the rear wheels in the M40i version. It also has an electronically-controlled limited-slip rear differential as standard equipment.